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Newb question about CX courses

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Newb question about CX courses

Old 11-14-15, 05:36 PM
  #1  
Lazyass
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Newb question about CX courses

I raced MTB's all through the 90's but I've never really paid that much attention to CX. I was always kind of under the impression that the races were basically run on singletrack with lots of obstacles thrown in. Seemed like it would kind of suck to be racing like that on a fully rigid drop bar bike.

Fast forward to today, I do much road riding, actually in the best riding shape of my life. I had been thinking about racing MTB's again, but I looked up all the races and there's not near as many as there used to be in the area I live. But there are quite a few CX races. So I started looking at videos and every one I saw the courses were run pretty much in open fields and even through parking lots with the course roped off, and the single track sections through the woods were very short. Like it would take maybe a couple of minutes to get through the woods. Nothing what I thought it would be. I know physically it's a killer, but it looked much easier than I had thought as far as the terrain was concerned. Looked like something I could have fun with for sure.

So my question is, are CX races generally set up that way?
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Old 11-14-15, 06:49 PM
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Yeah. That's pretty typical. You'll see more parks and fields than woods. Maybe some S/T but promoters avoid things like rocks and roots. Riders get pretty pissed if they're cutting $105 tubulars racing for a goody bag and a $25 gift certificate. As an example, the rules allow, even encourage things like stairs going up but prohibit stairs going down. Most of the singletrack you'll find is more like doubletrack if you know what I mean.

Conditions will vary, some courses are downright groomed and smooth. Others will rattle your teeth out in spots (if you're going fast enough). Back in the day, there were some serious wilderness type courses, not nowadays.
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Old 11-15-15, 04:40 AM
  #3  
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That's cool. I always pictured CX racing as running around with the bike on your shoulder jumping over boulders I don't mind obstacles, I'm a good bike handler, but I want to ride it not carry it.
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Old 11-15-15, 05:04 AM
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One more unrelated question. Does USAC now allow disc brakes? I saw nothing in the rule book. I ask because most bikes I'm looking at now have them. I don't want them but I'm kind of PO'd. I had my eye on a Motobecane Team titanium, and it no longer has canti's. I also liked the Fuji's, and every single new model has discs.
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Old 11-16-15, 12:14 AM
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Cyclocross is more riding your bike in the park than mountainbiking with obstacles. Expect tight turns, off-camber, sidehilling on grass and open road or dirt road sections. There will be obstacles (like barriers) or sections that force a dismount and you can expect runups -you will likely be carrying your bike at some point in the race. But not a lot of singletrack on a good cyclocross course.

The UCI (and USAC) started allowing discs for cross in 2010 or 2011. So yes, you can use discs on an USAC sanctioned race. But a lot (if not most) promoters allow you to run pretty much anything for beginners class anyway.
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Old 11-16-15, 06:07 AM
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Lazyass
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That sounds up my alley. The nearest mountain bike trails are a 45 minute drive away, but a mile away from my house I have the perfect place to train CX, a soccer sports complex with a 2 mile nature/bike trail no one uses. Even has log obstacles on it. I just want a basic aluminum 105/Ultegra level bike with canti's. 90% of the new bikes I see have discs. If there's nothing on the black friday sales I'll probably hit up CL.
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Old 11-16-15, 09:03 AM
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unterhausen
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there is a group that practices CX here in town. Not sure how you would find a group like that near you
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Old 11-16-15, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
That's cool. I always pictured CX racing as running around with the bike on your shoulder jumping over boulders I don't mind obstacles, I'm a good bike handler, but I want to ride it not carry it.
Not much off the bike. As one of the local shops was handing out at yesterdays race, oval stickers that are made to look like those "140.6" or "26.2" stickers you see on the back of cars except these had "0.2" with in parenthesis "I only run during cyclecross."

Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
That sounds up my alley. The nearest mountain bike trails are a 45 minute drive away, but a mile away from my house I have the perfect place to train CX, a soccer sports complex with a 2 mile nature/bike trail no one uses. Even has log obstacles on it. I just want a basic aluminum 105/Ultegra level bike with canti's. 90% of the new bikes I see have discs. If there's nothing on the black friday sales I'll probably hit up CL.
As a soccer junkie, stay off the fields. Hell sounds like you can get your own race sanctioned there. Most courses aren't over two miles total.
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Old 11-16-15, 12:27 PM
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Since the UCI started to allow discs the options for cantis started to go away. Some of the top pros in Europe use cantis, but the US has embraced the new technology.

There are still some options for cantis but if you don't want to spend a lot of money CL is your best option for canti cx bikes. I wouldn't shy away from discs, though. The weight penalty isn't too bad and being able to brake later into the turn can make up for it. If you can afford hydraulic brakes the modulation is there too. And if you plan to use the bike for more than racing, the discs are really nice.

I won't be upgrading my bike just to get discs, but if I were getting a new bike I would buy one with disc brakes.
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Old 11-18-15, 01:13 PM
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Its all at the whims of the course designer .. sticky mud is a weight penalty

then You bring 2 bikes and a Helper to hose off the other one in The Pits and swap, every lap or so ..
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Old 11-24-15, 08:41 AM
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Technically speaking single track is not aloud in cyclocross. Many courses have it and I personally like it a lot but if you design a course by the book then the entire path of the course has to be a minimum of three meters wide so that a group of riders and pass anyone anywhere on the course. Most single track has a bit of room on the sides so they can get away with it but if it's a UCI race it has to be three meters.

Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
I won't be upgrading my bike just to get discs, but if I were getting a new bike I would buy one with disc brakes.
Me too as that would also mean getting rid of 4 dedicated wheel sets to cross. Disk breaks are the best for CX no doubt about it but canti's still slow you down and I don't see the difference as winning or losing a race.
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Old 11-24-15, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
Technically speaking single track is not aloud in cyclocross. Many courses have it and I personally like it a lot but if you design a course by the book then the entire path of the course has to be a minimum of three meters wide so that a group of riders and pass anyone anywhere on the course. Most single track has a bit of room on the sides so they can get away with it but if it's a UCI race it has to be three meters.
The 3-meter rule is for the tape-to-tape width inside the course. Interpreting the rule so broadly as to mean any singletrack is disallowed would also imply that any course feature where there is only a single viable line, however briefly, is also illegal. And that wouldn't really work in practice. So singletrack sections are completely kosher, but race promoters should remember that the 3-meter width is a mininum, not a maximum. And that giving riders the opportunity to find different lines and pass other riders tends to make for better, more interesting racing.
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Old 12-02-15, 09:29 AM
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Been doing a lot of research and unless I find the deal of the century on CL I'll probably go the disc route and buy this in the next month or two. $1400 is hard to pass up for a ti bike.

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Old 12-18-15, 09:10 AM
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^ the Moto looks like a nice bike. Enjoy!
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Old 01-06-16, 11:45 PM
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If you raced MTB in the 90's, then you have all fo the bikehandling you'll need. It'll come back to you very quickly.

Don't be afraid to shoulder/carry your bike. There are plenty of situations in a cross race (steep climbs, very loose sand) where it's faster to run it than ride it. Just practice mounting/dismounting. Look into local clubs/shops that put on cross clinics. They'll usually pop up at the end of the summer.
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Old 01-07-16, 02:47 PM
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BTW North Carolina has had a very good series of CX races going way back to the 90's I believe. I just did the Nationals course in Asheville yesterday and it was quite a trip and I'm pretty sure some of the local NC CXr's probably had their hand in it's design. IT was way more favorable to anyone with MTB skills then I normally see in a CX race but then on the flip side it had classic CX style as well. I believe their series continues through January so you may have a chance to catch some.
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