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First cross experiences(5 posts)

First cross experiencesMarlon
Sep 16, 2001 5:07 PM
Well, I'm back in the saddle after some trials and tribulations moving to Vancouver, and the legs are definitely showing it... but the cross bike finally got assembled, and for the first time, I did some mild crossing practice. Here's what I found out:

1. You can't corner on a cross bike like a road bike. Two gravel dust experiences and one on wet grass finally convinced me that MASSIVE slowing down before corners is required. It feels like I'm positioned all wrong no matter how I do the corners, like my weight is completely wrongly distributed - too high, too much over the front wheel. Holding onto the drops is a bit better than the hoods of course, but it still feels weird. I'm going to lower my seat and move it back just a bit to see if it helps.

2. Momentum, momentum, momentum. Lessons learned from mountain biking are coming in handy, but again, I'm learning the hard way that perhaps relying on the two largest chainrings of my old RSX triple cranks on the retro-fitted road bike wasn't such a good idea. I guess I'll have to work on getting some thunder-thighs!

3. This whole bike-carrying business is giving me shoulder pains! I'm stuffing a folded up terry face-cloth under the right shoulder of my jersey to help, but this morning I'm still pretty sore. Any post-practice advice asides from ice packs and ibuprofen?

And that's it so far.

- Marlon
re: First cross experiencesEricM
Sep 17, 2001 5:01 AM
Marlon

Here are a few things I've learned from racing cyclocross.

1. If you can pick a straight line through the corners do it. Also get used to the feeling that your bike is sliding and learn to let it happen. Don't get nervous and slam on the brakes. To much braking will cause more problems than it will solve. Also when you go through a turn make sure you are countersteering the bike rather than leaning into the turn. Push down on the outside bar to push you into the turn.

2. Find a gear that allows you to keep moving at a fairly rapid pace. The slower you are moving the more problems you'll have with rocks and rough ground. I origianlly had a 46 outer ring but I've switched to a single 42 which allows me to say in the big ring and push through stuff. Spinning in a cross race is not the best idea.

3. Your shoulder will get used to the weight of the bike. Make sure to keep the weight of the bike back. Don't let the weight get over your back or you'll get pain in your lower back.

The whole thing takes a while but after a few weeks it will begin to feel more natural. Don't give you and if you need more information let me know.
Sore shoulder from bike totingAlexR
Sep 17, 2001 5:11 AM
I put a little piece of pipe insulation on my top tube like the old BMX pads. I was banging a little bump on my clavicle and it was starting to get painful. The pad is ugly and slips around, but it softens the blow. I'll probably take it off to race, but it's nice to have when I'm just practicing.

Alex
re: First cross experiencesthemayor
Sep 17, 2001 11:41 AM
1. You will become a better bike handler from cross. Just keep practicing...you'll be amazed how fast you can corner.
2. Yes...the big mo keeps you going. Bigger gears/lower cadence ( within reason!) will keep you from bouncing around.
3. You will develope a calloused shoulder. It hurts for everyone at the beginning or the season.I know a multi time Nat'l champ who sews 1 of his wife's dress shoulder pads in his jersey for early season.Suck it up and take it like a man...with woman's shoulder padding!
re: First cross experiencesMitch
Sep 18, 2001 6:03 AM
I don't race but I do a lot of dirt ridng in the Santa Monica mountains on my cross bike and here is what I've learned:

1. Like what they said...Practice,practice,practice

2. Where I ride there is a lot of massive downhill runs and fast cornering is a must to keep up w/ the MTB crowd:).. I use my hoods for fast cornering and the drops for straight downhill runs. When I corner fast I balance my weight on the bike. I ty not to put too much weight on the front wheel when cornering fast to keep it from washing out.

3. Fat tires

4. Practice,practice

Happy Trails,
Mitch
Venice,Ca