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Beginner questions(9 posts)

Beginner questionshrv
Sep 1, 2002 7:34 AM
I've done some road races, bunch of crits. There is a cx race scheduled for the end of this month and the start line is a 5 minute bike ride from my house, tops. Thinking of doing it.

Never cx raced, do very little mtb (hopefully that will change soon), and the bike I would use is my 9 yr.old hardtail, front shock mtb (heavy). Not a runner either.
Complete folly to think of doing the race, on that bike? At least there will be a beginner's cat.

What do you think? With the race 4 weeks from today I probably can't do much to prepare. Maybe do some jogging since I haven't done that in over 10 years??!
Any insights would be appreciated.

re: Beginner questionsmemphistrials
Sep 1, 2002 8:24 AM
I'm kinda in your situation, but I think even you have some advantages over me.

I've never raced a bike before. Ever. (Although I have entered a bunch of trials competitions.) I never run. Ever. I only started riding trails about 1 1/2 months ago.

But still, I'm planning on entering at least one race in our series we have here in Memphis.

I'm looking at it expecting to finish last. I have no visons of placing at all. I'm just gonna go and try to meet new people and have some fun.

That's the only thing I've cared about in my nearly 20 years of riding a bike. Having fun. Why stop just because I entered a race? ;o)

- Chip

Peddler Bike Shop - Memphis, TN
Fun? What fun?hrv
Sep 2, 2002 7:51 AM
How can anyone call doing any activity almost to the point of losing your lunch fun?

Just kidding. In fact, I just started pulling out my harmonica while warming up on the trainer pre-race and playing it. Should see the looks I get on all the stressed out other competitors faces. Priceless.

Beginner Q+Abuffalosorrow
Sep 1, 2002 8:28 AM
The bike: remove front sus off the hardtail and go even more MTB retro with rigid, you can find a threaded fork on ebay, nashbar or I am sure your LBS has something, and if you wish I have a spare threadless 1" breezer 26" breezer fork. Remove bar ends (if this applies). Perhaps some narrower 26x 1.5 tires with some knobs.
Cost: $10-40 fork
$40 tires
Ritchey Cross bite 26x 1.4 $19.99 ea
Geax Revert 26x 1.65 $16.95 ea.
Avocet Cross II 26x 1.25, 1.5 $19.95 ea.
$ ??? new brake pads.

For under $100 bucks you can race.

The body: Shoulder you bike and start climbing/ running stairs, this works on my commute, everyday (if stairs are a problem steep climbs of any sort). I have leaned rolling dismounts and remounts this way. Or run around you house early in the morning, keeps the neighbors away...

The mind: think cyclocross, mud, ice, fun. Don't go too far with cross dressing, only if it suits your needs.
Good tips here.hrv
Sep 2, 2002 7:56 AM
Thanks. Especially running up stairs w/ the bike. Actually, I have an even older Cannondale mtb w/out front susp. that I'll use. But even heavier than the other one. Think I'll be glad I've been lifting weights once a week! Oh yeah, the bike's fluorescent pink!

late to the party as usuallonefrontranger
Sep 3, 2002 7:38 AM
agreed good tips on the stair running. If you have bar-ends on your MTB, don't forget that 'cross is run under roadie rules, so you have to remove the bar-ends ("no forward-facing projections...").

I'd go with the lighter bike, suspension fork or no, and run the skinniest, highest pressure tires you can get with a minimal knob. At your level, front suspension (or lack thereof) won't matter much either way; I've 'crossed with a hardtail and a 'cross bike, and the disadvantage of the hardtail were mostly in the gearing & wide tires. I never found the fork caused much difference. IMO repetitive lifting of a heavier bike would be a much bigger disadvantage.

For upper body adaptation, you can do "shrugs" and bent-over tricep curls in the gym. But the best adaptation is to just go out and practice with the bike. You would be surprised at how easy an ad hoc 'cross course is to create. Use curbs as dismount barriers, and do "urban assault" rides. Practice running with the bike so you can figure out the easiest and most comfortable running style.

If you have 3-4 weeks to prepare, do what's known as a "shake-n-bake" prep. You have plenty of endurance and base fitness coming out of the road season, so all you need to do is add a little specificity. It will take you about 10 days to adapt to running, and you will feel a little soreness / stiffness at first. Do a run workout once every 48 hours for maximum adaptation & recovery. The trick with this is that you don't need to do three-mile moderate runs, because the running you do in 'cross is pretty much 50-meter uphill sprints. Start by running for 5-10 minutes (jog-walk-jog), and work up to doing 15-20 minutes (jog-sprint-jog). The sprints should be up short, steep hills or stairs. In between, walk or jog slowly. Ideally you want to adapt to going from a ~LT effort to a hard effort, then back to ~LT. The goal is to train maximum recovery and keep your heartrate from blowing sky-high during the run sections, which is a common occurance in 'cross.

Cross is hard, incredibly hard. It is essentially a 45-minute long sprint. Probably the hardest thing you'll ever do with a bicycle. The big bonus of doing 'cross racing is that once you've done it, crits will feel easy in comparison.
Wow! But tell me again - when does the fun start?!hrv
Sep 3, 2002 7:28 PM
That should get me started in the right direction, for sure.
I've wanted an excuse to take up running again for 15 years, and this just might be it.

So all my buddies keep telling me how much fun 'cross is and how I'll be 'pleasantly surprised'. 45-minute sprints?
Alrighty then. Only one way to find out. Stay tuned.

Thanks for the wealth of info.,
go even more retroatpjunkie
Sep 5, 2002 5:51 PM
find those old flared out drop bars they used to use on MTB's in the 80's (early). Yes, we do call a hurl fest fun, why...we're sick.
I remembered NITTO DIRT DROPS!!!atpjunkie
Sep 6, 2002 2:29 PM
designed for the old Bridgestones. 47 cm c-c at the drop 52 cm fc-c from the bar ends.