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Should I try a Cyclo-Cross race ?(14 posts)

Should I try a Cyclo-Cross race ?flyinbowlofmilk
Sep 22, 2002 5:42 PM
I am a 32yr.old Cat 5 racer. I just completed my last race for the season,ealier this month. I was wondering if I should try a Cyclo-cross race? What advantages would it give me as far as road racing next year? Thanks in advance for your advice.
Yes, but...triangleforge
Sep 22, 2002 6:35 PM
Of course you should, but it's not like you're going to get a really objective answer around here! Since you're at the end of the season you'd planned, I'd definitely go out and race a couple (after you get someone to show you the basics -- dismounts, mounts, carrying, running, etc.), but be sure to do it just for the pure fun of it. That's doubly true if you're feeling a little burned out from the road season. Go hard, get dirty, but have some laughs while you're doing it. As for advantages next year, the biggest things I noticed after my first season (just last year, FWIW) were better bike handling skills and more presence of mind when things started to get hairy on the road. You're more used to the feeling of tires squirming around under you, and shoulders & elbows bumping in tight spaces, so you're more likely to stay calm when that starts to happen in the summer. Although 'cross was traditionally a way to keep fitness over the winter, you probably won't be able to hang on to your top-end, peak fitness, so you'll need to go back into the standard winter rebuilding phases when you're done. Oh, and one other thing might happen -- you might discover that 'cross is what you really love to do on a bicycle, and you'll start looking at the road racing as good prep for the REAL racing season. It could happen -- I know it did to me! Cheers!
the darn thing is that you need a cross bike.weiwentg
Sep 23, 2002 3:54 AM
I tried a dirt roads ride on my good 'ol TCR. it finished off with a low-speed endo. you will need thick tires and cantilever brakes, and your bike doesn't have clearance for the former and mounts for the latter. of course, if the course isn't that muddy, you could get by with the road bike (and maybe thinner knobbly tires).
a basic cross bike, however, is not horribly expensive, around $1000 or so. another option for winter training is an MTB; you could look for deals on a used Giant SE2, which would be under $1k.
as for me, I ordered a custom cross frame (too short for anything else to fit), decided to get an MTB, and can't cancel the cross frame. so, no more upgrades on anything for the next 3 years.
Not necessarily...triangleforge
Sep 24, 2002 4:55 AM
It's not like me to try to talk anyone out of buying a 'cross bike (or any bike, for that matter), but you can get your toes wet in cyclocross without hauling out the gold card just yet.

Check out the "Cyclocross 101" link on Patrick O'Grady's site. It's got great advice on converting a mountain bike or road bike for cyclocross duty, and a primer on the basic skills. Generally, it'll be easier to convert a mountain bike, but you can go either way.

Of course, if you're looking for an excuse to add a bike to the stable, don't let me stop you -- you'll find a cyclocross bike to be a great all-rounder, and generally more fun than a sack full of squirrel monkeys.

My First Cross Race - And I Lived To Tell The TaleGregory Taylor
Sep 23, 2002 9:20 AM
nice report, which race was it? nmclimbo
Sep 24, 2002 7:11 AM
Sounds damn familiar.Alex-in-Evanston
Sep 24, 2002 9:31 AM
And to echo climbo - what race was it?

It was out in Reston, VA --Gregory Taylor
Sep 24, 2002 9:55 AM
Part of the VA Cyclocross series. It was a while ago...back in December of 2000. I was going through some stuff and found my race number - complete with blood and grass stains - and it brought back all of these memories. So I wrote it up and submitted it as a goof. The story is true. Here are the results -- I was in the men's "B" race, flying the Team Lardbutt colors.
I thought so!triangleforge
Sep 24, 2002 10:33 AM
Especially when you mentioned the run-up on the earthen dam.

What a coincidencepeter in NVA
Sep 25, 2002 6:53 AM
I was doing some practice laps there before the race, feeling pretty good about my bike handling skills, when some 12 year old on a little rigid mtb whizzed by me like I was standing still. I knew then youth had passed me by!
If it was him, at least I feel a little better.
Yes, that really did happen...Gregory Taylor
Sep 25, 2002 3:48 PM
...I did a warm up lap with that little dude, and he busted an INCREDIBLE move on that heinous series of barriers going up the hill on the backside of the course. That kid was fast.

Are you doing the All Hallows Eve race this year? I'm thinking about doing it.
All Hallows 2003!cxrcr
Sep 25, 2002 4:36 PM
There are some design changes in store for the All Hallows race this year. Gone is the run-up to that dam (due to erosion issues) but added is one new climb, a drop-off section, a new run up, and then a zig-zag off-camber descent. The new course should be great with more tempo changes to test a riders strength and bike handling skill. The finish line will probably be moved as well.

I plan on tryingpeter in NVA
Sep 26, 2002 4:26 PM
I'll probably be the only one with a yellow Ritchey SwissCross (and moving slowly...)
Sweet!Gregory Taylor
Sep 27, 2002 5:12 AM
If I can make it, I'll be the idiot in the "Team Lardbutt" jersey astride a jade green Bianchi Volpe touring bike, complete with triple chain ring and my secret weapon, Ritchey "Trail Mix" 35c hybrid tires....