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  1. #1
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    Beginner cyclocross racer

    Im getting ready to do my first cyclocross race..and I road bike a little bit but mtn bike most of the time...what should I expect for my first race?
    We Can't Stop Here...This Is Bat Country.
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  2. #2
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    A slow, congested half of the first lap, a high heart rate that stays up, and a lot of fun! Expect a lot of the beginner class to have poor handling skills. Use that to your advantage considering you trail ride. Get in front of people in the corners if you can. Staying behind them will just make you have to brake with them.

  3. #3
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    how many laps is it?
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  4. #4
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    Lots of traffic and a bottleneck not too far from the start, get near the front if you can at the start line and be prepared to start fast. Once the herd gets thinned out you will have to hammer the best you can for however long, beginner races are usually 25-30min, and it's usually a fast pace.
    Be patient don't expect too much other than learning the ropes and getting comfortable your first couple of races.
    If it's a non-technical course the road-fit guys will seem really strong, because they are, the more technical it gets the slower the roadies will seem. I was looking around at the last starting line on Sunday, I was one of only maybe 3 guys of the 26 (small group last time) without shaved legs. It seems to be roadie heavy around here.
    If you can get there early and watch a couple of other categories (assuming you don't race first), watch the start through the first few turns, in that general area. Pre-riding a lap is usually good, unless it's so muddy that you wish your race bike had stayed clean, -then bring your mtb for the pre-ride lap.
    If it's cold a lot of guys (myself included) wear an extra old jacket for warmup, up to just a minute or two before start, then just toss it on the ground near start and pick it up later.

    I think there's a couple of other similar threads further down, so you may want to look weeks/months back for those.

  5. #5
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    Be patient, race is rarely won in first turn even if it seems like a "short" 30 min race, 30 mins full throttle is a long time if you are not used to it! As hard as the pace is in every class, there is plenty of shuffling that goes on and rarely does anyone win wire to wire. Get a 'good' start of course!, but don't stress if you are further back than you would like, don't make mistakes and pin it on every straight and try to rest and flow thru the turns.

  6. #6
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    Don't go out there looking to win, go out there to have fun. The first race is a learning experience, just set a goal of not finishing dead last.

    I recently did my first race, and it was much harder than I expected. Very intense, you're going full out for that 25-30 minutes. IMO having MTB skills is a plus, you're used to being on dirt and steep climbs, and have more bike handling skill than a typical roadie.

    I had watched a race the day before, and that was the first race I had ever seen. Watching that made me want to start out in the back, due to all the congestion and a few crashes at the front. So that's what I did, and I was able to stay out of most of it. I started dead last (mostly because I was late to the race and they were starting when I arrived), and finished 6th from last. So that was a victory of sorts for me. I didn't crash, I passed a few people, was able to use my MTB skills to clear an obstacle that most people lifted the bike over (earning me cheers from the crowd) and was able to pass groups of riders on climbs. Overall I was happy with my performance, and I had a great time. I just love to ride bikes and it was cool to try a new type of riding.

    Also, practice your dismounts, and have fun!
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  7. #7
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    Okay, the first thing you need to understand and get over is that you're *****d. Royally *****d! You are going to experience a (40?) minute full body dry heave.

    Those things being said, get there early. When ever you think you should be there, get there an hour or so earlier. Eat something solid that you like eating a few hours before hand. When I was racing at eight in the morning, I would be up and making breakfast at four-thirty, on the road at five-thirty to be at the venue around six-thirtyish.

    At the call up get an outside line. Pay attention to how people pile up in the corners and learn when to go inside and when to go wide. Pre-riding the course gets you warmed up and lets you play with tire pressure. Don't worry about doing too many pre-ride laps and wearing yourself out. Unless you are the next J-Pow, you aren't in contention for the podium.

    Stay for the whole day and watch the rest of the races, especially the elites. Look at the lines they take compared to your lines.

    But most importantly, You're *****d, so have fun!

    And let us know how it goes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Re View Post
    Okay, the first thing you need to understand and get over is that you're *****d. Royally *****d! You are going to experience a (40?) minute full body dry heave.

    Those things being said, get there early. When ever you think you should be there, get there an hour or so earlier. Eat something solid that you like eating a few hours before hand. When I was racing at eight in the morning, I would be up and making breakfast at four-thirty, on the road at five-thirty to be at the venue around six-thirtyish.

    At the call up get an outside line. Pay attention to how people pile up in the corners and learn when to go inside and when to go wide. Pre-riding the course gets you warmed up and lets you play with tire pressure. Don't worry about doing too many pre-ride laps and wearing yourself out. Unless you are the next J-Pow, you aren't in contention for the podium.

    Stay for the whole day and watch the rest of the races, especially the elites. Look at the lines they take compared to your lines.

    But most importantly, You're *****d, so have fun!

    And let us know how it goes.
    Simply brilliant.

    Best advice/synopsis I've seen to date.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I was looking around at the last starting line on Sunday, I was one of only maybe 3 guys of the 26 (small group last time) without shaved legs. It seems to be roadie heavy around here.
    Since when did roadies become the only people to shave legs?
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  10. #10
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    Transvestites do too.

    I'm in the Pacific Northwest too, and I've seen almost no shaved legs on male mountain bikers. But MTB culture varies by region.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Yep, it is tough - the congestion, the speed, the bottlenecks, the elevated heart rates and breathing without a rest for 30 minutes, little to no water to drink, sand, obstacles, etc etc.

    I just did my first race last month, and am doing my 2nd this Saturday if that says anything about how fun it is.

  12. #12
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    Dnf.
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  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Did you have fun while it lasted?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    Physical, mental, or mechanical?
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  15. #15
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    I didnt have a chance to have any fun...it was over before 1/2 of a lap..it was mechanical...I was riding up the first hill and the chain jumped the cassette and got pinched behind the cassette and some guy on the side of the tape tried helping me but it was waaay too pinched...the mechanic at the pits had to remove the cassette to get the chain out..and the chain was twisted as well....it was very frustrating.
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  16. #16
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    Bummer. When's the next one?

    I think the first part of the learning curve with racing is just not shooting oneself in the foot.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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