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Any Cyclo-crossers?

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  • Any Cyclo-crossers?

    It seems a bit like mud racing meets crossfit for cyclists.

    How on earth do you get into it? How do you figure out when you're at some sort of minimal level of fitness to have a crack at a competition? Do they have categories for newbies and old ladies?

    I'm just about to get a new Cyclocross bike for genteel offroad touring and so checked out the videos on cyclocross and thought... that looks FUN !!!! Hard yakka but awesome!
    If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder

  • #2
    Is this the one where they ride (what look like) road bikes on muddy trails, jump off and run/carry the bikes when the trail becomes un-bike-able? I used to see that on TV a lot when I was a kid in Switzerland. I always assumed it must have been supplanted by mountain-biking starting in the late '80's.


    • #3
      hell no, it's actually getting big here in the states. Well, not as big as in Europe, but growing. I have participated in lots of cx races. Here in TX, they usu aren't mudfests, that's more likely found on the East Coast or PacNW. I don't know anything about cycling in Australia, but if you go thru your local bike shop, I am sure they can hook you up with local race schedules, etc. There may just be a cx race near you!

      OMG cx is hard. Basically you're anaerobic for 45 minutes. The forced dismounts will really make your heartrate spike. And honestly, i can't help sometimes giggling during the races (the more casual weekday ones, especially) b/c it's just hard and crazy. Usually at halloween there will be a costumed race. My costume is carmen miranda, i can't wait to wear it this year!

      The races are on a short track so it's spectator friendly and you will get heckled frequently. Cowbells will be ringing. Hopefully there will be beer. CX is fun! And it really hurts if you're doing it right.

      Yes there are categories for newbs & old ladies! Actually in the ones I've done, they just put all the ladies together. And sometimes even that's not a very big group. Lots of ladies just race with the guys b/c it's more fun; at least you're not out there just riding by yourself.

      good choice to buy a cx bike - it's a very versatile bike. You can ride on pavement or offroad. Have fun & i hope you find a race near you!


      • #4
        oh and one more thing - the "newb" category for men - it's always chock full of sandbaggers who don't want to move up to the next class.


        • #5
          Thanks Catherine that sounds cool! DUnno about the heckling bit ha ha.... but hey I won't take myself too seriously! I think my biggest fear is looking like a git for having such an awesome bike and being such a noob.... "all the gear and no idea" ... that and scratching my baby's paintwork... bruises heal, scratches don't....

          I found a company running CX in Victoria which is a bit of a distance from me but we could possibly dump the kids on the inlaws for a weekend and go have a go. Now DH says he's going to need a new bike too....
          If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder


          • #6
            when i say "heckling", it's all in jest. I don't know if you've ever done any bike races. When i first watched one, i thought it was kinda mean to yell "go" and "get up there" and all that to the racers - it looked like they were suffering so bad. Once i did a race, i realized that when you're suffering like that, it's actually kinda nice to hear a voice acknowledging your endeavors! It's not negative. In our little circle here, we just call it 'heckling' but we mean 'cheering'.

            anyway -- i did remember that depending on the type of race (div1 or div2) there might be 2 women's classes, an "A" or a "B". A is supposed to be for the pro/elite/ridiculously fast and B for everyone else. However, it all just depends on who shows up.

            I haven't done any "real" cx races in a long time b/c they are usu a long haul to to get to. However, in Sept & Oct, we have casual weekly mass start cx races in town, which are pretty much just offroad short track (i'm gonna do them on my mtb). The mass starts are way more fun!

            and don't worry about "all flash & no dash" - that's pretty much most cyclists that i know! My bike is way better than i am!

            that's awesome you found some races - def a good idea to have a weekend at it. I hope you have fun. I think you will. Let me know how it goes!


            • #7
              CX rocks! The traditional cross season is Fall/early winter and is a great way to extend your bike fitness into the offseason. Usually shorter in duration it is the road bike version of short track racing complete with barricades, obstacles and mud(if you are lucky).

              Because it is usually set up to race on a loop(or some variation) it is spectator friendly as you end up with cyclists all over the course as the race progresses. Fast, fun and furious it is great to watch. Hereabouts we have a cross series followed by the Provincials and numbers are growing each year as popularity of cross racing is having a rennaissance.

              Cross bikes are so versatile...I am trying to figure out how to purchase one without my spouse noticing(wink) another bike in the basement. You can use them for cross, commuting, road cycling, dirt roads and groomed trail. Good choice. Definitely try a CX race. We usually have mass starts with all contestants on the course at the same time - the faster riders have to contend with the slower which adds another element to the race. I raced it last season on my hardtail MTB and it was a maxed out, red lined, crazy fun time. Here are some pics to stoke your competitive fire........ good luck and good crossing!

              Rolf Devinci Cycling: Anatomy Of A Cyclocross Corner


              • #8
                Just updating to add that I now have my awesome new Merida Cyclocross bike and it is BRILLIANT. OMG so, so fast! So easy to ride! I love it to pieces. I'm grumpy thisafternoon because I haven't been out on it today. It totally rocks. Gear changes are so smooth. Easy to pedal. Did I say fast? really, really fast. Light. The brakes on the top of the headset are great, allows me to change position a lot more for comfort on the road. And it looks gorgeous.
                If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder


                • #9
                  How weird...I just read about cx on a tri shop website last night, while looking for a wetsuit for an open water swim I'm doing next month, and thought it sounded like fun and then came on here and saw this post this morning! Am going to look into it more now. Am also planning to get a new bike soon so will have a look at cross bikes.
                  Finally uncovering the real me!

                  My 'Serious Six' journal.


                  • #10
                    as a lifelong cyclist: road and mountain biking, part of me doesn't quite get cyclocross. I like doing one or the other!

                    I am trying to figure out how to purchase one without my spouse noticing(wink) another bike
                    exactly! I suppose that given the chance I would give it a crack, I have never seen it though in Japan.
                    Fear of the unknown...They are afraid of new ideas. they are loaded with prejudices, not based upon anything in reality, but based on… if something is new, I reject it immediately because it’s frightening to me. What they do instead is just stay with the familiar.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rolfdevinci View Post
                      Here are some pics to stoke your competitive fire........ good luck and good crossing!

                      Rolf Devinci Cycling: Anatomy Of A Cyclocross Corner
                      awesome, thanks for the link! I'd missed them last time posting from my tiny netbook.

                      It looks like brilliant fun... I'm going to have to deal with getting my baby dirty (gets dusted off after each ride and lives in our bedroom... hubby's bike stays out on the back porch, ha ha!)

                      ah yes, the perennial gearfreak problem... I'm really lucky, I'd have been just drooling over pictures of pretty road bikes for months - this one blew the budget out of the water - but he somewhat pushed me to get it, since I'm really prioritizing health and fitness.

                      @ Valarauko it's not like downhill mounain biking though... I don't know how much a 'good' mtb weighs but mine is SO heavy, I wouldn't want to carry it that's for sure.

                      I couldn't be happier with the CX bike. It has the beautiful handling, lightness and looks of the road bike, with the higher clearances and extra brakes that let me take it off road - I'm buying a set of road tyres for it too. The newer model has disk brakes which avoid some issues with dirt but also are heavier I think. I think it's a slightly shorter frame, which can be an issue for some people - sometimes with the toe overlapping the front tyre (maybe if you have big feet and short legs, ha ha!).

                      When I've been riding for longer it might be interesting to try out a road bike and see how they compare. At the moment I'm not experienced or fast enough to tell the difference.

                      If anyone knows any friendly cycling forums (CX or road or 'fans of the pros') lemme know.

                      I'm going through that obsessive phase where you eat, sleep, breathe your new hobby....
                      If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder


                      • #12
                        A new CX bike......awesome. Switching out slicks on it will make it a little more smoother on the pavement if changing tires isn't a big deal for you. Generally the difference between a road bike and CX bike other than tires and brakes is frame geometry. Road(racing) bikes tend to have more of an aggressive stance(with tri/time trial bikes being the pinnacle of that design) though that is even changing. Most manufacturers also produce road bikes with a more relaxed geometry as well. Most of the big brands(Trek, Giant etc) also have women specific bikes designed for the ladies. No longer do you have to try and fit a man's bike.

                        Have fun on the new bike!


                        • #13
                          aaarrghhh re women's specific bikes - please please please do not think that just b/c you have or once had a uterus that you must ride a women's specific design (WSD). The frames are adjusted to fit a longer-legged, shorter torso'd human. This could be a male or female. For myself, i am a female and i happen to have shorter legs / longer torso, so WSD completely doesn't work for me, even tho i always find myself looking at the stuff b/c usually it's all pink n pretty n girly. But it doesn't fit me. Go to a bikeshop if you have any questions about fitting and they will be happy to help you out.

                          i just did my first cx practice of the year. We had a short practice loop and barriers, and a run up. I am sore in unexpected places! But i didn't trip on any barriers, yay!


                          • #14
                            The CX is unisex, I think it is actually a shorter wheelbase than a road bike for better maneuverability. I've got long legs and not the longest torso but also long arms I think so... I don't know... if i ever buy a road bike I'll try both I guess. The pink and girly stuff annoys the bejeebus out of me, the saddle I want has a pink logo on it and my bike is white with red and black. The pink just doesn't go. I hate pink anyway.

                            gratz on the practice! Sounds cool. I have a bruised hip from my pedal, carrying.... gonna have to check out some tutorials on proper technique.
                            Last edited by geekgrrl; 08-27-2011, 04:59 AM.
                            If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder


                            • #15
                              I too am looking to start doing this. Lot's of it here in the Pacific Northwest...Looks a blast, and as I am a roadie, will be a nice change of pace for the winters up here:-)
                              Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!