Author Topic: Newbie Cyclocross  (Read 4538 times)

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Newbie Cyclocross
« on: August 18, 2009, 07:14:44 pm »
Anyone raced cross and care to offer newbie tips?

Are fixies allowed?   :demon:
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

border-rider

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 07:17:41 pm »
SS must be cos i've got a SS crosser

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2009, 08:27:41 pm »
Fixed 'cross? it was good enough for Eugene Christophe

http://www.blackbirdsf.org/cx/christopheoncx.html

Never tried cross on a singlespeed but some riders do. Practice mounting and dismounting a lot, on singlespeed you will probably need to do it more often. Drop the saddle a bit if it makes it easier. Getting the transitions nailed is an easy way of gaining an advantage on the technical sections.

If it's muddy, especially with leaves mixed in, gears often stop working anyway so the mechanical simplicity of singlespeed is probably a bonus. If there are tarmac sections, or if it's dry and there's hard-packed mud, you'll be at a disadvantage but mud evens things out some.

Go like the clappers at the start and try and move up a few positions before the course narrows.

It's pretty friendly and inclusive, much less intimidating than lining up for a road race, or even a TT. But it is intense. Really very hard.

Do a bit of running beforehand if you don't already.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2009, 08:30:21 pm »
Got a race lined up?

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2009, 09:12:49 pm »
I was looking at the 2009 SW calendar and there's a couple in September nearby.  Budleigh on the 26th is likely.

Top Christophe link!  I shall take it to heart...
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

gonzo

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2009, 11:22:29 am »
Only one race in my name. Tips are as follows:
- When passing, yell; "on your left/right"
- The first lap, you'll be fighting for a starting place. After that, cool your pace off for a while; the race is not unlike a TT in terms of what you're asking your body to do
- Get the hang of mounting and dismounting your bike. Even if you can't do a running mount, make sure that you can pull off a running dismount of some level.



Here's what I wrote about my first race:
I'm not usually the off-road type; I used to be scared of gravel on tarmacked corners. This was different however; it was a race on my farm that I designed. A once in a lifetime opportunity if you will. Plus of course, I had showers a 5 minute ride from the start which would be the most valuable thing of all!

In the past, riders had complained that the course wasn't very technical. I took that as a challenge! This year the course was full of drops into dry ponds (lots of loose topsoil), bumpy windy tracks through woods and the piece de resistance: a climb up the side of a ditch followed by 100meters of boggy mud.

When watching the youngest riders, I must admit that I was somewhat worried that they just weren't coated enough in mud and that perhaps I should have added in some really muddy sections for them. Perhaps next year I thought.

Then the warm-up laps.

This was tame thought I; I'm riding alongside the club off-road champ without any issues. Hell, I'd go as far as to say it's easy. It was about this time that I thought that I might not place too badly. About this time I began to formulate a plan; start at the back, ride hard see how far forwards you can get.

Next the sharp sound of a whistle in the distance and everyone made for the start.

Fast guys to the front, me to the back next to the girl with a mechanical issue and the guy on the mountain bike with a BMX helmet.

Then the whistle. Waiting to move. And we're off. Slowing down to a track stand on the first corner as everyone goes through single file. Back up to speed. "On your left" as I undertake. "On your right"; I'm overtaking this time. I get two in the next overtake. Brakebrakebrake, sharp right. Jump off. Jump log. Hop back on. Jump off for the ditch. Run through the mud. I'm on foot still, overtaking bikes fishtailing through the mud. Curse as I slowly get back on the bike and lose several places. "On your left" - there go another 5 riders. Club mates in the distance. allezALLEZallez. "On your left" and they're behind. Easy gear. U turn. Grind up slope. Shift into big ring. Fly down long drag. Team mates long gone now. Argh. loose apples. Into the woods. Tight left. Tight right. Back wheel's got a mind of it's own. Out of the woods. Slow through 5 hairpins. Too slow. Club mates are back. Blast past the finish line to start another lap. Only another 52 minutes to go!

As the clock ticks down my energy levels go with it. "On your right"; people who I overtook are now overtaking me. "On your left". "Which side's left?" He overheard me and gave me a casual tap on the left. The corners that you could once speed through are now only possible at ultra-low speed and your back end still kicks out. 5 times the bike fell on the ground. Somehow I managed to avoid hitting the dirt at all. One of my team mates wasn't so lucky when he hit my bike on the floor. The 5 hairpins gradually become 4 as posts are knocked over. As I headed into the wood on lap 7, I begin to see static as my vision becomes cloudy. There are now only 3 hairpins! In the distance there's a chequered flag waving. "Is it over?" "It is over." "IT'S OVER!".

Cyclocross - if you ever feel that you're not quite dirty enough and that you like pain in hour long sessions, it's the sport for you.

NB. the club champ who I rode easily with at the start; the only time I saw him was when he lapped me 5 laps in!

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 05:57:22 pm »
Last season was my first.
I found these useful- I was just clearing out some old bookmarks and there they were.

The first one helped me to figure out where my feet needed to go when jumping off. I expect most cyclists can do a rolling dismount anyway, but I couldn't before practicing a fair bit in the park.

http://www.cyclocrossvideos.com/cx/misc/1999_dismount_slow_motion.html

I found this useful for remounting. I'm still a bit rubbish (can't do it when on the downhill side of the bike on a camber). There's a whole series of these little videos.

http://bikehugger.com/2008/09/huggacast-56-cross-tips-1.html

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2009, 05:28:18 pm »
What pedals to use?
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Zoidburg

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2009, 05:29:55 pm »
SPD platforms.

gonzo

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2009, 05:30:07 pm »
SPD

Zoidburg

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2009, 05:33:35 pm »
Muddy, lots of mounts and dismounts.

You will loose time if you run just SPD, I would chose a double sided with a platform around it.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 08:46:55 pm »
I use SPDs- M540s, they work pretty well. Time Atacs are popular for cross and apparently work well in muddy conditions.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2009, 03:43:34 pm »
For some of the cross-specific kit such as tyres these people are pretty good (they also know about cross and are helpful)

zepnat - Home

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2009, 03:59:43 pm »
Time Atacs are popular for cross and apparently work well in muddy conditions.

Eeexcellent...

For some of the cross-specific kit such as tyres these people are pretty good (they also know about cross and are helpful)  zepnat - Home

Wow, Cross TUBS?   :o

It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2009, 04:11:19 pm »
I was looking at the 2009 SW calendar and there's a couple in September nearby.  Budleigh on the 26th is likely.

Top Christophe link!  I shall take it to heart...

I think you'll find Budliegh is the National Championships. It's not as if you wouldn't be welcome to ride but the field will be smaller and very good. You'll also have a lot more expectation to get out of the way when being lapped. Whilst the top riders take the local league events pretty amiably, they can be quite serious about the nationals. The course is likely to be a bit harder as well. It certainly wasn't a walk in the park last year.

gonzo

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2009, 04:31:03 pm »
Wow, Cross TUBS?   :o

I'm guessing you've not heard of Dugast tubs then...or seen their price!

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2009, 11:22:37 pm »
Wow, Cross TUBS?   :o

I'm guessing you've not heard of Dugast tubs then...or seen their price!

They are the real deals !!! Dugasts are superb  - (Use them on my track bike - Dugast track tubs I mean of course)

Most of the top cross riders use Dugasts or FMBs (which I understand is a company set up by an ex-Dugast chap) They are often "unbranded or "rebranded" by team mechanics.

Dugast

- FMB -

Nonsteeler

  • If nothing goes wrong, I go wrong.
    • Elsewhere
Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2009, 10:19:11 am »
I am very intrigued by the idea of a fixed cyclo cross. Mainly because I have a fixed cyclo cross bike. The reason for that is mainly lack of money for a decent MTB or a 'real' CX-bike. After all, I only needed a new fork, new tyres and min-Vees to convert my road fixie to CX-fixie. Thanks to the vertical dropouts and a longer chain, I have decent clearance for knobbly tyres...

So far I have been only solo riding in the mud but maybe I should try a proper CX-event? Something from the SW Cyclo-Cross league? The one in Ashburton (2009 SW Cyclo-Cross Calendar (South West Cyclo-Cross)) isn't too far away from home... But is this a good idea with a fixie?

And anyway, does anyone have any tips how to unmount/remount quickly on a fixie-CX bike? What is a good strategy the to tackle this? Any tried and tested training regimes?
Sadly, melancholy doesn't pay my rent.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2009, 10:27:59 am »
Moving mounts and dismounts on a fixed cyclocross sound right "interesting" if not rather dangerous.

Nic

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2009, 11:28:35 am »
I'm up to "bollockulate" for mounting, and "fall off in gorse" for dismounting, if that helps. ;D

It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Nonsteeler

  • If nothing goes wrong, I go wrong.
    • Elsewhere
Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2009, 12:39:55 pm »
All my attempts  of mounting/dismounting on the fly took place on flat terrain so far, normally around a kissing gate (ehm jeahp, I am riding for time to time on public footpaths, I know must not do this).

Dismounting: I unclip my right foot, then put all the pressure on left leg which is forced up down for one round or so until I hop off while using the front brake (there is no rear brake).

Mounting works like this: I run couple of metres with the bike then jump on the saddle. After that I 'just' need to catch the pedals and clip in again. Sometimes this works very well, sometimes it takes a while to reclip...

Is this what you call:
"bollockulate" for mounting, and "fall off in gorse" for dismounting

Esp. dismounting isn't that swift. Maybe it makes more sense to unclip completely, brake and then jump off the bike?

Normal mounting: Brake until almost a complete stop, unclip, complete stop while the frame is between my legs.  Mounting: Frame between the leg, put the pedals in a horizontal position, clip-in right foot, lift bum over the saddle, catch the left pedal.
Sadly, melancholy doesn't pay my rent.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2009, 07:33:40 pm »
Hmmm.

My commute bike is basically a fixed crosser. I haven't attempted a rolling dismount or remount on that.

I reckon mounting should be pretty similar, land on the thigh, slide into saddle keeping feet back away from pedals, brief glance down and find pedals with feet.

I think it'd take me a while to get up the confidence to go for a dismount, I'm tempted to give it a go sometime soon (on a nice bit of soft grass) if only because it'll look the bollocks when I roll up at the bike stand at work.

Don't think i'd like to try racing fixed but I'll be going along to this (on my geared crosser)

http://www.rollapaluza.com/?page_id=326

I've entered the fixed /SS / unlicensed riders category so I'll get a chance to see how fixed riders do 'cross.

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2009, 07:44:32 pm »
Incidently- someone over at Cyclechat pointed these videos out to me. I found this one useful, I've started to include some of this stuff into my 'cross practice sessions.

This is part 3, which I found the most useful- I like the way the remount is explained.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/s2mQJkllTKM&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/s2mQJkllTKM&rel=1</a>

The end of part two shows the typical 'cross dismount.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Xg1fYHQmbJM&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/Xg1fYHQmbJM&rel=1</a>

gonzo

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2009, 10:51:53 am »
I found the getting off was the easy bit! You can practice that without any leaps of faith and even practice in increments.

The main thing you need to be able to do is to stay in a straight line with only 3 points of contact (two hands and one foot clipped in). Ride up to cruising speed a couple of times, unclip and only contact the bike at those 3 points. Now try leaning the bike slightly away from the leg that's still clipped in whilst keeping in a straight line. This is the trickiest bit which can be practised at any time on any bike (even a road bike) as you're not actually going to put a foot down.

For the next step, get to normal speed, unclip one foot, rest all your weight on the other pedal and just practice putting the unclipped leg horizontally backwards. Now you just need to move it a little further over the saddle. Once you've got that, dangle it next to the leg that's still clipped in. Do this several times until you're comfortable with it. NB. if you start at a sensible speed, you'll easily be able to go from the dismount position to fully clipped in again without touching the ground.

Something to bear in mind here; if something does go wrong and you crash, you aren't actually wrapped around the frame like when you normally ride a bike so if you crash, the bike goes down, but you stay up (I speak from multiple lots of experience).

Next step: getting off. Get to the new position you've mastered with one leg dangling next to the other. Put the unclipped foot on the outside. Wait until you freewheel to a near stop then simply put the un-clipped foot down. You've just done a proper dismount! This is the standard dismount for steep hills. The variation is to jump off the clipped in pedal before touching the ground.

Final step; running dismount. This time, instead of dangling your foot outside your clipped in leg, put the unclipped foot between frame and leg. Again, roll to a low speed then just step out of the bike from this position so you get the hang of the move. Now try doing it at progressively higher speeds. Before you get carried away, remember that the limiting factor in a running dismount is how fast you can run!

NB. You might want to un-clip the foot in contact with the pedal before the first foot touches the ground; you can imagine what goes wrong when one foot's on the ground and one's attached to the bike!

Re: Newbie Cyclocross
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2009, 01:05:12 pm »
I found the getting off was the easy bit!

Me too. It's the getting back on that takes practice. I can do a passable remount on nice flat grass, once I'm under pressure in a race (those heckles can be cutting) or on the wrong side of a camber or facing downhill or when I'm getting tired it becomes less reliable. I'm working on it.