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Non obvious cross racing advice

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Non obvious cross racing advice

Old 10-16-18, 12:59 AM
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Teamprovicycle
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Non obvious cross racing advice

in 5 sentences or less plz give me some very non obvious cross racing advice to get better ...thnkx...
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Old 10-16-18, 01:48 PM
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Maximize your pre-ride time. Get at least two, preferably 3 or 4 laps in. Have a plan for each section of the course. For me this usually amounts to pre-planning my dismounts for sections I know I can't reliably ride and will have to run. For less technical courses, it amounts to line selection.
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Old 10-16-18, 02:51 PM
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Kill yourself on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
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Old 10-16-18, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
Kill yourself on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
x2
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Old 10-16-18, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
Kill yourself on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
I told someone what I've done for training before, and they said "I didn't think anyone could hate themselves that much"

Other advice, somewhat ironically, think happy thoughts. Positive self talk during a race is important.
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Old 10-19-18, 01:52 PM
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I'm no expert at all....so take this with a grain of salt. I tried my first race last year to get my feet wet, and have done every race so far in the Chicago series this year.

In order of things I've identified as issues, and worked to get better at so far...

1) Starts. I was too tentative. I was/am faster than a pretty decent portion of the cat 4/5 field...but I was a bit of a ***** during the bunch sprint at the start, and let off the gas, and let people go by me, thinking I could just pass them later. WRONG move. Any ounce of energy you have will be more efficiently expended at the beginning, when you can actually get past people. Passing people later is HARD.

2) Tire pressure. As low as possible. But not so low you're getting pinch flats or folding over the tire during corners. For me, on clinchers at 190lbs, seems to be mid 30s psi. I was folding the tire on nearly every corner at 30 psi.

3) Cleats if it's wet and hilly. I had my commuter flat soled SPD shoes during our first muddy race...and it was "interesting."

4) Energy management. Figured this one out the last race. Don't blow yourself up just to pass someone. I got too aggressive about once per lap when I was feeling good. I'd pass someone, then really hit the gas and go for a second pass, only to slam on the brakes before the next corner. Then I'd be gassed, have 1 of the 2 pass me again, and spend half a lap trying to get my heartrate under control again. The plan this next race is to race steady, then if I have some extra, put it down during the straightaways or climbs, and try to pass/gap there, where momentum I create isn't going to be wasted in future braking.

5) Ongoing....I need to get comfortable testing the limits of traction. Some places I think I've about got it...hard 90 degree corners. I haven't overcome my lack of confidence on fast, sweeping turns though. I'm SURE I can push it faster.
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Old 10-24-18, 11:37 AM
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Get there early.
Follow someone who looks far more experienced through some 180 degree turns and see how it's really done.
Sometimes, putting a foot out as an outrigger is a good idea. Most of the time, it is unnecessary and the time spent getting back in your pedal isn't worth it.
Practice your starts. It is incredible how many lower category riders still aren't clipped in 3-4 seconds after the whistle.
Tire pressure. Figure out what you can get away with. It probably won't be the same front and rear.
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Old 10-26-18, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
4) Energy management. Figured this one out the last race. Don't blow yourself up just to pass someone. I got too aggressive about once per lap when I was feeling good. I'd pass someone, then really hit the gas and go for a second pass, only to slam on the brakes before the next corner. Then I'd be gassed, have 1 of the 2 pass me again, and spend half a lap trying to get my heartrate under control again. The plan this next race is to race steady, then if I have some extra, put it down during the straightaways or climbs, and try to pass/gap there, where momentum I create isn't going to be wasted in future braking.
I strap a heart rate monitor (with alarm) on my handlebars. I know if I go over my threshold, I'm going to pay for it later so it better be worth it. And it reminds me that when I do peg it I need to give my self some recovery time (although I its not really recovery in a race). I hear ya - its hard to make that strong effort, then realize I don't have enough in the tank to hang on at speed after that.
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Old 10-26-18, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I strap a heart rate monitor (with alarm) on my handlebars. I know if I go over my threshold, I'm going to pay for it later so it better be worth it. And it reminds me that when I do peg it I need to give my self some recovery time (although I its not really recovery in a race). I hear ya - its hard to make that strong effort, then realize I don't have enough in the tank to hang on at speed after that.
Yea. I think I handled it much better this past race. There were two pretty long straight sections. I managed energy pretty conservatively through the course, then at each straight section I'd hammer long enough to sit on the wheel of the next guy in front of me and have him tow me the rest of the way lol. Had just enough energy left at the end to sprint at the finish and catch someone from ~100' back.

Finished 49/105 after getting staged 70th. Quite happy.
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Old 10-26-18, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 50voltphantom View Post
Get there early.
Follow someone who looks far more experienced through some 180 degree turns and see how it's really done.
Sometimes, putting a foot out as an outrigger is a good idea. Most of the time, it is unnecessary and the time spent getting back in your pedal isn't worth it.
Practice your starts. It is incredible how many lower category riders still aren't clipped in 3-4 seconds after the whistle.
Tire pressure. Figure out what you can get away with. It probably won't be the same front and rear.
This.
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Old 10-26-18, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
This.
I am not fast, but I've been at the front at the first turn more than once just because I clipped in on the first try.
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Old 10-29-18, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
Kill yourself on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
3 days + 1 or 2 days racing on the weekends would equal to 5 days of intensity? That would be way too much. Limiting yourself to 3 days of intensity during the race season would be much more prudent with a skill day and 1/2 active recovery days
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Old 10-30-18, 08:30 PM
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I train everyday and i hate to miss a day , i like to stay around 250 plus miles a week not counting commute , ill usualy ride back home from my races im not doing an extra amount of racing just doing it to do it , not many road races in my area lots of cx . my bike is not so great but i can finish like 60s out of 100 there is usually 100 guys in the field if not more . lots of chaos at the starts lol . i dont like the mud at all i cant even ride through it , i just run it .
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Old 10-31-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
I train everyday and i hate to miss a day , i like to stay around 250 plus miles a week not counting commute , ill usualy ride back home from my races im not doing an extra amount of racing just doing it to do it , not many road races in my area lots of cx . my bike is not so great but i can finish like 60s out of 100 there is usually 100 guys in the field if not more . lots of chaos at the starts lol . i dont like the mud at all i cant even ride through it , i just run it .
what do you mean you "train" every day? If most of those rides are easy <Z2 rides then this would work, if you are riding "hard" 7 days a week you are probably limiting yourself by not being able to go really hard on a limited number of days.
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Old 11-05-18, 08:16 AM
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I spose all my stuff will be obvious...

I've done a couple dozen CX races now. I guess I'm getting faster. I keep moving up groups. Our Mich fields are like 30-50 in size. My goal is to be among the most riders. I don't care if I move back as I move up if I'm getting more awesome competition. I love love love battling -- passing back n forth. So now I'm an old man in the middle of the 3's. I found the old man field wasn't big enough.

I used to find myself going under but not anymore. Don't know why. I think I've figured out how to go max the whole time. I don't ever back off and so I don't think I ever get the idea to go harder than I should. When you red-line the whole time it might be harder to over-red-line. Maybe I'm just less fit...

I try to practice like a half hour a day. I prolly ride 50 miles a week. If I do a better summer road season w a couple fast club rides per week then I'd be monster for cross.

Practice with riders who are better than you. Hopefully the practice course is good and like a race course so you can short cut it when you get dropped and catch on elsewhere. Try to hang w good riders for ANY amount of time, then work on extending that.

Getting to know a course from pre-riding is impt. But being able to do a race-pace effort in a pre-ride really lets you know what features will be like. And it's kinda hard to go that hard until the race. But try to do it. Also it's hard to get in a rhythm during a pre-ride -- you'll want to go easy on the straights so you can hit the features at race-pace. Yet you don't want to use-up your strength. So save race-pace for education and for just getting to the perfectly ready state. I really want a warm-up to get me to race-ready -- meaning I want to be sweated and hot like I'm in the middle of a race when my race starts. That's a good way to have a fast start. This explains all the rollers! You only want to go fast on the course in a pre-ride to learn what to do. You can get the body ready on rollers. So the pre-riding has 3 purposes: learn the facts of the course, learn the race-pace lines, get you hot.

Keep your weight ON your front wheel. Bent elbows and in the drops helps. Then you can corner.

Good tires, proper treads, soft when it's bumpy or offcamber. I glean for tires. So now I have an awesome set of filetreads! When it's dry hardpack grassy I only use those. Much faster. Free places!

Ideally you should always move up on people during features, corners -- esp if you're midpack. If ppl are gapping you then, you're prolly making glaring mistakes.

NO MECHANICALS!!! Make sure every part of your system is solid and dialed WAY before a race. Clothes, shoes, cleats, pedals, everything! No excuses about wrong shoes for conditions. NO EXCUSES! Be prepared! I had a great race, was doing so awesome, gonna podium, then my feet started freezing solid. I screwed up my shoes! It was snowy, raining, muddy -- PERFECT! But I only used a baggie over each sock. I shoulda added toe-warmer-packs and overbooties. Also SPDs will clog and spoil your race -- know your gear! I just switched to Eggbeaters finally -- 2 good races lost to SPDs. No more! (I hear that Candies are the better Eggs.) I also just was having a great race -- but dropped my chain TWICE. I think my chain is too long. I will check soon and adjust to prevent such idiocy. ...Don't get any flats or pinchflats or roll any tires! I've ruined at least 2 races due to rolled tires -- dummy!

I often like doing TWO RACES in a day -- now that's a way to learn a course. Of course the course changes. But you'll learn. I get frustrated when at some point I'm really chasing, etc., and go thru a corner faster than usual and it works fine -- that tells me I've been going way too slow all the other times. At least from then on I know that faster is fine. The sooner you learn the top speed you can do in a corner, the better! It's good to push it until you slide in a way that line and body position can't repair -- that's the limit.

It's probably smart to get a license and do what it takes for points to register, and to register for races on the first day you can -- to get the best starting position you can. This really matters. I've mostly screwed up in this regard. I only do 5 races tops, that's $50 in day-of fees. $70 for license? It's worth an extra $20 for the seeding. Registering early is a free way to move up. ...But I always get a bad cold at some point that nukes a few races unpredictably. UGH.

How about: try not to get sick! ...Everybody is different but start w all the basics: don't go to any little kid birthday parties in the later summer or fall. Ha! Just be careful. Also find your special tricks.

Last edited by JeffOYB; 11-05-18 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 01-15-19, 12:07 PM
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I will, thanks!
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Old 06-25-19, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
I spose all my stuff will be obvious...

I've done a couple dozen CX races now. I guess I'm getting faster. I keep moving up groups. Our Mich fields are like 30-50 in size. My goal is to be among the most riders. I don't care if I move back as I move up if I'm getting more awesome competition. I love love love battling -- passing back n forth. So now I'm an old man in the middle of the 3's. I found the old man field wasn't big enough.

I used to find myself going under but not anymore. Don't know why. I think I've figured out how to go max the whole time. I don't ever back off and so I don't think I ever get the idea to go harder than I should. When you red-line the whole time it might be harder to over-red-line. Maybe I'm just less fit...

I try to practice like a half hour a day. I prolly ride 50 miles a week. If I do a better summer road season w a couple fast club rides per week then I'd be monster for cross.

Practice with riders who are better than you. Hopefully the practice course is good and like a race course so you can short cut it when you get dropped and catch on elsewhere. Try to hang w good riders for ANY amount of time, then work on extending that.

Getting to know a course from pre-riding is impt. But being able to do a race-pace effort in a pre-ride really lets you know what features will be like. And it's kinda hard to go that hard until the race. But try to do it. Also it's hard to get in a rhythm during a pre-ride -- you'll want to go easy on the straights so you can hit the features at race-pace. Yet you don't want to use-up your strength. So save race-pace for education and for just getting to the perfectly ready state. I really want a warm-up to get me to race-ready -- meaning I want to be sweated and hot like I'm in the middle of a race when my race starts. That's a good way to have a fast start. This explains all the rollers! You only want to go fast on the course in a pre-ride to learn what to do. You can get the body ready on rollers. So the pre-riding has 3 purposes: learn the facts of the course, learn the race-pace lines, get you hot.

Keep your weight ON your front wheel. Bent elbows and in the drops helps. Then you can corner.

Good tires, proper treads, soft when it's bumpy or offcamber. I glean for tires. So now I have an awesome set of filetreads! When it's dry hardpack grassy I only use those. Much faster. Free places!

Ideally you should always move up on people during features, corners -- esp if you're midpack. If ppl are gapping you then, you're prolly making glaring mistakes.

NO MECHANICALS!!! Make sure every part of your system is solid and dialed WAY before a race. Clothes, shoes, cleats, pedals, everything! No excuses about wrong shoes for conditions. NO EXCUSES! Be prepared! I had a great race, was doing so awesome, gonna podium, then my feet started freezing solid. I screwed up my shoes! It was snowy, raining, muddy -- PERFECT! But I only used a baggie over each sock. I shoulda added toe-warmer-packs and overbooties. Also SPDs will clog and spoil your race -- know your gear! I just switched to Eggbeaters finally -- 2 good races lost to SPDs. No more! (I hear that Candies are the better Eggs.) I also just was having a great race -- but dropped my chain TWICE. I think my chain is too long. I will check soon and adjust to prevent such idiocy. ...Don't get any flats or pinchflats or roll any tires! I've ruined at least 2 races due to rolled tires -- dummy!

I often like doing TWO RACES in a day -- now that's a way to learn a course. Of course the course changes. But you'll learn. I get frustrated when at some point I'm really chasing, etc., and go thru a corner faster than usual and it works fine -- that tells me I've been going way too slow all the other times. At least from then on I know that faster is fine. The sooner you learn the top speed you can do in a corner, the better! It's good to push it until you slide in a way that line and body position can't repair -- that's the limit.

It's probably smart to get a license and do what it takes for points to register, and to register for races on the first day you can -- to get the best starting position you can. This really matters. I've mostly screwed up in this regard. I only do 5 races tops, that's $50 in day-of fees. $70 for license? It's worth an extra $20 for the seeding. Registering early is a free way to move up. ...But I always get a bad cold at some point that nukes a few races unpredictably. UGH.

How about: try not to get sick! ...Everybody is different but start w all the basics: don't go to any little kid birthday parties in the later summer or fall. Ha! Just be careful. Also find your special tricks.
5 sentences lol.
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Old 06-25-19, 12:47 PM
  #18  
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Take care of your bike.

Brake less.

Actually practice CX skills during the week (and at race pace).

The fastest way around the course varies from rider to rider based on their fitness, skillset and equipment.

Have fun.
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Old 06-27-19, 02:40 PM
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Maybe one more that I don't see a lot of people doing is keeping a race diary:
  • Conditions (weather and course)
  • Personal
    • How do you feel?
    • What was pre-race ritual?
  • Equipment, mainly
    • Tire choice
    • Tire pressure
    • if SSCX then record gear ratio
  • Race notes
    • What did you do well?
    • What did you suck at?
  • Performance
    • Power / NP Power
    • Avg HR
    • Other?
  • Final lesson learned
    • What is main point I want to recall for next year?
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Old 07-05-19, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by tpower View Post
Take care of your bike.

Brake less.

Actually practice CX skills during the week (and at race pace).

The fastest way around the course varies from rider to rider based on their fitness, skillset and equipment.

Have fun.
The bolded bits there are pretty much my gameplan for cross once September starts, which will be about 3 weeks before the beginning of the local series races.

I'm a 10minute ride from forest preserve park that get used annually for one of the races. I'm going to try and get a weekly hour long workout in there practicing cornering, and powering up the short hill.
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Old 07-07-19, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
in 5 sentences or less plz give me some very non obvious cross racing advice to get better ...thnkx...
Momentum. Find a local hot laps ride if possible. Learning how to carry momentum into a turn and learning to pedal out of one makes a huge difference. If you follow someone who knows what they are doing you'll be shocked how fast they can open up 5-10 yards on you each and every turn.
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Old 07-11-19, 07:56 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
what do you mean you "train" every day? If most of those rides are easy <Z2 rides then this would work, if you are riding "hard" 7 days a week you are probably limiting yourself by not being able to go really hard on a limited number of days.
Some people have a neurotic need to go hard everyday.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:25 AM
  #23  
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Masters, old farts, and busy career ppl with short time need a different approach to training. ...My impression is it tends to mean that typical workouts are harder than for younger riders or those with more time.

I've read all the books and most of the info out there. Too bad I don't retain it very well, but I do still have an impression of what is suggested for older, short-time riders.

Workouts should be varied. Not the same kind of hard every day. But my impression is that one easy day a week is enough for the easy part. Two or 3 easy days when you're old.

When you only have a half hour or hour to cover the weekly needs for a race and for speed, intervals, power, skills, strength, endurance, it means that you ARE going pretty hard in some respect for your other 3-5 weekly outings.

Whattayathink? Is that about right?

Last edited by JeffOYB; 07-11-19 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 07-12-19, 11:07 AM
  #24  
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He asked for advice, and learning how CTL, ATL, TSB and specificity work would behoove someone if it drives them crazy to not ride every single day.

Cross is a shorter more intense event. I don't race it, but it's 30 to 45min until you're up there in class. So, I'd have already built up whatever aerobic engine you want to have in the months before your "season". Be it cross or crit.

Then, intensity and the skills the knowledgeable people above have talked about should be the name of the game.

You have to gain some "form" to be able to nail the higher intensity stuff. That means NOT riding every single day and doing so to the tune of 250mi a week without commuting counting.

If you MUST ride everyday, you need to seriously keep it Z1 or super super low Z2 on days you don't have gut buster workouts. And don't get tempted to spend some efforts up a hill either, little ring. Rest. Blow the energy on the hard workouts.
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Old 07-12-19, 04:51 PM
  #25  
redlude97
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Originally Posted by CyclingFever View Post
Some people have a neurotic need to go hard everyday.
The thing is, they aren't really going hard then
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