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I'm racing this weekend, are you?

Old 09-26-19, 10:53 AM
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msu2001la
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I'm racing this weekend, are you?

I'm going to race cyclocross this coming Sunday. It'll be my first race since 2017.

I'm in my mid 40's with a young kid and a full time job, so my training time has been pretty limited this summer. I like pizza and beer, and should definitely lose 10 lbs. My legs are hairy. My bike is 6 years old, made of aluminum and equipped with cantilever rim brakes. I should probably be racing in the Cat 4/5 field, but the 4pm start time screws up my whole day so instead I'll be lining up in a 8am Masters 35+ field that will be packed with super fast and fit racers with tons of experience and low tolerance for slow guys in generic kit riding ancient bikes and struggling to stay upright.

I did a bunch of solo road riding this summer, but have only done a few training rides off-road. I haven't practiced barriers or remounts in a few years. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow...

Also, it's supposed to rain for the next 3 days.

This will be fun... right?
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Old 09-26-19, 02:53 PM
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Yes. DFL>DNF>>>>DNS.
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Old 09-30-19, 09:14 AM
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You would fit right in.

How did it go, anyway???
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Old 09-30-19, 09:31 AM
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You're in the right place.
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Old 09-30-19, 10:05 AM
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Whoo boy was that crazy. We got like 4 inches of rain and it was an absolute mud fest. A ton of fun and I'm glad I showed up and raced.

I was staged 39th and managed to finish 35th in a field of 48. So, I'll take that as a win. In the more technical muddy sections I felt like I did really well and managed to make a few passes. I felt better than expected hopping on/off the bike without losing speed, especially on super muddy uphill sections where I was able to ride up a bit further than others before dismounting and still keep my momentum going.

I'm looking forward to doing a few more races this fall.
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Old 09-30-19, 10:10 AM
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Obligatory muddy bike photo, post race:



And a shot of the M45+ field start, which went off right after I finished:
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Old 09-30-19, 03:31 PM
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That's epic.
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Old 09-30-19, 05:08 PM
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Bold move with the white bar tape
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Old 09-30-19, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Bold move with the white bar tape
One of the better heckles I got at the end of the race was "your bike used to be white".
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Old 10-01-19, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I'm in my mid 40's with a young kid and a full time job, so my training time has been pretty limited this summer. I like pizza and beer, and should definitely lose 10 lbs. My legs are hairy. My bike is 6 years old, made of aluminum and equipped with cantilever rim brakes. I should probably be racing in the Cat 4/5 field, but the 4pm start time screws up my whole day so instead I'll be lining up in a 8am Masters 35+ field that will be packed with super fast and fit racers with tons of experience and low tolerance for slow guys in generic kit riding ancient bikes and struggling to stay upright.
^This is how it's done. When I decided to start taking cross "seriously" I purposely built a steel canti singlespeed bombproof bike because I'm nearly 40 w/ a bunch of kids, etc and don't have a lot of extra time to baby a fancy bike.
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Old 10-01-19, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 50voltphantom View Post
^This is how it's done. When I decided to start taking cross "seriously" I purposely built a steel canti singlespeed bombproof bike because I'm nearly 40 w/ a bunch of kids, etc and don't have a lot of extra time to baby a fancy bike.
I love this. I did the same. Now my kid is using that same bike: M-F it is fixed with commuting tires; S-S it's free with knobbies.
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Old 10-03-19, 01:37 PM
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Dang on the mud!
Hope the park lets you back next year. ;-)

Keep up the good work and have fun along the way!
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Old 10-14-19, 12:15 PM
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I'm 38, 2 kids, and a wife that races, and I also try and run a team, as well as full time job and typical Dad duties. Anyways, I feel you with the whole training time thing but you know what, in CX you can make so much time up by being technically sound and smooth. Half a second every corner, second on a barrier section and maybe even more by hitting good lines in technical areas. It all adds up and doesn't require any more power from you, just less brakes and good handling.

If you want an even easier bike to maintain then go with a single speed out the back.

Aluminum SSCX with canti's and tubular wheels can be pretty fast low maintenance bike and had used for like, I don't know, $600? Get an all around tread for the Tubies and then maybe another set of tubeless wheels to swap for super dry or super muddy (file tread and something like the BOS). Winning.

Way to get out there! Great pics! Cheers!
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Old 10-14-19, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Dang on the mud!
Hope the park lets you back next year. ;-)

Keep up the good work and have fun along the way!
Most promoters will re-seed for the venue. Hopefully.
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Old 10-15-19, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tpower View Post
I'm 38, 2 kids, and a wife that races, and I also try and run a team, as well as full time job and typical Dad duties. Anyways, I feel you with the whole training time thing but you know what, in CX you can make so much time up by being technically sound and smooth. Half a second every corner, second on a barrier section and maybe even more by hitting good lines in technical areas. It all adds up and doesn't require any more power from you, just less brakes and good handling.

If you want an even easier bike to maintain then go with a single speed out the back.

Aluminum SSCX with canti's and tubular wheels can be pretty fast low maintenance bike and had used for like, I don't know, $600? Get an all around tread for the Tubies and then maybe another set of tubeless wheels to swap for super dry or super muddy (file tread and something like the BOS). Winning.

Way to get out there! Great pics! Cheers!
Hey thanks! And totally agree about the technical bike handling vs. power thing. I grew up riding BMX and mountain bikes, and usually do pretty well in the more technical twisty sections.

This post makes me wonder if it's possible to convert my current bike (Cannondale CAADX) to a single speed? This would give me a great excuse to buy a new geared race bike, and start doing two races on Sundays.
I might have to do some research into this.
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Old 10-15-19, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tpower View Post
Most promoters will re-seed for the venue. Hopefully.
Funny story about this one. We've gotten a ton of rain in Chicago the last few weeks and had venues cancel on the series 3 weekends in a row. This epic mud-fest was at a backup venue at an old golf course that has been closed for a few years. We have now raced there three weekends in a row due to cancellations, and organizers have managed to set up three different courses but all of them have had at least some mud. I don't think the owners are too worried about us trashing the place because they're planning to redevelop the property regardless, so it ended up being a perfect venue for muddy CX racing.

That said, I'm hoping for some drier conditions for a few weeks. I need a break from all the cleaning!
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Old 10-15-19, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Hey thanks! And totally agree about the technical bike handling vs. power thing. I grew up riding BMX and mountain bikes, and usually do pretty well in the more technical twisty sections.

This post makes me wonder if it's possible to convert my current bike (Cannondale CAADX) to a single speed? This would give me a great excuse to buy a new geared race bike, and start doing two races on Sundays.
I might have to do some research into this.

I was a little surprised and some technical places where I gained time last weekend:

1) Old Velodrome. We entered high, and exited low. I guess most people don't know this, but you can make a velodrome track a constant downhill (at least on the half we used). I passed 2-3 people here
2) Drafting. We had a good 20mph headwind on a straighaway. Yeah, the bike speeds were only 10mph, but I drafted, got my heart rate down, then at the end of the straight passed a couple of people and was refreshed for the rest of the course. Who the heck wants to ride into a strong headwind when you can get a bike shadow.
3) runup. We had a choice between bike up or run up. The time seemed to be about the same. But during practice, I found out I could ride up the run-up. So if there was traffic, I would take the long "ride up" alternative. But as the riders spread out, I would take the shorter run up - and ride up it instead of dismounting. That gained me a couple of places each lap.
4) the rest was just watching my apex and run out to make sure I exited each tight turn right on the edge of the course. That of course and balancing momentum with kinetic energy....

Last edited by chas58; 10-15-19 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 10-15-19, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I was a little surprised and some technical places where I gained time last weekend:

1) Old Velodrome. We entered high, and exited low. I guess most people don't know this, but you can make a velodrome track a constant downhill (at least on the half we used). I passed 2-3 people here
2) Drafting. We had a good 20mph headwind on a straighaway. Yeah, the bike speeds were only 10mph, but I drafted, got my heart rate down, then at the end of the straight passed a couple of people and was refreshed for the rest of the course. Who the heck wants to ride into a strong headwind when you can get a bike shadow.
3) runup. We had a choice between bike up or run up. The time seemed to be about the same. But during practice, I found out I could ride up the run-up. So if there was traffic, I would take the long "ride up" alternative. But as the riders spread out, I would take the shorter run up - and ride up it instead of dismounting. That gained me a couple of places each lap.
4) the rest was just watching my apex and run out to make sure I exited each tight turn right on the edge of the course. That of course and balancing momentum with kinetic energy....
I'm always surprised at how many riders fail to use the whole course on tight corners. I see a lot of racers approaching 180 degree hairpins on the middle or even inside half of the track only to slam on the brakes as they hit the apex. These are often stronger riders who can accelerate hard out of the corner, but over the course of a race these little efforts add up.

I actually think riding cantis (especially when wet) is an advantage in this regard because it forces me to be smoother with braking and think ahead a bit more about how much speed I can carry into a corner, therefore finding lines that allow me to minimize braking.
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Old 10-15-19, 02:56 PM
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Personally, I'm a terrible bike handler and freely admit it. I'm really a roadie and before that a triathlete, so I"m improving every race, every lap even. But even in the C's I see guys ride away from me with better cornering. I'll be on a guy's wheel and then into a twisty part and then all of a sudden I'm 5 bike lengths back.
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Old 10-15-19, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Hey thanks! And totally agree about the technical bike handling vs. power thing. I grew up riding BMX and mountain bikes, and usually do pretty well in the more technical twisty sections.

This post makes me wonder if it's possible to convert my current bike (Cannondale CAADX) to a single speed? This would give me a great excuse to buy a new geared race bike, and start doing two races on Sundays.
I might have to do some research into this.
Its not hard, or expensive. If you don't have sliding dropouts then you can get a tensioner which is like a blank derailleur. Single speed conversion kits have these. They are like 25-50 bucks and come with a gear or two. Mostly around here people are running 2.2-2.3 ratio.

I have a Ren Ivan frameset with rocker dropouts so I just took the derailluer off, taped the cable to the seat stay, and got a new chain. I tension is via the rocker dropouts. I've got a few gear choices now but overall it would take me about 10 min to switch back. Pretty simple....

If you have PF30 then you can get an eccentric bottom bracket to tension the chain.
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Old 10-16-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I'm always surprised at how many riders fail to use the whole course on tight corners. I see a lot of racers approaching 180 degree hairpins on the middle or even inside half of the track only to slam on the brakes as they hit the apex. These are often stronger riders who can accelerate hard out of the corner, but over the course of a race these little efforts add up.

I actually think riding cantis (especially when wet) is an advantage in this regard because it forces me to be smoother with braking and think ahead a bit more about how much speed I can carry into a corner, therefore finding lines that allow me to minimize braking.
Interesting. I got that drummed into me driving a slow car fast on a race track Ė use the whole corner, donít apex late, use the full track for runout.

But then again, I think I learned to race a slow car fast, because I learned to ride a bike fast before I ever drove. Still, proper apex and runout are important for tight corners. Often, I would pick a post at the edge of the lane and just aim for that for my runout. That rather forces me to take a good line.

I did find that for sharp turns on a hill, I would rather ride high to slow down, then turn in, rather than braking (if no one was on my tail). Iíll do what I can to maintain my energy (kinetic or momentum) rather than brakingÖ

(yeah - riding canit's and slicks teaches you how to be real smooth!)

Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Personally, I'm a terrible bike handler and freely admit it. I'm really a roadie and before that a triathlete, so I"m improving every race, every lap even. But even in the C's I see guys ride away from me with better cornering. I'll be on a guy's wheel and then into a twisty part and then all of a sudden I'm 5 bike lengths back.
Good on ya for getting out there and doing it and having fun! The mountain bikers donít do great with roadie skills, and the rodies donít do great with the mountain bike skills. But its all good dirty fun.
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Old 10-16-19, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Funny story about this one. We've gotten a ton of rain in Chicago the last few weeks and had venues cancel on the series 3 weekends in a row. This epic mud-fest was at a backup venue at an old golf course that has been closed for a few years. We have now raced there three weekends in a row due to cancellations, and organizers have managed to set up three different courses but all of them have had at least some mud. I don't think the owners are too worried about us trashing the place because they're planning to redevelop the property regardless, so it ended up being a perfect venue for muddy CX racing.

That said, I'm hoping for some drier conditions for a few weeks. I need a break from all the cleaning!
Hey I was at those 3 races too!

Regarding the single speed thing - another option is to run a SRAM equipped bike. This series will let you just zip tie the shifters (because the brake lever does not move laterally) to disable the ability to shift, and jump in the single speed race. I'm considering buying a SRAM groupo just for this reason, and moving my Shimano equipment over to a road frame.

See you at Carpentersville!
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Old 10-17-19, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
Hey I was at those 3 races too!

Regarding the single speed thing - another option is to run a SRAM equipped bike. This series will let you just zip tie the shifters (because the brake lever does not move laterally) to disable the ability to shift, and jump in the single speed race. I'm considering buying a SRAM groupo just for this reason, and moving my Shimano equipment over to a road frame.

See you at Carpentersville!
Yes, I do remember reading something about zip tying the shifters. I have SRAM so maybe I'll give this a try and jump into a single speed race later this fall. The timing looks good because there is around an hour to chill and recover between the end of the M35+ race and the Single Speed start.

The CCC series is really awesome and I think we're spoiled to have such great racing every weekend. I look forward to the insanity at Montrose Beach every season, and even years I didn't race I'd still come out and spectate for that one.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Yes, I do remember reading something about zip tying the shifters. I have SRAM so maybe I'll give this a try and jump into a single speed race later this fall. The timing looks good because there is around an hour to chill and recover between the end of the M35+ race and the Single Speed start.

The CCC series is really awesome and I think we're spoiled to have such great racing every weekend. I look forward to the insanity at Montrose Beach every season, and even years I didn't race I'd still come out and spectate for that one.
Did you do carpentersville? First nice dry day of the year. I'm juat happy I didnt embarrass myself on the pump track. Stayed upright and moving the whole time, which I'm calling a win.
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Old 10-22-19, 09:27 AM
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Sac CX No.3 this Saturday. I'm thinking about doing the ziptie SSCX thing in addition.
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