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  1. #1
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    Jul 2006
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    Newb question on 'cross in general

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    Hey there.
    So, I've been cruising this forum....lookin' at pix, reading some reports. I'm not a cyclocross rider. I'm a roadie who ventures into the woods on my dual-suspension mtb every so often, and do poorly at that.
    Was curious about a few things:
    1. How long are these races - say, the Gloucester Gran Prix? How long is a lap (generally) and how many laps do, say, the total newbs race?
    2. Why doesn't anyone pack water? You're doing a bunch of laps, and no one wears a camelback or brings a bottle (I'll grant that it's probably difficult - if not unsafe - to grab a bottle and drink during a race). I think I'd konk out for lack of hydration. Are there waterstops at a point on the lap?
    3. Are the trails selected for races generally as gnarly as singletrack you might ride with a mountainbike (I'm thinking suspension, here)? Or, do they tend to stick to fire roads and doubletrack and add obstacles?
    Okay. Thanks. Just wonderin'....
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    WA State
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    4,391
    I can have a stab at those

    1. Cyclecross is generally done by time rather than # of laps (like a criterium, except they don't generally pull). If you get lapped, meaning the leaders pass you, then you end up doing fewer laps - they will announce last lap to you as you cross the finish line, so no worries about not knowing when to stop. Women's 4's usually do about 30-35 min.

    2. beginner cross races are generally short enough that you do not need water on the bike - even the more advanced riders that I know don't usually carry water (you can't put on bottles since that would make it diffcult to shoulder the bike). Up here it isn't usually warm during cross season, so its not usually an issue - but if it happens to be hot, lack of hydration in a long race can be a problem. I *think* in the longer races there may sometimes be a feed zone.

    3. it depends - some of the races out here have a lot of technical stuff on them, some are set up places like school sports fields and are mostly grassy - but you can't necessarily tell. The first one (and only so far!) I did I thought would be fairly tame, since it was at a school, but someone told me it was a more technical course. I don't think any of ours out here use fire roads, they are mostly in park type areas with a combination of trails and grass - one is on a horse farm. At least out here, the courses do nearly always have at least one run up (a hill either too steep to ride up or that has barrier on it so you cannot ride up) and one barrier section where you have to carry your bike. A full suspension mt bike, while you probably could do it, would be very heavy for those areas - heck even a relatively light cross bike feels like lead on the 4th lap.... A lot of people,and not only beginners, do ride on mt bikes, but they are usually hard tails.
    Last edited by Eden; 10-23-2007 at 08:47 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, Eden!
    By time, huh? She who does the most laps, wins???

    Oh...and I wasn't pondering a 'cross race (or ride) with my dualie. I'm not that much of a glutton for punishment! It's just my point of reference for trail riding.
    Thanks again!
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    86
    I too wonder about not drinking for these races. I raced on Saturday - I am not a cyclocross racer - I race mtnbikes normally - this was my first time and I rode my mtnbike, but I didn't bring water and by the end of 45 minutes I was really thirsty! Anyone else have this problem?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Chicago
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    Eden got it right. By time, it's usually say a 30 minute race for beginners. After the first lap the officials figure out how many more laps can be fit into the time frame, and start counting down when there are three laps to go. All riders finish on the lead rider's final lap, so if you get lapped, the lead rider (and any non-lapped riders) may have done 5 laps, but the lapped riders only did 4 laps. Does that make sense?

    Chicago races take place in parks in the greater Chicago-land area, so they're mostly grass and dirt. One race that I remember from last year had a twisty section as you came down a hill (I don't know the technical term), which mtb riders handled better than roadies just because of their bike handling skills.

    The more experienced riders tend to do 45 minute races and they allow hand ups for water. But, I don't think many people do it. Some people do wear camelbacks, but not many.

    I could be wrong, but I think some of the 'cross culture is the "suffering" and if you can't drink water, that adds to the suffering.

  6. #6
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    Flagstaff AZ
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    At cross races, where I had help, I had someone hand me water - take an sip or two and throw the bottle, do it again the next lap if you feel the need. Or, I have even been known when I don't have help, to put a water bottle at the front of the feed zone and grab it as I go by, then drop it where I can get to it later again at the end of the feed zone. At least, I'm not dying by the end of the race.


    Of course, if it is a really close race with someone else, this does not work

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    I try to hydrate as much as possible BEFORE the race, and then again afterwards. Remember that it is only typically 30 mins for a beginner race, and I am now doing this for 45 mins in the Elite races.

    I have a friend, though, who has a small GU flask she fills with water and races with in her back pocket so that she can take a drink when necessary.

    SheFly
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    San Francisco, CA
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    if you start the race well hydrated, you won't get dehydrated in 45 minutes. ut you will have a dry mouth.

    chew gum! this is my solution.

    I tried a camelbak one race. it got all tangled up when I shouldered the bike and I fell over trying to get it off my shoulder. it was very comical. I won't do it again.

    one of my teammates puts a little tiny bit of water in a gel flask in her jersey pocket.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    86
    Thanks very much for the advice. I'll work on my pre-race hydration a lot more and I like the idea of the Gu flask with water in it. Thank you!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    407
    Quote Originally Posted by Regina View Post
    Hey there.

    2. Why doesn't anyone pack water? You're doing a bunch of laps, and no one wears a camelback or brings a bottle (I'll grant that it's probably difficult - if not unsafe - to grab a bottle and drink during a race). I think I'd konk out for lack of hydration. Are there waterstops at a point on the lap?
    ol:
    There is usually an official feed zone where hand-ups can be done.....at least that is how we do it here in Wisconsin. I usually do not shoulder my bike, so I sometimes carry water with me if I don't have anyone to do my hand-ups.....not that there is really anytime to drink while your doing a CX race...
    Just keep pedaling.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    407
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post

    one of my teammates puts a little tiny bit of water in a gel flask in her jersey pocket.
    That is a great idea. Even if you never drink it, you know it's there.
    Just keep pedaling.

 

 

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