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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    16

    When to do first race

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    So I've ordered a bike and it should be here sometime next week - thanks for the help on that!

    Last week I had my first clinic (there are two more sessions), and used my hybrid.

    When would I be ready for my first race? Would next weekend be too soon? Should I wait until my skills are better? And which skills are most important? I gather mounts/dismounts - but what else?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    I'm doing my first cross race in a week. It's tough to know what to expect, since you can't see the course until right before the race. My husband built some barriers in our front yard so I can practice my mounts/dismounts (see my blog below for info. on building your own). I would say that as long as you're comfortable with mounts/dismounts and have a good level of fitness, that it never hurts to give it a try. What's the worst that could happen? If you refer to my cross skills post, SheFly had some great training tips.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    125
    I think you should do it as soon as possible! Cross season is short and you might as well dive in. Plus, racing will be great experience and great training. Have fun! As far as skills, shouldering is my current bÍte noire. People who do it well can save a lot of time. But I find it painful in any position. Working on that....
    2011 Scott CX Team/Koobi Xenon
    2005 Bike Friday NWT/Selle Royal Lookin
    2001 Bianchi Giro/Terry Butterfly Ti
    1970s Centurion Le Mans/Ancient waffle saddle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    Are you really comfortable riding in fast groups? Are you a confident bike handler? Do you have great health insurance? Just some things to consider.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    Quote Originally Posted by redrhodie View Post
    Are you really comfortable riding in fast groups? Are you a confident bike handler? Do you have great health insurance? Just some things to consider.
    She's talking cross not road.... group riding skills not much of an issue (there's a mass start, but it's more like a mt bike race, there's some passing, but everyone sorts out more or less into a line rather than riding near one another because the courses are not particularly wide and can even have single track) and while you can get hurt falling in cross, it is relatively unusual to get anything more than some bumps and bruises because you are falling in the grass/dirt and aren't usually going super fast unless it is a steep descent (and it not particularly unusual to see people get off and run down technical/very steep descents.... it can be faster than crashing and having to get back up)

    If you want to question anything - do you have a hose available and a good washing machine - then go for it. Many races have a beginner category for first timers.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    Eden, you make it sound less scary than the crit race I did. Maybe I should try it.

    I swore never again.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,686
    Speaking as a spectator, the crashes in crits are scarier than those in cyclocross, with exceptions. See the video clip featured here: http://bikehugger.com/post/view/joey...he-new-hotness

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    DO. IT. NOW! Seriously - you've taken a clinic, so there is no time like the present. Jump in with both feet, and you will soon discover just how much fun racing 'cross can be! I tried it without having done any practice, and ended my first season with 14 races under my belt.

    As for shouldering the bike - I RARELY do this. It's often not faster. The exception is if you have a very long run through sand... If I am running uphill, I will push the bike, using it as an outrigger. Helps me with traction and momentum, and I don't drop my chain putting my bike down at the top.

    Go for it, and have fun!

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    Quote Originally Posted by redrhodie View Post
    Eden, you make it sound less scary than the crit race I did. Maybe I should try it.

    I swore never again.
    Yeah, Totally different ballgame!
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    DO. IT. NOW!
    !!! JOIN US.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    As for shouldering the bike - I RARELY do this. It's often not faster. The exception is if you have a very long run through sand... If I am running uphill, I will push the bike, using it as an outrigger. Helps me with traction and momentum, and I don't drop my chain putting my bike down at the top.
    I agree that it's rarely necessary (I avoid it whenever possible), but I think she should practice it if she wants to work on skills. Yesterday we had the Battle at Barlow. Here are pictures from a few years ago showing the run-up: http://www.pdxcross.com/galleries/battle-at-barlow/ (Look at the second picture, as well as the one five below it....) There's no way around those stairs. My shouldering practice saved me. I saw a few people (mostly juniors) in earlier races attempting to suitcase it, and going miserably slowly. And people who tried to shoulder without proper technique were whacking their wheels against the railroad ties.

    As far as crashing, there's the occasional spectacular wipeout (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5xqP...ature=youtu.be), but more often it's people sliding into the mud. Average speeds don't get too high in the beginner categories.
    Last edited by Ered_Lithui; 09-26-2011 at 09:10 AM.
    2011 Scott CX Team/Koobi Xenon
    2005 Bike Friday NWT/Selle Royal Lookin
    2001 Bianchi Giro/Terry Butterfly Ti
    1970s Centurion Le Mans/Ancient waffle saddle

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    Quote Originally Posted by redrhodie View Post
    Eden, you make it sound less scary than the crit race I did. Maybe I should try it.

    I swore never again.
    YES. YOU. SHOULD!

    Has anyone noticed how enthusiastically I'm trying to get you all into this sport???

    Red - lots of good races coming up - many down in your neck of the woods...

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    I drank the Koolaid...I'm doing my first cross face on Sunday!
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Cape Cod, MA
    Posts
    414
    Quote Originally Posted by bluebug32 View Post
    I drank the Koolaid...I'm doing my first cross face on Sunday!
    Woo-hoo! You will love it!
    As far as getting hurt in crashes, I fell a few times this weekend (worst one in the parking lot ), but ended up with a few bruises. Worst injury occurred while looking at results online at my desk: pushed myself into my chair, stepping on a footsie roller and rolling right over my big toe. It's sprained and purple...
    Much prefer the grassy falls in 'cross!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    I was practicing the barriers in my front yard, didn't clip out my left foot in time and my chainring slashed through the back of my right leg! Yow!
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    16
    Thanks, I think I will do it

    Now any suggestions for mounting/dismounting? Since switching to clipless, i find I am either coming off the bike too quickly (left unclipping and coming down before or at same time as right) or else too slow (bike almost stopped and hopping along on right foot while unclipping left or crashing)

 

 

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