Monday, September 24, 2012

1st Cyclocross race of the season - some random thoughts

1. Riding my bike out to Riverside for the race instead of driving didn't take too much out of me, in fact it may've helped my "racing".

2. I keep hoping every year that the old man 50+ race will be only 30 minutes long instead of 45.  But that's hardly worth coming out and racing for.

3. That woman I heard say 'he's got no technique" after I jumped over the 2nd barrier and tried to get back on my bike probably wasn't talking about me, but could have been.  It pretty much describes my mounting style. Fumble around a bit trying to find the pedal with my left foot, then swing the right leg over.  I gave up trying to do the jump over for now.

4. Either I'm getting better, or the race leaders are slower this year, as I didn't get lapped until their last lap (my 3rd or 4th lap, I lost track).

5. I don't know why I bring my Garmin, I never remember to start it at the start, or to hit the lap button.  It'd be nice to have some lap info so I could compare laps.

6. Luckily Hank asked me "are you racing this next race?" just before our race started.  I hand't seen anybody lining up yet, but that's because they moved the starting spot back from last year and I was looking in the wrong spot.  Made it to the start just in time, but the race official didn't have my name on the list, so I wonder which race I actually signed up for.  I thought I signed the Masters 40/50 race sheet but who knows.

6. I need to get better at riding fast on dirt.  Probably just need to get a few more races down as I haven't practiced with the cross bike on dirt too much this year.

7. The course seemed bumpier than the last two seasons.  Thinking of taking my mountain bike next time.

8. I didn't get laughed off the course for putting platform pedals on my real 'cross bike, a Redline Conquest Pro:

I was having a terrible time last year with toe overlap in the slow, twisty portions of the courses, partly due to my size 44 mtb shoes which seem about an inch too long for my 9 1/2 size feet.  Size 43 is too small for me, and I didn't have time to find some 9 1/2 shoes to experiment with so I thought hey why don't I use platforms? Dave at 2 Wheel transit had sold me some $20 Redline pedals for my mountain bike and they worked great, so I bought another set and put 'em on the cross bike.  They grip pretty good.  They look a little funny on the cross bike, but they worked great. No worrying about clipping and unclipping.  I'm just about completely over clipless pedals, too bad I have 3 pairs of the SPD compatible shoes.  These pedals are pretty wide so I might invest in a narrower pair now that I've found they work for 'cross.

9.  I didn't get laughed off the course for wearing those long knicker-manpri's over lycra bike shorts.

10. If I bought that nice Elephant single speed they had for sale at the race, I could race at 10:15am instead of 12:15 and get it over with.  Or I could ride both, cuz it'd be a shame to leave the Redline sitting around not racing.

11. I couldn't buy the Elephant cuz I biked to the race and didn't have anyway to get it home.

12. I don't really need a new bike.

13. Really.

14. The Salsa Vaya is still tempting me.

15. This is my 3rd year of cross.  Just like last year, I wake up early Sunday and wonder am I crazy for doing 'cross?  I'm old and slow, nowhere near competitive.  I'm not much of a racer. Blah blah blah. Maybe I'll just stay in bed.  Then I think Ok maybe I should do today's race and maybe a couple others.  I finally pull myself together and ride to the course.  I wake up a bit. This is going to be fun.  I'm hooked again.


  1. Scott,

    It's a sport you can take as seriously as you want to. Enjoy.

    I practiced dismounting and mounting at home in slow motion. My neighbors may have been wondering why I kept riding slowly back and forth in front of the house getting off and on my bike--they already think I'm nuts for running barefoot--but who cares? I got the technique down and on race day I was smooth and fast going through the barriers. (Yeah, don't ask about the rest of the course.) Even John commented on how smooth I was. You might give the slo-mo practice a try.

  2. thanks, I'm going to try that. I get a little nervous sometimes with people watching which only makes it worse so maybe I'll practice in the backyard or Riverside. But I have been thinking of practicing mounts and dismounts riding to and from work. And bunny hopping curbs.

  3. 1st CX race this Saturday and I am still debating whether to ride flat pedals or my egg-beaters. A bit stressed by the thought of clipping/unclipping and don't want not to have fun because of that. Reading this, I think I'll go with flats and just enjoy.

    1. Have a good time! It's not too hard to get used to riding cx clipless, but I liked not having to think about it.


  4. I've been riding cx with clipless pedals. I recently switched from clipless to flats on my mountain bike and I'm hooked on flats. Thinking of riding flats at my next cx race and glad i found this post. I'm gonna go for it. Thanks!