So you want to try cyclocross...(updated for 2015!)

jumpa

Well-Known Member
#61
CX folk LOVE SS. They are just as fanatic as the mountain SS peeps. Many events have SS specific races which are easily the most fun race of the day often with many costumes and beers being consumed.

I'm gonna let you in on a secret about brakes.. Cantilevers don't work. Unless there is peanut butter mud you will mostly be on an even playing field brake wise. The canti is popular for mud clearance. Disc brakes work better in the mud until the pad completely runs out with a lap to go (on multiple occasions).
Cool. I was thinking about maybe getting a front fork that has some post or IS mounts and just relacing a old disc hub to some 700c hoops.
 

The Heckler

You bring new meaning to the term SUCK
#64
Bikes direct roadie that my brother in law got for Xmas from my sister but never rides, ever...
Your biggest obstacle will be tire clearance. You're going to want at least 33mm knobby tires which may not fit in the frame/fork/clear the calipers. Before you invest in a fork make sure the rear end will accept a big tire. If you are in the Morristown area I would be happy to lend you a tire for a fit check.
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#65
I pondered this question for a few days. I think the my best advice is to really soak in and enjoy the scene.

Once you become a little more seasoned and competitive, it's a little more serious and you take that "silliness" that is the cross race for granted.

Another thing is to be a little more outgoing and make some new friends. There's a ton of like minded people at these races. And the more friends you make at them, the more fun you'll have, and the more likely you'll keep coming back.
Agreed. I've met a ton of very great people at the races...manyof my closest friends I met more or less through the CX scene. MTB races have a laid back vibe but CX races are so much more social.

Cool. I was thinking about maybe getting a front fork that has some post or IS mounts and just relacing a old disc hub to some 700c hoops.
Pay attention to fork rake if you do swap front ends. A lot of CX forks have rake of ~47mm whereas typical road forks are in the ~43mm +/- range so the handling will affected.
 

Magic

Formerly 1sh0t1b33r
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#66
Your biggest obstacle will be tire clearance.
And brake clearance with the larger tire size, especially with road v-brakes. Canti's usually have more clearance and mud shedding from what I've seen.

Cool. I was thinking about maybe getting a front fork that has some post or IS mounts and just relacing a old disc hub to some 700c hoops.
You'll be fine running the mountain hoops if you already have them laced, unless it's the one I took apart.;) And remember the rear spacing, so you'll just have a disc front worst case. Let's build some frankenbikes!
 

qclabrat

Well-Known Member
#70
reviving this thread as it was a great read
So in 2015, it was next big thing and now in 2018 almost dead, this industry is nutty.
Regardless I'm doing one this year even as CAT# DFL, so I'll use here to ask Qs. Two sets of questions (1) equipment and (2) training

First training, since no one seems to be doing anymore training rides, what to do? I was thinking to just ride around Natirar, get off the bike, carry it, get back on, make some turns on grass and gravel for an hour a few days a week. Is that the right training plan?
Second: equipment, using a 12 aluminum frame with 10 spd at about 27ish pounds. What should I be thinking for gearing, should I go 1X? I know it depends on the course, but I don't plan to change it regardless where. Also pedal, SPDs or Eggbeaters? or will people laugh at me with flats? I'm having a mental problem with clipless at the moment.

more stupid questions like what to wear and eat to come, cross is not dead to me yet...
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#71
~550 people raced Nittany each day in 2015. This weekend There were 503 people on Saturday. I’d consider that not quite dead yet. The industry has moved on to gravel bikes because it’s a way to sell more bikes.

Anyway...

(1) training: there are plenty of training rides ranging from informal Wed Worlds to the BubbleCX pay-to-play which includes some real content on an actual course. Doing one of those is worth it’s weight in bitcoin.

Short of that, just go practice driving the bike around in a park. Watch some YouTube videos of races and set up some similar turns with soccer cones or tennis balls or cans of baked beans. Your fitness is what it is at this point in the season so you’re not training the engine, you’re leaning the skills. And eating the baked beans.

(2) equipment: don’t overthink it. Just ride the bike you have. As long as you can shift throug most of the gears it’ll be fine. SPD, eggbeater, flats. Whatever you feel most comfortable on works. Back in the day everyone was using toe cages. I don’t recommend wearing baggy clothes because they can get caught on stuff but honestly you can wear a rainbow unicorn jumpsuit if it makes you happy.
 

qclabrat

Well-Known Member
#72
From what I've heard its more the other races, that have been impacted by mediocre sign ups, Nittany will probably be around for a while, anyway not the discussion I'm looking for here.

Every year I practice a little of the off and on, and proper carrying of the bike so that part I'll continue to work on. But is there really training for riding through mud pit or tip toeing past them to keep your cleats clean?
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Also a major flaw in my riding of cross bikes is that I tend to handle them like mtbs and lean my bike beyond the threads and wash out my tires. The last time this happened, I hammered my ribs pretty good on day one of the Halter's July challenge. Should I be weighting my feet like on the trails with feet at 3 and 9 or more like a road bike?
 

Patrick

aka Fidodie
Staff member
#73
reviving this thread as it was a great read
So in 2015, it was next big thing and now in 2018 almost dead, this industry is nutty.
Regardless I'm doing one this year even as CAT# DFL, so I'll use here to ask Qs. Two sets of questions (1) equipment and (2) training

First training, since no one seems to be doing anymore training rides, what to do? I was thinking to just ride around Natirar, get off the bike, carry it, get back on, make some turns on grass and gravel for an hour a few days a week. Is that the right training plan?
Second: equipment, using a 12 aluminum frame with 10 spd at about 27ish pounds. What should I be thinking for gearing, should I go 1X? I know it depends on the course, but I don't plan to change it regardless where. Also pedal, SPDs or Eggbeaters? or will people laugh at me with flats? I'm having a mental problem with clipless at the moment.

more stupid questions like what to wear and eat to come, cross is not dead to me yet...
go small with the chainring - you'll never use the big one.
let me reword that.
I never used the big one - and our experience in cx racing is similar. i'm just a couple races ahead of you.
 

Magic

Formerly 1sh0t1b33r
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#74
From what I've heard its more the other races, that have been impacted by mediocre sign ups, Nittany will probably be around for a while, anyway not the discussion I'm looking for here.

Every year I practice a little of the off and on, and proper carrying of the bike so that part I'll continue to work on. But is there really training for riding through mud pit or tip toeing past them to keep your cleats clean?
View attachment 77217

Also a major flaw in my riding of cross bikes is that I tend to handle them like mtbs and lean my bike beyond the threads and wash out my tires. The last time this happened, I hammered my ribs pretty good on day one of the Halter's July challenge. Should I be weighting my feet like on the trails with feet at 3 and 9 or more like a road bike?
In my cross experience, I feel like I didn't really need to practice carrying the bike or run ups. These sections are usually so short, it's irrelevant. I suitcase it everywhere I need to. Mounting is a big thing as almost everyone but the top 1% will need to get off their bike at some point. I used to lose incredible amounts of time at the barriers. I still suck, but it's a little better. Just get faster and better at getting on and off your bike, everything else will come.

If you're afraid of jumping in a pile of mud, cross isn't for you. As Sean says, embrace the suck. It'll be fun in the end. Maybe.
 

qclabrat

Well-Known Member
#75
In my cross experience, I feel like I didn't really need to practice carrying the bike or run ups. These sections are usually so short, it's irrelevant. I suitcase it everywhere I need to. Mounting is a big thing as almost everyone but the top 1% will need to get off their bike at some point. I used to lose incredible amounts of time at the barriers. I still suck, but it's a little better. Just get faster and better at getting on and off your bike, everything else will come.

If you're afraid of jumping in a pile of mud, cross isn't for you. As Sean says, embrace the suck. It'll be fun in the end. Maybe.
what I meant was how do you know whether to ride through or carry? Or do you just hammer through everything and if physics is against you, switch over to carry.
 

qclabrat

Well-Known Member
#76
go small with the chainring - you'll never use the big one.
let me reword that.
I never used the big one - and our experience in cx racing is similar. i'm just a couple races ahead of you.
I'm running a 42/29 on my gravel bike, 42 should be fine right? Think I'll take off the front derailleur for the season.
 

Magic

Formerly 1sh0t1b33r
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#78
what I meant was how do you know whether to ride through or carry? Or do you just hammer through everything and if physics is against you, switch over to carry.
Pre-ride the course before the race or watch the pros do it. Only way you can really plan your lines, but conditions can change even after the first lap when 150 people run through, so things change and you have to adapt. Again, why getting on and off fast is beneficial. Whirlybird was faster for me to ride the mud bog through the woods. Nittany off camber mud spot was rideable on the farther, longer line, but also resulted in some massive wheel spin mud bogging which can take a lot out of you. Not worth. It was definitely faster to run the upper/middle line, at least on day 2.

I ride a 38.
 

MadisonDan

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#79
My $0.02 on a few things here....
Equipment... Don't overthink it.
1x is simpler, yes. I run a 42 / 11-32 setup. A 42/32 nearly the same as 36/28 (standard CX setup is 46/36 and 11-28). But this is kinda personal, so do what suits you best.

Fitness.... like @Delish said, whatever you have now is gonna be about it, so work on skills. Yes, you can do intervals during the week to fine tune a little, but whatever base you have now is what you're gonna have to work with.... This will be easy for me this year, cause I have no base, and no fitness, so therefore nothing to work with. No work=easy. (until race day, then no work=FML)

Skills... There are a bunch of sessions around. I totally flaked this year on the small group I've ran for the past few years. Here's a few things to work on....
Find an open field, and as mentioned, use some cones, tennis balls. lawn flags, whatever, and do the following.
Practice starts. This isn't just the clipping in part, but also which gear to choose, where to start with the one foot already on the pedal (hint - about 10 o'clock), how to line up the rotation of the other pedal so you hit it flat as it comes around, if you stand over the top tube or sit on the saddle, and finally that initial sprint and first few gear shifts.
Figure Eights. Using two cones, about 10 yards apart, ride a figure eight, slowly at first, and gradually going faster. NO BRAKES. Lean the bike a little more every few times around, until you almost eat shit. Now change directions.
Use the cones or whatever to set up a slalom of about 10-15 cones, every 3-4 yards. Start slow, and see how fast you can go.
Barriers. Use a log, or a backpack, or whatever. Practice the approach, dismount, how you'll lift the bike, and remount. Do you stutter step? Do you leap back on, or kind of throw a leg over and slide back on? How quickly can you get clipped in and pedaling again? Did you shift to the right gear BEFORE the barrier?

Race day.. pre-ride pre-ride pre-ride. This is not a warm up. This is where you decide which line to take. Where to ride or run. This will all change as the race goes on, especially when it's already wet or raining.