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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year my brother tried to get me into cyclocross racing and it was a no-go. This year he's persuaded (suckered?) me into it again, and I think it will be a go. I intend to race on my SSCX for a variety of reason (particularly because I'm just a little faster on the SS from my BMX years) and I will be doing the C Class. I do have a geared CX, as well... but my intentions are with my SSCX.

I'm not trying to get points, get a podium or win... I just want to experience it and FINISH, even if I'm dead last. Here are my questions:

1. I've been riding 2:1 (44/22 on track cranks) and I can climb quick, short hills with it fairly well. Even mash up the longer not so steep stuff and drop MTB'ers granny'ing up the stuff. Any point in going down a couple teeth up front?

2. Aside from riding my daily short, fast rides and practicing dismounts and re-mounts, anything else I should throw into the mix?

3. I can bunnyhop my bike over a foot. Any advantage in this ability?

4. Weight loss - how serious should I be about this? I'm at 220lbs right now, but with my body composition (former bodybuilder), I'm showing a six pack at 200 - which is my target for the season. Any point of getting smaller than this? I'm afraid of losing some of that power I have in my big legs - but I'm willing to take any advice.

5. Anything else?

Like I said, I'm not out there to destroy the competition - I just don't want to do one lap and kill over. Or is that just a given?

OR...

Am I over analyzing it and just get out there and start pedalling like a mad man?

Thanks for all your helps, peeps!
 

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2:1 ratio is usually way too low for cross. 42:17 (~2.5) is the classic cross gearing. I've raced 42:18 on hilly courses but it was too low for flats.

Your weight is too high. Lose that 20lbs and you'll go ~ 10% faster. Upper body strength is useful for cross - very few cross racers are anorexic like their roadie cousins - but you're probably carrying way too much muscle. Very few large guys do well in CX.

An interesting comparison is this guy http://jimmerc.blogspot.com/

Musclebound bike nut who cruises TTs at 28+ mph, wins state crits and does well in RRs, but really suffers in CX races.

Cross is closer to a time trial - you need to get that cruising speed up as high as possible. 2*20s and variations are the classic way to do this.

Definitely train the skills. This is worth a lot.

Bunnyhopping will impress chicks and win you free cookies. Probably means you have good technique and fast twitch muscle. Hammer out of every corner and up every short incline.

Just my experience.
 

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Thom H
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Well, 42/17 or 18 are probably better gears for CX. The hills in CX are not that big of factor for SS guys. Running out of gear on the fast parts is way worse.
Like all bike racing, light is better (except on the track) so the 200lbs will feel way faster.
Bunny hopping won't win too many races (as much as fitness) but former bmx guys usually do well in cross. Air pressure and the right tire for the course will help a lot. I would show up with a 42/18 for the first race and see if you need more or less gear for the events.
SS cross is very fun and mixed. You will see really fast guys and pretty slow guys in the SS class more than others. I race my SS in the regular class and the SS races because it is way more fun.
 

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Student of cycling
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Dion,

1. I ride geared 38/11-25. Only once did I wish for a lower gear. One of my really fit co-workers made his cross debut on his SS and he suffered on the uphill stuff. I'll find out what he was running.

2A. Intervals. Picture this; your riding along as fast as you can and breathing hard (at or above LT). Suddenly you have to dismount for an obstacle. You run a couple of feet and your heart rate goes to the max. Once you are back on the bike you want to get back up to speed as fast as you can, but your heart is beating full speed and you are sucking wind. Training your body to recover quickly from intense efforts is key.

2B. Low speed u-turns in loose conditions. I did almost all of my passing in u-turns. Carrying corner speed and getting a good drive out can make a big difference.

3. Yes. There is plenty of time to be saved in hopping vs. dismounting. Keep in mind that one botched hop will probably loose you more time than all the successful hops put together. Also they get harder with each lap.

4. Serious. Power to weight is simple mathematics. Although were are not talking about a lot of climbing, you will be accelerating (and decelerating) your mass many times per lap.

5. Have fun, learn, and take notes. You will find something that will make you better each time you race. Write it down, don't forget it, and make it part of your next race.

Get busy. You have 47 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes, and 34 seconds
 

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Dude, don't sweat losing the extra weight if you're happy with your power and body comp as is. you may not win a ton of races but who cares? I am 210 fwiw...
 

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ive been running 42x18 for a bit and i can still climb everything on the mtb trails and go pretty fast on flat before i top out my speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
pretender said:
There comes a point where a guy realizes he'd rather not carry all that extra weight into his later years.
Oh believe me... When I was eating and hitting the weights hard I was 240. I am THOROUGLY convince being heavy is not good.
 

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A little running once or twice a week helps. You'll do just fine without it but if the course has any running besides one set of barriers, you'll do much better. Barriers and hills are some of the easiest places to pass if you can keep running above your LT.

Definitely 42:18 until you've done a race or two and then adjust as needed.
 

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I am going to second not losing a ton of weight for the sake of having fun CX racing. As long as your fitness is good, you don't necessarily have to be lighter to to be fast-ish and have fun.

I lift weights, a lot, ride bikes everyday and am a fairly lean 200+lbs. I would never consider losing weight just to be slightly faster at doing something I enjoy but have no ability to be "pro" at.

I would say if you are happy with your body comp, strength and fitness, losing weight doesn't matter for your goals.

That being said, all of the roadies here wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't try and convince you to diet-down to a 145lb man-boy that can't lift his woman over his head and carry her off for a good time ;) .
 

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nspace said:
I ride an SS 29er mtb (32x18) 100% of the time. My SSCX is setup 38x18. I remember it hurting in the few races that i did. Perhaps I need to man up with a bigger ring this season.
I think it depends on fitness. I'm a mid-pack "C" racer and planning to run 40x18 this season. I ran 39x20 most of last season. I suppose some strong "B" racers can probably turn 42x17, but that's my road gearing (same bike, but w/ heavy 700x32 touring tires).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dave_T said:
I am going to second not losing a ton of weight for the sake of having fun CX racing. As long as your fitness is good, you don't necessarily have to be lighter to to be fast-ish and have fun.

I lift weights, a lot, ride bikes everyday and am a fairly lean 200+lbs. I would never consider losing weight just to be slightly faster at doing something I enjoy but have no ability to be "pro" at.

I would say if you are happy with your body comp, strength and fitness, losing weight doesn't matter for your goals.

That being said, all of the roadies here wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't try and convince you to diet-down to a 145lb man-boy that can't lift his woman over his head and carry her off for a good time ;) .
Yeah, I'm a leanish 225lbs - if that's believable, people don't believe me when I tell them how much I weigh - people think I weigh a lot less. Thanks for the encouragement!
 
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