Getting Ready for My First CX race

” It’s better to pin a number on and finish last than to never pin on a number at all all,” K.H. An aquainence of mine, and cyclocross racer himself, sent me a text with that message a couple minutes ago.

Mountain bike/cyclocross shoes are quite different than road shoes

Yes, I am preparing for my first cyclocross race. Actually, it is my first bicycle

different than pedals I'm used to

race, ever. Triathlon bike racing are a completely different type of cycling, and cyclocross is different than road racing (how is it that I know the difference between different types of cycling racing?) I may have used the TIME ROC ATAC pedals for the first time Thursday afternoon, after going down to my favorite bicycle shop and picking up my new Mavic shoes, attempted to teach myself how to clip-unclip quickly from the pedals, which is quite different than the road pedals that I am used to.     My first race will be the Saratoga Spa Cyclocross Race, one of the NYcross.comseries.

Courtesy of Saratoga Spa CX

I’ve spent numerous hours–okay, more like minutes– teaching myself how to mount/dismount my bike quickly, which is needed in cyclocross racing. And, even set up a small obstacle course in my back yard in order to become somewhat prepared. I know I’ve spent a fair amount of time “attempting” to mount the bike as pro cyclocross racers do as evidenced by the large, tender bruise on the inside of my right inner thigh– man, that hurts. So does falling off your bike when attempting to dismount quickly before a pre-made barrier in your backyard. Actually, so does running into the barrier and falling over it with your bike because you were unable to clip out quick enough.

My mini-practice barrier in the back yard--notice how it is on an incline

Pro cyclocross racers, or racers who are somewhat good at the sport, make the dismount/ mount look so graceful and easy. I, on the other hand, have found instead of making the mount/dismount look graceful, I tend to fall (and swear words have the tendency to come out of my mouth) and make it look like a painful, horrible, and embarrassing process. Then again, if this girl can fall over when her bike is mounted on the trainer–and no, not rollers–then the potential of my falling off anything that moves is tripled. (The secret is out, my friends, I fall off my trainer. Perhaps I should put training wheels back on my bikes.)

The newest addition, and weapon of attack, a Giant Cyclocross bike--which glitters in the sun

I’m not sure if I am excited, terrified, or both, about this race. I would even comment on what I plan on bringing (clothing/gear wise) so that if you decide to become a cyclocross racer yourself, you will know how to prepare. Honestly, I have no idea what I need to bring, except for my bike, shoes, gloves, sunglasses, helmet, and perhaps change of clothes since I’ll be waiting around to watch friends who will be racing later in the day. But come tomorrow at 10:00am when my race is finished, I’ll let you know what you should bring to a race. And everything else that goes along with the sport.

“Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time.” Greg LeMond

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  1. Trackback: She Survived! « A Rendezvous with Sneakers

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