Thinking of becoming a newbie

Phyllosc

Active Member
Location
Coastal Suffolk
I bought a Boardman 'cross bike to ride in the winter but said I'd never do cycle cross. But thanks to watching the odd race on TV I'm now curious and my internal monolog repeats things like "It would be good for maintaining fitness in the winter" or "It will help keep my weight down" etc etc...

While I'm used to the road I've never done anything like cycle cross, even MTBs are only a minor foot note in my cycling career. So, I look at bunny hops, and mount/dismounts and even shouldering the bike and think how do you learn that? OK, I could take myself away, preferably from the public gaze, and make a complete arse of myself until I get it right but might there be an alternative? Do you guys know of any formal training sessions aim at 'cross virgins like me?
 

dan_bo

How much does it cost to Oldham?
I usually just make an arse of myself with a big daft grin on me face.
 

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
I had a go for the first time on New Years Day at Ripley Castle where they had a novices race. No training and only ever been a road cyclist.
I put some knobbly tyres on my winter commuting bike, went on a few cross country rides the couple of weeks before to get used to not riding on Tarmac and just did it. Things I learned -
I'm not as fit as I thought I was!
It's really hard work on the upper body compared to road cycling.
There's loads of other people threatening to crash into you.
Getting off the bike and running over stuff with it is not as hard as I thought
Getting back on after the obstacle and getting going again is much harder than I thought
It took me 3 hours to disassemble and clean up my bike afterwards!

If I was to do it again (I'm not!!) I would train by cross country running as I think fitness and the ability to run about in mud without falling over seem important.

I came 16th out of 19 in the women novices race - disappointingly rubbish but at least I wasn't last!
 

zizou

Veteran
At the weekend in Glasgow there was a novice race for women, before the race there was 90 minutes of skills coaching. I'm not sure if this is common elsewhere but sounds like a good set up.

Although as it is now getting to the end of the cross season these sorts of things might not be running again until the Autumn.
 

jdtate101

Ex-Fatman
Done two seasons of cross racing now...and it's hard but huge fun. One recommendation I would make is to go down your local park and practice mounts/dismounts, pick-ups, shouldering and balance at low speeds. There are plenty of video's on youtube which describe the basic skills, but practice is important to get comfortable with doing it. Practicing remounts is especially important if you value your "man bits", my first season I got quite a few nut catchers where I'd ether not jump high enough and bang myself on the seat back, or too high and land with excessive force...both quite painful. :eek:
 

palinurus

Velo, boulot, dodo
Location
Watford
So, I look at bunny hops, and mount/dismounts and even shouldering the bike and think how do you learn that?

I went to the park- any bit of handy grassland will do- and practiced in the mornings or evenings for 30-40 minutes at a time. Don't worry about bunny hopping yet- if you can do a small bunny hop to get over a tricky tree root that will be enough, the mount and dismount and carrying the bike is the most important bit.

I watched some videos on Youtube to get the general idea.

My local league (Central) organizes some training sessions for 'cross at the start of each season. Other leagues may do this also- worth finding out.
 
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palinurus

Velo, boulot, dodo
Location
Watford
The good thing is you have all spring and summer to get ready for it and plan some races.

It helps to do a little running too, you may not need it so much for early season races but once it gets beyond the second half of October there's more chance parts of the course will not be rideable.
 
OP
OP
Phyllosc

Phyllosc

Active Member
Location
Coastal Suffolk
Thanks for your comments everyone. There is a local East Anglian league, I'll have to check if they run any coaching sessions.
 
I had a go for the first time on New Years Day at Ripley Castle where they had a novices race. No training and only ever been a road cyclist.
'Sink or swim'???


I'm not as fit as I thought I was!
It's really hard work on the upper body compared to road cycling.
It's a hell of an almost flat-out work out for an hour
Lungs bursting, legs screaming at you, not enough time to recover downhill (if the course even includes them)
You'll find yourself hoping you're lapped, so you can finish on same lap as winner, so you don't have to ride another


Getting off the bike and running over stuff with it is not as hard as I thought
Getting back on after the obstacle and getting going again is much harder than I thought
Yes, getting off is easy, even the 'proper' CX style, where the right foot touches ground between the left foot & the crank, so you can run/pick-up bike, without any loss of momentum

Getting back on hurt, if you got it wrong, & landed incorrectly


It took me 3 hours to disassemble and clean up my bike afterwards!
Been there, worn out the sponges & brushes!!!!
Cycling. Cyclo-Cross. 2008. WhiteChapel School. 13.JPG Cycling. Cyclo-Cross. 2008. WhiteChapel School. 14.JPG Cycling. Cyclo-Cross. 2008. WhiteChapel School. 15.JPG


If I was to do it again (I'm not!!) I would train by cross country running as I think fitness and the ability to run about in mud without falling over seem important.

I came 16th out of 19 in the women novices race - disappointingly rubbish but at least I wasn't last
That's why I started running
What the hell??, you finished, whish is the point
CX running is a good training addition, as you'll find that a lot of serious CX riders run XC/fell-races (I see a lot at the fell-races I do, up to & including ex GB squad riders/National champions)

Then the running took over, as it's a lot cheaper that CX (average fell-race entry is £4 - £5)

Sometimes, I even run against cyclists!! (the race where my avatar picture comes from)
I've ridden it as well (but before buying my 2nd CX bike, so it was on a MTB), I was far faster on foot (MTBs are awkward to carry/heavier to push)
http://www.bingleyharriers.co.uk/events/harriers-vs-cyclists/


The last time I went to the National CX Champonships (2009), in Peel Park (@ Bradford), the ladies were almost as fast as the men
Helen Wyman, & Gabby Day were really picking the field off!

2009 National Cyclo-Cross Championship. Womens Event. 5.JPG 2009 National Cyclo-Cross Championship. Womens Event. 8.JPG

Gabby Day
2009 National Cyclo-Cross Championship. Womens Event. 39.JPG

Wyman in Champions jersey again
2009 National Cyclo-Cross Championship. Womens Event. 63.JPG


Rob Jebb
2009 National Cyclo-Cross Championship. Senior Mens Event. 5.JPG
 
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