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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is MTBR not CXBR but i figured that the people that have never led led me wrong before would be a good resource to go to when venturing into a "new sport". I have never raced before nor have i ever had the desire to because of lack of a competitive attitude. I have been a roadie most of my life (all 17 glorious years of it) but recently had my eyes opened to the mountain bike world. Cyclocross appeals to me because of the people and the style of racing. I feel that my personality and riding style would be well suited to CX as well. I was curious if any of you guys had any experience in cyclocross racing and could tell me anything about it... bike set up, training, favorite pre-race beverage... anything, I'm all ears.
 

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Dirty South Underdog
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I've raced CX for two winters now (as well as road since 2007 and MTB since spring of 2009).

I started on a SS Surly Crosscheck and added a BH Carbon Cross (geared) this season. I generally use CX to maintain fitness from the road season, so I don't do a lot of specific interval training (though I do practice dismounts/remounts at least once a week). My favorite pre-race beverage is a medium-sized can of Redbull about 20 minutes before the start.
I have SRAM Force on my bike, and it prettymuch rocks. I also use tubeless tires, though a lot of people go tubular. Punctures usually aren't an issue, but the lower pressure you can run without getting pinch flats, the better, so you might want to consider one of those (tubeless is less $$, but tubular is usually considered what's "best," so do what works for you).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info! Thats what I was thinking for my dedicated CX bike because i already have a Crosscheck set up for road and love the geometry and everything about it so I was thinking SS Crosscheck and try it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah im think extra wheelset... i dont want to beat on my new kysrium sl's too badly, or what do you think im not familiar with the courses and what you'll encounter.
 

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Dirty South Underdog
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Some people race on those... kinda depends on how much you weigh & how hard you are on equipment. Usually the worst thing you have to worry about in my area (tennessee) are roots. Most of the time, courses are going to be asphalt/dirt/mud/grass, so you can use normal road wheels without issues.
A "technical" section is usually going to be tough because it's either off-caber, a sharp turn, or something like that. You normally don't encounter rough singletrack, rock gardens, or anything of that nature. MTB skills can pay off, but aren't totally necessary to be successful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the great info! I ordered 3 different sets of tires: 32c Kenda Small block 8s, some Michelin mud 38 and Michelin dry 35. Im excited to get started with the practicing, i think im going to begin on some fairly easy single track and work my way up to the windy stuff.
 

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Tool
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fixedforbroke said:
Thanks for the info! Thats what I was thinking for my dedicated CX bike because i already have a Crosscheck set up for road and love the geometry and everything about it so I was thinking SS Crosscheck and try it out.
Another thing to check is your crankset. If you're running a 130 bcd, you can get a 48t big ring for racing, but the 39t inner ring will be tough on recreational rides. If you've already got a compact crank on it, you're in good shape. I ran a 36/48 crank (CrossCheck complete stock crank) with a 12-27 cassette. It was OK on flattish trails, but if I were going to do more trail riding I would have switched to a mountain derailleur and a 32t cassette. Stay loose, have fun.
 

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I use a 53/39 crankset with a 12-27 cassette and I'm fine climbing anything in my area on mtn bike rides. If I can't climb it I'd jump off and run. That gearing would be terrible for racing though. You'll want 48/38 or 46/36 or maybe go 1x9 once you figure out the gears you need for your courses. If you're serious about racing you really have to figure out your gearing and wheels. If you just want to mess around on mtn.bike trails then a compact crank and Ritchey or Michelin clinchers would be fine.

OH! and pedals. Eggs and Time work the best in terrible conditions but they might have too much float for you. XTR feel more solid once clipped in but they'll be harder to get into once the course gets ugly.
 

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I just got though building this Fantom Cross Uno ($209 for a frame? Hell yes) and I took it out for the first time yesterday at my local stomping grounds. AMAZING ride.

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel Bicycle fork


I'm a sucker for steel frames (I have a Surly Pacer roadie, Motobecane Messenger and an On-One 29er in steel) so this is just my cup of tea. I geared it yesterday 38/22 which is WAY too spinny, it helped on the climbs, but I don't think there will be a problem if I go down a few teeth - so I threaded on a 19T freewheel and I'm taking that out for my afternoon ride.

I had to stay away from all the normal MTB stuff I normally ride (which is mostly rock fests) but I didn't mind. The climbing power, cornering speed and nimbleness of the cross geometry made up for that in smiles.

Again, this is a single-speed, so I don't know much about gearing a cross bike. My brother has been racing cross since the 90's Surf City races in Santa Cruz. He's had custom Rock Lobsters this entire time and he's always telling me about the magic of 'cross. In fact, he has this 20 yr. old Rock Lobster (he also has his race bike) he calls "the black bike" and he a maniac on that thing. After riding yesterday, I fully understand the hype.

I will never race, but having a 'cross bike is definetely the shizzle. I don't even think the On-One Midge bar I have is legal to race.
 
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