Cyclocross - Challenging Effort

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/51575590

For those like our mayoralty candidate Rob Ford, that think that we should do marathons in parks, the better answer is to do bike races in parks (by the way every major city in the world hosts marathons on the city streets, Toronto should just embrace the idea - editorial is over).

So for my first time ever, I participated in a cyclocross race - what an experience. It is too bad that you really need a different setup for your bike in order to participate in these, because otherwise I would suggest that everyone do one of these races. They are a huge challenge - why?

well,
  • the full 40 minutes is max heart rate, just like a criterium.
  • If you fall, the grass is soft, road rash doesn't happen here
  • the are all kinds of technical tight turns, hairpins, hill climbs and obstacles
  • you need to jump off and then jump onto your bike, hopefully without hurting yourself
  • you need to clip into pedals on the fly with dirt and mud on the bottom of your shoes
  • there is no drafting, at least not in my race (could have been where i finished!)
  • it is rare to ride on pavement, mostly grass, mud, and sand - not the traditional environment
Well, I still don't know where I finished, but I found out a couple of things. I have a hard time clipping out of eggbeater pedals on the go (three times I tried clipping out, once I went down, twice my bike became airborne although i managed to hang onto it). Getting onto the bike was easier than it was when i was practicing, not once did i hit the saddle square (guys you know what i mean!). Clipping in on the fly was different again, no doubt my speed suffered as I was constantly challenged to get my feet anchored with mud and grass on the bottoms. My bike handling was solid, i had no problems with the quick climbs or the hairpins although the large hill was a menace. I find looking at the training peaks graph very interesting as I will not look at Christie Pits the same way again. Riding across hills, up and down little crests following hairpins, and double hairpins up the side of a hill all made it a challenge.
I will likely do these again, once I get my rear wheel trued given it took the brunt of one of those airborne late clip out experiences.

Views: 12

Comment by Jeff N on October 3, 2010 at 5:54pm
way to go QB! The description is the same, other than having to dismount as a mountain bike race. You might try coming out with us on a mtbike monday with the cross bike to get some more experience!
cheers, Jeff
Comment by Kerri on October 3, 2010 at 9:12pm
Sounds like so much fun QB! What could be better than riding hard, getting dirty and knowing that the landing space, if you end up going down, is soft? I have been to one cross race as a spectator and what amazed me was the incredible effort required, and that was just the warmup laps! Way to go and thanks for the report!
Comment by Alexx Hooper on October 3, 2010 at 11:02pm
QB, sounds great! I agree with Jeff, your cross bike would be great for most of the trails we do on Mondays, and you'd have a fun time (you'd get to hang out with BCC people EVEN MORE!!!!). I've found that my bike handling skills have improved SO much since I've been mountain biking this summer, and cyclocross looks like a lot of fun. You're right - falling isn't so scary on those trails - you're not going as fast as on a road bike, and the stuff you land on is mostly squishy (and muddy and sometimes pointey...). I often fell 8-12 times on most rides and, aside from having to give up my job as a leg model (all the big purple bruises), I wasn't hurt and had loads of fun.

Is there any kind of bike riding that you don't do? Maybe we'll see you soon in a BMX race! And did I see you the other day on a banana bike with big ape-hanger handlebars....

I think there might soon be a call for a BCC Cross night... (I'm sure Demetre, Marco, and Dru Wanie would be into it!)
Comment by Paul van Dongen on October 4, 2010 at 3:16pm
Soon as get a bike, I'm trying this.
Comment by qb on October 4, 2010 at 10:30pm
Marco, thanks for the great thoughts. The cleats are brand new so I cant blame the product I have to blame the user. I have to admit that while i did practice I have not practiced enough. So I will need to get better, which will happen. On the issue of the toe spike, my shoes do allow for that and I will put them in. So that is definitely something I could have used particularly climbing the large hill. I am not quite convinced that this is my sport, but I am certainly going to keep at it.

To Paul, there were actually a fair number of riders who had hard tail mountain bikes, which seemed to work, although I am not sure I would want to pick them up and carry them over the barriers. But hey, at least you can get started and the race fees are quite reasonable.
qb
Comment by DRU on October 5, 2010 at 8:32am
Sounds like a great race QB! Steep learning curve huh?!

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