- Cross 19/20
Did Ulverston too, my one CX venture of the year. The memory of the pain has subsided sufficiently for me say I enjoyed it. Lost 2.5 mins unjamming a chain but it made no real difference to standings, slipped back a lot from last year fitness wise, which is weird cos I’ve ridden more, was next to last man on the course in V40 😳 and 61 out of 66. Rubbish. Great day put on by BCW.Posted 7 months ago
@Hob_Nob – pleased i didnt race it then, Sunday morning I was thinking I should even though the bike already had filetreads on for Pembrey. I’ve liked all the western league races I’ve done; but the parking at Lockleaze is a real pain which probably adds to the ‘grass roots’ feel
@twinklydave – and Matt’s photos don’t show how exposed it is to the wind 🙂 some weather forecasts have it very windy which is going to make things interesting; both from a tactics point of view and simply not getting blown back down the run-up!
Got to say the photos have really whet my appetite, on Sunday i had convinced myself I had made a huge mistake entering and should DNS, saw his posts on Monday and enthuiasm went into overdrive 🙂 Also in his vid. he says 7.5 minute laps meaning around 6 minutes for the 80% rule so I’m hoping I’ll get 3 laps before being pulledPosted 7 months ago
The Wessex course yesterday was pretty awesome, lots of fun techy wooded sections and lumpy/bumpy/rutted MX course out in the open!
Did eject my saddle on the final lap so swapped to the the SS monstercross in the pits but otherwise a great race! Legs very achy this morning but I guess that means I went 100%.
Found the saddle afterwards but now on the hunt for a new cradle as that is presumed lost in the mud forever! (anyone got a spare to sell?)Posted 7 months ago
I had great fun at the National Trophy at Pembrey yesterday. I thought it was a cracking course and great fun to ride, primarily a power course with technicality largely coming from the number of on and off the bikes required at high speed. Lots of rainfor the vets the day before and forecast rain on the sunday meant I covered myself in sealant being indecisve and changing tyres too many times but settled on an intermediate front, file rear which seemed about perfect. I was expecting to come last and worried I’d only get 2 laps before being pulled. As it was I completed 3 laps before the 80% kicked in an I wasnt quite last so I was pleased with that. Just hit my target of £1 per minute racing (£26 entry fee, just over 25.5 minutes so I rounded up 🙂 ). I also managed to ride the sand hill until just before the top on my last lap when I had a clean run at it which i was pleased with.
Really enjoyed the experiance and I’d definitely enter again if Pembrey has an NT next year… or if there were other NT races relitvely close to home. I need to find 20s a lap to miss the 80% for one more lap! I didnt warm up enough as my legs were feeling like they were getting good by the 3rd lap. In general it was a bit of a shock to the system having not raced for a month, but I did feel like my legs were (relitvely speaking) in good shape so hoping I can have a decent-for-me showing in the regional champs in a couple of weeks.
Welsh league cancellation so will make a trip over the border for the Western League next weekend. Anyone raced at Oldbury Court before? I’m assuming it will be a mud fest!Posted 7 months ago
A mate of mine did his first CX race a couple of weeks back and now wants to enter more. I’ve stupidly suggested a local league race near the end of January and said I’d also enter.
How the hell do I improve my fitness between now and then so I don’t completely embarrass myself?
I’m not horrendously unfit, I commute 35 miles a couple of times a week when I can but I’ve not raced an MTB in about four years and last raced CX (badly) about five years ago.
Help!Posted 7 months ago
Three things I would do.
1) practise skills* – it’s more fun than getting fitter and will have a bigger impact on enjoyment IMO (and probably placement).
2) Depending on the venue by the end of Jan you can expect some running so do some short runs so its not a total shock if you dont already run occaisionally.
3) Do some standing start sprints.
*skills such as getting on and off bike, offcambers, tight corners and riding in mudPosted 7 months ago
Thanks for that.
I’ll try and get some running and skills practice in as well as a few interval sessions. Annoyingly I’m currently suffering with man flu so the training will have to start next week 😂Posted 7 months ago
Good to get a NT race under the belt Ferrals – the 80% rule sounds unforgiving but gives something to aim for next year. Guess you’d want to be hitting a race like that with absolute peak legs but it’s hard to plan with gaps in the race calendar, get the odd cold etc – just have to take the cross season as it comes I reckon.
I’ve had a couple of weeks off the bike with a cold but back on now and will race the N Wales event at the weekend – just outside Chester. Ideally go steady to get back into the swing of things, but once the whistle goes steady isn’t really a thing in cross 🙂Posted 7 months ago
Anyone raced at Oldbury Court before? I’m assuming it will be a mud fest!
It’s been pretty muddy in places in the past and no doubt it will be this year, but it’s never been unrideably muddy. It’s mostly open, draggy (nothing steep) parkland, with a couple of stream crossings.Posted 7 months ago
@Garry_Lager – i don’t really have issue with the 80% rule, it meant I went harder than I normally would and pushed everywhere I could. Good to be forced to approach a race differently and to be honest it was a relief to be pulled after 20 minutes in the red 🤣. Standard was amazing, different level completely. Well worth doing.
@hoopyfrood – cheers, looking forward to it. Though little one is sick so I’m hoping she recovers and I don’t get it or I may not be racing after all.Posted 7 months ago
They didn’t 80% the V40 the day before, which I was glad of.Posted 7 months ago
Are you coming down to race the Welsh champs @Garry_Lager ?
North or England Champs for me, Shedbrewed, weekend after next. In Towneley park in Burnley.Posted 7 months ago
North or England Champs for me, Shedbrewed, weekend after next. In Towneley park in Burnley.
Still umming and arring about this one. It’s just round the corner but I may be getting roped into some DIY! I also need to redeem myself after Ulvertons shambolic performance!Posted 7 months ago
Good day out in Bristol- seemed like half the Welsh league had the same idea. I see what hoopyfrood meant about draggy – even had to pedal on the downs. The wooded stuff was great fun. Not too muddy, but bad enough that my mech stopped shifting with 1/4 a lap to go. luckily it didn’t snap. Good result for me in the top 10.Posted 7 months ago
Looking forward to the Welsh champs now, looks like the course is going to be a cracker!
Hawarden course was good yesterday in the N Wales league, quite picturesque weaving through the hedgerows in the grounds of the castle – admittedly hard to appreciate this when one is breathing out of one’s hoop for 60 mintues.
Mud had dried a little so course was a bike killer, but my drivetrain kept rolling through huge amount of accumulated mud – was kilos heavier by the end. I wonder if the clutch mech actually makes a difference here? Not raced for a few weeks so was gasping a bit early on, but overall happy with the effort.
Does anyone else find the second lap to be the hardest part of a cross race? It’s like a transition point where mentally you’re not sure how things are going, and physically are trying to recover from a hard first lap. Definitely an area to work on for me.Posted 7 months ago
I’m feeling a bit sore this morning after yesterday‘s race in Wittenberg in Germany. Got to start on the second row next to a good riding buddy of mine. In the Start sprint he nudged me offline into the deeper sand and my front wheel started squirming in the sand and clipped the rear wheel of the rider on my other side and down I went with thirty other riders ploughing into the back of me. Fortunately nothing serious to me or bike so brushed myself off, quick check of the bike and chased after the fast disappearing field. Managed to fight my way through but clearly I’m no Van der Poel but still finished 8th. My knee was bleeding during the race a bit but now it’s my shoulder and ribs that hurt from the crash. Next week is the last race in the other regional race series which by some quirk of fate I am actually leading on points even though I haven’t managed a podium once this season. Consistency counts 🙂.Posted 7 months ago
Oh! And if anyone is interested here is a little edit of last week’s race in Dresden. Basically riding up and down a big steep earth mound. Lots of tricky off camber stuff to negotiate. I’m in this vid a few times. Green bike/pink socks.Posted 7 months ago
@Garry_Lager – I find it jsut depends on how the race strings out, its that point when you realise the guys in front have too big a gap and there’s no-one directly behind you that I find the pain really sets in! If i’m in a bunch then concentration/fear of loosing places means the pain doesnt seem so bad. Sundays HR trace was a funny one, there was a clear drop to 10 beats below threshold after 3 1/2 laps when I lost the wheel of someone, and then it ramps up again for the rest of the race when I decided to jump on the wheel of a passing fast moving vet from the wave 1 minute behind 🙂Posted 7 months ago
So regional champs weekend. Who’s racing where? Any goals? Even though I’ll never be anywhere near the podium the champs always seem to have a bit more significance than a league race.. I guess its double BC points if nothing else!
The Welsh champs are at Gilwern, I’ve only raced there once in a small local race, but really enjoyed the mix of open field and wooded stuff. That time I had a cracking contest with another rider where we were switching positions depending on strengths around the lap and it came down to me messing up the penultimate corner that decided that particular battle. I’m just hoping for racing as tight as that on Sunday. Don’t have any goals to speak of, legs are feeling good so it would be nice to think I could try and beat one of they guys who have been regularly in front of me in the league this season but can’t see it happening.Posted 7 months ago
@ferrals yes see you there. Might even have my spare bike with me…Posted 7 months ago
Definitely taking a spare bike, currently trying to line up some pit help and access to a jet-washer! Can you remember if there are taps there.. I think there is?Posted 7 months ago
I’ll be mixing it with the Men of the North at Towneley Park. Raced there last year and thought it was OK, but it was a harsh day weather wise, so perhaps I’ll see it in a different light at the weekend. Main field was heavy but rideable last year IIRC, so hoping for that – not in the mood for a footrace.
The course also has a hill, which is bad news for me, but it’s on a good gravel path which helps measure the effort.
No real goals as I have a limited frame of reference – Did the champs last year at Bradford and was miles down the field, albeit with a lap on the rim of a flat tubeless tyre. So I’ll take anything better than that I guess.Posted 7 months ago
Well that was an emotional clart fest to round off the Welsh Cx League and champs.Posted 7 months ago
One of the, if not the toughest course of the league calendar for me. It felt like 30% of it was shouldering the bike through thick uphill mud.
After an unusually crap start I had a pretty good race. First time with a spare bike and it was great to be able to drop the heavy mud-clogged Boone off and jump on the freshly built Crockett for a lap and half before swapping back. I found the terreno wet tyres gripped better than the limus tubulars. I don’t know how I feel about that but they were definitely getting me through the slop.
Had a fun little tete a tete with @ferrals towards the end. He didn’t look happy.
Almost stayed in front of my mate but it was his birthday so only fitting he came back through, pesky ex-runner.
Not sure on place but think inside top 20.
To give an idea of how tough it was we were racing for an hour and my Garmin recorded 50 minutes of moving time (above 3mph).
Yeah not a good day for me @shedbrewed. Can’t really work out why, legs had been feeling good all week and in practice I was feeling fresh and liked the course, could ride most of the woods, but it didn’t come together for the race. Think I sat up a bit after finding myself in no mans land a couple of laps in. A self releasing boa dial didn’t help, had to stop twice to get it tightened.
After the rain/hail before the start made it slippery before our race I think it became the hardest course I remember racing.
Pretty gutted, had half been thinking to call it a season after the champs but don’t really want to end on a low after a generally good season so will stick with original plan for a western league race or two in the new year.Posted 7 months ago
Top 20 sounds an excellent result @shedbrewed, well done.
Hard to describe the N of England champs so I’ll settle for different. Don’t think I’m exaggerating to say we ran 80% of the course. In terms of time it might have been 90%+, total quagmire, blokes shouldering their bike on the start line.
Started at the back and a circuit of the main field had me in the back ten going into the climb, I’m normally pretty good with the head in a race but have to say this was disheartening, miles behind and a prospect of a 5k run through a swamp to look forward to. But I pulled myself together and tried to make the best of it, got into a few battles and made a race of it. Ended up 34th out of 56 starters, which I’m pretty pleased with tbh given the conditions.
The race was hard AF, but in a different way to a normal cross. Prob said before but I like short sharp runs in cross, but proper sustained running is not my game at all. Legs were in legit pain by the end, no way could I have got round another lap.Posted 7 months ago
@Garry_Lager cheers; results in and 14th. I’m pleased enough with that. I’ve seen some insta pics from Towneley park. **** that. I’ve raced in similar slop a few years back at Caerphilly Mountain Ranch and it was horrendous even on a singlespeed. Well done for sticking it.Posted 7 months ago
@ferrals I was surprised to see you to be honest, figured it wasn’t working for you. Apologies for almost collecting you on that Fed descent; in my defence I was descending on the RHS and you were on the left until you weren’t 😄 There were some cheeky dimples on that part.
So finished the last race of the season and the last race of the series. I was the series leader overall on account of being consistently top 5. Our race was delayed and so I missed my roll call at the front row as I was trying to keep warm by riding around. So under the typical German bureaucracy I had to start right at the back. On top of that I had a rear puncture at the start of the second lap so had to change my wheel. Still managed to battle through the field of what was a super technical course in Chemnitz and finished 7th which meant I had enough for 2nd place overall. So I have another tacky trophy to put on the mantle piece 😉.Posted 7 months ago
Well done G_L – I saw you were decently up the results considering the conditions. Junior wanted to race so Mrs wasn’t given the option to sack it off. She likes running, just not with a bike. Looking at results, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people that entered and didn’t race.
I happily did diy in readiness for plasterers on Tuesday 🙂Posted 7 months ago
Nw Champs. I’ve never run (jogged) so far in a cross race before! Looked across on the start line at the two Robs (Jebb and Hope) and thought “Wonder which one will get it”! No-one else stood a chance in those conditions.
(Jebb got it).
The idea of the course was great (and in super wet conditions last year it was still quite rideable) but today it was just a run. The only rideable bits were the gravel climb through the woods, a couple of sections of the descent (because you were pointing downwards!) and 3/4s of the straight at the bottom of the main field (though speed wise there was little difference to carrying on jogging). And that was with the course being drastically shortened by the (seriously hard working!) organisers.
Everyone that fought on through that deserves some sort of “double hard b*stard” medal 🙂
Really, really hoping York is more rideable next weekend!Posted 7 months ago
@Garry_Lager sounds pretty brutal. Agree short sharp runs are msuch more palatable than long jogs. Sounds like you did well in the conditions.
16th senior for me, which sounds ok but there were only twenty starters.Posted 7 months ago
In general it seems this year the guys I used to race against have got faster (or I,ve got slower!) and the field sizes have dropped a fair bit so fewer mid-pack and tail-Enders racing. Means I’ve not had as many close races as in the past. Had better racing when I’ve gone to other leagues.
Really need to up my training but am really struggling for time with work and a toddler. Also being a bad workman, I’m getting fed up with my tools. The ultegra RX rear mech seems to refuse to shift down the block when there is the slightest bit of mud, I re-cabled two weeks ago so think it is the mech itself. Also getting frustrated with my frame, finding the focus mares frame is clogging up a lot and realised I actually prefer the steeper head angle of my pit bike. Unfortunately as the bike is still no the paid off yet there is no way I’m changing it!
@ferrals I had similar with the refusal to down shift at the muddy Tredegar round. Found a clod of mud in the shifter causing the issue.Posted 7 months ago
After recabling with an outer the whole run.
I get your work/toddler scenario and have similar. Flexi time has helped me a lot; being able to start and finish early.
Stick at it.
CHeers Thom, am hatching a plan to buy a power meter to improve training quality for what time I have!
The shifting is weird, I was having half lap changes so should ahve been ok, coming out of the pits onto the grass straight it was shifting down fine, but by the time I’d got through the woods, remounting after the run-up onto the road it wouldnt shift down… every bloody lap! it seems to be as soon as the jockey wheels are clogged the shifting fails, but that doesnt make sense to me.Posted 7 months ago
I’ve just bolted an RX mech to the bike I’m building for next season once my back repairs itself.
Wondered if I would be better just running a cheaper 105 mech for races, would that work with a narrow wide chainring or would I need a guide as well?
Re: pedals, I was using Time Atacs for the last two seasons but see most people run Shimano. Are Shimano pretty clog proof then?Posted 7 months ago
In the family we’ve got two people running Ultegra RX and one on GRX. Constantly foul conditions and no pitting or bike changes with no problems at all. The change to RX was because of repeated chain drops on certain bumpy courses with NW, front guide and std road rear mechs. No chain drops at all in the year since swapping to clutch and ditching the front guide.Posted 7 months ago
Great, was worried also about the cost of replacing RX if I ripped it off but touch wood this has never happened to me so far…Posted 7 months ago
I was one of the non-starters yesterday up at Townley Park, it wasn’t the conditions that put me off, I’ve contracted the seasonal child borne winter disease that’s circulating our house at the moment and thought it wise not to race, decision was made on the way there. The programme for the day was set when the U16 girls race was shortened to 2 laps due to the conditions and they only got worse from there on in.
So I spent the day pitting for the rest of our team that was racing / running the course, so a different day for me.
One of our ladies was 2nd in V40, she happens to be a former fell runner and top level off-road du-athlete in a race that was won by another (apparent) fell runner type.
Big respect to those who finished yesterday, I was frankly amazed how fast the Rob’s were with a bike attached to their shoulders.Posted 7 months ago
@mick_r agreed the clutch really hleps with bumpy courses. If you guys have had no shifting issues with the mech I’ll have to have another look at my set-up. I guess something might be sticking in the shifter itself or maybe I need to tweak the cable routing to reduce friction as much as possible as shifitng with increasing cable pull is fine, but with mud the shift when cable should be pulled back with the mech spring just isnt happening. Seems a consistent issue too.Posted 7 months ago
Thinking about it, I have had sticky rear STI shifter issues with the lad’s road bike (11spd 105). He managed to snap the cable where it bends inside the ratchet mechanism. Had lots of issues after that which were a few tiny strands jamming it up preventing it ratcheting / releasing properly.
I had to strip the lever down to get it cleared out and working again. By some miracle it worked after rebuild 🙂 The ratchet internals are very very lightly spring loaded and don’t work if gummed up or anything is in the way. I think the rubber of the hood can also occasionally jam it. So maybe it is a shifter issue?Posted 7 months ago
Thanks Mick. My shifters are also 105, I would be shocked if they arent half full of mud! I will try stripping down the shifter – was it a pain to do? Sometihng to look at on youtube and try over chrsitmas!Posted 7 months ago
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