Cyclocross changed my life

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 60 total)
  • Cyclocross changed my life
  • techsmechs
    Member

    Cyclocross season is just round the corner and I wanted to share my tale of woe so it may inspire someone else to take it up.

    2010 was the first year I picked up a cyclocross bike. I was just turned 30 and overweight. 5’8″ and 93kg. I agreed to ride the tour of Flanders sportive with a friend and thought I better get some winter miles in and a cheap cross bike filled the gap perfectly. So 2 weeks later I rolled to the start line of my local cross race, lycra stretched to breaking point and I waited – I waited like the 12 year old I was when I first raced a MTB. I was already hooked. The race itself was awful, hard fast and I struggled to stay with people I should be with and I struggled fend off the old and infirm right at the back. I loved it, the cut and thrust of proper elbow to elbow racing. I rode all that season through the long dark evenings and raced on Sundays and rediscovered what I loved about riding a bike. By the time I hit the Koppenberg I was 81kg and enjoying it again.

    A few seasons pass and I move up the field and I beat people one week and they beat me the next, all good fun. Cyclocross at this point is a way of staying fit through the winter. Or so I think, now as the summers roll past I feel the urge to focus on September rather than March and start looking at carbon cross bikes more and more. I realise I’m becoming a ‘cross racer, and I like it.

    That summer I race an XC race and I’m whipped – I think I roll in dead last, and it hits me square in the chest. All these years of racing coming last and ‘not caring’ about the performance had finally got to me. I sat with my wife and we decided that if I wanted to race I either had to do it properly or not at all. So I start riding, not like I had been, but properly and really racking up the mileage. Another cross season arrives, and all of a sudden i’m top10 rather than top25, Im now disappointed if i’m beaten by certain people, the races continue, i’m putting moves onto groups and getting shout ups to give me time gaps.

    Its getting serious! Really serious, I find a coach and start using a power meter and focussing on ‘A’ and ‘B’ races. Results are now top5, and I’m mixing it in the group that would have lapped me only a couple of seasons before hand. That was last season.

    Fast forward to now, 2weeks before the biggest race of my life and a week before my season kicks off. I have ridden all summer and worked hard for the last 12months on the bike. My focus has been a race just outside Boston MA called the GP of Gloucester and I have never been more excited about racing a bicycle.

    22years ago I started a bike race that has lead me to a life of bike racing that I never imagined would make me so many friends and take me across the world. Just a few years ago, I got out of breath climbing the stairs and now I sit here 18kgs lighter. I’m not a talented bike rider, but I wanted to pretend to be one once in my life.

    If you’ve got this far down, I salute you. And if I inspire you to try cyclocross once get it done, it might change your life too!

    Premier Icon nemesis
    Subscriber

    You should post this over on grit.cx

    I do agree though, CX rocks (and I never race)

    Jamie
    Member

    IRATS.

    Good work, fella.

    Gotama
    Member

    Yep, good work and agreed, they’re great fun to ride and although I don’t race I would like a go.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Salute’ Sir.

    Proper well done and the very best of luck in the Gloucester CX.

    πŸ˜€

    funkhouser
    Member

    yeah, folk talk about about a winter training alternative – at least with a CX you can still get off the frickin tarmac and do some interesting rides. dont need one tho, i just ride mtb always.

    TiRed
    Member

    Well done and good luck. It is never to late to start racing. I started at 45 and am in my second season of road racing and now finishing top third in the bunch. Good luck in Boston.

    Great Post OP. I feel inspired after reading that.

    This year is going to my first racing CX and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great sport and I’m equally looking forward to going to the Worlds (to spectate) at Milton Keynes in November.

    Good luck in Boston!

    mrblobby
    Member

    Not reading all that…. I’m already struggling to resist the purchase of a CX race bike πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon benji
    Member

    Cross is addictive, and marmite at the same time, if it gets you, it gets you bad. Great post as well OP, nicely written. Love cross season, but have mixed it this year with some XC and endurance mountain biking to try and help my technical skills. It doesn’t matter how you are riding there is someone to be racing with. Another spin you can put on it is singlespeed cross bikes, they are brilliant fun as well.

    lemonysam
    Member

    Excellent, I was just humming and hawing about whether to do any races this winter and I think you might have swayed me in favour.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    πŸ˜€

    Nice one! For the riding, the racing, the journey and the writing. All good!

    I entered my first CX “race” last night. Rapha thing at Ally Pally in November (?? I should check the date!) Fun class, inc. Tequila, apparently – should at least make the actual bike riding comparatively more pleasant!

    Ro5ey
    Member

    Great post, ta.

    Been thinking about having a go myself… but… Will I die, if I do it on a MTB?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Nice post.. enjoyed that.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Been thinking about having a go myself… but… Will I die, if I do it on a MTB?

    Not if it’s a 29er Ro5ey ,they are just like cross bikes πŸ˜€

    Runs away

    techsmechs
    Member

    Thanks for the kind responses.

    Ro5ey – Not only will you not die, you’ll be welcomed

    nedrapier – I’m there too!

    If anyone is local to the Western League, Bristol, Gloucester, Cheltenham ish – Come along and take a look. The friendliest bunch of racers I’ve ever met. Maybe the more stupid the sport, the smaller the egos? and cross is pretty stupid…

    wilburt
    Member

    Great post may have just pushed me over the edge!

    If anyone is local to the Western League, Bristol, Gloucester, Cheltenham ish – Come along and take a look. The friendliest bunch of racers I’ve ever met. Maybe the more stupid the sport, the smaller the egos? and cross is pretty stupid…

    Got me wondering who you are now?.. Who do you race for?

    I also love cross

    techsmechs
    Member

    VC Montpellier.

    Blue and White kit – I’m sure we’ve raced head to head…

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    How fit do you have to be not to come last?
    Just slightly curious..
    Normally average about 17mph with typical road rides of 1000ft/ 10miles.
    How much running is involved?
    Does it suit certain types of rider?
    Im small 5ft5 and 60kg.. so not carrying much excess.
    Grappling hooks to get over the fences?

    lemonysam
    Member

    How fit do you have to be not to come last?
    Just slightly curious..
    Normally average about 17mph with typical road rides of 1000ft/ 10miles.

    In the three I did last year I came 5th from back, 6th from back and 7th from the back. I’d say we’d be* pretty much similar in terms of speed and fitness – although I’m 8 inches taller and was at least 25kg heavier than you at that point.

    *comparing to me this time last year.

    edit: in all three there was someone there who knew they were going to be last going in but was having a go anyway.

    starrman82
    Member

    [If anyone is local to the Western League, Bristol, Gloucester, Cheltenham ish – Come along and take a look. The friendliest bunch of racers I’ve ever met. Maybe the more stupid the sport, the smaller the egos? and cross is pretty stupid…]

    Second that, I’ve not raced Western league for a while apart from some of the summer series a year or so ago. Terrific fun, when i started the fields were very small & it looked like Cross wouldn’t survive, more popular than ever now. πŸ™‚

    minnellium
    Member

    Great post. Moved me.

    @cloudnine it’s just “racing” really – some courses / conditions suit some riders, and other ones suit others … but the same lot are usually up there and there’s not many places to hide like Road Racing
    You’ll be fine if you’re that light!!

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    You will be a long way from last. Typically pointless little obstacles or short banks rather than lots of running. Here’s a stupid movie to get you excited: https://vimeo.com/105354732

    techsmechs
    Member

    Cloudnine – Once the race starts everyone spreads out over a shortish course – So apart from the winner, no one really knows whos who!

    Cross doesn’t really have any one type of body shape that suits, you’ll probably be better than me in thick mud for example, but courses over the season really spread out the advantages.

    For real inspiration check out Ernest Gagnon

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Can you do it on an MTB?

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    Any bike.. just no bar ends

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    Nice post, looking to break my cx racing duck in a couple of weeks(as is mrs kilo)strangely excited which is odd as I am shockingly bad at mtb racing and am not really planning any of that this year

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I just looked up the Welsh league. Looks like they have an under 8 category that’s 9 mins long. Anyone know what the courses are like for them? Mostly flat and grass I’d expect?

    Premier Icon Clover
    Subscriber

    I used to just like riding my bike. Then I did a cyclocross race. It’s not been pretty since…

    Get yourself over to grit.cx… we need your enthusiasm. Oh and I need some advice about Hope bling πŸ˜‰

    andy3809
    Member

    Interested in this as just bought a kinesis crosslight to commute to work (old and a bit of a shed but I love it)

    What kind of distance or time are the races over?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s generally as many laps as you can in an hour ish – the Welsh ones I looked at were 50 mins.

    First lap of the Ridley Western league filmed by the banjo rider

    I make an appearance in the white and black check kit
    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA9ZV10yWuU[/video]

    Did you race today techsmechs?

    Loving the chip timing. results up very quickly and you can compare lap times without faffing with garmins

    stanfree
    Member

    I got my new Cx bike last night and looking forward to a Halloween Cx race soon. I’ve only done one in came 6th from last so hopefully the new bike may get to 7th from last. Cx bikes are great but sadly mean you wont ride your mtb as much.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    I marshalled my second CX race today. Bring from an MTB background and now having finally found my road legs, I’m being convinced to ride CX.

    I’d need to sell my winter road bike & O-O 29er to fund it – what do roadies say about winter bikes with disks on? 😯

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    Just do it on your 29er?

    Top two places in last weeks cx race were on 29ers…

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Were they 32lb and single speed? Plus of course it trims down the number of bikes in the shed by one, my wife will be pleased.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    There was a bloke at the London league today riding a turner with a set of 36’s in……I’m not saying it’s not hard work….

    If it helps I used two gears today. Mainly because I’m fat and useless

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Was that at Gunpowder park Flange?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 60 total)

The topic ‘Cyclocross changed my life’ is closed to new replies.