- Do only fast riders race in XC ?
I did my first XC race on Sunday, Round 1 of the Midlands XC Series at Hanchurch, and got a bit of a shock.
I've done a few solo endurance events and usually placed quite well.
20 laps at Cheddar last year which got me 3rd/5 veteran solo male. I would have been 9th/30 if I'd entered the open class. 15th/50 in 2008.
12 laps at Bristol for 29th/61 in the open class. 31st/74 in 2008.
So, all in all, I was expecting to do reasonably well, for my age, if not overall.
When we got there we noticed just about everyone else was wearing team kit.
Several had bike stands and awnings, a few were warming up on rollers. They were obviously taking it seriously.
I did the 4 lap veteran race. Everyone else raced off ahead of me at the start. "Ha ha," I thought "They'll never hold that pace, I'll catch them after a couple of laps."
I never saw most of them again until they started to lap me. 😳
50th/59 veteran male.Posted 10 years ago
Everything went right. The course was fast and dry, no long slogging climbs, plenty of twisty singletrack. Everything was just the way I like it.
Having 49 riders beat me is not a problem, it just felt like the 100 slower riders I should have beaten didn't turn up that day.
Don't slow riders race XC ?
There's a big difference being fast on an XC race and being fast in an enduro… you need to do a lot more interval type training to be a fast XCer…
Don't slow riders race XC ?
Years ago, yes they did because everyone (almost) raced XC. Nowadays, XC is much less popular with 'normal' riders so it's mainly people who actually consider themselves XC racers who show up.Posted 10 years ago
Yep I raced masters at Gorrick Rnd ? yesterday, and I was slooooooooowwwwwwww in comparison, but I enjoyed it so I don't care! Ended up having a fair battle with a couple of other equally slow riders!Posted 10 years ago
Though one of the UK's best endurance riders(Ian Leitch) rode in the super master cat in Gorrick yesterday and won it…Posted 10 years ago
12 laps at Bristol for 29th/61 in the open class. 31st/74 in 2008.
I remember you, yellow jersey, black SS, correct?Posted 10 years ago
Try a cyclocross race, those guys are much slower.
/snicker..Posted 10 years ago
Maybe you're not as fit as you were. But xc racing is serious stuff…Posted 10 years ago
During the summer there will be more slower riders, probably.Posted 10 years ago
But that's what racings like. The top ten want to win, the top twenty want to be in the top ten and so on, not many people are there just for the ride unlike enduros.
Plus the xc thing being jey is a myth as you found out, IME racers hit the course hard and there's only one way round it and that's fast.
Try the road, I'm racing next weekend and my mouth goes dry thinking about it.
There are so many more tyes of event these days. For the type of rider who is just looking to finish, endurance rides appeal as they represent a personal challenge.
To compare it with running, 1000s of people will run a marathon just to finish but relatively few do track 5Ks in summer and those that do are probably pretty fast.Posted 10 years ago
What clubber said, all the people doing it for a larf do the bigger marathon events now which are arguably better value for money (riding time per pound).Posted 10 years ago
Ahhhh…. sheesh, I think XC racing probably was (and always will be) THE most hardest thing I've ever done*. I've raced middle distance track athletics, cross-country running at national level, half-marathons, duathlons, 24hr MTB stuff, roadie TTs, and 1 and a 1/2 hrs burning your lungs out doing laps round some soulless godforsaken forestry commission plantation – wins it every time. The. Actual. Meaning. Of. Harsh.
It's the fact that you have to to a full-on, absolutely maxxed out sprint for 3 minutes at the start, then sustain that into race pace for over an hour or so, fighting people all the way, through mud, singletrack and tree stumps – as if your very life depended on it.
Sounds like fun? 😕Posted 10 years ago
* an ex XC racer.
Good point. ac282, comparing it with running.
I've noticed a lot of riders at marathons look upon just finishing a 50km or 100km mountainous course as a challenge in itself.
Anyone can ride 4 x 7km laps round a wood, so if you're not up with the leaders, where's the challenge in that ?
KINGTUT, pink lycra jersey and black Santa Cruz. And not a singlespeed, I have got some self respect. It was a Rohloff.Posted 10 years ago
KINGTUT, pink lycr
a jersey and black Santa Cruz. And not a singlespeed, I have got some self respect. It was a Rohloff.
Yep that's right, although I did think it was a SS at the time, to busy huffing and puffing to notice the hub.Posted 10 years ago
Basically, yes. All the weekend warriors now go to Mayhem or do Meridas for their event fix, cos they are much easier. The only people left are hardcore, for the most part. There are some more aspiring racers shall we say in Open, so it's definitely the easiest category. ALL the other cats only contain people who are trying to win..
And it is, as no eyed dear says, totally mental. You have to fight and ride as hard as you absolutely can in every corner, climb, straight, descent and singletrack – for an hour and a half. With someone breathing down your neck. The pressure is incredible…Posted 10 years ago
what shocked me on sunday was the amount of elites in the sport cat! Still loved it! You get a good feeling when you beat team riders 😆Posted 10 years ago
no. there are some well slow people at gorrick races. i'm not fast and theres lots behind me!
all having fun though. and thats the point. eh. 😀Posted 10 years ago
Define elites? I wouldn't have thought there were any actual elite riders in sport. Plenty of people who look the part in all categories, including fun/open! Edit: looking at the results, no chippers in sport, so afraid you didn't beat any elites Will!
I disagree with molgrips, I think there are plenty of people there who have no real intention (or chance) of winning. The Gorricks are a classic example, commonly over 100 riders in fun and open, most of whom are just in it for a laugh!
The trouble with Midlands, Southern and Scottish XC though is that they're BC ranked, so a lot of the quick boys will go to get ranking points.Posted 10 years ago
Njee – I meant that the categories apart from Open and obviously Fun are there for people who want to win. Like I say, Open does contain a lot of more normal riders…
Sport does not contain ANYONE who is in it just for a laugh. Trust me 🙂 Actually, it may contain a few people who last raced 15 years ago and still think Sport is for those moving on from Fun 🙂Posted 10 years ago
Gorricks has people who arent trying to win, but this year the numbers have dropped massively so the percentage of people taking it seriously does seem to have increased.
It also has to be said you entered veteran.
At the gorrick veteran is a pretty serious category.
Only open and fun have people who arent taking it too seriously.Posted 10 years ago
ok well they looked elite etc… I know you can't judge a book by it.s cover and all that, but i guess i was expecting a slightly slower pace. The junior winner was amazing!Posted 10 years ago
Them so called jeyers are unbelievabley fit. I couldnt get over those cx guys they are ridiculously quickPosted 10 years ago
Sport does not contain ANYONE who is in it just for a laugh. Trust me
I was in sport until 2008, in the middle in 2006 then very much at the pointy end in 2007, it's certainly not slow, but does fit in nicely between open and expert, which is where it's supposed to be!Posted 10 years ago
think racing enduro flatters a cyclist. we came mid pack at MM and slept through a good portion of the night.
EVERY other race ive ever raced, i have been blown away by how fast people are. perhaps sport is just a lot more serious these days!Posted 10 years ago
The Junior on Sunday was quite good – but he was Australian Champion I thinkPosted 10 years ago
The XC and CX races are very different to the enduros but part of it is just getting used to the intensity. I think the guy that won the Sports Class was in his first mountain bike race but I know he is quick on the road. I was parked right by the fence with the red awning and black disco. Only put it all up because my lad wanted to feel a bit more pro. Reality is we just ride a bit and race for fun. The rollers or turbo is a good idea for these short races as you do need to be on it from the start
Difficult to compare, but the guy who won the junior race doesn't look as quick as Steve James or Kenta Gallagher, the fast juniors are really fast!
Rollers/turbo always strikes me as too much faff, I just ride up and down the road a bit!Posted 10 years ago
nje, I always imagined you warmign up on a £8K road bike on some turbo trainer before racing. I am crestfallen.Posted 10 years ago
Do only fast riders race in XC ?
nah – you were 'racing'Posted 10 years ago
I think the guy that won the Sports Class was in his first mountain bike race but I know he is quick on the road.
Says it all 😉Posted 10 years ago
MilitantGraham – sorry mate, I was one of the guys that beat you in vets, I had a mid-pack finish lapping in around 26mins. You are right, at the sharp end even in Vets its well quick (21mins), I'm woefully off the pace. I reckon you need to be doing 8-10hrs+ a week with some pretty intense riding thrown in to get anywhere near the top end. I'm lucky if I get 5hrs in a week.Posted 10 years ago
If I had entered a different class, with my lap times, I reckon I would have been top third in Fun, top half in Open or near last in Sports.
"Sport" sounded fast, but I wanted to do 4 laps, so I entered veterans. I just didn't expect them to be that fast as well.
tracknicko, I think you're right. My previous results in marathons have certainly flattered me. I've always known I'm a long way behind the leaders, but there are always plenty of very slow riders to make me look good. Take them away and it's me who's struggling at the back.Posted 10 years ago
If you plot times against position, there's always a distinctive curve. there's a few very fast people, then a load of averages and some crap people or people with mechanicals at the end.
Getting close to the point where the graph trends up wards is reasonable toa achieve. Getting into the steep part is where each extra place is exponentially more difficult to achieve. As in, from a field of say 100, getting 20th is reaosnable, 10th is pretty damn hard, and 5th takes a lifetime of hardcore training 🙂Posted 10 years ago
nje, I always imagined you warmign up on a £8K road bike on some turbo trainer before racing. I am crestfallen.
I spin up and down the road on my £8k road bike, more people see it than if I use a turbo 🙂Posted 10 years ago
I've never done an xc with the fun/sport/open classes. I wouldn't know what to enter. I have some planned this year but most of my racing is road and cross and I'm 50 plus. What group should I enter in, I'd rather have a tough race than pot hunt.Posted 10 years ago
Grand Vets is >50, usually a pretty small class, there are some quick chaps like Ray Crossthwaite, but the time gaps are usually big.Posted 10 years ago
It's grand vet, innit? 50+?Posted 10 years ago
I rode at Hanchurch at the weekend. Intended to ride in the Open class,but that was in the afternoon,so I rode the Fun Class.Posted 10 years ago
Like Graham ,I was surprised by how quick they set-off,wrongly thought that they'd struggle on the first climb.Wrong. Took me a while to get up to speed.
I know the lad that finished second in the Sport class. He's had knee problems for a while and didn't expect to do well. He's a seriouslygood rider,but wasn't pot-hunting.
Talking of turbo trainers,saw a young lad on one with his Dad proudly watching. I found it quite depressing.
Really enjoyed the day,good course and great weather.
50+ will that be a short race as a rule? I could race 50+ in the cross league but it means a shorter race. I prefer to mix with juniors/seniors.Posted 10 years ago
When my son did hid first road race at 12 most of the other kids were on those little fold up turbos. Good idea I think getting properly warmed up.
oldgit you should enter sport class then.
No age limit in midlands series (or nationals). the winners are pretty darn quick too, lots of entries and very competitive.
this weekend i raced open. i mainly do it for a laugh but the course at hanchurch was superb. way better fun than a few trail centres i could mention.Posted 10 years ago
Den,glad you enjoyed Hanchurch.It's my local,there's plenty more fun to be had in the woods. I prefer it to the trail centres.Posted 10 years ago
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