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STW does Cyclocross: 23/24 Season
I don’t think I’ve seen 23/24 CX thread yet. We had our last local summer ‘warm up’ race yesterday at Torbay Velopark and the season starts ‘proper’ on the 10th of September.
I had a good race last week, with a 2nd place in a fairly quiet senior field, but the legs didn’t show up for yesterday – managed to salvage 4th but not my finest ride. Although the youngest won her U10 category in her first ever race which more than made up for it!
Anyone else looking forward to racing/spectating/watching ‘cross this season?JezkiddFree Member
Just finished the central league summer series, put in my standard performance (grist for the mill).
Roll on September!
Wanted to race the Central League this season but won’t be even remotely close to being fit (yet again)
I’ll get to about the end of November and be really pissed off with myself for not getting my finger out and getting fit enough to race (yet again).
Maybe next year…13thfloormonkFull Member
Not this year ☹️
The same old tickle is making me think about putting the CX bike back together, but I had promised myself a winter of rehab/prehab in the gym in preparation for a big year next year, sadly CX season comes just as my body is crying out for some respite and TLC!
Will probably follow thread anyway and maybe dabble in the late season/early spring races for a bit of fun.MrPottatoHeadFull Member
First evening race in just over a week and then I’ll be doing a select few Wessex league again. I’ll still be propping up the rear of the field having made myself lots of promises to improve after last rear and then riding very little this year. Looking forward to it though.
I’ll race a mix of NW / NWales – moving up to elite this year, V50 🙂
My daughter is also moving up age category to U14, which looks like quite a big step – 30 min races from 15 at U12. Hope she will enjoy it, I’m telling her the courses will be way more interesting. Suspect this is a watershed for a lot of kids in whether they want to keep racing.
I have an entry for the 3 peaks next month which is my main focus atm, as I’ve not done it before. The cycling is in hand but the striding is going to fold me. Need to get the bike on the shoulder as much as poss this month to at least take the edge off it.
Thinking about this has got me thinking about CX bikes.
I’m now wondering if a new CX bike would encourage me to actually get fit again? My current 14 year old Tricross singlespeed probably isn’t the greatest bike for racing!
Hopefully going to do some of the Wessex CX rounds this winter. I’ll be using my cotic escapade with cx tyres instead of a dedicated bike. Daughter is in her last year of u12 but first year on 700c. She did last year’s race on a MTB so hoping she will be better placed this year.
My current 14 year old Tricross singlespeed probably isn’t the greatest bike for racing
I’m racing this season on my Crosscheck SS after one too many derailleur issues at a particularly muddy race a year or so ago.
So far though, the warm up races have been on a pan flat course so I haven’t had a chance to give it a go on anything more taxing yet!
Yes. Cxne. First one next Saturday.
First season as a vet. Strong senior season last year (win, few podiums, 2nd in the league). Vets is normally more competitive though. Riders more committed to turning up every week so less chance for me to get lucky.mick_rFull Member
Also due to be moving into vet 50 of NWCCA with Garry_Lager. But not entering the league this year – not trained or motivated enough when there are nice rides from home. Will just play it by ear and enter the odd one if we like the venue and feel up for it. Which reminds me we need to volunteer for duties at the national race at Crooklands. And maybe pedal round adjoining 3 peaks bridleways/ roads to cheer some people.
I fitted up a set of Michelin Muds (in green a la 2017 world champs era Wout Van Aert) onto my Cross Check and went for a training ride (AKA piss around) in the woods on Thursday.
Had a great time nursing it down some of the steep stuff and it went surprisingly well given how wet it all was! Only one OTB incident to report but it was so slow I was absolutely fine.
I forgot how fun a cross bike is in the woods!tthewFull Member
After a number of years when the NW league didn’t ask my club, (Weaver Valley) to organise one, we’re back at it. So as well as a bit of joint organising, (I did it on my own for a few years) I’ll be able to ride it this year, and on a moderately suitable gravel bike instead of the single speed MTB! 😀
Might do a couple more if they are not too far away.MoreCashThanDashFull Member
We’re due to host the Notts and Derby opener in 2 weeks time, but struggling for volunteers, as are other clubs. Apparently we need 6 races for the league to run, we are currently one short.djflexureFull Member
West Mids League starts today – vets race just after noon (nice pro start). I’m sufficiently fit to race but will be having my own mid pack battles. I believe 500+ riders have signed up for the league this year, that’s including the juniors. Lots of races between now and the New Year so definitely a thriving scene around here. From a standing start last year it’s really taken off at my club, so it’s a lovely social occasion, with lots of riders in all categories. We will also host a race for the first time. CX has also been the catalyst for more people getting interested in longer events like the Gralloch and Dirty Reiver. So these events are also much more social now (for me) than they used to be. Looking forward to it, lovely day, just an hour or so to kill before I set off.didnthurtFull Member
Oops! I started another cx thread for this season as I didn’t see this one. I’ll use this one from now on.
Although I don’t necessarily race cx myself other than the annual “just for fun” local Santa Cross race, my 10 year old really likes racing cx.
Interesting note from @Gary_Lager up above, the jump from under 12’s to under 14’s is enormous, as you move from a kids course to the full course complete with obstacles, hurdles and stairs. The race time can double to 30 minutes (under 12’s races are either 15 or 20 minutes from what I’ve seen). So can see why the number of kids really drops off.
Thankfully this does seem to be addressed with a couple of the races we’ve attended this year where they have made the under 12’s course longer and more technical than the under 8’s/10’s course which my son has really appreciated, he definitely gets better results where the courses are more technical and longer. Hopefully this trend will carry on but some of the race organisers are saying that the races this year have got a lower turnout so hope that the number of races isn’t reduced in the near future.
If he carries on racing cx, he’ll be in the under 14’s next year at the age of 11, imagine having to carry your mud covered bike up a bank of steps every lap for a 30+ minutes race at the age of 11!
I’m sure he’ll be ok, we’ll just need to include more cross country running into his training, which means I’ll need to do the running too 😬
My Daughter is 11 in U12 at the moment so we are also looking at the prospect of 30min races in U14 next year. She is small for her age and is going to look tiny in U14. I’m trying to get ahead of the curve by helping her work on fitness and learning how to manage the uncomfortable feeling of big efforts. She really likes cycling though so I hope will continue racing. Our club runs training for the juniors all through the year and then the U14 can join the adult training run through the winter. This should hopefully help with her confidence around larger riders.TiRedFull Member
Spent Saturday afternoon raking grass and brambles from the Hillingdon course. It’s still going to be the usual muddiest on the 26th November, but a huge event for Twickenham CC and the Central League CX. I won’t be racing though as the V50 has been moved to the afternoon and I need to be at Lee Valley Velodrome for Stage 4 accreditation. (warm indoors or cold and miserable outside!). I’ll be marshalling in the morning though. I have some free kids cycling clothing to hand out if someone wants it too.
@didnthurt, @nixie First few U14 races have gone well for my kid, she’s taken the step-up in her stride and is enthusiastic about racing. First one had long laps, 40 mins total with a decent set of stairs so was potentially very hard, but she coped OK and just rode round. I ride a practice lap with her just to check anything technical. It is in the same race as U16, where the leaders are starting to get properly fast, but there aren’t any issues – everyone races with a good attitude afaict.
My own season hasn’t really started – had a good 3px race but then struggled with low level illness all Oct. Feeling better so hope to get back into things this weekend, there’s a NW race in Cheshire.
If you don’t race in the NE could you stop turning up and beating me 😉. Good season so far with some ups and downs but 3 podiums is on par with my best, would love to find the top step.
Started strong, 2nd to Paul Oldham. Then two disastrous races. DNFd (puncture) and then DNSd (freehub during warmup). Came back for a 2nd to another outsider and 3rd yesterday, one local hitter 2min ahead and an outsider about 30sec in front of me. We lost one race to the storm. Got to get 2 more in out of 4 remaining. So far they’ve just been slippery with no real mud baths which is ideal for me on one bike. My team is organising the last one in November. We abandoned our first scheduled scouting session as it was underwater!
Next week is on the Scottish border so I expect some more outsiders. But it was a fun course last year and I did alright.
It’s always a struggle with the youngsters. Too easy and it’s boring. They love riding the harder bits of the adult course during warmup time. But occasionally we get it wrong and it is too hard. Either scary which puts some off or just too physical. Particularly difficult to manage that on the sand and mud where they are testing the adults strength. Then you’ve got to tie it all in to a manageable circuit.
I’ve done two events now and enjoyed the first so much I bought a CX bike the next day (first race was on steel gravel bike with cx tyres). Midfield finishes both times, 40/80ish in first race then 30/78 in the second. Not done anything muddy yet though! Cornering skills are improving but I still loose lots of time there and have to use power/fitness to make it up. Hoping to first finish on the lead lap then break into the top 20 this season which means finding 20s a lap and being more aggressive at the start.
@Garry_Lager glad to here your daughter has adapted well. My daughter seems to really enjoy the participation even though she would like to improve her finish positions. I hope this will help the transition. I’ve also had her out on the MTB on more technical terrain than I think she will find on a CX course (Ullswater bridleway rocks) where she did really well (riding way, way more than I thought she would).robbo1234bikingFull Member
With regards to comments on kids my son is 9 so is racing in the U12’s this season. Its a massive difference between a 9 year old and a 12 year old. he has a good attitude on it as he is learning so he can be better in a couple of years but I do think they could do more age categories to break it down and make it more competitive. He does like racing and trying to beat his friends though – he isnt so interested in who else is racing! The races could be on the same course and the same time but just break down the results more. They already do it for girls so it should be possible.
Just entered my first ever SCX race on Sunday at Castle Douglas. For a laugh.
Yesterday’s race was a muddy farmer’s field course right up my street, flat and heavy 🙂 Felt the lack of racing at a painful level, and rolled a tub into the bargain, but it was great to get back on it.
My spare bike had a set of £16 cross boss tubeless tyres on that I use for jra – fully expected them to suck beyond words in the conditions. They were surprisingly fine, never lost traction once – did have them low pressure though.
I had a really heavy race in Torbay a couple of weeks ago that has put me off a bit.
The early season races were great fun when conditions were fast and dry-ish, but the weather that we’ve had in the South West for the last 6 weeks or so has turned every course into an utter slog-fest and I just don’t have the power to be competitive or enjoy them to be honest! I’ll go to the last few of the series as they’re local to me, and maybe throw a bike in just in case, but will probably just be there to watch and cheer my clubmates on.
Castle Douglas SCX yesterday. Lots learned, lots too learn. That’s if I go down that figurative slippery slope and do more races.
Completed first ever league race this weekend (WMCCL at Worcester). I knew it wasn’t going to be great, but it was abysmal… what did I do wrong?
62/65 in category, 82 out of 103 starters. V50 category (which was busy because Wessex and Welsh races were cancelled.
85 kg, with FTP slowly moving up from about 220W (long recovery from broken pelvis). HR at max for the whole 40mins, so I couldn’t have gone harder…
Riding a Tifosi Cavazzo gravel bike with 38mm Vittoria Tereno wets, probably at 35/40 psi – tubeless.
it was heavy grass and mud, and I felt like I was going nowhere, could not go fast in any section, really struggled in the mud. Is it a case of tyres, gravel gearing, or just HTFU if I want to race in a league?
Sadly I missed them, but Evie Richards and Hattie Harnden raced in the women’s race and from the lap times made it look easy!scaredypantsFull Member
@rak What you’re doing wrong is caring about the result. However:Those are pretty high pressures – I run 33s at 25-30 and I’m around 80kg. Traction will be better at lower pressures and Terrenos wets are good IME (if not worn down).
… and don’t be fooled; some of those vet 50s are **** WEAPONS. I haven’t raced in nearly 2 seasons but when I had an FTP of about 275 and under 80kg I was a mid-pack duffer. What you really need is ability to sprint up to speed and then recover quick; FTP means less in cx than almost anywhere.
Pressure miles too high for these conditions rak. I ran 22/20 yesterday @95kg.
Natrix junior entering his first cx race this Sunday…………ac282Full Member
Natrix junior entering his first cx race this Sunday…………
Good luck. Are you racing too?
I’ve started racing cross this year along with my two kids. Great fun apart from being left with 3 bikes to clean at the end of the day…branesFull Member
@rak what they said yeah. WMCCL V50 is the most competitive V50 I reckon – certainly harder than the various Western and Southern ones I’ve ridden in before, or maybe I’m getting older. Plus, as you say, there were quite a few travellers this weekend as Western and Welsh races were cancelled which didn’t help. I was 17th having gone absolutely as hard as I can at the moment – pleased with it given the field and some recent setbacks.
I was running 33mm X-One bites at 19/17 PSI 65kg… your 35+PSI definitely too high, could easily have gone lower but I don’t like feeling squirmy sidewalls in the turns. 38mm would drag in that mud too, but on balance I’d still go with the lower pressure. There’s definitely some craft to learn equipment and line-wise, carry speed through the corners (in slow, out fast, like DHers really), push hard where it counts. Minimise braking.
Otherwise I’d say do some intervals, 40/20s, over/unders, that kind of thing. That plus Z2 seems to work for me. FTP helps obvs but I get away with a 230-ish FTP now (I think..I don’t test it but do have a PM) and have been close to top 10 in WMv50s. You got the HR part right though – mine shoots up to a few BPMs from my max and then stays there for the whole race.
Ultimately though, yeah, enjoy it – you’ll start to recognise your ‘usual’ rivals, probably make some progress past them as you get up to speed. If you’re near Leicester try their league too – they have some good courses, and are ever so slightly less competitive IMO that WM, although there’s not much in it as there’s a lot of overlap in the fields.
Also, get ready for more bearing maintenance than you’ve done since the 90s.
Are you racing too?
Sadly not. Long covid put paid to that…………
Thanks for all the feedback – consistent! Disappointingly there isn’t a word for fear of low tyre pressures – I’m off to see if I can fix a life-long fixation with hard tyres… Not sure I’ll get time to race again this season, but that means plenty of time to practice for next year
Regional champs this weekend – who is racing where?
Northern event is a farmland course in Cheshire which has seen some spacious layouts when I’ve done it in the past, but looks quite twisty for this one. Brass monkey weather isn’t shifting for the weekend and my race is at 9.30am – expecting the usual mud but ground might be hard.FAILFree Member
West Midlands champs in Wolverhampton. Weather forecast looks interesting with some snow/sleet coming through on Sunday morning. Whatever happens I’m sure the course will be nicely marmelised by the time us v40s get going.
Sons No.1 & No.2 did the North of England champs at Betley Farm yesterday in proper wintery conditions, partly frozen ground with a fresh covering of show made it rather interesting.
As the kids don’t have ranking points in U12 & U10, and Crank-it were organising it they used their usual, but with a CX tilt skills test to determine gridding for the races. No.1 son did really well and was front row in the U12 race, No.2 son made a bit of a mess of a couple and ended up 3rd row in the U10.
As usual No.1 lit the afterburners off the start line up the pretty steep start straight and got to the first corner in the lead, the nature of the course really played into his hands with lots of off camber sections and tricky up hill & down hill corners and he never looked back, extending his lead each lap to take the overall win and the U12 title by nearly a minute!
Meanwhile No.2 son in the U10 got his traditional steady start on a course he didn’t really like the look of, there was no mud for starters and lots and lots of corners, but he maintained his pace and was making his way through the field and as it turns out up into the U12 field too he took the U10 title in a close finish with the young lad from Manilla cycles and was 11th overall in the combined results.
Nice pics Steve and congrats to your boys for great results.
I enjoyed it on Sunday, had a good race – frozen hard ground with a layer of snowy mud and quite a twisty course, one for the cornerists as very easy to make a mistake. I saved my errors for the last lap, which was annoying, but came in 16th out of 29 starters V50.
It looked like pretty small fields throughout – our last league race had twice the number of starters in my race. I wonder why that is? This venue was about as far south as you can get for the North, so that might have been an issue for those from the NE and N Yorks. I guess in general riders like to concentrate on their own series and might want a break to recuperate or go on a long ride etc.
@Garry_Lager I reckon it’s because only those who think they have a realistic chance of a decent finishing position enter in the first place, that and the fact that most of Cumbria was under a good snow covering. I was speaking to Rob Jebb’s wife and she said they were ok as they live just off the main road in Staveley, but it still took her 45 minutes to dig the van out so they could get to the main road!
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