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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Race Preview: Durham Cyclocross Classic 2011

I did this race last year, very shortly after buying my first cyclocross bike...

The race itself was great - neat natural terrain course and barriers, mix of everything.  Challenging climb, sketchy technical sandy descent, lots of fun!  And free beer.

I can only describe my result and performance as poor... but that was pretty much what I expected.  I had the bike for 3 weeks, didn't have the power for the hill, hadn't done any practice on the dismount/mount (a key skill in cyclocross) and was terrified all the way down the sandy hill.  Thank goodness for the free beer.

I was going to skip it this year, but it's a 5 minute bike ride up the road from my house, so I figured "what the hell".

Areas I've improved:

  • Powering up hills - the cross gearing doesn't give you the low gears a mountain bike has, took me awhile to get used to it.  These are 40 minute races, so it's all about bursts of power and quick recoveries - something I've never been all that good at!  But having this bike has forced me to get good at it.
  • Dismounts - I tried dismounting from a moving bike the proper cyclocross way for the first time today, and shocker - it was actually pretty easy!  I did it over and over to make sure I got it, and it's a piece of cake.  Youtube videos helped.  I won't be the fastest guy over the barriers, but I'm not going to repeat last year's rather embarrassing performance (it involved a complete stop - need I say more?)
  • Re-mounts - this one is still tricky, not sure exactly what I'm missing, but I can mount and keep moving now so it won't be too bad.  In the video, they do it in one smooth motion, but I'm still doing a little double-hop with one foot... but at least I'm moving!
Here is the video I referenced, he's a good teacher:

As for goals, I don't really have one this year either... other than "not suck".  I don't think I'll be in the same league as a lot of the other riders, but hopefully I do a little better, and maybe won't get lapped??  That'd be a start!

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