Feeling Cross

Posted by on Nov 2, 2009 in Bike, Races | 7 Comments


Ali Goulet on his way to Saturday’s win

I watched my first cyclocross race on Saturday.

It was awesome. The racing was fast and furious. And of course, as I watched everyone pound around the course and hop over the barriers I was thinking that “I ought to really try this”. Several years ago I thought about giving it a go, but then nothing ever came of it, and I have hardly given it a thought since.

So, now I have questions. Lots of question.

I’d have to convert a bike. I have two mountain bikes: a singlespeed and a full suspension. The FS would be silly. The SS would work, but I’ve have to figure out how to run a taller gear. 32×16 (29er) is as tall as I can run with my current equipment. From what I have read, converting a road bike would be more work than the mountain bike. Am I wrong in that?

I’d love to own a cross bike, especially if I ever became serious about racing. But other than racing/practice, when does one ever ride a cross bike? It seems that road and mountain bikes are more useful from an everyday perspective. But then, maybe I am also wrong about that?

How do I ensure that I do not show up and look like an idiot? (I mean, besides how I normally look.) Are there secret CX rules or customs that I should know about?

I’ve heard about cross clinics and practice sessions. How do I find out about those?

I don’t have a skin suit. Apparently I need one. That won’t be pretty.

I enjoyed watching the races. They reminded me of my XC running days in high school. The course and the pace and the atmosphere was all very similar. The style of the racing is something I think I could excel at – that is, if I manage to learn how to not trip over barriers. It also looks like a great way to improve bike handling skills, top end fitness, and to keep those competitive fires burning into December.

Which is actually one of the reasons I’ve never tried it before. Usually by this time of year I have no desire to compete, but this year has been different. And it would seem that Cross is the perfect outlet for that, even if only for a race or two…

Exit Question: Anyone have an old beater (56cm-ish) to lend out?


  1. Bob
    November 2, 2009

    I have a 54 CX bike you an try, generally you want smaller for CX. You would need to get the tires set up tubeless though.

    I may even sell my road bike, as i never ride it anymore.

    Also, CX bikes are generally cheap compared to all other bikes, better to ride in the slush and slop of spring, etc… You can put road tires on them easily.

    I don’t practice the barriers, which could be why I go so slow on them, but really, it is a lot of silly fun.

    Talk to Racer, he can get you all set up…

  2. Dave Byers
    November 2, 2009

    I know you are considering a 29er hardtail and if you go that route you can easily throw a rigd fork and cross tires on it an be very competitive with that rig. Tubeless is key though in my opinion.
    If you have dirt & gravel backroads to cruise a cross bike may get more use than you think. They make great crappy weather training bikes.

  3. bradk
    November 2, 2009

    Don’t even bother showing up if you’re not in a skinsuit. Seriously, if you had to pick just one bike it’d be a cross bike with 2 wheelsets.

  4. Grizzly Adam
    November 2, 2009

    Hmm. So a cross bike with a spare set of road wheels?

    I like that idea…

    Anyone want to buy a road bike?

  5. Rick S
    November 2, 2009

    I agree. Get a cross bike and make that your road bike. I’ve been riding my cross bike on a lot of the mountain bike trails like Clarks and Ghost. It’s very fun. And when the roads get sloppy during the winter, you can still ride.

  6. BikePeddlerUtah
    November 2, 2009

    As a relative newbie, and fat guy, I think I am qualified to answer some of these questions. The first thing to do is just show up. You met the crowd, they are the least snotty of anybody in the Utah Cycling scene. You mountain bike so your half there. I assume you are more fit than me. You could likely do fine in the “B” flight. I am a mid-pack “C” flighter. And we would race at different times. I don’t know you, but I have a beard so I feel a kinship to you. Join Team Clammy Chamois and you can borrow my 54c(generally you go down a size) bike for the “B” flight up at Weber Saturday.

  7. Bob
    November 3, 2009

    do it

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