A Jim of All Trades

Posts Tagged ‘cross

Cyclocross

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It’s been a while!

I’ve been busy with work and since my last tri I haven’t been quite as motivated to exercise. Well, I did a couple running races just to take advantage of my fitness from the summer but I got away from structured training. One thing I’ve been wanting to do for about a year though was try out cyclocross and over the last month I’ve done a few races…

Before I go on, I started working on a couple of guitars, too, so hopefully I can make progress and share about them soon.

Back to ‘cross…

To train/prepare I’ve been doing some harder trainer sets and have been doing some gravel and off-road riding. While it’s fun to try a new riding style out, I’m not at all skilled at riding my bike off road so I’m really slow, scared most of the time, and not a fan of the extra abuse from bouncing around.

That sort of sums up my experience with ‘cross, too… I’m not good at handling the bike like that, my bike is old and has rim brakes, and the brake tracks on my wheels are pretty worn down, so it’s really sketchy and I have no stopping power. While I’m somewhat competitive in the local tri scene, at least in my age group, I’m not at all competitive in ‘cross. Not that I expected to be, but I’ve been close to last in all three of the races I’ve done, and was lapped in each of them too. That said, I’ve gotten better and in my last race I started getting more confident, didn’t wreck at all, and started figuring out the lines and how to corner a lot better. I still have a long way to go before I’ll even be half good at it, and triathlon will remain my focus so I’ll never be able to compete with the bikers on a fitness level, but it was good to have fun and make some progress. Cyclocross is a crazy workout, by the way… my heart rate runs about the same in one as what it gets when I run hard 5k’s, which is pretty crazy for me on a bike.

I went to one race just to spectate, which was an absolute mudfest. I took some pictures, which are directly below. This was a COLD and WINDY day and these guys were pretty much all miserable. Further below are some pictures, videos, and comments about the races I actually did.

My first race was also very muddy, but not as bad as the one above. I wrecked a lot and just did bad overall. No video to share from that one, but here are some pictures from after…

The next race was dry, but freezing, literally, so the ground was really hard. It was a fundraiser, not an actual “race,” but people took it pretty seriously. I only wrecked a couple of times but was miserable from the cold (I hate the cold!). One fun thing about it though was each lap you had a chance to grab a donut for a time bonus…


this is one of my favorite pictures ever!

Here’s a video of clips throughout the race. This probably only shows half the course but my ride wasn’t exciting enough to justify making a long video from it. Trying to grab donuts is probably the most exciting part!

And finally, here is a video of my last race. It shows about 90% of the first lap; it got more boring afterwards (I caught and passed 1 more guy, then was lapped by a bunch of guys) so I stopped it there.

The colder weather will probably keep me in doors more now, and I’ll start getting into routine tri training soon, but there are a number of local races over the winter, so I might fit another one or two in. We’ll see.

Thanks a lot for reading, hope you enjoyed.
Happy riding!

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Written by Jim

December 6, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Redline Conquest Cyclocross Bicycle

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I recently picked up a “new” bicycle, a Redline Conquest cyclocross bike.

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I’ve been wanting a more traditional bike for a while, mainly to use as a backup when I don’t want to ride my tri bike or for convenience when riding to the gym or pool, or in bad weather, etc. After going to a cyclocross race last year, I’ve been pretty determined to get a cyclocross bike because it will be more versatile for a number of different riding conditions, and so I can try ‘cross out at some point.

This Redline is from 2003 (I think). I got it from a member of my tri club who had also gotten it used, commuted with it for a bit a while ago, but hadn’t ridden it in years. I had to clean it, replace the brakes, tubes, tires, and pedals, and do some tuning to get it riding smoothly, but now it seems to work well and I’ve been putting some miles on it. I still might have to replace the cables and some other parts to adjust the fit/comfort, but it’s ride-able now as-is.

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I have a spare set of wheels from my old tri bike with road tires on (pictured directly above and in all below), and I put knobby tires on the wheelset that came with the bike (first pic at the top), so between the two I have convenient wheel/tire options for if I want to ride on or off road.

My only real complaints about it are that the saddle is uncomfortable for longer rides and that it has an 8-speed Shimano Sora groupset…

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Sora is a low end set of components and, combined with age, it doesn’t shift very smoothly. I’m going to live with it for a while because it is still functional, but I can see eventually making some upgrades based on what my riding style ends up being with it.

Overall I’m really happy to have gotten another bike and have enjoyed riding it. I actually did a 51 mile charity ride on it this weekend with the road tires and it went well.

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The tri bike will probably still be ridden 90% of the time, but I do anticipate riding this regularly in a number of situations. Though it would great to get a nice road bike at some point, too, all of my bicycle “needs” are more than taken care of.

Thanks a lot for reading – happy, and safe, riding!

Written by Jim

June 3, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Cyclo-cross – Photography

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This morning I went to a Cyclo-cross race, watched, and took some photos. Cyclocross (“cross”) is a form of bicycle racing, done on a varying terrain (mostly off-road), where the competitors do multiple laps of a course against a time limit, and there are obstacles, hills, and/or other challenging parts of the course where they might have to dismount and run carrying the bike to get by. (Check out Wikipedia: Cyclo-cross for a better explanation.) I’d never been to a cross race before and have been interested in seeing what it’s like so, when I found out about one close by, I happily took the chance to check it out. I haven’t been shooting much photography this year, so it was a good opportunity to get the camera out as well.

I really enjoyed it and think it would be neat to try sometime, though don’t have any serious expectations about really getting into it. More of a if I ever own a suitable bike I’d try it out at least once kind of thing. I did start working on convincing my wife that I need a cross bike though. ;)

It was fun shooting some photos, too. The course was very spectator-friendly and you could get right up next to the riders. I’ve found that I really like getting action and panning shots (not that I’m great at getting consistent good quality results yet) and it was cool to get a chance to get some cyclists in action. Here’s a random selection of shots I took with a few comments mixed in…

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There were 2 wooden barriers, about a foot tall, that riders had to cross. Most dismounted, ran, and jumped over…

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Others jumped the bike over them…

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a little hard to tell, but he’s completely air born here 

One steep hill on the course that most people dismounted and ran up…

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it’s steeper than it looks! 

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Thanks for reading and happy riding!

Written by Jim

December 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm