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First time poster here!

Just wondering...how many races did you guys watch before signing up for your first race?

I've watched a couple of other events before - velodrome races, mostly - but have never participated because I didn't want to look like a fool (also, track racing apparently isn't my thing), but I figure if a guy like Ernest Gagnon can cyclocross and have fun, then a guy like me can do it, too.

But first, I'm going to watch my first CX race...100+ miles from home.  (What do I bring - cowbell and what else?)

So how many races?

Also, how did you prepare for your first race?  I commute daily by bike and do bike delivery on certain days, so I know my legs are probably good, but what other muscle groups should I be working over?

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None! Get out there and race man!

Have a look at the weather before you go. You'll be outside for the duration of your spectation. So rain, sun, wind, etc. Dress appropriate, and in shoes you can run around in, since that's what you'll want to do. Bring some cash too, to support local vendors. And some food if there won't be any.

Have fun!

Echo Chris' response.  I think I did a bit of internet video research, but had never been to a CX race before showing up at my first race as a participant.  Don't worry about "looking like a fool", even the folks that do it often have those moments.  This sport requires alot of different things from you, so stumbles and such are all part of the game.

 

I'll add to Chris' clothing advice and say bring light, thin layers you can pull on and off and those shoes you can run around in should probably be something you don't mind needing to hose off at the end of the day and should probably have a good tread as most races are on grass and dirt and you don't want to be slipping and sliding around. 

One. for weeks I had a friend hounding me to buy a cx bike so I could get in on the action. After coming out to watch one race, I knew he was right and regretted not having something to race that day. If you already have a suitable bike, don't waste time spectating and get signed up.

Another vote to jump right in.  Try and get there early to pr-ride and get a feel for the course.

Depending on the course's start (how wide, how long before the first turn, & # of racers), if you have any reservations on your bike handling skills in tight groups, you might want to start in the back row - for your safety and others.

Your legs may be strong but things can get dicey at the start if you aren't used to it.  It's a lot different than road or mtn bike starts.  Once things spread out you can start picking people off.  

Well, damn. Might as well get some clothes and a pair of non-roadie shoes!

none,

i just jumped in cat 5, there's always someone slower. and no worry about looking strange, no one cares!

watching is no fun if you have any sort of competitive bones in your body! you can always watch the faster classes after you race.

practice a few dismounts and lifting bike, ride a little on grass. do some sprints. you'll be fine if you ride at all.

bring your bike with and try it out!

Yeah, not a lot of races next month, but hoping to get a new bike before October.  The CX bike I have is fine for commuting and the like, but the top bar that just 'tickles your nads' full on kicks you in the nuts when you screw up a dismount.

(Note to self: 53cm is not your size.  Probably not 52, either.  Best to stick with 50 or lower.)

This is a great question.  I've been riding for a few years on a Specialized Hybrid (mostly all road) and last Fall bought a Crux for the versatility and cuz the races look like so much fun.  I've been reluctant to jump it after a couple of clinics mainly because I cannot consistently crack the code on remounts.  Good to know the community welcomes the newbie.

As long as you aren't intentionally crashing into folks, just get out there and do it.  The likelihood of winning is slim-to-none, but you'll gain experience and skill in the environment.  Besides, most courses these days only have 1-2 places you need to dismount and remount, taking an extra few seconds there certainly won't win you races, but it also doesn't mean you shouldn't get out there and do it. 

Thanks again Kris...I can certainly quickly hop on with a pedal and as I'll likely be in the back, I am sure the threat is low to others.

Hop on with a pedal?  Meaning left foot on left pedal, step on and swing right leg over saddle?  That could be asking for trouble (think about trying that on an off-camber or uphill).  Much better to practice the "kickboxer" remount.  Believe there was an article on in a few months back on the main CXM site.  Left foot ground, right leg up like a kickboxer, right thigh on top of saddle, left leg pushes off as right thigh slides down saddle so foot can contact pedal.  

Understood.  I have watched the videos and at this point my mobility in my right hip is a the limiting factor.  I can jump and mount with some success but not consistently yet.  I am going to work on both my mobility and my mount.  

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