Hi all. I discovered cross this past fall and I'm hooked. I plan on racing in the Chicago Cross Cup series this coming fall but I have a general question. What are some of the racing etiquette rules that I should be aware of. I normally ride road solo so it should be interesting to ride in a pack. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
do a group ride BEFORE your first race
- join a "practice" cx session somewhere, anywhere
watch a race or three (before yours, the weekend before yours, whatever)
hold your line - don't move laterally when riding with others, esp. unpredictably, suddenly.
pre-ride the race course, several laps, before your race. to learn the course, the corners, the gears, tire pressure etc.
the start is key and it is chaos. watch a start or two. be ready.
You got some good advice for sure. Hit up your local practice and you'll learn a lot very quickly. Plus you need to experience the rules vs just hearing about them on the internet.
Definitely start riding with other people if you can. A lot of the same etiquette from road is the same for 'cross, more or less.
Do: Race your butt off and have fun.
Don't: Mimic Bart Wellens at 1:00 of this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=salfFYuinwY
I assume you'll be racing 4's? If that's the case, HAVE FUN, focus on enjoying yourself and learning about 'cross racing. Maintain a good attitude and make friends with your competitors and HAVE FUN. Try to take something away from each race and HAVE FUN.
I'm preparing for my second season of racing and I expect to learn a lot more this year than last year simply because I'll be more prepared to notice what the heck is going on around me. I plan to have even more fun than last year.
While racing, don't move from one side of the course to the other unpredictably. But, in my experience a shout from behind of "Hold your line" in 'cross racing usually means "I can't get it together to pass you so sit up and make it easier for me". Don't be a jerk about it but don't let all the cat 3 and 4 pros out there push you around. It's 'cross racing and you paid your entry fee too. You're learning, but you have the right to defend your position in a reasonable way. Ride YOUR race as hard as you can, HAVE FUN, be responsible but don't be a pushover.
Have a great season and HAVE FUN!
Everyone had their hands on the bars here too:
Taking your hands off the bars is egregious. You can still be a jerk and not have your hands off the bar.
I just did my first season of the Chi Cross Cup last year. Great stuff. I could highly recommend IIT's cx beginner's clinic in August. I *assume* they'll do it again, it seems to be an annual thing.
Jeremy Powers and Randy Warren headed it. It was really helpful before my first race to have instruction geared to rank beginners and to practice things, such as starts. That was sort of an anti-etiquette lesson -- it was more about how to *not* be too accommodating/intimidated in that mad start. They had us practice bumping into each other, getting shoulders in, elbows, etc. It's not that this was encouraged behavior, it was more that this might happen and if you don't want to live in fear or fall, then it's good to be used to it. Very helpful.
Another etiquette tip I picked up there is to not throw your bike out level to the ground when going over a barrier -- keep it rubber side down.
I think more than etiquette per se having some decent practice in technique helps you move with the race.
Oh, and I found that when yielding to someone lapping me (happened a lot) stopping was bad technique, it confused someone, so instead I'd move out of the way and clearly give them the best line.
But like everyone said, it's mostly just great fun with not a lot to worry about beyond that.