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I have my first Cross race coming up this Sunday! I am super stoked! I have a MTB background so I think that will help. I am basically looking for any suggestions to help Sunday go smoothly. Warming up? Clincher tire pressure for some different conditions (I am a big guy BTW)? I will be running 35mm Conti Speed Kings. Tips that have served you well in the past? Anything really. That is my rig below, I commute on it as well. Thanks for the help, I will post a race report and hopefully pictures afterwords:)

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cool bike. you can always post the pic inline via the little picture icon, fyi.
like this:

a lot of folks will give you good advice. my first suggestion is to have fun and enjoy it. talk with other fellow racers and show up early so you're not rushed, and maybe even can watch more experienced folks ride and warm up. ask questions at the race. folks will help you out, and you might meet some new friends.

warming up - if you can get on the course I'd combine course recon with a few short hard efforts and then maybe a lap or two at close to race pace to warm up the engine and get a feel for the turns and where you'll need to watch your speed.

doing the course recon will let you gauge and decide on your pressure. lower should be faster but you gotta look out for pinch flat dangers. if you can scope those out, and weigh 220 (just a guess) maybe high 30s could work if it's not too rocky?

good luck, have a blast.
Single speed! nice.
Maybe bring an extra cog if the course is easier/harder than anticipated unless you have the perfect gear going.
Don't be afraid to run up a hill. It could be faster than slogging up a hill in a tough gear. Granted, I like to run.

Who cares what place you come in. Have fun at the race and chat with the folks you finish next to. If you take the time to meet folks, cyclocrossers are quite friendly. All my bike friends came from cyclocross racing. Zero came from road or mountain races. Oh wait, I don't race road or mountain.

Don't get worried 20 minutes into the race and you're thinking, "WTF! this is crazy. I had to pay $30(?) to suffer like this???". You are not alone. And you'll be back next week to pay another $30 for the best worst time of your life.
Get a really good look at the course and spend some time re-riding sections that are hard.

Have a few backup lines for the start and first couple of turns. The start is always a soup sandwich and you may not get the line you want.

I wouldn't worry too much about tire pressure. You'll have a lot of other things to worry about, like getting over barriers :)
thanks for the replies! lots of good stuff!

i was planning on bringing extra cogs, thanks for the reminder:)

best part about the race is it is only $15 and we are racing for Founders beer! Check out for more! :)
Ride fast!
dude, get out while you still can, your first cross race is worse than a hit of crystal meth, you will be robbing small children and candy stores to support your habit. Get out while you still can and before it is too late....see you Sunday, welcome to the purest form of suffering on earth, you will love it when you get done puking.
I'll see you there on Sunday! Look me up, I'll be on my black Giant TCX.

Highland park barely has any pavement sections, most of the course is soft grass. There is one hill that Rick will probably use that is not ridable even with gears, but the rest of the course is pretty much wide open. If we get rain on Friday and Saturday it'll be a bit slow, due to all of the grass. Racing for beer is always a fun time.

Try your 2nd 'cross race in Ithaca on the 28th!

I am in your same boat, first race will be this coming sunday. I began sweating all the set up, tire pressure, etc stuff until I forgot I am not a pro, sponsored, or any good YET!

So I keep telling myself. Have fun, Cross at its core is fun, when you deviate from that and worry about what could happen, you forget what is happeneing.

Enjoy the journey as you go along. I had a friend suggest to me that I keep a journal about each race. What worked, what didn't, how did you feel during. Did you cramp? did you feel good? What did you eat before, how hydrated were you before etc. Add in some bike stuff, tried these tires,a t this pressure.

He said it will be a mish mash of thoughts until you have a few races under your belt. Then maybe you begin to see a pattern. Like a training log if you will, but almost backwards.

Anyway, to any beginner like myself, good luck and have fun. If you take yourself too seriously, you will for sure ruin it for yourself, and possibly others. Oh yeah, stick around and watch others, you might see something you would not have considered before. Enjoy the show if you can!


i love that journal idea. if you do it, we'd love to see it - perhaps it can turn into a regular column on our website... let me know.
like the above...

Ride the course if you can, note the bits where you need to back off and those where you can step on it. Note the bits where you'll need to run, knowing this in advance will help you dismount in time and save not only you but those wishing to get past time in the long run. Don't be afraid to run stuff.

Arrive in plenty of time, find out the proceedure for registering and what time your start is. There is nothing worse than the additional stress of not knowing where to go, having too little time etc... Hell, you may even get to watch some of the races before yours, get some tips and pointers on the course, see how others are tackling it.

Oh yeah and above all have fun :)
Good luck
no luck there:) im racing C's and we are up first. i cant wait though my buddies on the team and i have been getting ready for a while. some last minute dismount and remount practice in a back yard saturday will help:)

i was thinking about ithica, it sounds sweet! i think most of the guys on our team will be there too.
Awesome, well talk with me on Sunday and get your guys to pre-reg!


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