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yep, you guessed it, total noob here. but, I got bit by the CX bug. I am hoping to race this up coming season and am trying to train for it.

what should I expect in terms of lap distance and number of laps in a race? I know I will be C4, not sure if I will go for Masters 35+ or not.

I would like to get an idea so I can maybe simulate that kind of effort in preparing for the season.

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Not sure where you are, but most laps are 1.5-2 miles on most of the courses I've raced in the NE.  Number of laps is up to you.  CX is timed, so you get in as many laps as you can in the time alotted.  The faster non pros are usually doing laps a bit over 5 minutes each.

Unless you are in good shape, I'd stick to Cat 4.  Granted you'll be going up against a range of ages, but the experience level will be more or less the same, newbies.  Master 35+ will equal the age range, but you'll be racing alongside all levels, including possibly former pros.  Personally, I'd wait to "cat up"until you have more experience and feel you can at least be competitive.

As for simulating a race, that is tough.  I've found it tough to really push yourself when you aren't side by side with other racers or trying to reel someone in.  If you aren't already, add some intervals to your training.  Get used to high intensity efforts followed by short periods of recovery, repeat.

I can agree with what Kris said for Colorado.  Most laps are about that distance, and the races I've done have been typically 4-5 laps.

Here you could race open Cat 4 or 35/4 (as opposed to open 35 which Kris alludes to).  I've done both and haven't noticed a ton of difference - if anything, I'd say Cat 4 could have younger 4s, although in general my impression was open 4 was just a bit less "charged" than 35/4.  YMMV.

A good clinic should get your HR up into the efforts you'll be expending for a race when you and your buddies start chasing each other down.  $0.02

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of reply, been out of town.

Thanks a ton for the input. After posting, I looked up results from last season of the series I was planning to do. OK, so I think it is the ONLY series in my area, Southern California. This would be the SoCal Cross events. Looking at the results, the Masters 35+ A (1-4) and B (3/4) is about 4 to 5 laps. Im not sure how long these laps are, as other events in the series had results of 7 to 8 laps for these same cats. No doubt these are much shorter courses.

as for simulating a race, I know I cant be exact, but knowing some distance/laps will be a start. there is some area near where I ride that I might be able to make a guerrilla/down low course on. it would be far from ideal, but better than nothing. there doesnt seem to be much of a CX scene in my town. my LBS has CX bikes, but they dont know of any local groups. for the mean time, I will have to work on it lone wolf.

I am keeping an eye peeled for clinics, and will jump at any chance of going to one. they had one last year, beforeI got into it, and am hoping for another this year.

You may see if there are any course maps floating around out there in internet-land from previous years' events.  While not perfect, they may at least give you an approximation in case the courses aren't quite "usual."

Best of luck!


excellent suggestion. I have tracked down a couple of course maps and am working on more. I have a good chance of going out to the site of a course from two years ago for some practice sessions. This would be my first time on an actual CX course. I cant wait, even if it is just for some practice.


I practice on 2-3 of our local courses whenever I can.  They change the route up constantly, but a great way to get a feel for it. 


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