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Alright i'm a total newb to the CX world, and was wondering if people race with a bike computer during CX? Almost everyone has one in road races and I was wondering what the deal was with CX. Personally I would like to have mine on so I know the time, and my HR other options such as cadence seem irrelevant and adding a cadence sensor seams like something to get in the way or ripped off. Just wondering what others do?

 

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Take your max HR and add 20 points. 

You will never have enough time and the by the second lap you will feel like you have been racing fooorrreeevver.

I wouldn't worry about a bike computer; heck I'd be downright scared to see how high my heart rate actually goes during a race and comparing my speed to my exertion level would be depressing.  

 

No computer

No water bottle

No problem.

There is nowhere where it's more true that if you have time to look at your computer, you're not doing it hard enough than in a CX race. Sometimes I barely have time to wipe the drool off my chin.

If you'd like to keep some data for afterwards, drop the computer in a jersey pocket after turning it on. You can fish it out afterwards.

Hi Jason,

I have always used a HR monitor, but mostly just to be able to occasionally glance at HR and to keep track of how much time is left.  The other guys are right in that there usually isn't much time to be staring at the computer.  I don't have a cadence or speed sensor on my cross bike but am considering using my Garmin and a powertap in a couple of races to see if recording the data is helpful.  I'm hoping it gives me some idea of how I should be training to prepare for races.

Jason

I've had one on before but it's really just something else to break, catch on something, or get clogged with mud. However, it was kind of interesting to look at the basic data post-race for the short time I had it on. No computer now - I satisfied my curiosity.

Used one for the first couple of races I was in three seasons ago and have never used since for reasons stated.

They are kind of a pointless distraction, in my opinion.

I prefer to look at the slot next to the rider in front of me that I plan to fill and then leave in the next minute or two. I

also prefer not knowing how many minutes are left, or how many miles I've ridden.

I definitely DGAF what my HR or cadence are when I'm racing cross!

If you're doing it right, your computer will be too covered with mud to read, anyway!

Yes you can use a computer,my son has his garmin on at all times. If your trying to collect data and use it for your trainging then by all means use one.

One other aspect no one has mentioned is that if you have a coach having that data can give them an insight into your race that help them adjust your training plan. 

I have run my garmin in races on occasion, but often just carry it in my jersey pocket.  I have made adjustments to my racing and training based on data analysis, but the reality is I knew at some level that I probably started too hard or ran out of gas with a lap left.  Basically it comes down to the fact that I am a geek rather than needing the data.  Yes, I thought the real time wattage/HR from select riders at Tour of Colorado was pretty cool; whi

For a TT, keeping a power meter on your bike makes sense. For CX, it makes much less sense. The power output over the two events might be the same after you normalize it, but otherwise, you can't really use it the same way. 

 

For a TT, if you know your Threshold power—the power you can hold, by definition, for one hour—you can make sure to keep your power level at exactly that. In cross, you're can be sprinting out of a corner or running the barriers or coasting to set up for a transition. It's hard to know exactly what you should hold your power at. And power is just a way to put a number to perceived exertion. Knowing that at 400w you're suffering isn't really that profound. You'll have to put 400w or 500w or 800w into the race sometimes, and that's kind of just how it is.

 

Collecting data to analyze later is something else; that's why I said maybe he should just toss it in his jersey pocket. But essentially, none of the data you see on the computer is even useful when you're in the race. 15km/hr? Well, maybe that's fast for the section. 30km/hr might be slow. The exact speed is probably irrelevant. Seeing your HR is usually just depressing or scary, and you'll know how much time you have left every time you finish a lap.

 

But this is all just academic anyway. Put the computer on if you like; the weight won't win or lose the race for you. But I'll wager you'll do the race and forget that it's there, or you'll cease to care what's on the screen because you're just trying to convince yourself to do one more lap. :)

Exactly, the data only is interesting after the race... if you are looking at it during the race you probably aren't racing hard enough or are just about to crash.  After the race you can start comparing data on a lap to lap basis... 

Actually I found in some cases while the power spikes from sprinting out of corners decreased my lap times stayed the same as I relaxed and carried more speed through sections.  I also found peak HR generally came during the second lap. 

I won't add much, but I have had my cadence/speed sensor get knocked around and into my spokes during a race. After that, I quit using the computer. During a race, there is just too much other stuff to worry about.

However, I do use my HR monitor during all phases of my training through the end of CX season. So, for intervals, tempo rides, and even hot laps, I have the HR data. With all that information, I think I can get a reasonable idea of my performance gains without the data from each race.

I do like the "stick the computer in your pocket" idea, though...

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