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Racing Beaver cross in CT on sunday. Forecast for this weekend is calling for snow (5" sat night, then 1" sunday morning around start time)

Any one have any tips for racing/riding (other than tire pressure) in snow? What is the best way to tackle the snow, high cadence or keeping the power down?

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This Hawaiian has a few tips:  Warm and dry feet and hands really help. Without those two, everything else becomes way harder. If it's snowing, a brim over glasses is awesome too. 

A light grip on the handlebars is great, if it's slippery, or icy. Light touch on the brakes for sure, but if you really need to stop, and have rim brakes, allow extra time.

If it's light and fluffy stuff, you can approach snowy straights like sand...obviously with off-cambers, downhills and turns it's not the same. Cadence mostly depends on pedaling style but it's really hard to spin smoothly in sand, on bumps, and on snow. The trick is if you're on a surface where you'll dab a lot, it's hard starting up again when you're in a big gear.  How's that for not being very helpful?  Look for packed down lines for speed if the snow is deep, but they can turn into ice in the corners. 

I think snowy racers are won and lost in the turns and descents though. Most everyone can pedal a straight the same as with a dry race. 

awesome, thanks for the info! this is the stuff I was looking for

Don't let gaps open up to people you want to beat.  They will be next to impossible to close in super slippery snow conditions.  Go as hard as you can at the beginning without making mistakes.  Don't make mistakes or at least don't take unnecessary risks.  Falling less than other people allows you beat people with bigger engines.  Tripod.  You can run shockingly low air pressures in snow since there won't be hard bumps/rocks with a layer snow and ice smoothing them out and you won't be going that fast anyway.  Depending on the particular course and type of snow, you can sometimes go faster or pass people in corners by taking new lines, as new snow will hold your bike in place better than packed snow, sometimes allowing for faster cornering.

Perfect! I was thinking the same thing about the new snow vs. packed snow as far as line selection goes. this is super helpful. thanks again!

UPDATE: race was today, long story short... it SUCKED! Snow turned to rain late last night and the entire course was just a giant slush pit. ended up being a real power course, and since i have the watts of a 12 year old girl..i was a DNF. done after 2 laps (partly because of a under inflated front tire) the advice was great, but i simply didnt have the power to slosh through the slop. entire race was a comedy of errors, id fishtail, unclip, not be able to clip in, then finally clip in and spin out, unclip...rinse race was over before it even began. the snow was pedal deep though. all in all a good learning experience..i need to work on getting more power.

sorry to hear, but it's all learning for next year, right? keep trying it this winter when mother nature gives you the white stuff. it's the beauty of cyclocross - you never know what the conditions will be, and sometimes if you lack in power but have great handling (which you can work on), the elements can be to your advantage. 

thanks for reporting back. 

Actually, I have a question, connected somewhat to this one: what kind of tires would be recommended for riding in the snow - mud tires like the Clement PDX?

How about commuting?  I've seen the studded tires, but that seems to be operating on a whole 'nother level to me.

I frequently commute in the snow, it's a reality of living in VT, and I actually use a file tread most of the time. The lines I have to take on my way to and from work end up having me travel over ice a majority of the time. I'd rather have a large contact patch with ice and take it easy. When it's snowing like crazy and things haven't really packed down I use WTB Nano's. I guess you could say it's an all conditions tire, but again, I'm looking for the widest contact patch I can get. It's a personal preference to be honest.


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