We're working on a feature for the website about tips for new cyclocross racers. Does anyone have a great tip you'd like to share? (Something you wish you'd known when you started racing)
And if you're a noob, do you have any questions you'd like to see answered?
At some events they do not let you use front facing handle bars. so the answerer would probably be no.
Also their are so good little trick out there like putting griptape on your shifter levers, and top tube.
I'm just a master's mid-pack hack, but FWIW, I choose carefully but don't worry much about the bike and components. I like to keep it cheap and reliable and easy to maintain, my equipment doesn't help or hinder my racing as long as it's adjusted properly, properly lubed (components) adjusted and glued (tires).
I had the pleasure recently of spending the weekend with both the illustrious Mike Zanconato and venerable Richard Sachs including a few fun hot laps of a Zank designed cross course with some other plebians. Both of these guys have forgotten much more than I'll ever know about cross bikes. And despite their experience in building some of the best designed most beautiful cross bikes on the planet, their message about the bike? "In a cross race, you won't be thinking about the size of your top tube, or your components or your bike at all..." My interpretation- it's not about the bike. Ride what you like, but just RIDE! I should stop there, because that's all that's important. But I'm a (cheap) cross bike geek too, so here's what I like. But really, stop reading here, it doesn't matter...
've been racing since 04 (12-20 events/year) on Shimano 8 speed Ultegra/105, the last couple of years mixed with Campy Veloce 10sp shifters. Because it's cheap to replace stuff, it works as well as anything, mud and grass friendly cog spacing and tougher chains compared to 10sp. I prefer compact cranks 36-46 or 34-44 (If 34-44 is enough gear for Katie C it's more than enough for me!)- I can turn over higher, but I'm slower. Wide profile cantis with threaded (MTB Vbrake style) brake pad posts are easier to set up and adjust so Tektro CR720, Kore, or Paul brakes rather than TRP smooth post style brakes- they all work fine once adjusted properly with good pad material (Kool stop multi or salmon colored). Brakes mounted moto- left lever = rear for smoother dismounts. Your first CX season is fine on clinchers or tubeless- your skills will be by far the limiting factor rather than tire choice in the beginning. I like Michelin Muds or Mud front/Mich Jet rear as an all-around combination mounted on something like Mavic Open Pro rims- if I had one set of wheels and they were clincher, that would be what I raced all season. Later, you'll like tubular tires- I'm not an enthusiastic tubeless convert yet for cross. Velocity Major Tom tubular rims rock for cross because they're wider with a basetape channel and reasonable cost compared to carbon wheel sets- I like aluminum brake surfaces and I like not worrying about what a mishap or crash might cost me in a busted wheel. Challenge Grifo or Fangos as go-to tires for everything but mud, I like the new Vittoria XM's for mud, never tried Dugasts or FMBs because of the expense. Haven't liked Tufos although I haven't tried the higher end Flexus models. I like having a pit bike but don't really NEED it at my level.
Noob tip: No baggy shorts, it's going to mess with your remounts.
(and yes, I was wearing MTB shorts when I first started)