So you want to try cyclocross...(updated for 2015!)

Santapez

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#82
STOP OVERTHINKING IT. Dan said it, but I need to hammer in this point.

-Bring a bike that has knobs on the tires. Cross bike, gravel bike, mountain bike, whatever. That's as much as you should think about equipment to start with. Seriously, that's it. Don't worry about gear ratios, 1x/2x/3x etc.
-Practice skills in a field. You may not be excellent at them, but at least during a race when you hit a barrier/runup/dismount you don't freeze, you'll know what to do. You may suck at it, but you won't come to a standstill.

If you're starting out and racing Cat 5, just show up and race with a little practice. That's 99%, then move on from there..

-Steve
 
#87
I stumbled on this thread by accident. Lots of great information here. I never considered riding cross until I read the thread and looked at some videos online. I could get totally stoked for this.

My super-newbie question... If I was going to try my first race, would it be better to use my mountain bike with 27.5 plus tires (Kona Big Honzo DL), or would it be better to get some knobby tires for my road bike (1999 Cannondale)? I don't care if the road bike gets mucked up as I've only been using it on the rollers in the winter, but it has canti brakes and probably limited tire clearance.

Also, is there a category for 50+ newbies on substandard equipment? Cat7?

Thoughts/suggestions?
 
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MadisonDan

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#88
I stumbled on this thread by accident. Lots of great information here. I never considered riding cross until I read the thread and looked at some videos online. I could get totally stoked for this.

My super-newbie question... If I was going to try my first race, would it be better to use my mountain bike with 27.5 plus tires (Kona Big Honzo DL), or would it be better to get some knobby tires for my road bike (1999 Cannondale)? I don't care if the road bike gets mucked up as I've only been using it on the rollers in the winter, but it has canti brakes and probably limited tire clearance.

Also, is there a category for 50+ newbies on substandard equipment? Cat7?

Thoughts/suggestions?
I think the MTB>1999 road bike?
The NJBA CX Cup races have a Cat 4/5 40+ category. These are your people. Be warned.. the 50+ races you see are fast AF.
the NJBA races are:
9/29 Lucky Charm, Craigmeur
10/6 Caffeinated CX., Mullica Hill
10/13 Hippo Crossing, Frenchtown
10/21 Marty Cross, Chester
11/3 Bubble Cross, West Milford
11/11 Sussex CX (State Championship), Augusta
11/25 Apple Cross, Round Valley
12/2 Westwood CX, Waywayanda

There are others as well. Lucky, Hippo, and Bubble are all great (Lucky is new, but I have faith in @xc62701 ). WayWay is fun course, but the vibe is prolly more subdued.
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#89
I stumbled on this thread by accident. Lots of great information here. I never considered riding cross until I read the thread and looked at some videos online. I could get totally stoked for this.

My super-newbie question... If I was going to try my first race, would it be better to use my mountain bike with 27.5 plus tires (Kona Big Honzo DL), or would it be better to get some knobby tires for my road bike (1999 Cannondale)? I don't care if the road bike gets mucked up as I've only been using it on the rollers in the winter, but it has canti brakes and probably limited tire clearance.

Also, is there a category for 50+ newbies on substandard equipment? Cat7?

Thoughts/suggestions?
Glad to hear it!

You could ride either bike.

If you feel comfortable going fast on the Honzo, lock the fork and ride that. If you have the option, put on the fastest rolling 27.5 tires you have. If not, don't worry about it. Other than that, just make sure it doesn't have bar ends. Did I just type "bar ends"?

Sounds like your Cannondale "road bike" might be more of a cx bike if it has canti's. If it will fit 33-35c tires and has low enough gearing (i.e. not a 39/53 x 11-25) that sounds like a solid option as well.

Cat 4/5 40+ sounds like your best bet.
 

taylor185

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#90
I stumbled on this thread by accident. Lots of great information here. I never considered riding cross until I read the thread and looked at some videos online. I could get totally stoked for this.

My super-newbie question... If I was going to try my first race, would it be better to use my mountain bike with 27.5 plus tires (Kona Big Honzo DL), or would it be better to get some knobby tires for my road bike (1999 Cannondale)? I don't care if the road bike gets mucked up as I've only been using it on the rollers in the winter, but it has canti brakes and probably limited tire clearance.

Also, is there a category for 50+ newbies on substandard equipment? Cat7?

Thoughts/suggestions?
i'd put knobby tires on the road bike but either will work. the canti brakes should give you clearance for 33mm tires. If you don't want to invest any money on equipment though, go for the mountain bike.
 

seanrunnette

Brain Damaged Ray Romano
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#91
Or just go to a race, check it out and see what's the what before you commit to racing. It'll give you a birds-eye view of what to expect, and what you might like to ride when you do pin a number on. Either way, it'll be fun.
 
#92
Thanks for the replies! Upon further inspection, the road bike has rim brakes and not canti's, so that would limit tire choices. I'd still prefer to ride that over the Honzo as I feel that I can push it faster, but I'll have to see what kind of tires I could fit on it.

Appreciate all the advice and encouragement. Hopefully will run into (not literally) some of you at an upcoming event.