With the beginning of the season right around the corner I have decided it was time for ‘In The Crosshairs’ to do its first ever clip show. So pretend we have just accidentally locked ourselves in the cellar and are spending the time reminiscing about last season until somebody realizes we are missing. We are going to start the flashback sequence with some advice for the newbies. A standard interview question asked on this site concerns missteps of the new cyclocross racer. Here’s a look back at the knowledge handed down from podium finishers.
What is something you saw a newbie do that made you think “I really need to have a friendly word with that guy.” This could have been in a race or in the parking lot or waiting in line to register, etc.
STEVE FIFE: I see people roll to the start line cold all the time, and think it would really be helpful for them to know the benefit of a good warm up.
JULIE KULIECZA: I think I am still a newbie so if someone sees me doing something dumb please tell me. Pumping tires up to more than 50 psi. I did say something and they thanked me.
LINDSAY BAYER: I AM that newbie. People are always kindly pointing things out like, “Your number is on backwards,” or “You’re on the wrong type of bicycle” or “You should lay off the brakes in those turns.”
NOAH BELL: A guy ran through a ridable sand pit every lap and on the last lap a guy rode past him and he lost a podium spot.
CJ CONGROVE: I am a noob. I didn’t wear my kit to the podium. Maybe someone needs to have a word with me.
MICHAEL SEEK: Don’t remount the bike right after the barrier at the bottom of a run-up and waste a huge amount of time trying to ride the hill instead of just remounting at the top.
ANDY MCKEEGAN: I don’t know if he was a noob but the same guy continually attacked so hard that he exploded. His attacks were hard enough that I didn’t bother chasing, but another minute or two later on he’d be slumming and I’d blaze by him.
CHRISTOPHER DALE: Try not to wear a ridiculous amount of clothes during the race. It may be extremely cold but you can’t race in tons of clothing.
JOE LILLIBRIDGE: Helped a few people in the parking lot running either really high pressure or running too low. Something so easy as tire pressure can really make or break your race as far as handling.
MELANIE SWARTZ: I felt like the newbie for not embracing the conditions and saying “Now this is ‘cross.”
BETSY SHOGREN: Umm, I guess my only advice in these conditions is to do whatever you can to stay warm and dry before the race. I looked like the Michelin man out there, but I didn’t care because I started the race with feeling in my extremities, unlike a lot of competitors.
MARK BROADWATER: I’m a newbie, this is my first full season doing cross!! I’m only getting through with the advice of my teammates, they are the best! Some of the advice I have been given is try to focus on riding the course smooth and focus on your start.
GUNNAR SHOGREN: Why are you in shorts? Aren’t you freezing? You’re not, well I hate you.
FATMARC VETTORI: Just warning everyone that when races are muddy and you open the port-o-let to not be startled by what you see on the floor, just a warning it’s just mud.
STEPHEN CUMMINGS: I really hate seeing people ride around without helmets. There was a kids’ race, and we are who they see and try to emulate. We all know that we probably won’t crash riding to registration, but it is a time when we are most visible.
MATT PARSE: If you can’t ride in the mud and slippery conditions don’t go out in front because when you fall in creates a huge pile.
GREG FABER: Some dude went WAY too hard on the first lap and got to first place but halfway through the lap he faded and was dropped. Valiant effort I suppose, but all for naught.
JIM CARLSON: I saw someone slow down drastically after the barriers in order to get back on their bike. You need to keep running and even accelerate before leaping back on. You’ll have plenty of time after you hit the seat to look down and get you feet onto the pedals.
LINDSEY HILLESHEIM: I remember seeing a Cat 4 guy at Granogue stick out his outside foot AND had his inside foot down when he went around a tight turn .
KRISTOPHER AUER: Always hit the line with a good attitude. You don’t need a smile on your face but be excited to race. Aim for the finish line.
MARK BROADWATER: Listen to your coach, it’s no coincidence that you do well when you listen.
JOE LILLIBRIDGE: Other than fitness, work on keeping speed through corners, over barriers, and dismounts/remounts. Those few seconds saved through each add up as your race goes on, and if you’re off the front it’s really important to ride smooth and remount fast.
STEVE RISKUS: Get to races more than an hour early and stay and watch how the more experienced racers ride the same course after your done.
KAREN TOURIAN: Above all, make sure you’re having fun. It takes practice and experience to feel like you know what you’re doing, but cross is about the most fun you can have on a bike, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. The race scene is great-I’ve met a ton of very cool and fun people through racing.
NORMAN BRACH: Have fun. Give back to the sport. Don’t be one of the few dishrags who show up, race and go home, but still find time to complain about something that they think could have been done better.
ANDREW WULFKUHLE: Ask questions and learn as much as possible about the sport, gear, training, everything because cross is a sport of inches. The racers who makes the least mistakes wins.
ARLEY KEMMERER: Its super fun, the people are really laid back and more than willing to help out a new rider, so don’t be afraid to ask! The more the merrier!
WAYNE BRAY: Ride so hard that you completely blow up to get to know how it feels…then you’re ready to go race ‘cross.
JUSTIN LINDINE: I’ve found that it’s really important to recover in cross racing. If you race both days of the weekend that’s a lot of intensity work. Make sure you’re not doing too much intensity overall or you will burn out before the end of the season. Also, work on skills….those are precious seconds dismounting, remounting and running.