Cyclo-cross Lessons

Hello folks! Wow I’m back for a second straight day,eh? About time I say! Before I get on to today’s subject I’ll bring you up to speed on my running. Last Sunday I had my first 20 mile run scheduled. I felt good about it both physically and mentally going into it. However from almost the first step my left heel started yapping at me. I ignored the yapping till my body shut down a second time on its own 11.34 miles into the run. The heel wasn’t killing me but I figured it was smarter to stop my run. With only 6 weeks till my first marathon I don’t want to aggravate it but I also need to get my 20 mile run in…hopefully. So this week I decided to skip my normal Tuesday and Thursday runs. I also drove a cart during men’s night golf. Basically doing everything I can not to irritate the heel so this Sunday hopefully I can do my full 20 mile run.

Ok onto today’s subject. Since early April when I first came up with the idea of completing 40 races I realized the smart way to go about it was to do a variety of them. If I was to run them all or do all triathlons ,etc then there’d be a good chance I’d burn out long before I hit 40 races. Doing all 40 races in one sport would also make it a lot harder to schedule and a lot costlier as there’s just no way I could do 40 triathlons fairly close to home. It would mean a lot of traveling and added costs. So I started looking for different types of races I could do that would fit into my “planned minimum of a 5k race and it being timed.

Shortly after getting on Twitter to scrounge up votes for my Bigstridea contest I came across @vickitopcrosser and then she tweeted she was offering lessons for Cyclo-cross. My first reaction was what is cyclo-cross? So I googled it and got a short explanation. It seemed like something I could do and it was definitely different. So did I keep reading and learning more? No of course not! Instead I e-mailed Vicki for the answers to my questions 🙂 Here’s my questions with her answers:

Few questions as I didn’t know till tonight what CC was?
– cyclo-cross combines both road and off-road riding seeing racers ride on grass, mud, sand, gravel, pavement for up to 60 minutes. The course is typically no longer than 3 kilometers, with racers attempting to complete as many laps of the course as possible in the time limit.
How long are the races?
– in Ottawa all of the races are 60 minutes long. In other locations such as New England, only the elite men race for 60 minutes – everyone else races for 40 or 45 minutes.
Avg cost of race?
– in Ottawa each race costs $15 or you can register for the series for $65
Mountain bike good enough to start ?
– yes, definitely a mountain bike is the perfect way to start. Most people start on mountain bikes and then move to cyclo-cross bikes. You can easily purchase a used cyclo-cross bike should you decide to go this route.
How many races around Ottawa?
– the series in Ottawa start on Sept. 26 and runs every Sunday until the end of November.
Here is the website for the local Ottawa series:

Sounded to me like these races would qualify for my challenge so after a couple more e-mails I took her up on her offer of a private lesson to learn the basics. So that’s what I did this morning instead of running. For about an hour I learned how to glide on my bike going into the obstacles, learning how to mount and dismount going into and out of the obstacles and then throwing it all together at a little higher speed. Overall it went well and Vicki tweeted I was a natural at cyclo-cross afterwards. Made me feel good especially since she left something out. I’ve already crashed once and told you about it so why leave today’s incident out? So when I was practicing all the drills together at a bit higher speed I was still chatting with her and I guess not paying attention. I ended up losing balance a bit then she thinks my foot(I was gliding on left foot)slipped off the pedal and I went down over the bike. I didn’t realize till we were back at her place chatting that I got a bo-bo on my right leg just below my knee. Now I’ll have matching scars 🙂

For a better idea of what a cyclo-cross race is take a look at this video I found on YouTube.

It was Vicki’s idea as I never think of looking things up on YouTube. I didn’t know till today but Vicki is a Pro cyclo-cross racer and is moving soon to Europe for 4 months to compete there for the season. If this got your interest and want to follow a Pro you can check out her blog at : Ottawa Cross

To close I really enjoyed the practice and Vicki really eased a lot of concerns I had about what to expect in these races. Before I add one or more of these races to my schedule for next year I’m going to try a race this fall. It won’t be till after my marathon though so you’ll have to wait awhile for my first Cyclo-cross report 🙂

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9 Responses to Cyclo-cross Lessons

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  4. I had never heard of cyclocross racing before now!! I have to tell the hubby!! (although I don’t know if I want him to find a new hobby to take up even more of our weekends!)

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  6. You really are an inspiration with your willingness to try new things even if it means you’re going to end up with a few new scars! When I practiced massage therapy I often saw people’s scars. Those with the most scars I saw as the ones who led a worthwhile life, they took chances and lived to the fullest. So here’s to acquiring new scars in the act of challenging oneself!

  7. listedmal says:

    Good first injury! Not too serious, but gnarly enough to show people and have them go “Ooh, what happened?”

    Cylo-cross sounds really intense, but like a lot of fun. I’m excited to hear more about your adventures with it.

  8. biz319 says:

    Be proud of your scars – you earned every one of them!

    YouTube is my go to for just about anything – especially if I am trying something new, like making pasta from scratch – I do much better with visual instructions rather than reading a recipe.

    Hope you have a great long weekend!!


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