CX season is finally here and people all over the state are practicing mounts and dismounts, throwing major wattage into intervals and heckling their friends and co-workers to fine-tune their gameday shenanigans.
Wether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned pro, here are tips for your prep, some rule changes to be aware of and more.
Seal your rubber. Wether you ride tubed, tubeless or tubular, use of sealant (like TX-based Orange Seal) is a must. Goat heads are everywhere in the great state. Trust us.
No, seriously, trust us and go install some sealant this week.
Buy a cowbell. Or a vuvuzela. Or a trumpet. We like to make some noise at our events and have fun. It starts with being obnoxious and encouraging.
Bring handups. Bacon. Beer. Shrimp cocktail. Tequila. Cookies. Dolla dolla bils, yo. All of those things have ended up on my person or in my body during a race. Oh, and the kids love Twizzler handups (ok, adults, too).
Hydrate. Drink plenty of water on your way to the race. Then drink more. For the most part, “feeding” (handing water bottles to a racer) is disallowed. If the temp is above 68 degrees, the official can allow it in the pits. Which means you’ll get off your bike and stop, and nobody wants that. Races are less than one very steamy hour, so you will be OK.
Want to be competitive? Train. You don’t need to hire a coach – there are plenty of plans online. But if you’d like to finish well and feel like you gave it your all, you need to ride often and use your CX bike in a park weekly. Area group events show up on our Facebook page and we have most listed on the Local Practices page.
Speaking of training, practice hills. Run the hill with your bike on your shoulder. Ride the hill and try to emulate courses like Terra X, Georgetown and Waco. TXCX has some hills, as you’ll soon experience. Consider a 11-27 or 11-28 for your cassette.
New categories = more options. Category 2 will be a separate competition for scoring and TXBRA points, but it will likely be run with P/1 events. That means Cat 2 gets a jersey and more.
Cat 5 is here - if you’re new, this is the category for you. No need to worry about being shelled by some sandbagger Cat 4 who refuses to move up. You know who you are.
U10 for the youth is optional. You may see one or two races with this category for the littles (thanks to the CX Project 2015 movement). It will be offered at Nationals in Austin, 2015.
Pick proper tires. Our tracks, for the most part, are loose soil and grass. We’ve had some rain and mud, but it is rare. Last year many more racers were on file treads and low-rolling resistant knobs. It’s all personal preference. Challenge Fango, Clement LAS or MXP, Continental CX King are some suitable options. Seasoned pros, please leave your tips below.
Standardized race schedule. The promoters will hold races starting later on Saturday and earlier on Sunday. This allows people traveling from out of the area (about 30% of all race attendees) time to drive to and from the event. This is only a recommendation, though most promoters are following it. Please travel to races outside of your home town and thank them.
Standardized call-ups. Nothing is more frustrating than an official reading through a full list of the top ranked TXBRA riders when half of them are not in attendance. Call-ups will be top 10 in the series who are registered, followed by pre-reg. It is up to the promoters to provide the updated list and it will be enforced.
CX = Party. Fun times abound at every course. Participants and spectators enjoy cold frothy beverages and there is typically a short-bus (with Bill Murray’s silhoutte on it) filled with unicorn-clad grown men pumping out the jams. Heck, Houston brings an entire beer truck. Plan appropriately.
Courses will be fully taped. We’re getting more pro style each and every year, 2013-14 is no exception. You won’t find pin flags that mangle derailleurs (though you should avoid loose sticks) and you’ll have a clear view of the track when you’re in it.
States is in Austin this year. San Antonio and Ft Worth will be added to the rotation, so the next few years look like this: Jan. 2014 = Austin, ’15 = Dallas, ’16 = Fort Worth, ’17 = Houston, ’18 = San Antonio. Lather, rinse and repeat.
Important documentation. We met after states last year and came up with some new rules. Those decisions are outlined in a public Google Doc call 2014 Texas CX Bylaw Changes. If you want some fun reading, check out the official USA Cycling rulebook (PDF).
We’ll leave you with a video of the P/1/2′s duking it out in Waco last year. See you at the races!