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OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS – WAR # 2 Dade City

On October 16, 2014 by Christian

As we head into the third weekend of the FRS-CX Schedule for the Wicked Awesome Racing 2: Electric Boogaloo in Dade City, there are many conclusions one could draw, but most of them would be incorrect, because OBVIOUSLY you are reading this, and not writing it, and since as we all know that the Power Rankings are INDISPUTABLE and CORRECT the only possible conclusion is that it’s just too damn early to tell with any accuracy just what the hell is going on. This is the first of three race weekends in a row, so by the end of the three, we should have a better idea just what’s happening.

Right now the points are crazy and confused and some previously dominant riders haven’t even started their CX season, and others have been too busy promoting races to actually ride like their historically badass selves, and still others are searching for the form they enjoyed last season. FRS-CX tabulates points based on your best 8 race results, so they won’t truly paint a picture of who’s dominating whom until everyone has done at least 8 races. After just 4 races total, it’s as much attendance as it is podiums in some categories, but as my 2013 Second Place Men’s Cat three FLCX Point Series Cowbell will tell you, attendance can take you a long way towards podiuming the overall.

Early reports about the course this weekend suggest that a lot of off-camber and thick grass will combine with a classic Thornton run-up to create a tough but fun course, and there appears to be plenty of recovery for every nasty course feature to balance things out. It should be pretty dry, as well, so those mud tires can probably stay home this weekend.

These rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything negative we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you.

As always, please, no wagering.

1. 1. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: 1

Ryan is batting 1.000 on the season in both Pro1/2 as well as Single Speed. Is this a sign of things to come for the rest of the season? I somehow doubt that Josh Thornton will allow that to be the case, but since Josh will be dealing with #Promoterlegs again this weekend, there’s an excellent chance that Ryan’s streak will continue. At least until the Second Annual Winter Garden Spooky CX on October 25, 2014.

2. Clint Gibbs M35 (Bike Works GNV) | Masters 35+ | Last Rank NA


pic from Clint’s Facebook

Rocketing to the upper reaches of the FLCX Power Rankings, as well as the top of the FRS-CX standings, as well as the top of that mountain, above, is Clint Gibbs, who is quite simply having his way with the Masters 35+ category. Two firsts and two seconds will buy a lot of bragging rights in a town full of SERIOUS BUSINESS MASTERS RACERS, but thus far Clint has had the answers to all of his challenger’s questions.

3. Harrison Knight (Cycle Youth) | Juniors 12-14 | Last Rank: NR

The nicest kid who will tear your legs off? He and his brother probably fight over that title, but the Knight boys are up to their old tricks again.

4. Zoltan Tisza (Colavita South Florida) | Masters 45, P12 | Last Rank 2


Amazing pic from Facebook/Hawkdancer Photography.

Zoltan really makes it look too easy. I mean, I know it’s not easy, but he goes from winning the Masters 45 race to turning around immediately and then coming in 3rd or 4th in the Pro 1,2 race. And he’s still smiling when it’s over. Ben Smith is chasing him in Masters 45′s, but he’s got his work cut out for him to catch the Z-man.

5. JoAn Weaver (Swift Cycles) | Women 4 | Last Ranking NR


Pic from Facebook.

Joanne was dragged to enough races by Mr. Pete Miner that she got a bike of her own and started training. Now the two of them trade semi-cruel heckles and get to wash the sand off each other after the races are over. How romantic! With the departure of Rebecca Laborde and Nicole Carson to the 45 minute Ladies Race, JoAn has grabbed onto the reins in Women 4′s and only time will tell how long her reign will last.

6. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Cycling) | Masters 55+ | Last Ranking: NR


Pic from Facebook.

Even Dan’s own West Coast Cycling team has taken to calling him “The Silent Killer,” so you know that the things you read on the FLCX Power Rankings are incontrovertibly true and real, and we don’t make up any of this stuff. Dan picked up where he left off last season in Masters 55, but now he has the ever youthful but newly 55 Byron Keefer (Infinity) nipping at his heels. As the weather cools off and the racing heats up, I have a feeling that the M55 race should prove to be one of the more competitive fields- there are a lot of fast guys who are still polishing up their form.

7. Eric Ehrenberg (VeloBrew) | Cat 3 | Last Ranking: NR

Eric finds himself leading the Cat 3 point series based on the fact that he’s got two third places AND he’s the only rider to have done all four days of racing. I’m sure he’ll be as surprised as anyone to find himself on top of this heap, as these are the first 4 45 minute races he’s ever done, but hey, beginner’s luck? He will have to work pretty hard to stay in front of Bob Croslin (Orange State), Sebastian Morfin (Interactive Metronome p/b Mega Cycle), and Joel Gorman (Flying Fish), but that’s why they have the races, you never know who’s going to show up or who’s going to have a mechanical.

8. Diane Blake (Colavita Devo) | Women 123 | Last Ranking: NR


Pic by Michelle Blake

Until Kristin Apotsos (Infinity) stops her Stand Up Paddleboarding season and Laura Parsons (Infinity) gets her injury healed (I thought @ajplotz became a Doctor so you’d never get injured again, Laura?!!?!) the Women 123 race is totally and completely up for grabs. Jen KRAAAATZZZ and Rebecca Laborde are proving to be strong challengers in the mean time, but it’s the lady who has forgotten more about bikes than most of us will ever know that currently resides in the hot seat. Nice job, Diane.

9. John Vega (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law) | Mens 4/5 | Last Ranking: NR

Men’s 4/5 has seen a different winner for each of the 4 race days we’ve had so far, so picking a winner is pretty difficult. John Vega has put together the most consistently high finishes, so he gets to be the lucky guy with his name in bold. Who’s gonna win on Saturday? I have no freakin’ clue.

9. Josh Thornton (Team Giant ) | P12 | Last Ranking: 4


pic from Facebook

Based on history, Josh is due for a win, but with the handicap of the dreaded #promoterslegs, it will be all the more difficult for him. Betting on Josh at the Second Annual Winter Garden Spooky CX on October 25, 2014 is probably a safer bet, but who knows how much damage promoting two CX race weekends has done to Josh’s form? Only Josh, and he’s keeping his cards close to the vest for the moment.

We See You: Addison Zawada (P12), Tic Bowen (p12), Leonardo Sandoval (M35), Omar Machiste (M35), Ben Smith (M45), Scott Atkins (M45), Chase Forman (Junior Men 12-14), Ava Sykes (Junior Women 12-14) Mary Oneal (W4)

Sandbagger of the Week: Wes Irons absolutely ran away from the field in the Men’s 4/5 race on Day 2 in Dunedin. It wasn’t even close. Yes, it was his first CX race ever, and yes, he’s racing MTBs this weekend, but he will be doing the 45 minute race before the year is out if he keeps his current form going.

Praises from the Pastor

On October 4, 2014 by Pastor Politz

Welcome to the newest feature of FLCX.org. This regular article will celebrate the athletic supporters of each race. These people, organizations and objects may or may not race and their contributions to Cyclocross may or may not be measurable, but their spirit, drive, dedication, smile and sometimes wallets made this past weekend memorable and awesome.  Seeing as how I can’t be at both days every race or see the whole course, I am constantly looking for outside nominees and ask you the readers, racers and spectators to be quick to inform me of any awesomeness I may have missed. Promoters specifically will be left out from now on, otherwise, I would feel obligated to praise the promoter each week.  Instead, elements of your race (i.e. WAR #1 run up) will be eligible.

If you don’t know me, I am Greg Politz. I am the bearded guy offering you water during the real races and beer or root beer during the SS race. When I am at a CX race I will probably be holding a green heckle-cone close to my mouth and living by two hashtags: #handupsarenotacrime and #davetowlecanttellmewhattodo. Ok, enough introduction – lets jump into it.

Edinburgh Cyclocross Challenge 9/27-9/28

This was year 2 of the Edinburgh Challenge in Dunedin. Last year it was a one day race, the season opener, and my first exposure to you awesome people. I am really glad this race survived the guillotine, but imagine if the race had been in that rain on Saturday night as planned. Just imagine. The following honorees were not paid to be at this event. In fact, most of them paid out of pocket to be there and their impact was felt or seen through out the weekend. I could never prioritize these so they are in no particular order.

#ALLWOODALLZALLOWED

Ryan is 8-0 in 4 days of racing, but it looks like he is going to be running a 5th and 6th race every weekend. He tried the 3-fer for the first time this weekend as he jogged along side the woman’s cat 4 race while his wife, Darla, made her much anticipated debut on Sunday. Although performance isn’t a very big factor to this article, you can’t argue with Ryan’s early dominance and the overall presence of the Woodall clan. The youngest of whom looked awfully cute with a hecklecone.

Roman and Graynor Law Firm

2nd year sponsors of Edinburgh were out in full force again which is something the whole scene should be happy about. Happy sponsors create happy promoters which create happy racers. Like them on Facebook, and should you ever need the services of a personal injury attorney.  Make them your first call and make sure you tell them you heard of them through FLCX. We need more non-bike industry sponsors like Roman and Graynor.

Petra Missourai

I am not sure what title to give Petra. I guess she will be team mom soon enough, but for now she is the pregnant woman in the feed zone for over 2 hours each day supporting Zoltan and Vitor and chasing down their discarded bottles. While I would be happy to hand them bottles as well, Colavita is lucky to have Petra.

Jason Guillen

Jason gets the call up for bailing on 6 Gap to race cross. I am a fan of anyone who skips the pavement to ride the dirt. Especially if that dirt is wet and on a CX course. Jason scared me a bit when he seemingly sold off his entire bike collection, including one very poorly cared for Specialized Tricross, and then showed up in Dade City on his road bike. Thankfully, he is back.

Cabe Crisler

Admittingly, I did not witness Cabe’s selfless awesomeness, but when polling my trusted advisers on the topic of awesomeness, Cabe’s name came up multiple times. The story I heard was that Ava Sykes (you know, super rad Jr who just raced up with the woman and won!) had some kind of a catastrophic bike failure rendering it un-rideable on Saturday. Well along comes Cabe, who without hesitation, raised his seat, switched the cassette to an 11 and handed Ava his bike to race. I don’t how much of his heroics were embellished or what parts I made up for comedic effect, but I do know that the ‘without hesitation’ part is true and that’s why Cabe gets a high five. That and his goatee. B-T-Dubs, he won his race on Saturday and finished 2nd on Sunday. Hope to see Cabe more this year, but it might be tough in that camo kit.

Eric Ehrenberg

Eric didn’t have to Cat up to 3s, but he’s a competitor, so he stepped up. On Sunday, he was ahead of Michael Weimar and then got caught near the end. When the preliminary results came out, Eric took a picture on his phone and later realized he was listed ahead of Michael. Eric quickly pointed out the mistake to Michael so he could bring it to the official’s attention. This call up is easy to give and the author would like to call up #MRdoingitright Steve Collins for bringing the story to my attention. Thank you to Steve and Eric.

Jennifer Kraaz-t

Jennifer just had an awesome write up in Cyclocross Magazine about FLCX (find it in this month’s free online edition) and then followed it up with hard fought races with Rebecca and the Jr field on both Saturday and Sunday. “The good news is you’re winning the women’s race, the bad news is you’re fifth in the juniors.” -Steve Collins. Not many people embody FLCX as much as Jennifer; whether that is a good thing or not, you can decide.

Next race is Wicked Awesome Racing #2 in Dade City 10/18 & 19. I am hoping we will take over the local campground Saturday night. Give me a shout if you are interested. Hope to see everyone there.

May the shred be with you all,

Pastor Politz

Rat Pack Race Report: Wicked Awesome Racing No. 1

On October 1, 2014 by Professor Collins

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Rat Pack Race Report. Our focus here is on the men and women at the back of the pack. This report is about the first Wicked Awesome Racing (WAR) event in Dade City the weekend of Sept. 20-21, which was both wicked and awesome. A special thanks to promoters Kaleigh and Josh Thornton and all their sponsors.

Rider of the Week: Mark Schwab. A traditional back-of-the-packer, Mark made Saturday’s mountain bike podium in third place. Making Mark’s accomplishment more impressive are two important facts. 1. He completed the Cat 4/5 race moments before starting the mountain bike race. 2. He rode “Frankenstein,” a single speed contraption of his own making. Mark also distinguished himself as MC. He’s no Christian Carlqvist but who is?

Newcomers of the Week: Michelle Toth, Robert Fenderson, and Liz Hardy Addams. All three completed their first CX races this weekend and did so in style. Already a mainstay at CX races as Michael Toth’s pit chief and moral support, it was nice to see Michelle join the fun on the other side of the tape. Addams distinguished herself on Saturday by asking me if I was in fact racing (that stung a little because I was) as she passed me just before the run up on the first lap. On Sunday, Fenderson held off a furious charge by yours truly to take 25th place and the final point in the FRS-CX series standings.

Shenanigan of the Week: That would go to yours truly. Shenanigan No. 1: I didn’t realize when I decided to double up and race both Cat 4/5 and mountain bike on Saturday that the only thing separating these two races was the kids race. Shenanigan No. 2: I was still sitting in a comfy chair when I realized the race had just started. Kudos to Josh Thornton for holding the race tape above his head (which it turns out isn’t that high) so I could sneak under and join the race.

We say goodbye to: Nicole Carson and Rebecca Laborde. We’ve enjoyed racing with these ladies while they were Cat 4’s, but their respective bags called to say they wanted their sand back. As such, both ladies are moving up this weekend. They were always too fast to be members of the Rat Pack, but we enjoyed getting passed (and occasionally lapped) by them.

We have our eye on: John LaManna and Carlos Iglesias. Sandwiched between Stuart Poe and Mark Schwab in the FRS-CX rankings, these two guys have serious Rat Pack potential.

OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ – Wicked Awesome Race #1

On September 26, 2014 by Super Rookie

You have been begging for the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ for a few days and we are here to deliver. We have been holed up in our respective mother’s basements crunching the numbers and passing our preliminary ranking back and forth waiting for the posting of the official results of the first weekend of racing in Dade City. Naturally, some would say that the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ are the most important part of Florida Cyclocross.

Due to this, there is a lot of pressure on the FLCX Junta to produce 100% official, infallible, unquestionable and accurate rankings that can not be challenged, but we are cyclocross racers and we can handle the pressure. As the season rolls into the second weekend at the Edinburgh Challenge in Dunedin this weekend we now have a few questions answered and more being asked.

Questions Answered:

  1. Will Ryan Woodall actually race his bike, or just Facebook about racing cyclocross for the third year in a row?
  2. Will Josh Thorton face a serious challenge at anytime this season?
  3. Who is Zoltan Tisza and why is he hurting everyone?

Questions To Be Answered:

  1. Was it a case of the dreaded #promoterlegs, or is Josh Thorton the new Chris Slack?
  2. Will Karen Dybdahl redeem the Dybdahl family name?
  3. Is Kristin Apotsos the new Laura Parsons?

Regardless of the answers we are here for you.

XOXO,

Tim and Christian

2013/14 OFFICIAL FLCX Power Rankings™: Wicked Hahdah CX

Photo: Team Pro’s Closet

1. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NA

It seems like the local mountain bike legend is going all in on cyclocross this year. He even has a cyclocross bike! Pulled off two huge victories in the season opening race and staked an early claim to the top of the Power Rankings with that performance. Was it a case of the dreaded #promoterlegs for FLCX resident strongman, Josh Thorton? Or, is Ryan Woodall the all-new Dragon Slayer?

Photo: Dave McElwaine

2. Zoltan Tisza (Colavita) | M45+ | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NA

The real deal. Former Hungarian national champion and world championship entrant came to Florida and slayed everyone in his field, only finishing behind Tic Bowen in the Masters overall and let’s not forget racing a full 60min to take third on Saturday and fourth on Sunday. Hide your kids, because there is a new monster in town.

Photo: Winter Park Cycles

3. Tic Bowen (U/A) | M35+ | Last Rank: NA

Last year the battle for the Master’s 35+ title came down to Mr. Mystery, Tic Bowen, and Mr. September, Andy Mills (Firefighters Union). At the State Championship it was Mills who came out on top. We were so confident in Tic’s return to FLCX that we didn’t even mention Mills in the PRESEASON OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™. We are now even more confident in our decision.

Photo: S. McElvery

4. Josh Thorton (Team Giant) | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NA

In the deep dark recesses of the Twittersphere there are jaded cyclocross race promoters who constantly complain of having to deal with #promoterlegs. It is a real thing. It happened to the King of King’s. Josh did not disappoint putting together one of the best race courses in recent memory and a top-notch event. The first in a series in three. In fact, Josh Thorton did not fall down the rankings, he just happened to promote the thing!

Photo: Uncredited

5. Kristin Apotsos (Infinity Bike Shop) | Women Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NR

Over the past few years the Women’s field has been dominated by one rider, Laura Parsons (Infinity). Kristin was the first to conquer Parsons last season at Swamp Cross in Gainesville. A few thought it was a fluke, but we all secretly hoped this victory was a sign of things to come. A serious battle of supremacy at the front of the field is in store when Parsons returns from injury, or whatever it was that kept her away from the season opener.

Photo: Photorun

6. Allison Linnell (U/A) | Women Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NR

Who? All we know is that she rode away from the Women’s field on Saturday, only to miss the bigger day of the weekend with the more stacked field. Perhaps Allison is so new to this cyclocross thing that she wasn’t aware that Sunday is when the heavy hitters come out to play. Oh, does anyone know if Allison paddleboards?

Laborde

 Photo: PHOTOSHOP!!!!

7. Rebecca Laborde (U/A) | Women Cat 4 | Last Rank: NR

Rebecca got a carbon cyclocross bike and rode away from the cat4 women setting up an upgrade to the Cat1/2/3 race to give the likes of Jen Kraatz and Zoe Mullins a battle for the podium, and hopefully a challenge to the upper ranks. This is, after all, assuming that Rebecca upgraded to Cat3. We don’t want to mention the words too early, but if the water starts to rise we will be calling on Rebecca to lend a hand to hold it back.

Photo: Unknown Twitter User

8. Sebastian Morfin  (Metronome/Team Florida) | Cat 3 | Last Rank: NR

Sebastian is a beast. He is a machine on the road and easily one of the fast riders in the Southeastern United States on the road. He is trying cyclocross for the first time and did the honorable thing of racing in the Cat3s, and not slaying all the Cat4/5s. This is the kind of thing we like about this kid. He raced in the category he belonged and put on a show and will quickly become a player in the Cat1/2s. Bravo, Sebastian. We give you two more race weekends before we call you out to get out of our quasi-old man, one-day-a-week training plan category.

9. Brian Davis (Treasure Coast Cycling) | Masters 55+ | Last Rank: NR

***STEREOTYPE ALERT*** Road racing masters have a horrible reputation, they sweat a lot, tend to yell a lot, they also charge a lot when you go visit them for a six-month check up (DENTIST JOKE!). Don’t ask any of them about their back pain, or about their favorite recumbent bicycle.

The masters racers that do cyclocross are the exact opposite. They are the dads we always wanted, especially the 55+ crew. Seriously, what a bunch of awesome dudes that are out to have a great time with us every weekend. They want to hang out afterward and give you a high-five. They also know some pretty sweet heckles referencing Bing Crosby, Tony Bennet and June Cleaver.

Brian Davis took the top step on Sunday and laid claim to the King of the old men, but watch out because there are a slew of Masters making this easily the most competitive field in Florida Cyclocross!

Photo: Gator Zone

10. Blake Norman (Top Gear / MuMu) | Category 4 | Last Rank: NR

Does anyone know who this kid is? QUICK OFFER HIM AN ELUSIVE CYCLOCROSS CONTRACT – looking at you Infinity Bike Shop – this kid had two great finishes this past weekend in the Cat 4s and if this continues to happen the grains of sand begin to accumulate and the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota comes calling (GEOGRAPHY JOKE!). Wait, on second thought, since we are both Cat3s, we would like Blake to stick in the Cat 4s and upgrade immediately to Cat1/2.

We See You: Bob Croslin – M3 (Orange State), Rolly Weaver – P1/2 (Pioneer Mortgage), Todd Leedy – M3 (352 Racing), Clayton and Harrison Knight – J10-12, J12-14 (Top Gear), Nicole Carson – W4 (Pinnacle Wheelworks), Jo Weaver – W4 (Swift Racing)

Falling Off This Week: N/A

Sandbagger of the Week:

Tic Bowen (M35+)

Us: “Hey Tic, have you been riding lately?”

Tic: “No, haven’t really be riding much,” or, “you know I have ridden a few times these past few weeks, but not much.”

Sorry Tic, but we are onto you and your schtick. It is endearing and it is something many of us have experienced and we are jealous. Congrats, sir.

Ripped from the pages of MYFBRA.COM

On September 26, 2014 by Christian

FLORIDA CYCLOCROSS SEASON IS IN FULL SWING!

The Florida Bicycle Racing Association, as the recognized local association of USA Cycling in Florida, is proud to announce the 2014/15 Florida Ranking System for Cyclocross.

****Updated to add 11/1-2 Tally CX in Tallahassee****

Upcoming Races:

For complete calendar of races and more information on Florida cycloscross races visit the cyclocross page on FBRA.org


There are a few changes for the 2014/15 season. Junior age categories have changed to 9-11, 12-14, 15-18. FRS-CX awards will be 3 deep for individuals and 1 deep the overall team across all categories. The number of races that count for an individual is set at 8 and for a team 10.

For more information on categories, race requirements and points system click here.

A Guide To Cyclocross Fandom

On August 30, 2014 by Super Rookie

Cyclocross is a unique cycling discipline. It tends to be a more open and friendly environment than road racing, and a better spectator experience than mountain biking. This isn’t to say that road and mountain biking are less superior, they just aren’t on the same level of awesome.

That said, if you are new to cyclocross, or if you have experienced the rush and excitement you may find yourself getting yelled at by a complete stranger. This stranger probably is someone that raced in an event earlier and they are there to support you, but also to make you feel like their kid brother. It can be confusing at first, but here is a handy guide to fandom in cyclocross.

The OFFICIAL Rules Of FLCX Fandom:

1. Cyclocross Is Fun, But It Is Also A Competition

People are racing bikes. It is still a competition. Do not alter the course (read: dumping water on the run-up, moving course tape after the race day starts etc…). If you see someone doing this call them out on it as they are probably unaware since everyone is having a great time and this whole thing may be new!

2. Heckling Is Encouraged. Being Mean Is Not.

Cyclocross at its core is about being fun and having a smile on your face. This means that you do what you can to bring that fun atmosphere to everyone, including the racer that has their heart rate pegged at 194 while hitting an off-camber turn. They may be in the ‘zone’ but it is an appropriate time to tell them that they should, “go wicked hardah” or that they should “work together” with the ride in front of them. Get the riders off their game. Make them stop and do pushups, or maybe stop in the middle of the race and get their autograph (thanks Chris Horner!).

The general rule of thumb for heckling is that it should make the rider laugh. You should never under any circumstances say, “you suck,” or be a complete jerk. If that happens don’t be surprised if someone does their best Bart Wellens to your noggin.

3. Handups Are Not A Crime, Unless It Is Illegal And Against The Rules.

Cyclocross is so much fun that from time to time the racers want to get involved with the party on the other side of the course tape. They request pieces of bacon, coca-cola, or even a piece of Laffy Taffy. The general rule for handups is don’t be an idiot and put the promoter, riders or other fans at risk with your behavior. You know, act like an adult, well at least one that knows how to sneak food into the movie theater.

4. Cyclocross Is One Big Family.

We are all in this together. If you are out walking the course and you see a little course tape on the ground tie it back up, if the race is over see if you can pull down some of the tape and help the folks clean up the party. At the end of the day tell your friends to come race with us and have some more fun.

5. Don’t Be A Lemon. Be A Rosebud.

At no time is it ok to be a complete jerk to the officials, promoters, riders, or fellow spectators. This isn’t road racing where you can get away with throwing your bike to the ground and yelling at your friend standing in the feedzone that missed your bottle feed. This is the place where you work as hard as possible to win your race and do as well as you can, but go have a high-five with your competitor immediately after the race.

TOTALLY NOT THE PRE-SEASON POWER RANKINGS*

On August 29, 2014 by Christian

*except totally the end of August Power Rankings.

As always, these rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you. As always, please, no wagering.

1. Josh Thornton (Giant USA/FLCX BADASS) – P12 – Pretty much nuff’ said. He’s promoting a series of WICKED AWESOME races this year, increasing his rating even higher. You want to get ranked higher than him? Promote a race, and then beat him on the bike. The most powerful man in Florida Cyclocross. Just try to unseat him. Good luck.

2. Laura Parsons (Infinity) – P123 Women – She is already claiming she’s injured, but as the most dominant woman in FLCX history, it’s virtually impossible to count her out. She will win at least 6 races this year. She is the reigning queen, best of luck to you if you plan to unseat her.

3. Zoltan Tisza (??) -Masters – We don’t know much, but his name is Zoltan and if that doesn’t scream “I’m faster than you” than I don’t know what does.

4. Vitor Alexandre (Colavita South) – Masters – Was untouchable last year in the masters 45, and damn competitive in the masters 35′s as well. Engaged in some epic duels with Steve Noble (Infinity), and ultimately emerged triumphant the vast majority of the time. So strong, so fit, so many expectations for 2014, and already claiming that he’s coming into the season undertrained. Yep, sound like an elite Master’s rider to me.

5. Tic Bowen (B3 Cafe) – Strava king of the Greater Orlando area. Man of mystery, be afraid 35+ dudes. Two words describe him. FA. Ast.

6. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Wheelman). No stranger to the FLCX Power Rankings, the 55+ champion figures to continue his reign. The silent killer, he doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s always at the front of the race at the 45 minute mark, when it counts.

7. Ryan Woodall (The Pro’s Closet/Felt/Top Gear Cycles/Chris Kyle) NO WOODALLZ ALLOWED*

8. Ava Sykes (Outspoken?) Ava had an amazing summer, standing on the top step of the podium at the National Crit Championships, and on the lower steps of the podium of the road race, and the time trial. How did your summer go? That 15th at the industrial park training crit highlight suddenly doesn’t feel so special, does it?

9. Keith Richards (Swift Cycling) Won the single speed category based on showing up. MEH.

10. Rich Dybdahl (Pure Cycles) The single most enthusiastic CX supporter in the entire state of Florida. Rich backed up his entirely lackluster race results in 2013 with an undying commitment to the bringing new friends to the sport of Cyclocross. Seriously, love you Rich, don’t ever quit.

11. Mother Effing Beardo (All City/Ritte Racing/Puerto Rico) Dude showed up one weekend and owned it. Even though he finished near to last against the elite FLCX category 4 field, he still managed to podium in nearly every PRCX event he entered. Weird. Love that dude, hope we see more of him this year.

Dis-Honourable Sandbagger Pre-Season Award: Michael Cedeno is so much faster than all of us on pavement, and yet he’s yet to enter the 60 minute event. Being funny on the internet is all well and good, but stealing candy from the kids in the cat 3 race is just mean. See also: Alexander Gil and his world class track sprinter thighs.

On the cusp:

John Paul Russo – This year has got to be his year. Right? Right? COME ON!

Jennifer Kratz Hoyle – Garneau – Killed it in the 4 women, has a tougher row to hoe in the big girl’s race.

Erica Richards – Orange State – When she’s not sueing people, she’s dropping them on her bike. A full season may be just what she needs to get to the top. Recently spent time in Colorado altitude doping- look out.

Brian Davis – Village Idiots – Anyone who drinks as much Duvel as Brian does post race deserves mention.

John Kingham – Swift Cycles – John was one of the best cat 4′s last year- how will he handle his step up to the big kids in the 3′s?

Michael Mace – First Place Racing – Junior National Champion on the MTB has got to count for something on the CX bike.

Kristin Apotsos – Infinity – The only woman to beat Laura Parsons last year is now Laura’s teammate- it should be intriguing to see how team orders play out.

How do I do the Cyclocross: Early-Mid August Edition

On August 14, 2014 by Christian

No. 3 of several in a series hyping up the 2014-2015 FLCX Cyclocross series

Ok, we’ve already discussed getting a bike for a reasonable price, and then we talked about some best practices for CX race promoters. Let’s talk about getting into shape, and what exactly kind of shape you need to get into to race CX.

First of all, if you are the type of person who wants/needs/desires structure and planning in your workouts, there are some great coaches in FLCX. Off the top of my head, I can think of, in no particular order, Josh Thornton, Ben Smith, Zach Fout, Vitor Alexandre, Eric Stubbs, Drew Edsal Jeb Stewart, Zoltan Tisza, and Vincent Cook. If I’m forgetting anyone else, it’s purely unintentional and if you contact me I’ll be happy to add you to the list. There are a lot of current and previous state champions in this list. These guys will make you faster than you currently are, as long as you take their advice to heart and eat right. They can teach you how to eat, train, sleep, and ride like a champion bike racer, and help you with technique and even make sure your bike fits you properly. It’s a relatively small investment to gain a vast amount of knowledge, and if you take your cycling seriously, it makes sense to hire one of these guys.

For the rest of us, who are perfectly happy to finish in the latter half of the standings after we take multiple marshmallow and Fat Tire Amber Ale handups, here’s what you really need to do to get ready for CX season.

First of all, you need to build some base fitness. This requires little more than time and the determination to follow a general plan. It helps if you have at least a small amount of current fitness, like the ability to hang on to a group ride for 30 or 40 miles, but this isn’t an absolute requirement.

To build a base for CX, you should probably start today, if you haven’t started already. If you wait another week, it will probably be too late, and you’ll end up with a palmares like that of Tim Hayes circa 2013. (Yes, I KNOW you beat me the one time we raced head to head last year, TIM.) So, to build base fitness, you need a road bike, or road tires for your CX bike, and you need to ride for 2-4 hours at a time at least twice a week.

Currently, I have Thursday and Sundays off, so my weeks look like:

Monday: 1.5-2 hrs (25-30 miles) recovery ride, easy but steady pace.
Tuesday 1-1.5 hrs (15-20 miles) informal efforts ride- moderate pace with accelerations or CX Skills Practice.
Wednesday: Rest day or easy spin
Thursday: 3-4 hours (50-70 miles) steady pace at the edge of discomfort- look for 19-21 mph on your computer as much as possible
Friday: Rest day or easy spin
Saturday : Easy spin or group ride, 1-2 hours, (15-30 miles), or CX Skills Practice
Sunday: 3-4 hours (50-70 miles) steady pace at the edge of discomfort- look for 19-21 mph on your computer as much as possible.

This is just me, customize it to fit your schedule, and obviously with all the rain we’ve been having it won’t always work out. If you have to miss a day, that’s ok. If you’re tired, skip a day, or cut back the time/distance. You’re an adult, presumably, so listen to your body. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is probably more important than hitting a mileage goal, make sure you’re getting as much as you can. Recovery rides are equally important. Beat yourself up when you feel good. Give yourself a break when you’re exhausted. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Often, your brain (my brain) will feel like drinking beer and playing video games, and try to fool your body into feeling tired. You (I) should try to tell your (my) body that it can play all the video games it wants after the CX season ends.

I will follow this schedule through the end of August. Once we hit September, I’ll start to dial back the long days, and start to do a little more intensity, maybe even some intervals. Ugggh, intervals. They hurt, but they do so much good. But you need a fitness base before you can take advantage of the physiological benefits of intervals, so you have to put in the saddle time first.

So my weeks in September will look more like:

Monday: 1.5-2 hrs (25-30 miles) recovery ride, easy but steady pace, on pavement.
Tuesday: 1-1.5 hrs (10-15 miles) CX Skills Practice with shorter intense intervals, preferably on a CX bike on grass or dirt.
Wednesday: Rest day or easy spin on pavement.
Thursday: 2-2.5 hours (30-40 miles) fast-ish road ride. A group ride is fine, if you get out in the wind. Sitting in at 18mph does very little for your fitness.
Friday: Rest day or easy spin on pavement.
Saturday: 1-1.5 hours fast group ride, at the front, in the wind.
Sunday: CX Practice Race/ simulation. Find some local guys, and go out and beat on each other for 45 minutes, or two 20 minute sessions, or whatever you all agree on. Warm up properly before hand, and make sure to practice barriers and running steps both before and during the practice race.

CX intervals come in a wide variety. They range from the “sprint out of the saddle out of every corner interval” to the full on 20 minute “Oh my god I want to die because there’s 18 minutes to go interval”. One I’ve always “enjoyed” was finding a 1-2 mile circuit with regularly spaced street lights, and sprinting from one streetlight to the next, then resting til the next, then sprinting again, basically until you want to throw up. Hopefully, this will be after more than 3 sprints. Shoot for a whole lap of this misery, then take a lap off to recover. Then, if you feel like it, do another lap of intervals, or just call it a night. Longer intervals are necessarily less intense, but they hurt more because they last longer. You should rest longer after long intervals than you should after short ones. There’s a whole internet out there with opinions and advice on intervals, so if you want more detail, let me google that for you. Remember, CX is what you make it, and the harder you train now, the more you can slack off once the season starts and you can rely on races to keep you fit.

Some of you are saying, “Christian, surely you can’t be as slow as you have historically been if you are actually doing all of these workouts, and to those of you who are saying this, I can only say that you are very mean-spirited and unkind, and probably correct. But while I feel I corner and handle most of the technical sections as well as most people, I really struggle at the whole pedalling really hard parts of CX, and that’s where I watch people ride away from me.

Also, you should probably keep an eye on what you eat, cutting out a lot of the fat and junk sugar, and adding as many fruits and vegetables as you can stomach, but hey, you’re riding your bike a lot, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Remember, as long as you can zip up your skinsuit and/or jersey past your belly, then it still fits you fine.

Follow these most of these steps between now and the first races at the end of September, and I promise that you’ll be at least as mediocre as Tim and Rich Dybdahl and I.

The next volume in this series will contain advice on what a proper CX skills workout should consist of. Look for it this weekend!

How Do I Promote the Florida Cyclocross Event?

On August 5, 2014 by Christian

For the 2014/2015 Florida Cyclocross (FLCX) Season, there is no longer an actual FLCX points series. There is the Florida Bike Racing Association (FBRA) FRS-CX points series, which will award points to racers at each CX race in the state. So anyone who wants to promote a USA Cycling Cyclocross race in the state is now part of the points series. As far as I’m aware, the final race of the season will be State Championships in Tampa around the second weekend in December, at which time I presume all FBRA Season Series prizes will be awarded.

We’d like to provide some simple guidelines for all promoters to use to make their events as successful as they can be, as well as to provide a certain level of quality for each event, to ensure a consistent level of excellence during the race day experience, to continue to move the sport forward, to increase participation, to make sure each event is first and foremost, fun, but also safe, profitable, and not a giant ball of suck for the promoter and his staff. You can use as much of our recommendations as you wish, or you can completely ignore us and do it the way you want to do it, there’s no one way to promote a CX race. We’re not setting out a mandate or demanding that you follow anything we say, specifically. These are simply the steps we learned through trial and error, to be the best, the easiest, the most profitable.

Do’s and Don’ts:

Do

beg, borrow, or steal a laptop. Download Cross Mgr. Practice using it, then find 2 or 3 volunteers to run it during your race. It is the same FREEEEEEEE timing software that Jason Guillen used in past seasons. It makes your entire race day experience go exponentially smoother than relying on a USA Cycling official to do the results by hand. We had USA Cycling officials doing results by hand at Tampa and at the State Championships in 2013, and results at both of these events were a complete mess, in the sense that it took the official 30-45 minutes between each race to tabulate the results by hand, before they could be announced after an event with 15 or 20 racers. I’m not saying this to insult anyone. I don’t think anyone could or would dispute this assessment. Don’t make your race a mess. Use the software, or pay a timing company to run timing at your event. Don’t trust the USA Cycling officials to do it themselves. They aren’t equipped for it, they’re there to make sure your event is run safely and disputes are handled fairly and no one is giving beer to juniors.

(Jason Guillen wants out of the timing business for next season, so he can actually focus on his own racing. You can ask him for advice, but as far as I know he won’t be running timing at many or even any events.)

Do

make the schedule of your race pretty close to the schedule of everyone else’s race, because you’re gonna get a better turnout if you do. We have several years of data that suggests that the best schedule is something pretty close to this:

Wave 1: Masters 35/45/55 – 45 minutes
Wave 2: Pro 1/2/3 Men – 60 minutes
Wave 3: Pro 1/2/3 Women/ Mens 3/4 – 45 Minutes
Wave 4: Men 4/5 – Women 4 – Juniors – 30 minutes
Wave 5: Kids race – 10 minutes (or so)
Wave 6: SS Open – 30 Minutes

Put 15 or so minutes between waves. Each wave technically ends when the last finisher crosses the line.

You can always do whatever schedule your little heart desires as promoter, but you should at least keep the wave structures intact, for FBRA points series purposes. As we get more and more racers in FLCX, we will have to add waves so we don’t have 200 people on the course at the same time, but we’re still several years away from this problem, so we won’t concern ourselves with it at the moment. A six wave schedule like the one above will take about 5 hours from start to finish, meaning if you start your first race at 10:00am, you’re last race is done by 3pm, so you can be heading home before 6pm, which is pretty good for a promoter.

Do

use pre-registration. Either use the USA Cycling system, or BikeReg, or FirstPlaceRacing, but definitely one of the three, and definitely not Active.com, because no one has time for all of the emails Active.com sends you. But use pre-reg, and encourage it’s use by charging a $5 day of registration fee. What should you charge for your race? $25-30 for a first race, and $10 for each additional race each day is pretty reasonable. If your venue is truly spectacular, or you really want to do an event t-shirt, then you can charge a little more, but if it’s more you better be certain that the event will be worth it.

Do

understand the economics involved. Last year, FLCX averaged roughly 60 racers on Saturdays, and 110 racers on Sundays for races in central Florida. 60 x $30 = 1800, 110 x $30 = $3300. $5100 is a lot of money, but almost $1000 of that is going back to USA Cycling, and another $500 to $1000 or so to rent the park and pay the permits. You should probably pay at least $249 to both the Pro men and the Pro women each day (The USA Cycling fees go up if your prizes are over $500). You might need porta potties, that’s $2-300. Prizes/Trophies are another consideration. You’ll need to make some barriers, and acquire some stakes, maybe dump a couple of truckloads of playground sand. Stakes are expensive, try to borrow or at least rent them- Jordan at Velo Champ has a bunch of wooden stakes, Dan Milstead at Little Everglades has even more plastic stakes, and I believe John Hovius at AAA Tri Camp has a bunch of them too. If you have to buy them, well, that’s going to cost a lot. You’ll need a generator and a PA system and a couple of ten x ten ez-up tents for registration and scoring to stand under. You’ll need a PA system for your announcer to talk on. Luckily, if you hire me to announce, I work for entry fees, so that at least won’t cost you much. You need a few tables and some chairs, pens and safety pins and race numbers and prizes for the kids race and water jugs and coffee and breakfast for your volunteers and it just never ends.

Notice, I still haven’t mentioned t shirts, pint glasses, or other promotional tchotchkes. Because they cost even more money, and unless you have a buddy that owns a tchotchkes company, you’re gonna have to pay for them, too. And that $5100 is getting pretty close to being spent.

Bottom line, you’re not going to get rich doing this. If you want to get rich, promote a color run.

Don’t

offer pay-outs to any fields other than P123 and W123, unless you have a bunch of sponsorship dollars burning a hole in your pocket. Otherwise, you won’t really draw too many extra riders, and you will lose money.

Get unique trophies/plaques/medals made. I still have trophies from industrial park criteriums I won back in the 90′s. I don’t have a dime of any of the prize money I won. People are buying memories out there, give them something to remember. Paying Master’s racers is almost as foolish as dropping $1500 on Tshirts for a first year event. Masters will show up either way, as long as they know they aren’t going to break a hip.

Do

Go out and get sponsors. Got a local brewery or brew-pub or bar? Yes, you probably do. Ask them for a few cases for the winners, or a keg for the after party. Food truck/Restaurants/bars near your venue? Don’t be scared to ask them for bar tabs or gift certificates. Then hit up local bike shops. All of them, even one’s you don’t normally shop at. At the one’s you do shop at, ask them if they can hit up any of their suppliers. Garneau, Cannondale, Specialized, SRAM, and Specialized have all contributed at the least course tape in the past, and will most likely do so in the future. Sponsorship takes effort, but it can literally pay for your race, making all the entry fees profit. Think about it. Be creative. Be professional, come up with a package you can email to people describing what you want their money and or product for. The package needs only a cover letter describing the race, the demographics of most cyclists (upscale, eat a lot, like beer), and the numbers you think you’ll attract (approx 100-150 racers, and an equal number of spectators, more if it’s a central location). Mention the comradery of CX, the fun, the disposable income in the parking lot of your event, the spectator friendliness of being able to walk right up to the tape and hand a racer a twizzler or a strip of bacon.

Do

follow these basic guidelines in choosing a location for your event.

1. Pay as little for it as you can get away with. Free is best. Cheap is almost as good. Parks in cities like Orlando, Tampa or Miami are expensive, unless you know someone. It’s good to know someone. Parks in towns like Winter Garden, Alachua, or Ocala are cheaper. Private land can be expensive or cheap. Remember, you’re going to have to send a big chunk of money back to USA Cycling. Spending much more than $500 or $600 on your venue and the associated permits to go with it will make your profits slim.

2. Your course needs to be 8-10 feet wide and roughly a mile and a half in length. There can be a couple of choke points, where the course narrows to one rider’s width, but they better be far from the start, and there better not be too many of them. This doesn’t mean that a section that narrows because one foot of it is solid ground and the other 9 feet are mud isn’t kosher, but you can’t make that your entire course, unless there is a weird weather rain for-three-days-beforehand-thing, but we rarely have those during the FLCX calender. The ideal lap time for the Men 4/5 wave is about eight to nine minutes. They are the slowest wave, and since they only race for 30 minutes, it’s nice to get them 3 to 4 laps. You don’t want your pro men doing 5 minute laps, however, because 12 laps (60 minute race) is a lot, so you have to find a balance. Watch videos of other CX races around the country to give you some ideas.

3. Use any elevation change you can find. Ditches, mole hills, sand dunes, stair cases, handicap ramps, and cliffs. Anything that goes up or down. Off-camber sections are excellent. Sand Volleyball courts are almost a must, if available- I can think of three or four courses last year that had vollyball courts we used off the top of my head.) There is a line between challenging and stupid, and by and large we’ve stayed on the challenging side of the line on our courses. Remember, we have 10 year old kids and 60 year old grandparents out there racing, and while we want to challenge the 33 year olds, we don’t want to kill anybody, or include course features that will damage equipment.

4. Don’t be scared to make people run. They will hate you for it on race day, but they’ll love you for it when they’re telling their friends about the race later. The run-up at Josh’s Dade City course was as perfect as it gets, as was the first run-up off the beach at Key Biscayne a couple of years ago, and the sand steps section at State’s right before the line was pretty perfect too. Force people to dismount at least once per race, and preferably more than that. Two or three times a lap really isn’t out of hand, especially on an otherwise non-technical course. CX isn’t supposed to be easy. The only races in Belgium that don’t force the PRO’s to dismount for barriers are so friggin’ technical that there are running sections anyway.

5. Get the fastest racer you know, and the slowest racer you know, and have them consult and advise you on your course design. Listen to both of them.

Don’t

put a damn pinwheel of death on your course. It’s so lazy, and so 2011.

Do

recruit as many people as you can to help you promote your event. Find a local graphics student to make your flyer and facebook page. Find a couple local go-getters to find local sponsors for you. This includes race day volunteers. You should have a couple people patrolling the course all day repairing course tape and broken stakes, a couple people doing registration, and at least a couple people scoring your event, as well. This is in addition to USAC officials.

Do

make your pits as close as you can to the start/finish area, and also make the pits with at least two entrances. This means your course has to be shaped something like an 8, with the start finish and pits near the intersection of the two circles. The pits have a lot of interest for spectators, but so does start/finish. Keep them within a few minutes walk of each other. Use Jordan at Velo Champ for neutral support, he works for beer and maybe dinner. Good dood.

Do

remember that CX is a spectator sport, too. Make as much of your course visible from start-finish as possible. The Ocala Race, Josh Thornton’s race in Dade City, and Dan’s State’s course, and Dybdhal’s brilliant Mt. Dora course were all fantastic examples of a spectator friendly course. Make sure your spectators are behaving themselves, as much as you can. As race promoter, you’re something of a den-mother to everyone out there, so you can growl at some naughty cub scouts if they get out of line.

Do

follow the Zach Fout promotional method and promote the shit out of your event. Take a flyer to every bike shop in town that will post it. Repost the event info 6 times a day. Rent out the side of a bus or two. I’m not busting balls here, Zach promotes his events as hard as you possibly can, and his high registration numbers are a reflection of that.

Do

Ask other promoters and racers and all of us at flcx.org for help if you need it. We all want to see the sport get bigger. We all want all the races to be awesome. We’re here for your assistance.

These are the basic ideas that we’ve found to be effective. There are certainly a lot more ideas out there, I’m sure people will contribute them on the facebook thread I will add when I publish this, and I can steal the best ones to add to this page. This is a living document, I want it to be of use to every promoter of a race in Florida.

I am not an FBRA or USACycling officer or official, these are not rules, they are guidelines. In case anyone feels that I am demanding you promote a race they way we’re prescribing, let me be the first to assure you that anything I say is completely unofficial. All that said, it is researched and considered. Use it or ignore it as you choose.

OMGWTFBBQOMFUG CYCLOCROSS

On July 23, 2014 by Christian

No. 1 of several in a series hyping up the 2014-2015 FLCX Cyclocross series

Yes, it’s almost August, and that means that there’s less than 30 days until the first date on the Florida Cyclocross Calender at Little Everglades in Dade City. Dan Milstead, promoter, is bound and determined that the entire United States is going to learn about Dade City hospitality, and has managed to get a race in Florida onto the US National Cyclocross Calender. This is exciting, and this is big news!

Hopefully, by now, you have figured out what you’re riding next season, but if not, I have some thoughts on the subject. Particularly if this is your first Cyclocross bike. If you are under the age of 30 and don’t have a job that allows you significant amounts of discretionary income, you are not out of luck- there are still deals to be found out there on the used market for a fancy bike for a flimsy price. We are dangerously close to the danger zone of it being too late to get a bike by the start of the CX season, but we’re not there yet.

So if you don’t have a ton of money to spend, first look at the classifieds on Facebook or craigslist or ebay for someone’s used fancy race bike. You can often find a bike that’s a year or two old for a fraction of its original cost.


Used Empella. image from HERE

Then look at your favourite local shop- even if they don’t have anything in stock they may be able to grab a sweet deal for you. As the manager of a small shop, I encourage you to come to my shop, but I’m a realist, and I understand that you probably have a local shop that you frequent that usually gives you a deal and always helps yo out in a bind. Wait- you don’t have one of those? You buy everything you use online and you know how to work on your own bike already? Then why are you reading this? This is to help out newcomers and people too scared of giving their credit cards to internet retailers. Which isn’t totally irrational. Hackers suck.

If you don’t have one preferred local shop that you frequent, I encourage you to find one. Mine, preferably, but not everyone lives in Orlando, so pick one that’s close to you that’s open when you can get there, and make friends with the manager and/or owner and/or head mechanic. Shopping there consistently, bringing them beer/food/cookies/coffee, and do the shop rides; these are all a good way to start. This will benefit you for years, not just for right now, so choose wisely. Don’t be that guy who chases the best shop team deal to every shop in town every year, nobody likes that guy.

Every single major bike company is unveiling a new gravel-grinder bike for 2015. Yes, they will technically work for CX, but they have a longer wheelbase and more relaxed geometry than a true CX bike, so they will handle a bit sluggishly compared to a true CX race bike. As a beginner, you can certainly ride a gravel grinder bike, but I think you’ll find that as you get more serious about racing CX, you’ll be happiest on a true CX race bike. Particularly on a course that I design with a billion hairpin corners, but

Yes, they are the cheapest way to get a CX bike, but I discourage the $500 Motobecane/Scattante/BikesDirect.com CX bike, because it weighs a million pounds and by the end of your first race you hate CX so much you may never come back. We want you to keep coming back to our party, so do yourself a favor and get a decent bike to start with. Yes, before you accuse me, I admit that I’m a bit elitist in this argument, but I’ve raced a 26 pound CX bike, and a 16 pound CX bike, and the light one was WAY MORE FUN.


The 2014 Jamis Nova Race, MSRP $1300

So, what exactly should I be looking for for my first CX bike you ask. Well, generally, you want a bike that comes with the same number of gears as your road bike, so you can also use your existing wheels as spare wheels. Aluminum or carbon is optimal, steel is real but is heavier. Carbon is lightest, but most fragile and expensive in most cases. Aluminum is pretty light and pretty strong, and usually pretty cheap. As for brakes, disks are the new hotness but they are also heavier and require an entirely new collection of wheels. You should have at least two sets of wheels for CX- think of them as training (The heavier and more durable set, preferably with clinchers/tubeless) and racing (Lighter and tubular, optimally). Tubeless wheels are getting better, so you might want to use them instead for your race wheels, we’ll have that discussion later. If you’re racing, the upper end parts groups are probably best, at least from Shimano and Sram- Ultegra/105 from Shimano and Force/Rival from Sram are optimal froma durability and bang for the buck standpoint. Yes, Dura Ace and Red are both nice, but they aren’t cheap to replace when you tear a derailleur off in the muck of a September mudfest training session.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask, and we’ll see you back here in a few days for the second edition of this series!

FLCX 2014

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