Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How To Be Awesome at Iron Cross X

Iron Cross is one of those races where I have to do a bunch of things I don't like to do to race it.
You have to get up at Dark:45 to get there. 
You have to put water bottle cages on a cross bike.
You have to worry about flatting 52 times.
You have to worry about dying since your longest ride in weeks has been 2 hours with intervals. (not 4+)

Still. I go. Why? Kuhn makes me. Also when you "beat" all of these dumb things you don't like to do, it makes it all the better.

To add to the excitement, the weather guessers guessed the weather would be in the 40's and raining. Luckily they were only half right. It only kinda sorta rained for a minute, making the conditions chilly but dry. This also kept the chances of hypothermia down. 

Blue Steel. Photo: AE Landes

Craig, Steve and I treated the race as some kind of weird TSE like trio. We held on to the lead group for a bit, then eventually let the balloon of crazy pace go and settled into our own pace.

What that really meant was riding hard, but easy enough to be able to talk. What that really means is annoying the living shit out of everyone around us. I thought most of the topics of discussion ranged from "Purple Drank" to solving complex global issues like the economic decline in Greece. Some mentioned we were solving complex high level math as they rode by. 

So now that you know how it went down, Here are my secrets to Iron Cross X.

How to be awesome at Iron Cross:

Training: Train for 'proper' CX. sprints, barriers, off cambers. Do not ride over 2 hrs. Ever. Race 2x a weekend.
Tires: If Cross Bike, run like 60 psi. If tubeless on cross bile, run like 40.If MTB, you missed the memo it was called Iron Cross.
Brakes. They don't work. Prepare to ride singletrack in the drops so you can brake. You'll get the hang of it. Remember Cross tops? Yeah those nerdy break levers from 6 years ago everyone seemed to have on cx bikes, well Craig had them and they seemed to work. Disc brakes might be nice here.
Nutrition: Eat cookies at the aid stations. Drink PBR at Larry's Tavern. That should do it. Recover with potato chips.
Chips. Photo: AE Landes

Gearing: Don't change your cross bike gearing from your normal race setup. 36x25 will leave you second guessing what the hell you got yourself into on the first slight uphill singletrack. Riding in the drops at 45 rpm at 6 mph is an interesting experience everyone should know. It wont get old, I promise.
Key Course Features:  The run up. Its steep, and very very long. Bring a set of crampons and a Sherpa  Your back is going to hurt. There is a sand pit early on. Sand at high PSI is always funny. There are a few gravel descents that may kill you. You got this.
Cresting the run up. Photo: AE Landes

Coaching: Fire your coach mid race. I do this a lot.
Photo Credit: Mike Kuhn, who I was in the process of firing. 

Getting Rad: Its ok to jump stuff or take a log over that has a clear bail out option. Its ok to wheelie on the climbs. Just remember, you're basically on a road bike which means, any small trick you do will seem way cooler than it actually is, and secondly, any small trick you do may actually kill you. Don't get dead.

Remember folks. Do Iron Cross, it will make you famous on the interwebs.

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  1. "you're basically on a road bike which means, any small trick you do will seem way cooler than it actually is, and secondly, any small trick you so may actually kill you. Don't get dead."

    Dude. So good.

  2. This is absolutely going up on the site. Now get back to some intervals. Kuhn