Monday, October 15, 2012

A Beginner's Guide to Ultra Cross

You probably already know about cyclocross: put knobby tires on your road bike and then carry it furiously in a circle while eating bacon with 100 people in your way. 

Ultra cross is a little different. This is a brief guide for beginners. 

How to Warm Up for Ultra Cross
Do not ride your bike on a trainer in the parking lot. In fact, don't ride your bike at all. Warm up using the Schlurp Method. Follow these instructional diagrams:


How to Prepare to ride an Unmarked 50-Mile Course
Go to the pre-race meeting. The race director will say, "If you've ridden this course before, you'll be fine." Then he'll ask for a show of hands as to how many racers have ridden this course before. Here is the show of hands:

Then the race director will say, "Great. You'll all be fine."

The Kind of Crap You Can Expect to See Around Mile 10
Most cyclocross races are over before they hit the ten-mile mark, but you will just be getting started on your Ultra Cross race. Since cyclocross races have large fields compared to the length of the course, a cyclocross racer is usually treated to views such as:

Here is the kind of scenery you have to tolerate in Ultra Cross.

Deadly Spider Hazzard
Just like a barrier, only poisonous.

Keep a Vigilant Eye On Traffic
You will not be riding on a closed course, so keep an eye out for vehicles. See here how this racer is being rusted at by heavy Ultra Cross traffic.

Beer Break
Repeat more often than necessary.

Jon enjoys the crisp flavor of Ultra Cross.

How to Perform an Ultra Cross Runup
Survey the area around you and select the incline up which it would be most difficult to take your bike. Run up that incline as fast as you can.

A racer prepares to set his first piton.

How to Stay on the Unmarked Course
When you carry your bike for more than twenty minutes, you might be off-course. But you might not be. But you probably are. When the trail dead-ends at the the top of the world, you are definitely probably but not for sure off-course. More detailed instruction on how to stay on course may or may not be included in the Advanced Guide to Ultra Cross, which probably never will be, unless it is, written. 

Aaron from Mosaic Cycles absolutely kills some of what is not the course.

While Jon displays appropriate Ultra Cross off-course attitude, he looses points for having no beer in hand.

The Ugliest View You Might Have to Tolerate
This is about as bad as it will get. Grit your teeth and endure the last couple of hideous miles. Stupid Colorado.

Mountain cleavage: looking down Colorado's shirt.

Speaking of Cleavage, The Ultra Cross Cooldown
Cooling down from your Ultra Cross race is much like warming up for it. Reach into a teammate's skinsuit and help yourself to a boob beer. Schluuurp!

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