Ten Common Cyclocross Racing Mistakes

Pete Webber - 2010 Aspen Lodge

As part Boulder Cycle Sport's 2010 Cross Week Pete Webber gave a slideshow on Ten Common Cross Racing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them which I attended Tuesday evening.

My notes say "Top 10 List of Mistakes". They are all really basic but I am sure we have all made them. Pete said something like "if you haven't you will" referring to making the top 10 mistakes. Here is the list along with this cyclocross racers experience with each one.

  1. Lack of Pre-Race Rituals
    • I am pretty good with this one. I know exactly how much time I need to be ready for my start time. This includes registration and finding porto-potties on arrival. Brandon Dwight mentioned that he has a spreadsheet with everything that he will need for race day. Check out Greg Keller's race day rituals
  2. Not being prepared for race day conditions
  3. Making last minute changes
    • I have learned the hard way from this one. I used to run a lot and one time I used a new pair of shoes for a marathon. Around 15 miles my feet were killing me and I had the worst blisters ever. No changes for me.
  4. Poor start
    • This is one of the areas where I struggle. One race my start is good then the next, terrible. An area that needs more practice.
  5. Lapse in focus
    • I forgot about this one...
  6. Riding like a bag of anvils
    • I have been racing bikes for 6 years and racing cyclocross for 5. At times I am not the smoothest rider (see mistake #5). Still learning to ride smoothly.
  7. Poor corning technique
    • See mistakes #6 and #8.
  8. Tire Problems
    • I have had a few pinch flats because I ran to low of pressure on my clinchers and I have had some minor burping on my tubeless. I am not always the smoothest rider (see mistake #6). The one thing I found interesting about the discussion of this mistake is that Pete said tire pressure is more important than tire selection. I often think about my tire selection. Now I will focus more on my tire pressure.
  9. Getting tangled in course tape
    • I guess I havent raced enough to have this happen to me. I have seen this happen to other racers and this is often a problem in Colorado with the amount of wind we see in the fall.
  10. Not learning from your mistakes
    • Hmmm. I guess I should keep a log so I can better learn from my mistakes. It was mentioned in the talk about writing down information about every race (i.e. course location, weather, tires, tire pressure etc).

Pete Webber is a 16 year cyclocross racing veteran and current Master's National Champion.

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2, 5 and 6.

Excellent summary.

2. Last year at Boulder's Valmont Halloween race, I was SORELY ill-prepared for the cold and the dark warm-up lap. I had to run back to my car and grab whatever extra clothing/children's stretchy gloves I happened to have in the back. Never again.

5. Sometimes I literally have to remind myself: "GO!! FOCUS!! THIS IS A RACE!" Happens way more in cross than in other races. Perhaps it's because it's just so much...FUN.

6. Still trying to get the lead out, so to speak. Trying to "float" more and clump less (as if I'm wearing Frankenstein boots).

Good reminders.

And I happen to enjoy when people get tangled in the tape. I enjoy it immensely. Even if it's me. It's like a Chris Farley SNL skit.


this funny to me too, i mostly rode ride, do really well in road races, seem to have developed an addiction to tape, then I get to laugh, this cross stuff is so fun, go figure, beware , I am getting better!