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Dealing with muddy conditions - cleaning, etc...

joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
edited December 2018 in Cyclocross
After a particularly muddy round of cyclocross over the weekend I am looking to try and streamline my cleaning and cross racing. So i had a couple of questions:

1) What do people do about having a change of clothes? Yesterday I had a dry bag of clothes at the side of the course, but I made the mistake of keeping them on until the start of the race so they were wet/muddy afterwards when I really needed them to be warm and dry. I could have taken an extra waterproof layer, but just interested in what others are doing.

2) Do you use any frame protection/aerosol lube/teflon to try and keep your bike as mud free as possible

3) What is your cleaning process post race? I was lucky yesterday in that I managed to borrow a gas powered pressure washer from a pit crew immediately after the race, but this won't always be available. I have a mini 12v pressure washer that I got for ~£10 from ebay which is actually pretty good but doesn't compare to a 'proper' one. Again, any good products etc... to clean the bike before it goes in the car?

Posts

  • Had a muddy one too!

    1) Clothes for getting there and milling around in. Clothes for warming up in - usually skinsuit with other kit over the top. Clothes for getting home in - sometimes the same as the ones I wear there unless it's rainy. Normally take two pairs of cycling shoes/socks as well and change into a clean, dry pair before the start of the race.

    2) No. Heard of people doing this (think WvA used vegetable oil at worlds a couple of years back?!). I don't reckon it makes much difference.

    3) I use a Mobi 12v washer and it does the job just about - as well as any battery powered one will do anyway. Take extra water if you can. I just get the main areas clean and get it in the car and wash it properly at home where it's easier to do a proper job.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    1. Wear race kit with layers on top. Tights with full length zips are awesome, because you can remove them in seconds. If it's wet, cheap waterproof jacket (doesn't need to be super-technical, just something to keep most of the rain off that you don't mind getting muddy. Take a carrier bag to the start, put all your kit in it to try & keep it dry-ish, and leave by the side of the course (or hand to a helper if you have one).
    After the race, either put the same layers back on, or have a fresh set of clothes in the car, depending on logistics. If it's not freezing, I generally put the warm-up layers back on, sort out the bike etc, and then change into a fresh set (jeans, t-shirt) when the bike's sorted.

    2. I've tried this, never seems to make much difference. Do start the race with a clean bike though, with a freshly oiled chain. This means cleaning it after your warm-up / pre-ride. It's not uncommon to see people riding round with a stick in their pocket; this is their pre-start bike cleaning tool. Also make sure pedals are clear.

    3. Where petrol washers really come into their own is when you're pitting for a rider with 2 bikes, because it enables you to clean a bike in well under a minute and have it ready for the rider to change back after half a lap. For post-race cleaning, a petrol washer is overkill, and you can do a perfectly good job with a Mobi washer, it just takes 10 minutes rather than 1. The new Karcher ones (and presumably unbranded copies) are equally effective, and much more compact. You'll also use less water with an electric washer. One of the key logistical considerations with petrol washers is getting enough water; I was pitting for a few riders at the Trophy race in Derby the weekend before last, and we had well over 100 litres of water in the pit. This had been brought from people's homes and then carted ~500 yards from the car park to the pit. In the end we didn't use much, but if it had been a wet day we'd have used it all and probably been looking for more.
    For post-race cleaning, even a Mobi washer can be overkill. You can do a very good job with a dishwashing brush and a muddy puddle; at the race we were running yesterday people were cleaning their bikes in the lake. Whatever you do, spray a water-repellent (eg GT-85) on the chain immediately after finishing. You can lubricate it properly when you get home, but with nothing to repel the water your chain can start corroding in the time it takes to drive home...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 23,475 Lives Here
    Now you tell me :lol:
    I thought about some of this stuff, inevitably forgot about some of the stuff I'd thought of. I threw the bike in the car dirty and dealt with it when I got home.
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    TGOTB has summed up key points already, but one additional thing that makes mud days easier than all others combined.

    Join a cross focused club.

    It makes running a jetwash with sufficient water and crucially helpers a cinch. People to help with clothes at start/finish. Gazebo for storage of stuff, warm ups, pre- and post- race chat. Lift sharing. Spares when stuff breaks. Advice. People cheering you on.

    The advantages are literally endless...
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    VamP wrote:
    Join a cross focused club.
    And if this isn't possible, form an informal alliance with members of other clubs in your league. Find someone in the race before or after yours, and pit for each other.

    You can do this on an ad-hoc basis. In the muddiest race of last season we had my petrol washer going almost non-stop for 3 consecutive races. During the V40 race we had 2 11-year-olds doing bike changes for about 6 riders, with one of the mums washing bikes and some of us changing every lap. Other riders just used it once, before the race, to be able to start on a fresh bike. Then we all swapped over for the women's/V50 race, and so on.

    Pitting for other riders can be almost as much fun as racing yourself...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • :wink:
    tgotb wrote:
    Pitting for other riders can be almost as much fun as racing yourself...

    Now I know you're over selling it :wink:
  • try a Bosch Fontus for your cleaning i have one and its bloody excellent
    https://www.bosch-do-it.com/gb/en/diy/t ... 199876.jsp
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4W6X2TVu-s
    with a 4Ah battery i get around 5 15L tankfulls before the battery starts to show a drop in charge.
  • ShutupJensShutupJens Posts: 1,373
    :wink:
    tgotb wrote:
    Pitting for other riders can be almost as much fun as racing yourself...

    Now I know you're over selling it :wink:

    It is actually true. There's a sense of camaraderie with the other people who pit for the riders close to yours, it's quite exciting sometimes as someone is relying on you to get the bike turned around in potentially half a lap. I've pitted for riders at the front of trophy races and it's a buzz when you get changes going smoothly
  • 1) What do people do about having a change of clothes? I leave them in the car, strip off by the car, use a towel to get rid of the worst, get in the car in my shorts (with a towel on seat), then quickly, when no one is looking, change into pants and trousers.

    2) Do you use any frame protection/aerosol lube/teflon to try and keep your bike as mud free as possible. Just GT40

    3) What is your cleaning process post race? I take the seats down, stick a big blanket in the back and clean when I get home. I say clean, the bike then doubles down as my commuter and it's currently filthy.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    ShutupJens wrote:
    I've pitted for riders at the front of trophy races and it's a buzz when you get changes going smoothly
    Not half as much as the buzz I got at Ardingly the other week, when my pressure washer packed up at exactly the same time as one of my riders announced she was switching to half-lap changes!
    1) What do people do about having a change of clothes? I leave them in the car, strip off by the car, use a towel to get rid of the worst, get in the car in my shorts (with a towel on seat), then quickly, when no one is looking, change into pants and trousers.
    I'm a bit less modest. Peel off top half of skinsuit, dry body, put on T-shirt, quick glance around to check there are no old ladies that might be offended, then remove the remainder of skinsuit. There's not much to see, tbh, especially if it's been a cold race.
    DryRobes look perfect for the job, but whilst I can justify spending £130 on a pair of tyres that will probably be dead after a couple of seasons, I somehow can't bring myself to spend that on an item of clothing that should last almost for ever.
    2) Do you use any frame protection/aerosol lube/teflon to try and keep your bike as mud free as possible. Just GT40
    I tried, didn't seem to make any difference at all. The one thing that is worth doing is to spray your chain with something (GT-85, lube etc) immediately after washing the bike; if you don't, and it's been a muddy race, it may already have started to corrode by the time you get home. If you forget to do it when you get home, it may be locked solid by the middle of the week. You can clean and relube it more thoroughly later, if you want, but spray something water-repellent on it in the meantime.
    3) What is your cleaning process post race? I take the seats down, stick a big blanket in the back and clean when I get home. I say clean, the bike then doubles down as my commuter and it's currently filthy.
    I used to clean the bikes when I got home; it was often cold and dark, I was tired, and sometimes the mud had dried solid on the way home. I've now switched to cleaning them at the venue. It's much easier because the mud is still soft, there's still daylight, and you're generally warmer and more motivated. I use a Mobi washer; the miniature Karcher ones seem pretty good too; a bucket of water and dishwashing brush will do the job fine; in extremis you can do a pretty good job with a dishwashing brush and muddy puddle. The petrol pressure washer only ever comes out for use during races, it's overkill for post-race washing.
    Whatever you do, please *don't* clean your bike in the nice tarmac car park at the race venue, the poor race organisers will have to clean up after you. Someone always does this. Find an area of grass nearby, and do it there!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    1) What do people do about having a change of clothes? I leave them in the car, strip off by the car, use a towel to get rid of the worst, get in the car in my shorts (with a towel on seat), then quickly, when no one is looking, change into pants and trousers.

    2) Do you use any frame protection/aerosol lube/teflon to try and keep your bike as mud free as possible. Just GT40

    3) What is your cleaning process post race? I take the seats down, stick a big blanket in the back and clean when I get home. I say clean, the bike then doubles down as my commuter and it's currently filthy.

    1) I have now been insured on a camper van for cross races, its absolutely amazing! I love it, somewhere warm and dry to get changed post race. Before that I used a towel and just changed in the carpark, horrible in colder weather

    2) I do, I spray lube over the mech, chain, cassette and pedals, no idea if it makes a difference but as long as I don't get it on the disk I can't see it doing any harm either, especially when I wash the bike an hour later.

    3) Clean at the venue has been a game charger for me. I take a big bottle of water (5L) some frame spray and a few sponges and I bought a hydroshot battery powered pressure washer. Its been great! After super muddy conditions the bike normally needs a little bit more after I get home but I can do it in the week instead of immediately. I love getting home from a cross race knowing the bike won't be a rust bucket if I leave it.
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