a cross country primer


AmSnow.com is now SnoWest.com

Don’t forget numbers. See my previous AmSnow Rewind article on the website AmSnow.com. The article is entitled “Feel like a Number” and in it we have some fun talking about insights on choosing a catchy number. Generally, a 6-inch number on the upper half of the sled is standard. Riders may need an electronic transponder too, but don’t rush out and buy one. Most circuits will rent one for a nominal fee. While orange is the rule on helmets and jackets, it’s frowned upon by the ISR on sled graphics or paint. The rationale being, if you fall off your sled, the rider behind you can’t distinguish the racer from the sled. If your sled has an orange hood, a used alternative might need to be found. If it’s orange graphics, that’s nothing a little tape can’t usually cover up.

Also, a lot of riders have made the jump from snocross to cross country over the last 10 years. Setups for snocross are completely different than XC. It’s a lot different going out and running a six lap bump race versus a 25 mile cross country course on a -5 degree day. For example, don’t go cut your heated grips off and replace them with some fancy motocross grip. That’s frostbite waiting to happen. And those FOX motocross pants look stylin’ in the snirt, but the tops of your thighs don’t look stylin’ with frost blisters on them, so leave your motocross gear at home.

The only warning I will give you is that you might get hooked, so be prepared! I’ve had a love-hate relationship with XC racing. I hate to bash through a holed-out section after 15 miles, my thighs burning, and sweat running down my face. But I love the anticipation, the prerace preparation, and the satisfaction of crossing the finish line and occasionally seeing my name in the top five. Most of all, I love the camaraderie, the laughs and the lifelong friends I have made while racing, and you can’t order those from a website.
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