Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gearing up for my first CX race

About a month ago, I reported that my beloved black RB-T had a cracked bottom bracket. Turns out: no crack. The paint had cracked. Hairy Gary removed all the paint from the bb shell and sure enough, no crack. This is great. The old campy bottom bracket that was in there had sort of fallen apart, so that accounts for the crappy shifting and crunch-squeekies that came out off the area. Turns out sugino still (thankfully) makes a square-taper 103mm bottom bracket for their track gruppo. No one else is making this spindle.

I put some of Maddie's clear enamel (with sparkles of course) on the bottom bracket to keep it from rusting. I took a quick loop on the High Drive trails this morning and it's great to ride this bike.

I think I want to be buried with this bike. Is that weird?

The fact is, the bike is too small for me. I prefer a bigger frame, but I love riding this bike. It always feels right. And the more crud I take off it (fenders/rack came off about a year ago, then the lighting system, now the frame pump and cages), the more more I enjoy riding it.

I plan on giving cyclocross racing a try this fall. And this is the bike I'll be riding.

I'll probably do two races in the rookie category. My buddy Alex tried this a few years ago before blowing his knee; his only goal was not to come in last. That's a great goal. I'm going to adopt that.

As for the bike, I'm going to swap out the dura ace bar-ends for some old suntours. The Shimanos are just too stiff. A guy in Thailand is sending me a NOS XTR rear derailleur as a trade for some old forks -- that derailleur will make a nice addition to this bike. I found a NOS XTR 8-speed cassette at 2 Wheel Transit a few weeks ago, so that went on there.

I also need to lower the brake levers. They're weird high and sort of make my shoulders hurt. Loosing a bunch of weight over the last year has really effected my bike fit. My saddle height has raised at least an inch across the board; my saddle is now flat (where it used to be nose up); and I want to stretch out more: I want more reach and lower bars.

I think there is about a 50/50 chance that I'll break the frame this fall. But Gary can fix it if I do. He already suggested filling in the rear dropout windows. He told me he's seen the old suntour dropouts fail when you beat on them. I think I'm also going to have him give me a hair more tire clearance in the rear. But all this will wait until the winter or until I bust it. For now I just want to ride it.

I've been nursing a hobbling foot/calve thing for about a week. I've been taking it easy. I'm hoping to go to the SRV Cyclocross Clinics to learn how to mount/dismount and do run ups and all that -- since I don't know how to do that stuff. The first clinic is tomorrow night. My foot/calve are feeling way better today, so if I'm mellow today and tomorrow, I should be able to do the clinic.

I'm hoping the local CX schedule will include a Highbridge Park and the 7-Mile courses this year. From a spectator's perspective, those looked like the most fun. And if there is one up at Farragut, that might be worth driving to also. But so far, the CX schedule at the Emde site is still pointing to the 2007 season. So I don't know dates or courses yet.


Pat S said...

The RB-T's back . . . far out. Good luck with your cyclocross adventures. After a cross season worth of suffering together, you and this bike will be closer than ever. At some point in one of your cross races, that wish of being buried together will probably start to sound really good. ;-)

FBC Spokane said...

Good luck. Let me know when the races are. I would like to see my first CX race.

Hank said...

I'd like to see a race. Not to watch you not come in last. I've never seen a cyclocross race. It looks pretty tough.

bleckb said...

Racing is fun in an oddly unsettling way, at least it was for me, but it's been at least 15 years since I've done it. Never cyclocross though. Reading about you trying makes me want to give it a go, but probably not enough to actually do it. If nothing else, you will know just how fit you are once you have at it. Even if you do finish DFL, you did it, you finished, because not everyone will. And even if you don't finish, hell, you started.

Rory said...

if you do anything with the dropouts, i'd suggest replacing them with vertical ones. I've just had a couple of times where the wheel has slid in the horizontal dropouts at the beginning of the race.

John Speare said...

I'm looking forward to the races. Even if I come in DFL, I really am just looking for the experience. The two courses I'll be racing are great trail riding anyway; especially the Riverside/7-mile course. It will be just be fun. Except for the suffering part.

Rory: luckily, the RBT already has vertical dropouts.

lazyeye said...

I'm sensing the slightest rumblings of a paradigm shift from underbiking/utility/touring biking to task specific biking--and even racing? Could this be?

I'm scared to race because I always get passed out on the road by everyone except the oldest and slowest club riders.

Good luck!

rory said...

let me know when you want to come west and do a seattle cyclocross series one. I plan to do a couple this year...

jimmythefly said...

John- You mean you're not racing the Rawland with the 2.3s?

Rory -which races? I've never raced either, and am turning an old Novara Randonee into a cyclocross machine. I went and watched Labor Day cross, it looked like a lot of fun, so I think I'll try it this year.