Cross that on the list!

As the weather turns colder and the roadie season closes the Cyclocross season kicks off around Europe.
Seeing my trusty ex-Blunn Trek mountain bike was feeling a bit worse for wear, I decided to pass it onto a local rider that wasn’t relying on a 100% working off-road bike and still will be able to enjoy many hours of fun, at slightly slower speeds, on the forest tracks around Tarn France without it completely falling apart.

Being in the continent of Cross, I went off and bought a brand new bike based on the Specialized Crux Expert which I had customised with a slightly nicer, at least that’s what I think, setup.
Dumped the twin gears at the front and went for the SRAM CX1 one-by-eleven setup that is used a lot in the MTB world, this one with a 42 tooth front chain-ring to allow me to get some speed on the road.
Swapped out the combo cable-hydraulic system with SRAM Red full hydraulic brakes. Then left the stock standard Axis cross wheels on it and the bike comes in at 8.5kg, only saving to be made is with other wheels… maybe in the future.
Can easily ride this as a road bike, although it’s a fraction shorter and the current tyres are a little knobbly.

Picked-up the bike last Saturday and rode up & down a local Black Mountain loop, pleasantly surprised on how well it did on the rocky downhills.
Then Sunday was my first ever cyclocross event. As there was a car conflict I rode the 30km to get to the race at a slowish pace trying to save some energy in the legs… as if that ever helps.

Getting to the race track nice and early to ride some practice laps and to see the kids and junior races. Rolling around the track I was shocked on how bumpy the grass was and how super steep the climbs and drop-off were….. shiiiiit! Anyway, as little kids were riding it I thought I’d better not loose face so blindly roll off the edges and tried my hardest to make it all the way up the steep pinches.

The race didn’t have enough people in the seniors to split the categories, so one field of all the 23+year old racers together. As it was my first I didn’t want to go out too hard, especially not knowing what to expect on this terrain and for a length of about 50 minutes. I moved myself up the field a little on the first bitumen start section and settled into a non-rhythm of bumping around and feeling the heart-rate going through the roof. Managed to get up some of the pinches but soon found myself having the run more of them as the race progressed. Started picking off some more riders as the event went on.
The elite riders lapped me twice in the 50 minutes, but all in all it felt ok to finish in 17th out of about 30 or so.
Cant wait for next Sunday’s race.