Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And now for cycling news

Just when everyone thought all I was going to do is bitch about politics, bike racing resumes. The first cyclo-cross race of the year was last Saturday. After debating between cross and the final mountain bike race of the year I opted for cross, a shorter drive, and racing an untested bike.

After getting a new road bike earlier this year I had the chance to put some much nicer parts on my cross bike that use to adorn the old road bike. Switching out 12 year old mid range mountain bike parts for 8 year old high end (ultegra) road parts made a huge difference in bike weight. The only concern was, I finished putting the bike together Thursday, didn't ride Friday (great prep for a race) and race the bike Saturday. Surprise, surprise the bike rode pretty well. I wish the brakes would have had a little better action (cost me a little time in the corners) but overall was happy.

The race started fast but I settled into the top 10 and was feeling good. Moved between 5th and 13th through the race, but mostly 8-10. I had a lot of problems with getting back on and in the clips and that cost me a few seconds each lap and probably a few spots overall. The course was fast with a super steep and slick downhill section and some good climbs that you could run or ride. On the last run-up I made up about 10 seconds I passed a guy right at the top, but once again couldn't clip in and lost ground to him quickly. Ended up about 5 seconds down on him in 10th place. Not bad and felt good through the race. Considering I rode a new(ish) bike, hadn't practiced any cross skills, nor run at all I'm happy.

Today I did some cross practice after work. Amazing how 15-20 attempts to clip in quickly helps improve the skills. Couple more weeks and I may even feel comfortable on the cross course.

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