It’s Always Something

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Cyclocross has always been an energy intensive endeavor off the bike. It doesn’t matter if you have your own mechanic, there is a ton of stuff to do that you don’t have to do for road racing or MTB racing. It probably has to do with the fact that you have to have so much equipment. And things go wrong.

The night before we were leaving to go to Plymouth, MA, where I won my first cyclocross National Championship, we were packing gathering up everything to go into the van and someone noticed that the lug on the head tube of one of my 753 Raleigh cross bikes had a small crack in it. I wasn’t too concerned because we had spare frames and there were mechanics there to change over the equipment. Upon closer inspection, we saw that nearly everyone of our bikes had cracks. It was a complete disaster. I should have know, because I had broken off the head tube of a 753 frame the year before at Nationals in California.

Then the next year, I was racing the Sorrento Valley Cyclocross at the UCSD campus in San Diego the week before Nationals in Santa Cruz. There was a huge dip, something that you had to hit with an enormous amount of speed to get up the other side, on the course. We had custom built Raleigh frames built by Marinoni, from Canada. I won the race and was feeling pretty great afterwards, having good form for the Nationals the next weekend. Then I looked at my frame and both the head tube and down tube had big cripples in them. It wasn’t as bad as the year before because I had a week to get a 2nd replacement frame. I ended up with an Alan aluminum frame, which was the cross frame of choice in the 80’s. It had a flat top tube for shouldering and was way lighter than a steel frame. (I have it down the basement still. I bet it is more whippy than a wet noodle.)

Anyway, nothing like this has happened so far this trip. But, I haven’t left the driveway yet. Okay. That’s all I got this morning. It is super cold and windy this morning. North wind. It seems like I’m always driving against headwind for some reason. I can’t figure that out. Along with a ton of other things.

9 thoughts on “It’s Always Something

  1. Eric Abbott

    I really enjoyed your articles- intuitive and thought provoking! Thanks for putting the words down. My posts tend to the techie side so it’s refreshing for me to read yours.
    Keep ’em turning,
    -Eric

     
  2. old and slow

    Those are SSC Bleu rims on the Alan? I had to part with mine in the divorce but kept a pair of Silvers and one Black.

    I still own two 25.0 bikes today and even ride one of them when I’m not too heavy myself- hey you guys are making me feel real antiquated here?

    FWIW I do go looking on the net for any pattern emerging of these 1980s bonded aluminum and carbon frames failing and it’s starting to look as if that was fifty year epoxy they were all using…..

     
  3. bret sehorn

    I seem to remember you buckling the front fork/down tube of a sweet Colnago in late 90’s at a race in Topeka. Maybe you just ride too fast.

     
  4. Touriste-Routier

    I remember that dip at Sorrento! In 1989 it claimed my Alan CX frame when my steering column snapped (just above the reinforced section) and ripped through my head tube, as I hit the other side of the dip. Fortunately my subsequent launch didn’t do any damage. Ralph Elliot (the organizer) was quite proud of his course (and the photo he took of my carnage) that day…

     
  5. e carter

    I remember the day that you broke the Colnago… we were all way more dumbfounded that your new low spoke count Shimano wheels held up and his frame didn’t. That ditch is a feature you don’t see in cross races much anymore.

     

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