Post Cross Doldrums

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Driving 10 hours yesterday I had a bunch of time to think about last weekend in Louisville.  I decided I probably should have started my return to cyclocross racing at a local event rather than racing against the best guys in the country, starting at the back.  It is not good for my mental health getting throttled that badly two days in a row.

The carnage at the back of the fields in those races is crazy.  It isn’t really anyone’s particular fault.  There are just a lot of riders and not that much space.  The Saturday night race was stupid the first couple hundred meters on the grass.  A pile up in the first corner, then again just a bit later in the dark mud pit.  I kind of missed all that, other than losing a buckle on one of my shoes, but still, the distance you lose there is terrible.

My running stinks.  I wouldn’t even call it running.  But, two out of three run ups on the course were pretty steep, with big steps, and that is the worst for my broken hip.  I am pleasantly surprised that my hip seems good from the weekend, even though it was twisted around on Sunday when my foot got stuck in Jacob’s front wheel.

I wasn’t riding that badly.  I wasn’t going great, but I wasn’t gasping for air or anything like that.  My bike handling skills were subpar though.  Those will get better.

I can’t believe how many guys were riding disc brakes.  I guess that is the direction the sport has gone and it isn’t reversing.  It seems like a hassle to me, but I’m old school in a lot of ways of the sport.  Removing rotors to fly, or just to pack wheels into the back of a car is going to suck.  Or just having cross specific wheels, training and race, is a big issue to most riders.

Anyway, I felt okay yesterday.  My right knee got pretty twisted on Sunday and it is aching some, but nothing serious.  I got back a little after 5 pm, and my brother had organized a gravel night time ride at 5:30, so I had to rush.  I only had to put bottle cages and light on my cross bike and was in business.

Riding at night, especially on narrow trails, (we started on a bike path), seems super fast.  It was way colder than I had expected.  It was in the lower 60’s when I got back, but was in the lower 50’s as soon as the sun set.  I had bare legs and never really got warm.

I sort of felt like riding harder, maybe pent-up frustration from the weekend, I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I ended up pulling most the whole way.  It seemed so late, but even after a couple mechanicals and riding two hours we got back before 8.  Man, it sure is dark then.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m doing now.  I have to work on my van some.  I’m thinking I need a new fuel pump and the transmission is okay.  At least that is my thoughts now.  The problem with this is that auto repair involves use of thumbs, which I am short of one.  My right one, which is worse.  I can probably get by, but we’ll see.

The sensations of riding at night are great.

The sensations of riding at night are great.

They were harvesting a lot last night.  I didn't realize how much stuff goes into the air when they do this.  Probably why the great sunsets.

They were harvesting a lot last night. I didn’t realize how much stuff goes into the air when they do this. Probably the reason for the great fall sunsets.

17 thoughts on “Post Cross Doldrums

  1. Rod Lake

    I see your problem. You’re making cyclocross very difficult by riding with buckets on your shoes.

  2. Spinner

    Dude, don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s maybe five 55 year old riders in the entire world who could ride in UCI pro cross races. Enjoy your posts!!

  3. JB

    Steve, you mentioned switching you bike from gravel mode to cross mode for Louisville. I’d be interested in what changes you make. Just tires?

    I’d like an all-arounder bike. There are “gravel” bikes and cross bikes, and I’m not sure which I’d prefer. It seems the main difference is frame geo (and Steve’s not switching frames!).

  4. Mark

    Speaking of removing rotors. Can anyone tell me why in the hell the industry settled on Torx bolts as opposed to button head Allen bolts for mounting rotors? I HATE the fuck out of those things! I run centerlock hubs/rotors for that very reason.

  5. Steve

    Torx heads can take more repeated torque due to more points of engagement. Ever round off a button head with an allen wrench at a slight angle due to dirt inside the head and have to drill it out? Wouldn’t happen with torx.

  6. Eric Vacek

    I ride a Trek Boone non-disc for gravel, cx & road bike racing. It rocks all 3 modes from 150+ rough gravel races, to smooth pavement. Excellent all-around geometry that works for me. I just switch the wheels/tires for each. Easier & cheaper to have 2-3 extra sets of wheels & tires than that many bikes:)

  7. K

    Clearance. Those higher surface area torx heads don’t need to be as tall as Allen bolts to handle the torque necessary for rotors.

  8. Stoney

    Steve, CX takes a lot of snap to accelerate out of each turn…more so than a Crit or MTB race. You’ve been away for 2 years…you’ll get better with practice. Now go practice then come to Asheville, NC in January for Nationals and win another Age Group Championship jersey.

  9. Hedmech01

    Steve, you planning on racing Tulsa weekend after next? Sounds like a fun weekend of racing from the Tulsa Tough guys. Hope to see you there.

  10. Ben

    Wow, that spectator turnout looks dismal. Really sad to see. Cross is TOO MUCH of a participation only sport in this country. People don’t even care to watch the most elite people in the nation do it. Meanwhile, tickets to the NFL game are on StubHub for $320/piece.


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