This past weekend’s racing campaign was a mixed bag.
The good was that I settled into a cross race and felt like I could actually dig in and be competitive, or at least in the mix. That was at least until some asshat knocked me out of the race on Saturday. At the top of the steep run up I got shoved off my bike as I was remounting and then fell down the embankment as my bike fell on top of me. In the crash I smashed my knee and got pretty scraped up. It was bad enough that after I got the bars straightened out and was rolling again that I was having a hard time pedaling and squarely in last place.
At one point I realized that if I wanted to get into the mix with these guys that I had to stand on it- so I did, and within half a lap I picked up a handful of places. The power output is interesting in that it’s either on or off, and while my heart rate stays pretty high and the weighted average (removing zeros) is 266 watts there’s very little time spent at that intensity. That’s something most cross racers know well, but adapting to that from a marathon racing mentality is difficult.
After the Dam Cross I was tired, but my legs were fine. Like not in any way sore or worn out. And my back was also fine. It’s nice to not be in pain, but it makes me think I’m not getting the most out of my fitness. My training has also been long distance and more steady state, so I’m looking at adapting my approach to better suit the task at hand.
They have single chainrings as well, so I’m looking at my 36 x 32 low gear and thinking that if I’m competitive when I stay in the big ring then maybe I should make the bike geared a little higher. If it’s steep enough to need a 36 x 32- which nobody else is using- then it likely makes sense to be off the bike on foot rather than burying myself.
To that end I’m thinking about going with a single ring up front. I’ve always liked that approach for the majority of race courses out there. It feels slightly overgeared in warm up, but really I do my best when the course is hard like that, and I think I’m not pushing hard enough. The pedaling is so hard when it is on that I think being in the right chainring and not worrying about that will be a benefit. And having that chainring be massive enough to be dangerous but not so massive that I can’t turn it going uphill.
I’ve been stockpiling drivetrain components so I have a Raceface 40t and 42t in the narrow-wide 110 bcd flavor sitting at home. The big question is whether or not I’ll need one of these to make it all run. Currently there’s a scuffed X0 type I derailleur handling shifting duties but as it doesn’t have a clutch I’m not sure it’s up to the task of keeping the chain on without a guide.
While the knee heals up I’ll hopefully get my tubulars built up this week. I’ve completely botched my setup and have been jerking Jason around with what will now be my third set of rims. With any luck they’ll be able to work with the hubs & spokes that I already have.