Cyclocross

We're so into Cyclocross that we made this special page for it. Also publish a Tumblr about Suffer Faces.

MFG Cross at Sammamish with CX-1 and Hydro

MFG CX

MFG’s Season Opener

That was intense, sweaty, painful, humbling, AND I got concierge-level heckling from the promoter Terry and course schlepper Robert Trombley. Thanks guys! They said I was racing 14 minutes laps, sounds about right….

Next up, CrossVegas and then Starcrossed, if my legs don’t petrify by then. My equipment worked great where the body lacked.

I’m running CX-1 with the new HydroR on a Crux this season. After last year, when the Crux got hung up in the garage during the recall, giving it another go. Not that I needed much braking power at Sammamish, considering my rate of speed, but the Hydro is def more refined. It has better modulation too and less hand effort in a more comfortable, lighter and refined system.

SRAM released PR today about their impressive Cyclocross roster with a quote from Powers on CX-1

This year will be the first time I will ride a production groupset that is purpose built for cyclocross. SRAM continues to innovate in new ways, even subtle ways, and develop product that is exactly what I need. Even better, it’s super quiet.

As much as I was flailing around out there, banging the gears about, it didn’t let me down with solid shifting and it shifts way better than the DIY, privateer version of a one-by (Red with XO type 2) we and many others had been running on our bikes. Rode through the first of three sand pits on the course (4 out of I think 5 times) with the gearing and Hutchinson Black Mambas on a Vision wheelset.

CX-1

A Crux with CX-1, Hydro, Vision and Hutchinson tires

Congrats to Richter for the win, and the guys racing fast. Also hat tip to Richard McClung for a course that was at times, very hard, and flowed. It was a hard flow.

And hey, who moved September up on the calendar…it was like Monday last week when Matt Hill asked if I was racing MFG Cross. “Wut? I said, oh, the season is starting? Really!”

There’s this thing about life, sometimes it gets in the way of training, and racing, and practicing your skills. But you gotta start.

Re: Disc Brakes this Season

Stops great, sometimes loudly

Didn’t get it on video, but the first time disc rotors got wet this season and screeched like a melting witch in the Wizard of Oz with me cursing just as loudly, it was admittedly comical and embarrassing.

People are just walking their dogs in a park and enjoying the peace and quiet nature has to offer in a busy city. Then this jackass (me) is hard braking and coasting and braking again across a grassy field. Also complaining while trying to dry the rotors off.

Once glared at with dogs on taut leashes, I sheepishly coasted away on my Cross bike.

Next week I’ll race CrossVegas, an event that I consider the best in the bike business and one that starts like a Road Warrior chase scene. Where you end up after turn one, is like betting on a roulette wheel…everything is spinning, then slows down, and stops for a bit, until turning again. You hope good luck and faith will pay off, and keep the rubber side down. Oh and also hope your disc brakes don’t screech like feedback on a PA, interrupting an Elvis impersonator singing Viva Las Vegas.

Read an interview with Brook Watts, the promoter of CrossVegas, in our Magazine this month.

Stretching Tubulars

Hutch stretched

Hutchison Mamba being stretched

Spent a rainy, holiday weekend morning stretching tubulars. It was like wax on and wax off. First the stretched Hutch tire was moved to a new set of ENVEs we’re demoing, and another tire put on the stretching rim. It’s these routines, that lead to September, when kids go back to school, road season ends, and CX begins.

It’s a return to what we know, which is a return to things we have grown to love and trust.

Hutch CX

Mamba on an ENVE rim

Like the barrier drills practiced in a school yard, stretching a tubular is a return to a structure that gives room to practice, and learn and grow.

Back to bike school is the theme of Issue 16 of our magazine and we’re working on that now.

ENVE XC 29

Getting glued next

Pivot CX with the Vault

Pivot in the Trees

Pivot this bike in the trees

I had only a few short rides on the Vault before Pivot needed it back for their demo fleet. During those rides, what I noticed was a bike that would do most anything, and go anywhere. Glance down at the tubes and they look overbuilt, thick. The frame is designed for stiffness and durability. The spec didn’t bring out the best in the bike. It was like going to a gourmet burger joint and on the table is Heinz ketchup and mustard when you’re expecting a chipotle aioli. Pivot is smart though, they built the Vault up practically, and at a reasonable $3,599 MSRP. I’d liven up the ride by swapping out parts from the stock FSA kit with Stan’s wheels. Put those on the “B” bike.

What attracted me to Pivot, a MTB brand, for CX is the work they’ve done with MTBs. If you’ve been following my return to the mountain, I’ve been on many high-end bikes, including their all-new Mach 4. I rode the Mach 4 at PressCamp 14, and noted the details.

Di2 Battery

Ready for Di2

The frame design anticipated Di2 with thoughtful cable routing, and battery insert. You’ll find the same thoughtfulness on the Vault, as seen here with the in-stay brake placement.

TRPs

Spec’d with TRPs

To the TRPs, they’re much better than mechanicals, and have never been recalled! If I had more time with the Vault, I’m sure I’d discover the nuances in handling. What it does bombing down a gravel hill, or dropping into a mud pit, and out the other side.

For now, it’s a recommend bike, and really one that’s distinctive, like all of Pivot’s dirt bikes. I was sad to see it go so soon.

More photos of the Vault are on G+ and Instagram.

Cross Tips Playlist


A collection of our Cross Tips in one playlist, including the ever popular Cyclocross Shenanigans and a clinic with Crosssports.

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