Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Race Results: Sun Prairie Cup Cyclocross

I raced cyclocross in both the cat 4 and single speed classes this past Sunday at the Sun Prairie Cup, part of the WCA cyclocross series.

Cat 4

I started near the back of cat 4. I may have been called up since I got points for 4th at Badger Prairie but I missed the call ups. Sun Prairie has a good course that I remembered from last year. After only a portion of the first lap I had already made progress through the field:

The top of the short run up on the first lap:

Another shot at the run up. I should probably be carrying the bike but it's really small hill. In the single speed race I figured out that I could ride it if no one is in the way. Note the duct taped shoe - that was a last second fix for a buckle that broke on my Bontrager RXLs. They're not a bad shoe but I would be disappointed if I hadn't bought them on sale for less than half price. Hopefully I can get another buckle from Trek.

I worked my way through the field, eventually finishing 3/53 without a lot of drama.

Single Speed

I was tired throughout the single speed race but I'm enjoying getting two races in even if I can't really give 100% for the second one. I took it easy and finished 4/15 on a somewhat flat rear tire after burping some air from it during a hurried remount. I'll have to be more careful getting back on the bike in the future. This is one drawback to the tubeless setup, though this is the first time this has happened.

Here's a pic of the podium. Though I'm not actually sponsored by Planet Bike it's great to represent them since they made the race possible. Thanks to Michelle for the photos!

How did you do at the Sun Prairie Cup? Post a note in the comments!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Furthercross 2012

FurtherCross 2012 at Badger Prairie in Verona was a muddy mess. It had been pouring all morning and the ground was saturated. On the short drive to the park I was excited since it's been a long time since I've been in a good mud race. Also, since being kicked out of the city parks, Madison's Wednesday night cyclocross practice has been held at Badger Prairie and I feel like I know the trails well.

I raced two races, starting with Cat 4. Cat 4 was a good-sized field, 44 riders, despite the rain. I started from the back but by the end of the first muddy field straight things were looking good. The straight ended with a couple of s curves and then a slippery run up. I passed a few more on the sprint up the hill. Things were looking even better but a doubting voice spoke up "You haven't been riding at all. You're the only rider here on a singlespeed any you're probably overgeared (36x16). You're going to blow yourself up." So I took the pace back a notch and continued to pick my way through the field, eventually finishing fourth for my best cyclocross finish ever.

The singlespeed race was less fun. It started right after the end of the Cat 4 race so that was strike number one. Strike number two was that it was still raining and the course was turning into chocolate pudding. Strike number three was that I really haven't been riding at all and the first 30 minutes of racing had taken their toll. There wasn't anything left in the tank. The course was starting to feel daunting, especially the huge stair run up about half way through. The worst part wasn't the stairs though. It was the slope just after the stairs. Too steep to get back on the bike, it was a long jog (sometimes walk) to the top. I finished 7/13 in singlespeed and was happy to get it over with.

Did you race FurtherCross? What did you think of the mud? Post a comment!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Single Speed Tubeless Cyclocross Bike - Schwinn Fastback CX

I built a new bike recently for cyclocross racing this fall. It started with an old aluminum Schwinn Fastback CX frame I bought at the Revolution Cycles swap. It's set up as a single speed with a tensioner. It's also set up tubeless. I'm really happy with the way it rides and also how light it is at only 17.8 pounds. It's much faster than anything else I've ever used for cyclocross, despite being somewhat new to single speed. I haven't been riding at all this year but I finished 17/80 in cat 4 on the first day of the Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie so I can't complain. Things were looking even better on the second day until I crashed and damaged the bike beyond repair.

My gearing started at 36x16 but I've since moved to 38x16. With 38x16 and the half link it's setup in the magic gear and the tensioner isn't really doing anything as shown below. With 36x16 it needs the tensioner.

The Panaracer Crossblaster tires are not intended for tubeless and neither are the rims. I used three wraps of electrical tape, caffelatex valves, and one cup (the cup included with the bottle) of Stan's fluid per rim. I've been inflating to between 35 and 40 psi. This setup is super light and has lots of traction. The front tire did come off the rim once but it was in an over the bars crash at the USGP where the bars were bent around and one of the brake levers came off! Lesson learned: if your front brake lever comes loose and you don't have brakes, don't keep riding.

Here's what it looked like out at Badger Prairie in Verona:

Single speed tubeless cyclocross bike

Here are the details, including prices:

Schwinn Fastback CX frame with seatpost clamp from Revolution swap: $100
Generic Chinese full carbon fork from ebay: $110
FSA RD-80 wheels from a friend: $80
Shimano 105 (?) crankset from a friend: $40
FSA Orbit IS-CX headset from ebay: $37
FSA Compressor steerer tube plug: $14
Panasonic Panaracer CrossBlaster tires from Amazon: $64
Thomson seatpost from ebay: $30
Selle Italia Flite Ti I already had: $0
Cane Creek SCR-5 brake levers I already had: $0
Salsa chainrings (36 and 38 tooth) from a friend: $0
Sette singlespeed conversion kit from PricePoint: $14
SRAM PC 850 8 speed chain (lighter than a single speed chain) from PricePoint: $15
Caffelatex tubeless valves from PricePoint: $15
Alligator cable and housing from PricePoint: $10
Sette bar tape from PricePoint: $8
Ritchey bars from a friend: $5
Soulcraft Convert chain tensioner from a friend: $10
Bontrager Race Lite stem from the swap: $5
Carbon headset spacer from ebay $3
Avid Shorty 4 brakes I already had: $0
Crank Brothers Eggbeaters pedals I already had: $0

Total: $560

So this wasn't exactly a bargain, but it isn't that bad. I probably could have saved myself a lot of hassle by buying something from the swap in February for about $600-1000 but I looked last year and I didn't see anything in that price range that wasn't already well used or really low end spec.