#crossiscoming

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The mud, knobby tires, and stupendous fun is coming! (Photo by Heidi Gurov / hmgphotos.com)

CROSS IS COMING!!!

Yes, that required bolded caps!  So excited to get the most fun you can have on two wheels under way… just a short 3 week until the first cyclocross race on the calendar and I’m antsy as all get out!

This season will see me riding a whole new set up on my 2013 Specialized S-Works Crux.  Initially (last year) I had cannibilized my 2012 Specialized Crux for its group set to build the S-Works frame and that’s what I raced on last year.  This year I decided to upgrade, and did SRAM Force derailleurs and cranks… and then SRAM released it’s CX1 group set literally a week later.  I knew I wanted a 1×10 set up since it would mean losing one more mechanical part that could get messed up by mud, grass, ice, whatever.  So I saved my pennies up and a few weeks ago finally got the S-Works frame how I want – except for wheels, which are so expensive right now the budget cannot afford upgraded wheels.  Whatever, I’m not that fast.

Obviously I’ll lose the bottle cage and tools/tube for race season

To finish the build I added a SRAM Force CX1 rear derailleur.  This is a 10 or 11 speed clutch derailleur, and it’s very similar to a mountain bike one.  The clutch will help reduce the chain bouncing around and potentially bouncing off the front single chainring.  To (hopefully) get me the right gears, I used my old SRAM 11-32 10 speed cassette from my road bike’s old group set.  Up front in a now very sleek set up is a Wolf Tooth Components 40t cyclocross wide-narrow chainring paired to my SRAM Force 130bcd carbon crankset.  I am still using SRAM Apex shifters, though obviously the left one doesn’t do anything.  To top it off, I switched out to a DT Swiss Axis 4.0 wheel set to save a tiny bit of weight.  The bike is now down to 18.8 pounds with the bottle cage, from 19.1 pounds with the original SRAM Force set up and Axis 2.0 wheels.

Freeing up all of the original Crux’s parts only meant one thing… the ’12 Crux could come back to life as a pit bike!  I figure trying to change a tube in a cross race is futile, and I didn’t want to buy another cassette to have a spare wheel set, so having a whole complete bike for the pits just makes the most sense in my mind, especially since I had all the parts minus handlebars and pedals!  “Hank Senior” is currently at my mechanic’s house getting built up, and I’m excited to have two bikes with obnoxious bar tape to rock at races.  And hopefully it’ll mean less chances of issues in some of those races with goat head thorns.

Turns out my backyard is a really good place to practice cross skills… and it has high fences so the neighbors can’t look at me like I’m a lunatic.

I’ve gotten out to North Park a bit to practice on the bike, getting use to skinny knobbies on the dirt and maybe “chicking” a few guys on mountain bikes down the slalom drop lines.  The hardest thing for me remains remounting, which hopefully I maybe get straightened out by December.  You know, the end of the season!  I do need to get more practice in on my skills, as the wonderful Suzie and I are hosting a Fort Follies ladies’ cyclocross skills clinic in September and I kinda need to look like I know what I’m doing, right?

And finally… the best news of all is I have a skinsuit to race in for this year!  What is more pro than a skinsuit, right?!  No more jersey half way up my chest for the win!  Skinsuits are definitely weird and make me feel lumpy, but I have a feeling I’m going to love it, though pinning a number on will be harder if I get dressed before I go to the race… I foresee even racing mountain bikes in a skinsuit for comfort.  My adult sized onesie and I will have grand adventures!

20 more days until the fun begins!!!

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