Saturday, September 21, 2013

And There We Go

Well, the cyclocross season is now in full swing. We raced in VT at Catamount both days last weekend and there was more racing to be had today up at White Park in Concord, NH. So far, the season has had some ups and downs. Frankly, more downs than ups really. I won't go into the boring details but last weekend was not exactly what I was hoping for.

This weekend was looking up though. Had a great week of killer hard efforts leaving me with not a lot of energy left in the tank or motivation either. I also had a run in last night with a run-away batch of Spaten Oktoberfest. I love the stuff and this was the first of the season. I've been trying to stay away from the heavier stuff so as to shy away from packing on the extra pounds. Cross season is tough because the weekly ride time goes way down, meaning fewer calories burned. Add in heavy beers and it can get really ugly really quick. Anyhow, last night we rented a new release zombie movie and the beers got away from me. I felt less than fresh this morning.

At the race though, once we got started, things settled in quickly and it all started to turn around. My legs were feeling OK despite the week of effort and the first race of the day, the SSCX race, went well. That said, I did have to resort to sneaky tactics and pull a dive-under move in one of the last corners that you could actually pass in safely in order to beat an SSCX newcomer. Still, I'll take it. Cathy also did the SSCX race and had a super run as well, winning the women's category handily despite having like 50psi in her tires.

Another dead Clement PDX tubular with only two rides on it.
The second race of the day, yes, despite having said many times before that I would never do it again, I decided to double up and do the SSCX and then later in the afternoon the 1/2/3 race. Before the race I wasn't feeling so Smurfy but again, after the start I settled in. Having the good bike, with gears and disc brakes made what was in spots, a brutally hard course on the SSCX almost easy. I filed into third place with the plan of just playing follow the leader around for a while. Unfortunately, 1/2 lap in I lost pressure in my front tire. This was the third ride on a new Clement PDX tubular, which can not be repaired for the most part. I was pretty disappointed to have ruined a $100+ tire and I was disappointed to now be in last place but I was most disappointed at the realization that I would now have to do a full 60 minute elite race on my SSCX.

Nine laps. When we got a lap count after one lap I think it read 9 laps. I believe that we did 7 laps in the SSCX race and I had done a couple in warmup. Truth be told, that is way more time than I really wanted on the SS bike, especially at that venue. Regardless, I got moving and made steady progress, never catching the leaders but chewing back through a bunch of the field to finish semi respectably. Lets just say, my legs are sore now. Add to this the fact that Cathy and I did the weekly CX practice from Hell on our SSCX bikes last week and I did a SSMTB ride Thursday and there was a whole but of one gearing.

Getting back to the Clement PDX tubular tires, I'm now in a love/hate relationship with them. I love the tread pattern and the feel but the things are horribly fragile. I had a similar issue last year literally the first time out on one and I punctured through the tread with a rock. Today I don't know what happened but it looks like a rock tore a knob away from the casing. This punctured the casing, which is, or was, sealed and so now it doesn't hold air. I can probably patch it but WTF! With a retail price of $150/tire you would think that they would be a bit more robust. I wish that Tufo had some newer and more mud specific tread patterns. I love those things and the normal casing is both cheap and bullet proof.

Anyhow, enough whining. Time to go hit some of the hair of the dog. We both won some Ipswich Ale today for the Zanconato/EngVT SSCX series. Good stuff.

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