I’ve spent most of my morning researching the Southern Cross course and trying to decide which bike to ride. I’ve got a very nice mid-range 26″ mountain bike. I’ve also got a low/mid-range cyclocross bike. Picking which one to ride is really throwing me for a loop. I know the MTB will be more comfortable and has lower gearing as well as much better brakes. The CX bike is just more fun to ride and will be faster on the paved sections and probably slightly faster overall.
Rationally I’m almost positive both bikes will climb at the same speed. The MTB will descend faster, the CX will ride faster on the road. MTB will be more comfortable. Hmmmmmmmm.
I’m going to mess around with positioning on the CX bike and try to commit to a choice early next week.
This bike deserves a more thorough post but in the meantime here are some pictures of the bike when I sold it. Kinda funny that you never really get around to taking nice detail pics until it’s time to move on from the bike. The saddle that’s on there is the stock saddle that I never used. Overall I liked the bike but I could never really get comfortable on it. This model is sized small and I bought (in typical dirt roadie fashion) almost two sizes smaller than I actually needed.
I’m really struggling with racing in the winter. Right now I’m signed up for two races in February and really contemplating a race on January 31. In the past I’ve been a hot weather racer, riding most of my base in March/April and really coming into form in June/July. Last year was really interesting in that I peaked in September but the calendar doesn’t always support that. Anyway, 3 hour race this Saturday, temps should be in the mid-40s. Not cold but not a temperature I’m really in love with. I much prefer riding in 90+ but there aren’t really many MTB races this year during the summer early fall.
So really, is it better to race less but in more enjoyable conditions or race more in conditions that are less than my favorite?
I’m thinking I’ll save the $35/$45 and just race more at the track and over the summer.
This past week I’ve been a slug. Basically all I did was ride my bike and then lay around and watch Workaholics while eating microwaved potatoes. So I’m setting a couple goals for this week.
1. Don’t watch any TV (obviously DVD movies & video games are ok)
2. No candy
3. Nail down my fit for the Ultra Gravel Grind Championship
So I was in an antique store with my mom and happened upon this knockoff of the Grant & Gavin Hawk ET.
I feel like a dick buying cheap knockoffs but I just had to in this case. I had the original ET that I snagged with the box and DVD for a crazy price in 2008 or 2009. Seriously I think I paid $55 for it. An absolute steal considering they now sell, in the same condition for five or six times that amount!
Anyway, I got this little knockoff and it obviously doesn’t work nearly as well as the real one and all it’s done is make me kind of sad about having to sell the real nod all those years ago.
So I’m setting up my DX 350 for the upcoming Southern Cross/Assault on Mt Currahee gravel grinders and I’ve been struggling with a few things. First and foremost is handlebar width. I’ve got a few options; I can run my regular road-sized 38cm bar with @70mm reach or I can run a 43cm bar with @100mm reach. Naturally this difference in width would require a stem change as well. I’ve got a 90mm stem and a few “110” stems that vary from 105ish to 112ish.
Right now my thought process is the wider bar is better and the reason for this is my recent experience with mountain bike handlebar width. Last year I rode and raced on pretty narrow bars, maybe 500mm if I’m being generous. This is mainly due to the fact that I started out riding a bike from 1989 that kinda came with short bars and then I just chopped them on my new bike out of habit. Over the winter I sold my two old bikes and picked up a 2010 Breezer Thunder Comp. This bike came with 620mm bars and I’ve kept them stock, so when I went for the first ride I was blown away by how much better the bike handled. I think part of that was the bigger size and much better fork but the bars were definitely a huge part. There is this gnarly rooty uphill at Sope Creek that I had about a 50% chance of muscling up without dabbing with the two other bikes. Riding with a wider handlebar made me realize my struggles were related to the narrow bars that just didn’t give me the leverage to control the bike around a rooty, uphill, off-camber turn under low-cadence and high-power. I’ve been 100% with the 620mm bars and this success is indicative to an improved overall riding experience. The Thunder Comp is just a significantly better bike and this translates to all parts of the riding experience.
ANYWAY, right now I’ve got my DX 350 set up with 43cm bars and a 90mm stem flipped up. Reach to the hoods is near identical to my road bikes but the drop is a lot less. I’ve planning on going for a shakedown ride and probably flipping the stem. There isn’t much gravel around here so my thought is to tune the bike on the road and then try to get to Auburn about a week before and spend a few hours on the dirt roads down there to really fine tune things.
Hmm. I think this is too high.
This is the second-to-lowest level model offered by GT for the 2012 model year but it was my first “new” road bike and my first race bike so despite all it’s pitfalls I really like this bike.
I even converted it to a single speed and took 2nd in an alleycat this year.