Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cross racing on the Specialized CruX

Bikes taking over my apartment
Was great to race cross with teammates this weekend as Bruce and Jeff made the trip down to Delmar, NY for the last of the NYCross.com series.  Only doing a handful of cross races I really have a steep learning curve and so far making slow gains but gains none the less.  My two biggest lessons I learned from this past race, back row starts suck and GO FOR IT.

In cross racing you have call ups, the higher ranked riders get placed near the front of the field which is great if you are a ranked rider but for me, not so much.  Since this is only really my third weekend of racing I have zero ranking coupled with the fact I registered the day before meaning I was the very last call up, even had my own row.  My mistake this week was getting comfortable, I found a group and just sat with them instead of just going for it and making moves up.  I eventually made it to no mans land a minute or so behind the next group just chasing like hell (actually chasing my own teammate Bruce).

My strategy in most crits is to sit in, do no work, and sprint for the end.  This has actually treated me well as until this past year I top 10'ed every crit I had ever entered (minus mechanical/crashes).  Yeah, this doesnt work at all in cross racing so I am learning the meaning of the 'whole shot' and will just go for it next week until I pop.  The true story of this weekend though was the new Specialized CruX which I got to race for the first time.

2012 Specialized CruX w/SRAM Force
This bike simply rocks.I had been racing on another bike (which shall remain nameless) and just cannot believe the difference in performance.  The internal cable routing although a pain for mechanics is great for riders when dismounting the bike and throwing it over your shoulder.  I had heard mixed reviews about the TRP EuroX and their lack of stopping power however  I LOVE the extra brake clearance for muddy courses like this weekend which had some big downhills into lots of mud so really tested those brakes out, no problem.  Overall this bike is set to be raced and raced hard right out of the box (some assembly required) and comes with everything from chain catcher, to gel wrap, to some solid all around tires.  The other aspect of the bike I am loving are the CrankBrother Candy pedals which I picked up at Interbike this year.  I joke around that I actually got the bike to go with the pedals.  Again in this muddy course I did not have a problem clipping in due to mud, I just had problems clipping in cause I am an idiot and start to pedal before actually clipping in, not CrankBrothers fault.

As I look at BikeReg.com I see we actually still have a few weeks left of cross racing as it goes far into December.  My question is do I really want to race in the snow?  Can I give up more weekends for the long travel times? Each race is 4-6 hours away.  I sacrifice a lot in terms of a social life for cycling and believe it or not the road season is around the corner.  My problem is cross racing has just been so much damn fun.  Decisions.  When is your cross season ending here in the northeast?

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