So to start with…this bike isn’t mine! So I have to say a HUGE thank you to Matt for lending me this for the cross season! It really is a beauty!
To be totally honest, I’m not really the person to write a review on a cross bike! My skills are sub par to say the least, but I am having fun riding it. As much as it pains me to say that, and as much as my coach probably loves it.
As you can probably see, it is canti, which in the current world of cross is old skool technology. Despite them not really working at all, that is probably a good thing for me, otherwise I’d just creep round every corner even more than I already do. Basically, if you want a laugh, come watch me at a cross race. Apparently its hilarious!
Fingers crossed this will be the weekend I ride it into the top 10 of a race. It is coming! Trust me! I will do this bike justice!
Distance: 320km (at the time of writing)
Weight: Not been officially weighed, but really light for a X bike ~8.5kg
Pinkness: OFF THE CHAIN
Frame & Fork: Trek Crocket
Gruppo: Shimano 105 / Ultegra 10spd mix with XT pedals
Wheels: Fulcrum CX Racing 5s w/ Challenge Limus (TAN WALLS)
Finishing Kit: Pro Carbon bling tings & Fizik Arione
So…here it is! I am now two cross races down into this “season”. Here’s roughly how they went…
The first race weren’t so fantastic, but I learnt a hell of a lot very quickly! All be it my second off road ride in about 5years, since I last rode cross. It was at Hilly Fields, Colchester on a fast, dry but technical course. What a way to start! bomb holes, roots, loose ground and tight woods. At least I could make up time on the straights!
I was actually gridded nicely, in the centre of the third row, although I was rather soft off the line and gave way a few places. Before hitting a long steady drag where I hit the power, come off the racing line and started barreling my way back up towards the top ten. Then it happened. BANG! Oh shit! My rear tire was flat immediately. So that made for a long run to the pits, while every single person came cruising past me.
I made it round to the pits, losing as little time as possible (it was a LOT of time), managed to get a wheel of someone, I think my exact words were “well that was 1minute 56seconds of fun!” Then began the trek of working my way through people to try and get as close to the front of the race as possible. I gradually started to pick people off, and the final result saw me in 32nd. Not to bad from a 60-something man field, seen as 2minutes in I was 60-something!
Race two. This time at Welwyn Garden City. Awesome! All my mates are there! So that made it an awesome day, I got to catch up with all the guys, some I hadn’t properly seen since last year.
This time the course was incredibly different, Open with little technical work, but it was absolutely hammering it down with rain. So during sighting laps the course was not that bad, you could take the corners fast and there was minimal sliding. But come race time and the previous races had cut up the corners it was a different story! Letting out some PSI pre-race was nessacery…according to Tom, I have no clue what I’m doing!
After the previous week my gridding was not ideal this week. Last row, second to last row, something like that. Either way there was some wall of bodies between me and the sharp end of the race. So I was always going to be playing catch up.
I started the grind, negotiating the mud, running was necessary. But already some serious ground was already between me and the front boys. But I kept pressing on anyway. Getting in the odd battle with riders before just using pure strength to dispatch them (I certainly can’t get rid of anyone in the technical sections). I think with all the time trials I have done it has helped to pace an hour race, looking back at the lap times they are all consistent and I didn’t drop off towards the end meaning I started catching quite a few riders in the final 20minutes. A surprise to everyone, I had managed to make up 40-something places during the race, and rolled across the line in tenth! Been a long while since I’ve been in the top ten of a bike race.
Now I am certainly feeling healthy again, which is a massive plus for me. I am happy in myself on and off the bike (apart from the single thing, ladies?), and I am completing training sessions successfully. Something I haven’t done since back in April time.
Only one fall this week, beats the five in the practise from the week before I guess! But as my first ride in a long time in the wet I am very happy. I think as I am pretty much only riding the cross bike at the moment I am starting to pick up the basic skills. Still miles off the top boys, but the groundwork is being laid and hopefully I can find some proper racing legs soon enough and contest the top five or maybe a podium.
You may have noticed that this week I wasn’t in a black skinsuit. How very observant of you. Well you’ll have to wait for that one…