Monday, November 30, 2009


Jingle Cross was exhausting. My legs are very tired today. I did three races: Friday night, then Saturday and Sunday during the day. Friday: Very dark and cold. The course was lit pretty well, but not superbly. There were some dark areas. Saturday: Lovely. Nice and warm, I think it got up to about 55 or so, and it was sunny. Sunday: I shudder just to remember it. Very cold with a wind that just picked up and up.

As for the actual racing, Fri and Sun were pretty much the same. I did my time and picked up my $42 (11 through 15th place got $42. Covering the costs!) Friday I did not enjoy, and Sunday I did. Saturday, though, was tragic.

I mangled the heck out of my derailleur. The mud and grass was doing a number on bikes the whole weekend, particularly derailleurs. I'd love to see a count. There were dozens of them broken. On Saturday, I didn't even make it a lap before my fork got so clogged that my front wheel wouldn't turn. I stopped, tried gouging out the mud, leaves and grass out with my fingers, and eventually just unhooked the front brake and tried to power through it. Well, my powering through it meant that I didn't notice any funny business until the derailleur was wrapped up like a Christmas present. Or twisted up like a pretzel. Any simile would do.

RIP, derailleur.

RIP, derailleur.

So on Sunday, I wore a 'Santa's Mistress' costume during the race and was told afterword by the official that there's a huge fine for not wearing regulation kit. They want kit with sponsors to be worn, because the sponsors support the races, etc. I didn't bother to tell her that our major sponsor at the moment is a mythical beast, because she was on a roll and it would have been rude to interrupt. Really, though, to try to explain it away might have seemed like I was trying to make light of it, so I let it be. Anyway, she made no bones about it that it was serious business, but was pretty nice about it, and I think it'll result in a warning instead of a fine. As an official she's gotta do what she's gotta do.

Oh, also about Sunday, I borrowed a bike from the Specialized tent. Thank you, Specialized! It was a top of the line carbon frame (can't remember the model name) with Zipps, Dugast tires, SRAM Red of course, and some TRP brakes. I'm kicking myself for not checking out the brakes and noting the model, because I want some (and apparently there are a few different models). Cale's always been in the camp that CX brakes don't have to have great stopping power, because you should never have to really stop during a race.

Baloney! Perhaps it's the right way, but it is no longer my way. Sunday with those brakes were the only time I descended Mt Krumpit (the huge hill) with any sort of confidence. I was able to slow to a speed that didn't frighten me, thus making the cornering possible. I think with a little time, maybe I would brake less because I would feel more confident all around. In any case, TRPs are on the list for next year.

Funny thing about the Zipps, though. On the way up the hill, I was making them flex quite a bit, to the point that they were rubbing the brakes on each pedal stroke. Howeverrr, the brakes might have had less clearance, and I wasn't being particularly smooth with my pedalin'. And let's remember, I am a powerhouse. With a substantial weight to power around. Other than that, the wheels felt great, and I am eternally grateful for the loan.

More photos as they pop up later.

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