Sunday, November 2, 2008

Compton Destructocross

This week's ChiCrossCup race was in St. Charles and the course was set up wonderfully - kudos to the organizers! I made the pilgrimage out to Kane county with two teammates for the 4b's race - we didn't have a chance to pre-ride the course due to lack of time, but I figured that my lack of fitness would outweigh any advantage that the pre-ride might afford me.

I'd been to Randy's to get this bike fitted to me, and we changed the whole cockpit around, so I was really looking forward to how I'd feel on the bike for this race. That said, I had my first DNF ever... and it certainly wasn't for lack of spirit or trying. The bike fit felt pretty good though.

I was in a good spot at the start - managed to stay top 20 for the first half of lap 1 when... BANG. Front tire blowout. I didn't know it at the time, but it seems that the bead on my front tire decided to give up the ghost. Whee.

can you even GET wire-bead cross tires?

Right after finishing at Carpentersville, I had noticed that my front tire was behaving strangely - the bead was atop the rim rather than hooked inside it. I quickly deflated the tire and popped it back onto the rim... I suppose I should have been more diligent and checked the condition of the bead.

The bang was loud enough that several teammates ran over and asked me if I had wheels in the pit... I responded that I didn't, and they yelled back that they'd meet me in the pit with a wheel - since this course's pit was right at the start/finish and was single sided, that meant I got to run the second half of the course rolling my bike aside me. As I passed the officials, I commented "it's a lot more fun when you can ride the bike" to which Dave Fowkes replied "i'm with ya on that one".

I grabbed the new wheel and set off again - the majority of the field had passed me just after I flatted so I knew that I had pretty much no chance of catching on - this had become a workout. When I came back through the chicane where most of the spectators were, my hero Mike Seguin was there with the beer handup. SWEET. I certainly wasn't expecting it, so I was moving too fast and crushed the cup, sending most of the beer into my glove, but I did get a good bit of it in my mouth. With a delicious right hand, I powered through the remainder of the lap - this was my only full lap of the course.

I was passed by the race leader after the first barricade - this served as a motivator. I cleared the sand pit and went into the backside's off-camber chicane when I was passed by #2. Atop the hill, I could see that most of the riders were opposite my position on the course, so I stood a decent chance of catching one or two of them if I'd just get my ass into gear. I powered through the spectator area and was approaching the last barricade when the chain gods saw fit to punish me... POP. Since i'm now a chain-breaking veteran I managed to keep the bike upright, thought I'm pretty sure that my knee hit my bars, it's pretty pissed off at me right now.

Since I had a SRAM chain on this bike, I figured I'd see if the break was close to the powerlink and I might be able to piece things together... no luck - the pin that snapped did so leaving only the outer plates so I knew my race was over. I then walked back to the officials area and let them know that I was DNF for a mechanical, then went back to the spectator area for some brats and a beer while watching the end of the race.

the day's casaulties.

I suppose I'm now in the market for another chain, does anyone have any suggestions? I've popped three PC-971's in 2008... there's gotta be a better solution for a clydesdale drivetrain. I snapped a KMC 1/8" track chain earlier this year - that's how I found out about the heavy duty Izumi chains. Is there a road equivalent?

Although I only rode one full lap at Compton, I am quite proud that my lap included a successful beer handup. When you've got race priorities like these, cyclocross is WAY more fun.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

You were looking strong, big E. Too bad on the mechanicals.