Don’t Call it a Comeback

So, it’s been about 2 years since I raced cyclocross.  Longer still since I raced a road bike, but that is a story for another day…..

Most of the past 2 years have been dabbling in duathlons, running (5K, 10K, half marathons) and just riding for fun.  Paul and I have done some mountain bike relay races and I’ve even done a team triathlon with my brother Steve and nephew Jacob.

When it all comes down to it though, I still consider myself a cyclist!  Not a roadie, mountain biker, crosser, etc…..just a cyclist.  If it has two wheels, I will ride it.

I miss bike racing (kind of).  I’ve never “trained” with intervals, power meter, etc.  I just rode my bike, did group rides and raced. A LOT!  Back in the 1990’s – early 2000’s it was upwards of 40+ times a year.  Road, Mountain Bike, Cross, yup.

The running bug hit me 3 years ago.  It was a huge change, I was a sprinter in high school, 100-200 meters.  A 400 meter run was considered long distance to me.  Now I was doing anything from 5K to several 1/2 marathons!  As I got more into running and started improving my times, it was like a new challenge, a new thing to try to get good at.  Plus it did not take nearly as much time to train for running as it does for bike racing.

Throughout all of this I kept riding.  I even mixed the two with both road and off road duathlons (tons of fun).

Now this brings me to the Fall of 2012.  Cyclocross has been on my mind……..40 minutes of pain.  I’m not starting it up again to try and win races, I want the challenge of pushing myself again, riding my bike fast and competing against others.

Don’t call it a comeback though……this is all for fun……..

I just invested some time and money to converting the Soma Double Cross from a “beater/foul weather bike” back to a cyclocross racer.

42cm Soma Double Cross. Yes, I am short.

I’m a big believer in the single ring setup for cross.  A 42 tooth ring in the front with a 12-27 cogset out back should handle most of my needs.  The BBG Bashguard was a killer deal!  Plus he makes them campy 135BCD spaced.

BBG Cyclocross guard.

The other thing I am trying this year is Stan’s No Tubes Alpha 340 rims.  Tubeless!  I’ve raced tubulars in the past, but didn’t want a dedicated “race” wheelset (since this isn’t a comeback).  There have been mixed reviews on these rims, but I feel that at my massive 135-140lbs I should be okay.  A lot of the negative reviews I read seemed to be coming from people who fell into the 190+ lbs category. (as an aside here…anytime some one rates a lightweight product online, I feel they should have to disclose their weight….some of this stuff is just not built for heavy people).

Stan’s Alpha 340, record hubs, double butted spokes, brass nipples

I had my wheels built by Eric Lovering at Chainline Cycles.

Eric is a long time friend and a most excellent mechanic.  These wheels are 32 hole, 3 cross spoke pattern.  Nothing super fancy, yet they still built up to 1,420 grams with skewers, 2 layers of rim tape and tubeless valves installed.  That was pretty impressive.

The 2nd part of this wheelset is the Michelin Mud 2 tires.  A long time favorite of mine when I rode clincher tires for cyclocross.  The idea here is to have a tubular like ride without the hassles of tubular tires.

Awesome all around race tires

I’ve yet to really push the pace on the wheels, which I need to do soon since the first race is only a week away.  I’ll keep some updates going on how this wheelset performs.  Setting them up tubeless was fairly simple after I let the tires stretch for 36 hours.  The rest came together pretty easy.

Origin 8 cyclocross fork has done me proud before

While this isn’t the sharpest cyclocross racer in the world, it does the job well.  The Soma Double Cross hits the bill for a race bike. It’s cheap, somewhat light and tough as nails.

Here is the complete build….total weight….No idea.

  • 42cm Soma Double Cross
  • Origin 8 Cyclocross Fork
  • Ritchey Logic headset (bombproof)
  • Tektro CR720 cantilevers with salmon pads (amazingly nice brakes for the price)
  • Titec 27.2 seatpost
  • San Marco ERA saddle (one of my favorites)
  • Salsa Cowbell 3 bars and salsa 80mm stem
  • Campagnolo Veloce Ultrashift rear shifter
  • Campagnolo Veloce Rear Dearilleur
  • Campagnolo Centaur Ultratorque Crankset 42 tooth ring with BBG cyclocross guard
  • Shimano 540 SPD pedals
  • Stans alpha 340 rims, record hubs, 32 hole, 3cross d/b spokes, brass nipples.  Setup tubeless
  • Michelin Mud 2 tires
  • Miche 12-27 10 speed cogset (campy splined)
  • Gore-tex Ride On brake cables and housing (a must for cyclcross).  I’ll do the shifting when it comes time to replace this current cable/housing setup which is not currently gore-tex.
  • N-gear chain watcher upfront (simple but very effective)

That’s about it for now…….we’ll see how the racing goes.

Thanks for reading.

-Pete

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