Mud, Sweat, and Gears (MSG) #5 - Tri-cities Race Weekend Pt. 1

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Since CX (cyclocross) is mainly a North-North-Eastern sport in the states, although it's exponentially growing every year, Alabama is far from a thriving scene for the sport and hence my excessive amount of traveling in the past few weeks. While the MABRA races are too far to get to with drives in excess of 12 hours, Tennessee and the Tri-Cities are my next best alternative.

Usually I jet out of work on Fridays around 2 or 3 so I can begin my very long 7 hr. drive north. Unfortunately after breaking my brand new single speed in a mock race last Sunday, I needed to wait until Saturday morning to stop by the bike shop on my way there to have my drive-side crank tapped.

Not knowing what to do with myself Friday I went for a nice easy spin on my road bike. Then a brilliant idea struck me, why don't I throw the PowerTap from my road bike onto my cross bike? I wasn't really interested in the overall data, it was more of a why not type of idea?

So I went at it...all in all the concept was pretty simple.

...take this:

The Donor

...and put it on that

Specialized TriCross - the transplant recipient

...Not so fast!

A chain whip and a big wrench are necessary for removal.

Cassette lock-ring removal tool

Mid-Operation

Eventually I figured out the spacers behind the cassette and made it all work!

Saturday was an early morning, I had planned on being at the bike shop when it opened but a slightly later start than originally planned delayed that idea. Eventually I made it to the bike shop, only 45 minutes late after a stop for breakfast and coffee at Starbucks and had my crank fixed. Super ecstatic about my SS being fixed I headed towards Johnson City for MSG (Mud, Sweat, and Gears) #5.

I had plenty of time to check out the course and shot this section of the course that turned out to be my favorite part, mainly because it was quick and felt really fast.



Cross almost always utilizes a park or school facility as they make for idea venues, Saturday race was no exception with a gorgeous park facility situated along the river. After I signed in I did some recon of the course and stopped to take in the beautiful setting of the race.

Gorgeous setting for the race with the leaves changing in the background.

I somehow missed the 25 series pts. for dressing up memo. Bummer!

Eric from Blacksburg racing team, Rogue's Racing.

The sand pit.

A witch doing barriers...you don't see that everyday!

My lack of clean clothes and short break between races required some creativeness on my part, I wound up pinning my second number to the first so I only had to take 5 pins off before my second race.

Numbers pinned one over another.

On a side note, as I mentioned above most races take place at a local park or sports complex which for some reason unknown to me usually lack doors on the bathrooms??? Well most cyclists would agree that a nature break is necessary before a race door or not. I was very proud of my ingenious method of letting folks know the facilities were in use!

Very clever I thought and if you look at the angle of the shot...Yes.

Seriously anyone know why no doors? (my only guess is to do with unwanted nomad visitors).

Anyways my first race of the day was single speed (SS) which was my first ever race on a SS bike. It was a blast, and seeing that I had changed my gearing from a 36:16 (2.25:1) to a 36:18 (2:1) that morning, I was a bit under-geared but much better off than a 36:16. The race also served as a great warm-up to my CX4 race 15 minutes after the SS race. I stayed where I was for most of the race, finally catching a guy I had been chasing for 2 laps, finishing 5/11. Not too shabby for my first SS race.

After a quick number change (or un-number-change) I headed back to the start line with a different bike and got a pretty cruddy start position. The race started and I felt okay and quickly secured my position. The race was so much different with a geared bike, not standing where I had been just 15 minutes earlier. I battled with a young guy for most of the race, finally passing him on the last lap as my previous race, but after racing an hour cramped about 500m from the finish over the barriers and locked up. I lost 2 places and finished 10/33. I still wan to move up in my finish standings, I have yet to podium in cyclocross (stayed tuned for pt. 2).

Oh and if you're looking for the power file from my race and all of those BIG WATTS!!! Well there's no data since my head unit was dead, we tried switching Justin's 605 but it didn't pick it up.

I usually don't partake in candy and try my best to avoid Halloween candy but in the spirit of the season...I decided to partake as somewhat of a "reward" for racing hard.

Plus it's Java, so it was more like a coffee then a candy bar right?

...and then partook in some more "rewarding"...SERIOUSLY...what is bike racing without a burrito?

Michelle and I hit up Chipotle which is now in Blacksburg!

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