Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barton Park aftermath.

Bear looks on as the last of my soil sample from Barton Park washes down the drain.

We finally had some real real real cyclocross weather. Last year the race at Barton Park was sunny and dry. Temps in the mid-60's. This year the weather decided to come back from vacation and let us have it. The temps were in the 50's and it was raining-- perfect. The course was classic Barton-- goopy mud, concrete barriers of doom, dooooooom! Rain and big puddles. Lycra does a gread job of filtering all the mud out of the water and keeping it on the inside. Upon extricating myself from a mucky pair of bibs, I laughed to discover gobs and gobs of mud in my crotch!

I raced my singlespeed and got schooled again. If I didn't like cyclocross so much I'd take this as a sign that I need to pack up a go home. Maybe take up something like bowling or golf. Or maybe watching football on TV.

I feel like I still need to fiddle with the gearing a little-- on flat sections I felt like I was maybe spinning out or at least at a point where I wasn't able to really accelerate any more.

I really see the appeal of singlespeeds now. There's no wondering if you have another gear left or whether or not you're in the optimum gear. You have one and you go. If you can't, you get off and run. Or you soft-pedal or just coast.

Over the past few months my singlespeed "klunker" has been evolving. First it was just a klunker-- re-fitted with just the parts to get its rusty, neglected hulk rolling. Then it was tarted up a bit to use as a errand bike and to tow the trailer-bike. Then I switched to a drop bar as some sort of lark. ("Johnny T" my foot! Conventional drops are horrible off-road!) When I got another Midge handlebar and mounted it up, this bike really changed from the ugly duckling into the swan. (Well, maybe not quite yet...) Now I want to get it powder-coated. A nice red I think, sometime this winter or early next spring. I'm already having a hard time deciding on which bike to take to the races.

The weather continues to be rainy rainy rainy which bodes well for next week's race at the Washington Co. fairgrounds. That's a new venue and I'm excited to see that the Cross Crusaders have in store for us.


Velomann said...

Just curious - what's your "clunker?" As a fellow Popradian, I'm also thinking about setting up an older steel mountain bike as a singlespeed and was wondering if you could elaborate on what you've done and what you plan on doing. (maybe it's ina past post and I just couldn't find it?) And if you decide to go with the Schwalbe Pro cx 26" tires, let us know what you think.

Brian-J said...

The "klunker" is a 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp. I like to point out that in 1989 (at least) the only difference between the Rockhopper Comp and the components.

Right now it's got a rattle-can paintjob that's more "not-there" than "there". To with, I've painted "Rust Rocket" on the top tube.

Originally I had set it up with Performance Bike's single-speed conversion kit-- a tensioner; spacers; 16, 18, and 20 tooth cogs and a lockring.

After many annoying chainjumps on the bumpy course at Astoria, I removed the tensioner. With a 36 up front and a 16 in the back, the chain almost almost is a perfect fit. Fortunately the bike has semi-horizontal drop-outs so I'm able to slide the rear-wheel forward a bit. Now it's just about perfect.

I'm hoping to get the Schwalbe tires for the Kruger's Crossing race. Racing SS has just gotten too much fun.