My cross era begins

Tonight, the course designer and organiser of the Grand Prix Cyclocross de Magog invited people to train, discover, test and give feedback on the course for the race that will take place sunday. As it will be my first cyclocross race ever, I jumped on the chance to check just how bad I am. The course is pretty nice and has features expected in a cross race: barriers (single followed by a steep climb, doubles), sand (with a few corners to make it tricky), grass, gravel but also a muddy ditch followed by a steep climb and a surprisingly long and fast singletrack section. It should be fun and painful.

What I discovered is that the heartrate will be pinned way high for the whole hour and I will suffer, I'm not so bad at dismounts but could improve on remounts. I can ride sand fine until there's a sharp corner. As it's the first race, I'm fine with my lack of skills and expect to be lapped, especially since I'm starting with the elites and experts.

Technically, the bike is almost dialed. Fit, tire pressure, everything except the gearing. I have some compact road chainrings, 34/50 and I find the spread too wide and I have to shift between rings way too often, always feeling like I'm not in the right gear with my 11-26 cassette. Those who know me and that have read my thoughts about going 1x10 Adam Craig Geoff Kabush style on the Scalpel for next year will know how much I dislike shifting between chainrings, much prefering just shifting on the cassette. Quicker, smoother, less risky. So I may go hunt for some rings before sunday. Ideally, I would go with a single 40 or 42 ring but as I'm lazy and dont want to re-install the cable and derailleur when the bike sees it's double life as a road bike (I still haven't found a way to sneak a 2010 SuperSix in the house without it being noticed), I may try to find a 38 and a 46 or something. Oh yeah, the bike really turned some heads, kids were drooling over the team issue Cannondale CAAD 9 and it's low weight. The bike wont be an excuse if I suck...

And as it's cross season, I thought I'd share the link to pdxcross. For those who don't know the site, it's got among the best cyclocross pictures I have seen over the years. Have a look at their new site and expect some great photos as the cross season progresses. They also have a book of dirty pictures for you cyclocross pervs. Enjoy.