Results for the Cedar Cross race of Missoury are finally in, and you can see them here:
Results for the Cedar Cross race of Missoury are finally in, and you can see them here:
I only heard about the Cedar Cross race about 2 weeks before it was to take place. I won’t go into details about the venue, since there’s much more detailed info about it on the official site: https://cedarcross.wordpress.com/
What I will get into here is my own experience with the race. I’ll keep it short, but try to cover the more memorable parts. Number one: my bike.
Though this was a cyclocross race, mountain bikes were also allowed. I have my Scrambler built up as a sort of pseudo cross bike right now, but the thought of trying to get through miles of muddy singletrack on very narrow 32c tires wasn’t very appealing. I also knew there’d be hills, and since that bike has a standard road crank, that’d mean a 39T chainring would be a bear to push up hills. Sure, my road bike has a 42c small ring (and 11-23 cassette), but I’d be on gravel roads, which means I couldn’t just stand and mash the pedals like I do on my road bike.
So, the mountain bike won out. It has a shock with a remote lock-out, disc brakes, wider tires, better gearing, and more room for mud. And speaking of the gearing, my granny chainring is a 20T. Match that with a 32T cog, and I was able to sit and easily spin up hills that I saw many other people working much harder to get up.
The race started at 9am at the Katy Trail commuter parking lot in what used to be called Cedar City, and is now more or less just part of Jefferson City, next to highways 63 and 54. I don’t know an official number of racers yet, but around 170 signed up, and at least 120 actually showed up. We got a quick speech from Bob Jenkins, the sadistic a-hole who set this torture game up for us, where he basically told us we were on our own, and not to hit on his mom. Finally, a lead vehicle showed us the way down a mile or so of paved road, to where the beginning of seemingly endless gravel roads began.
I was on my own–many stayed in teams with riding buddies, but I don’t have any friends dumb enough to do this with me–so my first plan was to find a group of people I could stick with. Though the group changed many times throughout the race, I didn’t have to put in a whole lot of miles on my own. My biggest worry was that we’d eventually run into a pack of 4 hateful dogs that we’d been warned many times about, so I figured if we had bigger numbers than the dogs, we’d make it through alright. As it would end up, by the time my small group got to them, they already seemed too worn out or bored to really put up much of an aggressive front.
The two sections of singletrack we had were where my bike was supposed to excel over all the cyclocross bikes on the route. Maybe it did, maybe not. Considering how many of us ended up having to walk most of the trails, I don’t think the shocks and fatter tires really mattered much here. The worst part was a section called the stair climb, which was less like stairs, and more like a near-vertical cliff of thick, sticky mud. We all had to dismount and walk our bikes up this. All I really remember is I nearly lost a shoe in the mud, some guy everyone called "Turbo" ran right up it like it was nothing, and it basically destroyed my climbing/sprinting muscles–the ones I fall back on to make up time when my legs begin to tire from normal riding.
Inside the national forest that was home to the singletrack, it was humid, temps were in the high-80s already, and there was zero wind. It was a miserable place to be, and I heard some riders threw up (and perhaps called it quits) because of it. Fortunately, it made up for only a very small fraction of the overall course, so once you were out of the second section, you knew you were good to go.
Gravel and hills:
Bob purposely set this course up to keep us off of paved roads as much as possible. As such, you rarely got to just relax and spin your pedals; instead, you were always on the look-out for potholes and tractor tire ruts. It made drafting behind others difficult and a bit unnerving. Still, I can deal with gravel. What I couldn’t deal with were the gravel climbs. As I mentioned before, I like to stand up and mash a big gear to get up hills. It’s how I rest one group of muscles while using the other group to make quick work of any size hill. But if you do that on gravel, you’ll lose traction and spin out. And we all know how hard it can be to get re-started from a dead stop on an incline.
So, instead, I was forced to stay seated like everyone else, and spin a lower gear. It meant my ass never got a rest from being in the saddle, and I was never able to distribute the burden between different muscle groups. My only saving grace was that I put the 20T small chainring back on my bike a few days prior.
Fortunately, every climb led to another descent, so I had time to rest occasionally. I’d turn off my shock’s remote lock, get up to speed, and just coast over any rut or pothole that got in my way. In fact, twice I hit 40mph–the fastest I’ve ever gone (or want to go) on gravel. I heard a few others make the same comment moments after we all made it down safe.
Whereas many others ran into plenty of equipment failures (ex.1 ex.2), I had only one: during the second singletrack section, something apparently grabbed my rear derailer housing on the seat stay, and popped it out of the cable stop. I didn’t know what happened at the time, but my chain quickly shifted all the way to the other end of my cassette, without the shifter moving in unison. I adjusted it at the shifter until it sort of worked and continued on, but kept having to re-adjust every few miles. I finally mentioned it to a guy I was riding with named Matt Grothoff, and he told me the housing looked like it was sitting funny against the frame. So, on one of the long, never-ending climbs, I got to looking at it between my legs while I pedaled. Turns out, the housing simply popped out, so I stopped, popped it back in, re-adjusted once more, and never had another problem.
I did see a ton of flat tires, though. The group I was with near the end had two in the final 20 miles, and there were many others dealing with punctures throughout the race. I give full credit to my Panaracer Flataway tire liners.
My wife volunteered to be my support and gear team, even though I had originally envisioned just doing this alone. But so long as she wanted to help, I sure wasn’t going to turn it down. She kept extra food, drinks, supplies, and clothes in her car, and met up with me at 6 different locations throughout the ride. While others had to depend on drop bags, I knew my stuff would always be there when I arrived. The best part was being able to change my soaking wet socks after crossing a creek in the first singletrack section. I’m glad I planned ahead for that.
By the 70mi mark, I had been riding on a seriously cramped right leg–my right quads and hamstring simultaneously cramped up on a hill climb at the 50mi mark, so badly I let out a scream and had to rest for 5 minutes–and was beginning to feel sick from over heating. After getting refills on my water and Gatorade, I sat in the car with the A/C cranked for 5 minutes. It gave me just enough of a refresh to feel like I could make it another 43 miles.
It was also at this stop that many racers chose to get a bite to eat inside a convenience store. Riders who got there way before I did were still sitting around, eating sandwiches and chilling out, when I decided it was best to keep my stay short and get back on the road. As it would turn out, no riders successfully passed me for the rest of the ride (and by successfully, I mean pass and then keep in front; I did have a couple pass me on two different occasions when I stopped with my group during flat tire repairs, but we passed them again minutes later both times). Also, for a time being, the temperature seemed to drop by about 10°.
Final 40 miles:
The final 40 miles were the worst, not because they were difficult–because they weren’t really; it was cooler and we were done with hills–but because it just didn’t seem like it’d ever end. Fortunately, after I left the convenience store at mile 70, I met up with a group of 3, and we more or less stayed together until the end. I think we knew we’d all be faster together than alone, and I guess we were right.
The final descent was from the nuclear power plant south of Fulton, MO, back down to the Katy Trail, where we never had to deal with another hill. We had about 10 miles of relatively smooth Katy Trail, then got off onto some of the worst gravel roads of the whole course. They were so bad, we saw another guy get double flat tires, which put him (a faster rider, it seemed) far behind us. Eventually, it led back to the Katy, then back onto more gravel roads, which finally turned to pavement near the end. On the final corner, 3 of the 4 sprinted to the finish line. Bob was there to throw beer in our faces as we crossed.
In all, it was over 113 miles, took close to 10 hours to complete (including refill and rest times), and left me pretty sore for the next 24 hours. I hear there are rumors it’ll be held again next year.
I was really impressed with how well the race was put together. Bob Jenkins not only put in a ton of his own time clearing the singletrack, mapping the route, getting sponsors, etc., he also dumped his own money into this race, then made it free to join. Then, any money dontated by the racers was given to a local no-kill animal shelter.
I saw far more singlespeeds at this race than I ever would have guessed. You can always assume you’ll see a couple guys on them, but there were almost too many to keep track of. Considering the number of hills, the size of the hills, and the overall distance, I was impressed by everyone who committed to riding one. I was very happy with all 27 speeds on my own bike, though.
My whole ride, all I wanted more than anything were drop bars. I feel so much more comfortable riding in drops, and have an easier time climbing and putting down power overall. If I ever do something this crazy again, I think I’ll find a way to put them on my MTB and just ditch the flat bar forever.
I ordered a saddle a few days prior to the race–a used, but excellent condition San Selle Marco Aspide on eBay–that I knew would be comfortable for the length of this race. Unfortunately, it was shipped UPS, and arrived a day after the race. I should have specified USPS, and maybe it would have shown up on Saturday instead. As it turned out, my Selle Italia SLR TT tore me up. Lesson learned: order parts further in advance.
No matter how much liquid you think you’ll need, always take more. I had one particular hour before I met my wife for the first re-fueling, where I really wish I’d taken a Gatorade with me. I still had enough water (barely), but that Gatorade would have been awesome. I also noticed plenty of other riders running out of water, and heard some made it to a drop point late enough that even the truck at the drop point had run out. I even offered to fill one guy’s bottles with water from our car, and he only took enough to fill one, not both. Stupid. On a day like that, it can really mean life or death, or even just finishing or having to drop out.
There was a couple there from Texas on a tandem Calfee bamboo bike. I lost track of them before the first singletrack, and really wanted to know if they finished, and how well they did.
And finally, if you take GoPro cameras with you on a ride with a group that big, there will be plenty of people trying to get camera time.
In my previous post, I stripped the paint off my frame, sprayed on some primer, and was beginning to sand it. Well, I eventually got around to painting it, but I wasn’t happy. Even a perfect spray paint job still looks like spray paint, so I took it to a professional and had it powder coated 80-90 Jet black. One upside to powder coating is, the powder melts very nicely into the welds. This frame always had crappy looking welds, so now they’re a little easier to look at, although I doubt Gary Klein has anything to be jealous of.
The sad part is, I spent more time fucking around trying to paint it on my own, than I did driving back and forth to the powder coater in a city about 40 minutes away. The guy who did the work was Jeff at Xtreme Body & Paint in Jefferson City. He was really easy to work with, and does awesome work. Turn around time was a mere 2 days.
Once I got the frame back, I had to visit my local bike shop to get the BB threads chased, and the head tube re-faced, but that’s to be expected after any paint job.
Since I’m running a front derailer now (and because I don’t want to run full-length cable housing) I decided to install an STI cable stop on the downtube, and an under-BB cable guide. I got both parts at Nova Cycles for just a few bucks. For the STI stop, I used a 1/8" drill bit and some 3mm x 3mm aluminum pop rivets. The cable guide needed to be screwed on, so I drilled with a 5/32" bit, and used a Park TAP-8 5mm x .8 tap. Installing the guide was as easy as it gets, but the STI stop took some work. I’ll mention how I got that on in another post.
You’ll notice I also have rear brake cable guides, so I never have to zip-tie full housing to the top tube ever again. I installed those prior to painting, and once the powder coat melted all around them, they look like part of the frame. I intentionally left the STI stop off until after the paint job, because I didn’t want paint–or powder–to get inside the threads.
Unfortunately, along with some pretty easy mods, I’ve also had some very annoying issues. Because I’m turning a track bike into a 2-speed cyclocross bike, I’m having clearance issues, most specifically with the tires. I verified long ago that some 32c Kenda Kwicker tires fit the frame and fork, but what I wasn’t expecting was for them not to clear the Cane Creek SCR-3L brakes I just bought. Due to the design of the calipers, the mounting bolt is higher on the body than it was on my Alhonga brakes, meaning the brakes hung too low below the fork crown and rear brake arch. Because of this, 32c tires rubbed big time, so I had to order some 30c Kenda Kwick tires instead. BUT, I wanted 32c, dammit, and I wasn’t about to give up. Currently, I’m waiting on a set of Tektro R538 brakes, which should give me the clearance of the Alhongas, with the reach of the Cane Creeks. Once I get that worked out, I’ll be able to use either tire, depending on where I’m riding.
As for other clearance concerns, they all seem to be working themselves out quite nicely. My biggest concern with running a non-track crankset with dual chainrings is, the inner ring may come in contact with the frame. As it turns out, I have about 4mm clearance between the chainstay and a 39T ring on my SRAM Force cranks. It’s tight, but that’s more than enough room to get by.
My other issue was whether a water bottle bolt would get in the way of the front derailer clamp, but I have just enough room to make it work. I can’t use that bottle mount anymore, but I don’t think I ever have before anyway.
I did luck out with my rear tensioner set-up, so I’m happy about that. I’m using a Paul Comp. Melvin tensioner, with a DMR chain tug, which includes a rear derailer hanger. The Melvin has 3 spacers to help align the pulleys, and once I was finished configuring them, alignment was perfect.
This is basically where I sit for the time being. I’m waiting on an STI barrel adjuster and the Tektro brakes. Once those pieces arrive, I should finally be able to go for a ride.
I love my Scrambler V2, but as I’ve said in the past, the OEM paint job was pretty bad. Even if it didn’t flake off in small pieces, the matte black still isn’t very attractive. So, I’ve begun the process of re-painting it.
Since I no longer have the use of a media blaster, I went the chemical route and used paint stripper. It’s incredibly nasty stuff, and burns like hell if you get it on you (trust me), but it does the job incredibly fast. Tip: forgo the "environmentally safe" crap, which states that it may take up to 24 hours to work (and then never actually does), and get the hardcore stuff, instead. Literally as I was painting this stuff on, I could already hear the paint bubbling up. Scraping it off was then effortless.
Beautiful, raw steel…
Of course, stripping paint is the easy part; the hard part is re-painting. At this point, I have it primered, and have spent quite a few hours wet sanding (and then re-priming spots I messed up, and sanding them again).
I started out with 400-grit to take the roughness off the surface of the primer, then finished up with 800-grit, to get it as smooth as possible. I’m going with a high-gloss finish, and don’t want any rough spots under the paint.
Speaking of paint, it took a long time to settle on colors, since I like so many different things. In the end, though, I decided to somewhat mimic the well-known Ritte paint scheme, for a couple of reasons: I like it; and it matches the Scrambler V3 sticker pack that EighthInch sent me.
I was able to use FixieStudio and Photoshop to mock up something pretty similar to the finished product, to get an idea of how I wanted to do the colors. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough to give you an idea of what I’m shooting for.
Because I already have black carbon fiber cranks, stem and fork (more on the fork in a minute), I wanted them to blend into the rest of the paint job. That meant I couldn’t go with some other colors that I like even more, because they’d look better with polished components. My seatpost is also carbon, but it’s going to be painted to match the blue on the frame. The same goes for the seatpost clamp.
However, I’m not done desecrating the brand name of the bike just yet. The name EighthInch is based on the classic chain size, which is still used on most fixed gear and singlespeed bikes. About a year ago, I did the unthinkable and put a 3/32" chain on the bike, forever destroying its good name. But it’ll soon get much worse… not only will it not be an 1/8", it won’t even be a singlespeed.
Back in 2008, a member of MTBR.com posted about a bike he’d just built around a Paul Components Melvin chain tensioner. Basically, he wanted the simplicity of a singlespeed mountain bike, but with the option of an extra climbing gear. With a 1-speed drivetrain, you have to find a balance between a gear that doesn’t result in you having to coast all over the place, but which will allow you to climb hills with some bit of ease. On a road bike, it’s difficult enough, but due to off-road terrain being so completely random, it’s even harder to figure out a good ratio. By using the Melvin in place of a typical chain tensioner, he’s able to have dual chainrings, while running only one cog. That means you can go with whatever chainring feels best for the flats and downhills, but still have an awesome climbing gear when you need it. The bike remains lighter and simpler than one with full gearing, without losing most of the simplicity of a singlespeed.
I’ve always thought it was an awesome idea, but my frame posed a problem: there’s no place to hang a rear derailer or tensioner. That is, until I discovered these DMR chain tugs with a derailer hanger built in:
I already wanted a set of chain tugs to being with, and now I’ll have the ability to add a Melvin (or derailer) to my frame without having to find somebody to weld a hanger on. This opened up the possibility to adding a second chainring, but I still had an issue with clearance for a small ring on a frame that’s designed for only one. Since I’ve already been using a double crankset with the small ring removed, I simply bolted the 39T back on and did a test fit. There’s not a huge amount of clearance, but there’s certainly enough that it will work. In the process, I also made sure my 3/32" freewheel works with a 10sp chain, so I don’t run into any issues there.
Other upgrades include a front derailer, obviously, as well as a set of drop bars and brake levers (the left lever will also be a shifter for the front derailer). I also bought a new fork with clearance for 32c tires–which also fit the frame; I checked–and some medium-reach brakes to clear the larger tires. Once I’m finished, the bike will primarily be a rail-trail bike, but the smaller chainring will assure I can take it for some light singletrack riding should the opportunity present itself. It’s also a 30-minute swap of parts to get the bike set up back how it used to be: a SS roadie on skinny tires, or even a fixed-gear track bike.
But that’s not all... White Industries makes a dual-cog freewheel, called the DOS ENO, with 16 & 18 tooth cogs on it. I’m playing with the idea of adding a shirt cage derailer and Shimano downtube friction shifter, which could give the bike 4 speeds. I don’t know how well that’d work, nor do I know if I want to go through the extra hassle, but it’s certainly a possibility. It’d also give the bike an extremely unique drivetrain.
More photos later as the project rolls on…
I was looking around today, and found this other bike that’s set up how I plan to do mine. The owner is lucky to have a derailer hanger on his frame to make things easier, but otherwise this gives a really good idea of how mine should end up if I just go 2×1.
Awhile back, EighthInch mentioned they were working on a cyclocross frame for this year. Well, today they’ve released a sneak preview of their new Butcher freestyle frame, but is this the cyclocross frame they had talked about before?
Sidenote: "sneak peak" apparently means releasing specs and nearly a dozen HQ photos of the frame. They seem to have a lot to learn from the auto industry.
Anywho, here’s some info on the frame:
- Sizing: 50, 53, 56, 59cm
- Double Butted 4130 Chromo
- 45/45 Integrated Headset
- Mid Bottom Bracket
- Removable 990 Brake Mounts
- Removable Cable Mounts
- 700×45 Tire Clearance (maybe more)
- Bar Spin Clearance In All Sizes
- Includes Mid-BB and Integrated Headeset
- ESTIMATED STREET PRICE – FRAME ONLY: $300 FRAME+FORK $350
Oh, and here’s a profile photo:
Now, tell me that doesn’t look like a singlespeed cyclocross frame to you. If that’s the case, it looks like an excellent frame, although I’m not sure I’m too happy about the mid bottom bracket (it uses press-fit bearings instead of a standard threaded bottom bracket). The integrated headset is a nice touch, though, as are the butted tubes and extra gussets aft of the head tube.
If this isn’t the CC frame, then it’s at least a great platform for it. I wouldn’t mind seeing disc brake braze-ons and a normal BB shell on that bike should it still be in the development phase, though.
For more info and pics, check out their blog: Butcher Sneak Peak
I meant to post this weeks ago…
EighthInch posted a hint on Twitter that they have a cyclocross frame in the works. I haven’t heard any more about it since their April posting, so hopefully it’ll be out before too much longer. I’ll keep you updated when I hear more.
Update: Looks like prototypes are on the way: http://twitter.com/EighthInch/status/16695745782