Cyclocross: Maybe I wasn't so crazy....

In spite of the past two days bringing much needed rain to central Iowa, I tinkered with my tire pressure on the Roubaix for the Continental Twister Pro tires to dial in a more forgiving ride which I have now tested out on my twice daily dog walks this week.  I had hoped to go for a solid road ride Wednesday after work, but the rain came down too much in the afternoon for me to face getting bundled up and riding pavement in it, so I lifted weights instead.  I need to get the lights charged up and ready as well now that it is getting dark so early and the time change is coming soon.

I was reading about bikes for cyclocross racing and stumbled upon a few sites that met my way of thinking:  use my mountain bike to do a race, convert my road bike for the dry races, or the more expensive option of buying a cyclocross bike.  So maybe I wasn't so crazy after all in my thinking of the most cost-efficient way of doing a race or two.  If it's dry - I've got the Roubaix to ride.  If it is muddy - I've got the mountain bike.  There are 3 other local cyclocross races coming up in November/December that I might be able to doTwo are in Altoona and one is in Urbandale - so who knows?  Maybe I'll give it another shot.

What Kind Of Bike Do I Need for Cyclocross?

The Three Options:

  • a cyclocross bike
  • a modified mountain bike
  • a modified road bike
  • (Note: To race in the Elite class in UCI-sanctioned races, you must have a bike with drop handlebars, 700c wheels and tires no wider than 35 mm.)

  • Well, there you have it.  It's confirmed that I am not crazy.

    Option one would be nice, but seriously - Tara and I already bought road bikes this year.  Combined cost of the two and as a percentage of our annual income works out to be plenty of money already being spent this year on new bikes.  Additional cost to me for this option:  $1000-1500 if I wanted to get an entry level Cross bike with disc brakes (that is if I could find one in size HUGE).

    Option two is not a problem as I have a mountain bike or two already to go with plenty of tires to swap around based on course conditions.  And I experienced this option last year in the Night Cap on the Dos Niner.  The suggested modifications for converting a mountain bike include removing the bottle cages, and running skinnier tires.  Not a problem.  Additional cost to me for this option:  $0

    Option three I have already experienced last weekend at the Night Cap.  The modifcations to a road bike they suggest included running knobby tires (check with the Twister Pros), using mountain bike pedals (check since I run XTR's on my Roubaix to begin with...), and removing the water bottle cages (haven't done that yet as the Night Cap didn't require any run ups).  Additional cost to me for this option:  $0

    It does look like I have room to go up to a 32 or 33mm cyclocross tire on my Roubaix, but not sure a 34mm would fit.  Only one way to find out.  In the meantime, and to keep it cost-effective, I'll just keep experimenting with the tire pressure on the 10 year old Twister Pros.  I bought them - believe it or not - to mount up on the Mavic SpeedCity wheels to use on my 26" Trek 8000 mountain bike in Vienna back in the spring of 2003 to ride and train on the roads and fireroads.  They were about the largest knobby tires I could find in Vienna at the time that were in stock and would fit in the frame of a 26" mountain bike using 700c wheels. 

    I haven't used the Twister Pro tires since then as that experiment actually led to me buying my first 29"er that year via a Surly Karate Monkey.  So it's nice I'm using the tires again as they have plenty of tread left to use up.  Of course, the rubber is now over a decade old after hanging on the garage wall for so long...

    I've got the front tire at 38.5psi and the rear is set at 42 psi.  Although the carbon post from Specialized is forgiving on my Roubaix, I could easily mount up the Thudbuster ST which would give me some squish relief of a cyclocross course pounding.  I could also use a saddle with some more padding than the minimal road saddle on the bike.  All of that would be an option to add some comfort and rear squish to the Roubaix as a cyclocross bike.


    Either way, option 2 and 3 have got me covered if I choose to try another cyclocross race or two this season.  In the meantime, the sun is out again today and it looks like a morning ride is in order before work...

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