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Dallas Cross Weekend

November 17, 2008

masher3Colleen and I drove up to Dallas this weekend for a few cross races at whiterock lake. We would roll in some family time too since we were staying with mom in Terrell 35 mins away. This was going to be the first TXBRA race on Rocinante, the new cyclocross steed. I did the derby earlier in the week with some success, but mostly to get a feel for it. A lot of people showed up for the largest ¾ category I’d ever raced in (44 starters). This made for a hell of start, especially since we hit the barriers about 300 yards into it. I had bad position from the start and fell behind early. After settling in, I started to fight back towards the top 10. My rear derailleur would have none of it though. This bike came equipped with a SRAM rival gruppo, and I was starting to like it, but the rear derailleur seems to have a flawed design. The cage is too wide. Hit a rough patch, and the chain is likely to jump of the pulley and get caught between the cage. This renders it about as useless as a lazy cat. I had to hop off about 4 times during the race and fix it, putting me way back. At this point I just wanted to finish the race. With one lap left, someone had ridden into and taken out some barrier fencing that established the hairpin turns each racer had to navigate. There were little survey flags left behind where the fence was. It is a natural tendency to hug the inside of the turn, but since the fencing wasn’t there, my chain found some tasty survey flags and sucked one up in the rear derailleur. What followed was a catastrophic failure in this sequence (I think): rear cage is mangled. Hanger snaps. Derailleur is throw into rear wheel breaking a spoke. Chain is FUBAR in the process. Race over. I was pissed it happened on the last lap, but glad I didn’t have to worry about the rear d messing up anymore. I brought a spare wheelset, but no spare chain or rear d. Jesse Moran, an old collegiate racing friend who lives in Dallas and was there offered to take me to a shop nearby and see if they could fix it. They didn’t have a hanger, but I decided to forego gears and try to set it up singlespeed. I bought some cassette spacers, a rear cog, and a half link .After messing around with it back in Terrell for 3 hours, I finally got something to work. Sunday comes and we head back to Flagpole Hill. I had a much better start and was having a blast on the SS moving up to the top three when the chain broke at the half link about halfway into the race. Another big blow, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. Jesse offered to let me borrow his bike for the open race. I accepted. It was an unfamiliar bike, and I dropped the chain trying to figure out the shifting before the first dismount, but got it back on and got going. I pushed it extremely hard to try and catch back up and took a turn beyond the capability of the front tire and slid out in the grass. Another minor setback, but after that it was butter. I had another 55 minutes to catch up, and that’s what I did. I picked ‘em off one by one all the way from 23 to 13th place. Nowhere near the podium, but a moral victory nonetheless, and a lot of fun. I think I might be hooked on cross.

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