04 September 2015

Here comes Cross season

As mentioned in my previous blog post (Arctic MTB Trifecta AKA climb, climb and climb) marked the end of the MTB racing season here in Anchorage, Alaska.  This can only mean one thing; here comes the cyclo cross season...

In Anchorage the cross season is put on by ArcticCross who organise a 7 race series throughout Anchorage, the venues change around from year to year but the racing is always fun and turnouts usually great and have been getting better and better in previous years.  Although they allow people to race on any bike the courses normally favour a cyclocross bike.  I have never had a cyclocross bike but this year that changed when I ordered one through work.

I built up the bike (a Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2 ) on the 21st August.  The bike is a carbon fibre cyclocross bike that comes with hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano 105 components (although I got Ultegra shifters lucky free upgrade) and through axles front and rear to stiffen up the frame.
Building the bike up
Building up bikes is a fairly routine task, however the joy of being a foreigner, and the oddity that I ride all my bikes with the brakes reversed compared to countries who drive on the "other" side of the road (compared to the UK) means I have to switch my brakes around.

In this instance it means I have to remove the perfectly wrapped bar tape and disconnect a perfectly functioning brake just to switch hoses over.  Hopefully if you are super lucky you won't have to bleed the brakes.... I only had to bleed the front brake so I'm happy with that :D
swapping over the brakes

All done except the pedals
Since getting the bike built up I have taken it riding a couple of times to #CoffeeOutside, a get together with friends before work where we visit a local park and have coffee outside. 
Coffee outside
I have also been out on the bike to practice some of the more specific aspects to riding a skinny tyred bike with drop bars off road, this includes cornering, run ups, dismounts, remounts and jumping barriers. 
informal cross practice
Link to some technique videos for cyclocross

The season kicks off next Friday and I will be there.  Although me racing the first race may not happen, its a little late for Fiona to be staying up and making race two on the Saturday, yes she races too.  I will make my decision later on during the week, once we see how Fiona is coping with no Amanda.
Until next time, ride on all :D
Finally this is what a pro can do on a bike very similar to mine... FYI this is a Downhill course

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