Wednesday, December 11, 2013

below zero cyclocross

This past weekend in Bend Oregon marks one of the most memorable weekends of cyclocross I have done.  It snowed about half a foot on friday, then a deep freeze set in.  This wasn't unpleasant cold- it was 3 degrees, not accounting for wind chill.  It was make-smart-clothing-choices-or-get-frostbite- kind of cold.  It was Bend canceling the annual holiday parade kind of cold.  But this is cyclocross and you don't cancel races because it is cold.  Surprisingly the course was quite rideable and it was fun racing.  My new Boulder worked flawlessly.  There were sections of the course which were frozen off camber ruts that really tested bike handling skills.  The following video demonstrates the problem:  if you hesitate even for a second and hit the brakes- you fall down.  If you commit to the fall line and let the bike roll you stay upright!
video
Riding on snow and ice is easier than it appears.  On the rare occasion there is snow and ice in Seattle, I still commute to work on a bicycle.  In fact I make even more of a point to ride on those days because I know the traffic will be horrible.  Cars generally drive a lot slower when there is snow and ice on the ground so it is not any more dangerous to be out on a bicycle.  Use a wider tire at low pressure, don't lean the bike over or brake when turning.
Watching the elite riders this weekend, you wouldn't even think there was snow or ice on the ground.  Geoff Kabush took the hole shot Saturday and built an impressive lead.  I guess that is natural as he is a Canadian.  Only Tim Johnson was able to overtake him.  In the last half of the race, when all the other competitors looked more or less miserable, Tim Johnson had a big grin on his face.  My beer froze while I was watching this race.
On Sunday I had the pleasure of being lapped by Carl Decker (front row start today) and fake Miguel Indurain (where did Kabush find that Banesto kit?!).  I love OBRA.