Finally On the Dirt

I am in a unique position right  now.  I have three sets of wheels for my two main bikes.  There is a pair of wheels for my mountain bike and two pairs for my Tricross — one pair of clinchers and a pair of tubulars.  Right now, the mountain bike wheels are at the shop while new rim tape sets up for the my new Caffelatex kit.  The tubulars are still waiting to get glued, though the tires have been stretching “overnight” since last Wednesday.  And I just discovered that I broke a spoke on the rear wheel of the clinchers.  I need to swing by the shop on Friday to finish the tubeless conversion, since I rather need my wheels for the Cable Area Off-Road Classic this weekend.  As for the tubulars, I just need to find the time to glue them.  Free time has not been exactly forthcoming recently.  In all, only 1 of 6 wheels is ready to roll.

After being out on the roads since the beginning of April, I finally got a chance to get on the dirt at Pontiac Lake last weekend.  I only got in one lap (despite planning for two), but that lap was faster than my TT lap last year at the same time.  Not a lot faster, mind you, but faster.  Since I wasn’t going race pace, I’m extra pleased.  Part of it is fitness, part is conditions (the race was a muddy mess) and part is tires (since I picked up a Specialized Renegade on the way down).    On Sunday morning, I got up bright and early to do a couple laps of Aspen Park in Gaylord as we made our way home.  It’s a nice little trail, even though it’s only a 6-mile lap.  It was nice to be on the dirt before I was actually racing, especially since the crankbrothers Cobalt seatpost I bought last year is still slipping.  The vertical adjustment in the seat tube of the bike is fine, but it won’t hold the saddle flat.  I adjust my saddle way forward on the rails, so I put a considerable torque on the post every time I come down on the saddle.   After a while, the nose of the saddle starts pointing up and making it really uncomfortable to ride.  I think I have it tightened down now, but if it slips during the race this weekend, I’m getting rid of it.

The birthday was nice.  I got a couple of the Chris McNally prints from Ibis and a new floor pump.  The prints will go up in my new office at work whenever I finally get to move in.  I just wish there was a local Ibis dealer to get a Hakkalugi!

Packing for early season races is as hard as packing for cyclocross.  The race this weekend is going to be around 50 degrees, but it could be around 45 when we take off.  What do you wear for that?  Really?  I’ve got a heavy base layer, a wind jacket, arm warmers, thermal tights… and no idea which items will be necessary.

I’m really hoping that I’m not going to regret mounting the Renegade for the race.  I hope that after the race I’m not kicking myself for not getting Sauserwinds.  Everything seemed spiffy after the light rain at Pontiac Lake, but we’ll see.  I did sign up for the shorter race that is more on roads and wider trails which will dry out faster and won’t require the same kind of steering input.

Oh well.  Can’t wait to see how everything pans out.  We’ll find out in just about 36 hours.


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