Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 JGMCX Clinic and the start of 'cross season.

Last weekend officially kicked off cyclocross training for me and the rest of my fellow racers.
photo courtesy of brokenspokephotography

We all gathered at the Johnathan Gantz Memorial Cyclocross Clinic in lower York County. This event was put together by the area's hugely recognized cyclocross racer, Sean Mealey who was a close friend of the late Jon Gantz. Entry fees for the day supported the York Area Mountain Bike Association membership drive. These guys keep our bike trails alive!

Mealey planned out the day, called out the troops, drafted Bad Andy to come down and advise us on the ways of the Jedi for 'cross. I believe there were around 35 cyclists who showed up in respect for Gantz; honor for cyclocross and to cherish throwing down on all this biking.

We ran drills covering the basics of carry, shouldering, running with the bike, and took a soft pedal lap of the course that Mealey designed for the day. We then broke for lunch and returned for a few more skills sessions and gathered for the final activity; the team relay which proved itself to be a blast. (2 laps per rider, 5 rider teams w/no stacking of talent)

photo courtesy of brokenspokephotography
Me and Owen Brenneman (our jr team racer) waiting our turn to be tagged for the relay portion of the day. This guy is 10 years old and just oozing talent. So proud of him! This season should be another good one for Owen and watching him race motivates me to work smarter yet have fun with it as to prevent burn out.

Flip to my garage...with one bike repair stand holding the Oltre and the other repair stand holding the Cavaria 'cross frame, I proceeded to swap the parts from the Oltre to the Cavaria. Much like a surgeon would perform an organ donor transplant, I carefully inspected the parts on the Oltre, cleaned and service them if needed. Then attached them to the Cavaria 'cross frame.

In small way I was not ready to disable the Oltre. It's been a wonderful year riding that bike and can honestly say that this summer had to be the best season I've had on the bike to date from a training, racing, and even at a social pace riding perspective. I'm not 100% ready to sell the Oltre and get a new Bianchi XYZ but seeing what is on the laptop for the new 2013 Bianchi Product Range, might make the sale a bit easier. All I have to say for now is...Sempre Pro perhaps?

From 2012 Bianchi Cavaria SRAM Red
Following the plans of last year's build up of the Cavaria for 'cross season, I'm running Campy Ergo cables but changing over to FSA cantilever brakes for the season. Why? Why not, just trying something new. The TRP CX90 brakes performed well last season. In the same sence, we had a very favorable 'cross season with regards to weather conditions on race day. This year, my internal almanac says we're not getting off so easily. I'm requesting more mud clearance, hence the jump to canti brakes. 

After basically unbolting the bars on the Oltre and then securing them to the Cavaria, I pulled the rear derailleur cable out of its housing and installed it for use at the front derailleur. Yes I'm a bit stingy but these cables saw zero moisture this year so why get rid of a good thing. 

Needing a new rear shifter cable and housing, I turned to the Delta Duracoat Teflon shifter cable and Shimano's SP41 shifter housing with brass ferrules. The new housing was then installed at the rear derailleur with a SRAM mandatory housing length of 36cm for proper shifting quality and two sections of housing went up at the bend past the seat post clamp. Again, the shifting reliability/quality with this cable and housing combination will blow your mind with how good it works. Even when running this set up on the Oltre and showing that bike to dealers who were cynical about SRAM's front shifting, were amazed by how great the shifter feels and operates.

Enough chest pounding. The bike is finished, Challenge Grifo tires are hanging in the basement, waiting for Tacchino in September. 

'cross on!

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