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SS race report, the Dutch Cyclo-Cross National Championships(2 posts)

SS race report, the Dutch Cyclo-Cross National ChampionshipsJan Gerrit Klok
Jan 11, 2004 11:53 AM
Long, x-post from MTBR Singlespeed forum.

I did it! Not a real accomplishment, rather than born from my biblical lazyness and general bad race preparation.
My ultimate CX bike, an 8kg custom Czech-build Duratec with Zipp wheels, was still not cleaned after 50 weeks since it's last race, the Super Prestige in Hoogstraten, Belgium. I expect to need new cables and chain for it now, and the brakes never really worked.
So I found myself on the eve of the championship, out of shape, and without a race bike (sold the geared Sunn).

My Surly Cross-Check was bought with the intention to funstion as a forest fun bike, SS cummuter, training bike, CX race bike for the local series, and back-up bike for big international races. In the back of my head, I had already figured it might be cool to use for a complete flat race, when it was too muddy to go really fast in the first place.
So off to Heerlen, venue of the Nationals. No points, so I was the last to be called to the start.

Spinning my brains out in the first meters, I was the last to enter the mud. Mud yes, because of lots of rain over the past weeks, on a course of gras over clay. Mud everywhere, even though my sports class was the first to kick off the champs. I was glad I had mounted the Michelin Muds.
So on that first "grass" bit, and I could already make up some spots because of better legs (hey, today I'm not the slowest, I sure was in the regional champs a month earlier!). Then a headwind, slight downslope cycle path, the pack again reaches over 40km/h, I have to accept some lost places again. After that, I never again felt in disadvantage on my SS.
My 34-16 drivetrain (QBP ring, ACS freewheel on Surly rear hub) kept running smoothly and allowed me to push the pedals hard when I wanted too. The course forced you to spend quite a few time "running" (crawling up incredible steed grass/clay walls), during that time of course I only had a weight edge over others.
Apart from one really hard fall (slippery steep downhill, crashed rider in front of me --> superman to faceplant), I had fun all 40 minutes long and for the first time in months felt like I was a healthy sportman, all summer I had had huge lung astma problems. Yesterday it just all clicked together, everything I did was at 70% of what's possible, much better than 30-40-20-70% like I've been the past months.
A good thing for me as a SS'er was the start/finish asphalt straight, it was all going up! This made me really comfortable, never really spinning out for an instant since those first meters. In sight of the finish line, I saw a distant rider barely rolling towards it, and still feeling fresh, I spun up to a pretty good sprint, and caught him just before the line.

Okay, only 44th in the sports category, while I once was 18th Elite, but I had a good race making me feel like doing a few more crosses.
My other 2 races on the Cross-Check already gave me the feeling I had lost little time due to the lack of gears, this time I was sure it had given me an advantage. Many riders were forced to swap bike because the drivetrains ceased to function, and my singlespeed just kept running smoothly, as clogged up with grass and clay as it was. My rear brake was dead, but the rest was in tip-top shape.

I simply love my Cross-Check, like do all owners. The frame is really responsive, the geometry spot-on (actually it turned out to be identical to how I had my Duratec build, 600mm TT, 72º/72º angles).
It will stay with me for a long time, and help me get back in shape in those 34km single way commutes once or twice a week.
I ran it with 44mm Nanoraptor up front once, which made me long for more, I want a 29" tire up front and make it fit, and a 44mm real is just fine. Shear fun, dropbars, SS and fatties!

When the going gets tough, my Cross-Check getSS going!

Thanks for reading,

J from Holland

Pic of my Cross-Check in an earlier race, then still with a differe
re: SS race report, the Dutch Cyclo-Cross National Championshipsdave_w
Jan 13, 2004 3:40 PM
Nice report, and thanks for adding the pic. I hadn't even noticed that there were 44's available, good to know.