Monday, November 25, 2019

You Don't Have To Worry About Your Cyclocross Remount Technique If You Never Dismount In The First Place

This past weekend, that zany style of bike racing where you have to jump on and off the bike and stuff once again came to New York City--Queens, specifically--with the annual running of the Rainey Park Cylocross event.

Just as people don't usually associate the Ozarks with bagels (sorry, couldn't help it), they also don't tend to associate New York City with cyclocross.  However, over the years we've had a cross race on Staten Island (now defunct, alas), there is a long-running practice on Randall's Island, and now with Rainey Park on the calendar you can race right there on the East River with the New York City skyline for a backdrop in a venue that's easy to access by bike or public transportation.

These days, I'm mostly retired from cyclocross, choosing mostly to rest on the laurels of my highly auspicious career:

Alas, since I seldom do the cyclocrossing these days I no longer have a proper cyclocross bike.  This means on the rare occasions I do partake in a race I need to piece something together for the occasion, kind of like when you get invited to a wedding and realize you don't own an actual suit.  For last year's race at Rainey Park I re-configured my travel bike in singlespeed guise, thusly:

I liked the idea of riding the singlespeed race again and would have happily used this bike to do so, albeit with a much lower gear because I really screwed up in that department last year.  However, the singlespeed race was the first race of the day, and this year my older son was going to be racing as well.  Therefore I opted for a later race that would afford us time to leave home at a decent hour, allow me to get him all sorted out first, and then race myself after he was done, thus necessitating a geared bike for me.  So I decided to use the Jones Plus LWB:

I've had great results using the SWB in this capacity.  (I mean "great results" as in "the bike was great and I had a lot of fun," not as in "I won the race.")  However, the Rainey course is quite twisty owing to the diminutive size of the park (make no mistake, they make a fantastic course given what they have to work with), and I wondered if the LWB might feel unwieldy and awkward due to its ample proportions.

It did not.

As with the SWB, the Velcro-like grip was revelatory in a cyclocross context, and as stable as the handling is the bike also went around those tight corners like a tetherball.  Not only that, but I was also able to hop the barriers instead of dismounting.  In fact, for my purposes it was better than a cyclocross bike, and the only time I might have preferred one was when I carried the Jones up the stairs, since it probably weighs about twice as much as your garden variety Ridley:

But even this turned out to be a non-issue.  After a couple of laps, a bystander told me to ride up the stairs instead (people like to yell at you to do stuff when you're riding a bike like this in a cyclocross race), so the next time around I rode up the grass on the right-hand side.  The bystander then told me they meant I should ride up the actual stairs themselves, and while a better rider could probably do that on the Jones, I'm not that rider.  So for the rest of the race I just continued to ride up the grass, though afterwards I noticed someone moved the stake at the bottom so that it blocked the line (you can see this in the photo), most likely to obviate such unscrupulous behavior by others for the remainder of the day.

Anyway, the upshot of my ethically dubious line choice was that I could ride the entire course without having to lift my bicycle or even put my foot down, which no doubt had a positive impact on my finishing position.  See, on a regular cyclocross bike I would certainly have finished dead last (I may suck at riding but the running really kills me), but on the Jones I finished a few riders ahead of dead last.  Also, a photographer was kind enough to send me some photos of myself in action, including one with other riders nearby so I can pretend like I was actually in contention:

[Photo courtesy of @shatterkiss]

In reality, however, everyone rode away from me pretty quickly and most of the time it was just me, like this:

[Photo courtesy of @shatterkiss]

In all it was a great day; not only did I have lots of fun bringing up the rear on my comically oversized bicycle, but my son also lined up and successfully completed what was probably the most physically difficult undertaking of his life so far--in jeans!  I only wish they held this race every weekend, though given the work involved I suspect as far as the promoter is concerned once a year is plenty.  And even if there was a local cross race like this every weekend I'd certainly have no need for a cyclocross bike, since the Jones picks up where my road bike leaves off quite seamlessly.

If only my transitions were so seamless.


Nogocyclist said...

Monday's post before it is even Monday!
At least it is still Sunday here.


Had to do it.

wishiwasmerckx said...


ItsEasyBeingGreen said...

The "party line" next to the stairs was unblocked again during the men's elite race. Not sure about the rest of the afternoon...

ktache said...

Zero on the DNF and DQ, that'll do.

huskerdont said...

And they did not DQ you for riding next the stairs so your perfect record remains intact. No DQs!

Since the point of racing is apparently just to show me how much I suck, all I have left is the no-DNF and no-DQ thing. I did a tri once where I finished outside the swim time, but there were choppy 4-foot waves that meant even some of the women competing for real (money) turned around and came back, so I think they took pity on me. (They also came out after me Baywatch-style when a wave knocked my goggles off and sent me tumbling, but I waved them off angrily since being saved from drowning would also have DQd me.)

Beck the biker said...

There's got to be at least three gradients of bike between road bike and LWB, but there's also something to be said for versatility. On a grassy course, the Litespeed would probably do just fine, bringing a competitive edge to the course along with a few zesty moments of bike handling skillz versus riding a tetherball down a bobsled course.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Beck the biker,

The Litespeed would be terrible, it can barely fit 28s with smooth tread. A/nd while there are certainly plenty of bike gradients between road bike and LWB, my point is I don't need any of them. (I wouldn't turn to the LWB for a full-on road ride, but I would for pretty much everything else.)

--Tan Tenovo

theEel said...


schaughvn said...

the gloves, all i can see are the gloves.

JLRB said...

Up the down staircase

HDEB said...

Staten Island is part of NYC? The line-choice was brilliant and shows that you can throw down : )

Beck the biker said...

Nothing that some underinflated 25s couldn't handle judging by the looks of those photos. I'm with you though, a rider doesn't need a bazillion bikes. Maybe, three or four if you also need a 'city whip' and a 'travel boxer'. I'm at four in the stable right now, no that it matters for squat.... a brown travelboxer, two roadies with LR brakes - one with fenders and a front bag - and a monstercrosser set up like a Grantmobile. I'm just saying that choosing from a Euclidean stable of two- a titamualum standard-reach road whip and a rakeish 29er plus, picking the roadie might make a cross race a little more zesty. It's what the old farts in France did on their steeplecrosses, although their bikes might have had a little bigger brakes and fatter hoops than a mid 90s Litespeed.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Beck the biker,

Generally speaking it's a good idea not to draw conclusions from one or two photos on the Internet. Really nothing "zesty" about washing out on a sandy corner or pinch-flatting on a tree root after 40 seconds of racing.

--Tan Tenovo

Texas BBQ - Not Arkansas said...

A woman has died after being attacked by feral hogs in Texas, authorities confirmed.

Medical examiners determined that caretaker Christine Rollins, 59, died by “exsanguination due to feral hog assault”, meaning she bled to death from her injuries.

Rollins was the caretaker of an elderly couple in a rural neighbourhood in Chambers County and would go to their home to work.

Her body was found in the yard outside the couple’s home between the front door and Rollins’ vehicle, said the Chamber County Sheriff’s Office.

She had sustained a head injury consistent with a fall as well as numerous injuries on her body.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told a news conference: “In my 35 years, I will tell you it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”

He added that this was a “very rare incident”, as they found “less than six” attacks reported in the United States.

However, he also said feral hogs are “definitely a problem in this county”. Residents in the area told ABC13 they recently submitted complaints about wild pigs.

The elderly couple were an 84-year old man and his 79-year old wife with severe dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Rollins was one of three caretakers that gave the couple round-the-clock assistance, and had been working for them for a year and a half.

Feral hogs are considered destructive invasive species and a “plague” in Texas. The state allows hunters to trap hogs all year round, and can be taken to slaughter house to be processed and sold as exotic meat, reported the Smithsonian.

But attempts at population control have yielded little success due to feral hogs’ ability to survive and adapt.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission advise hunters to practice extreme caution when tracking or trapping the animals, and add: “Their razor sharp tusks combined with their lightning speed an cause serious injury.”

Swiss choccocheese said...

Do you think 23.6 mm medium marshmallow hardness compound with ballistic kevlar inflated to 88.8 psi would do any good here:
maybe the disc brake would help with feral hogs, too.

Some guy from upstate said...

You can ride the singlespeed in the"regular" race. No one will complain. Really. Just sayin'.

Also, I find CX barriers more intimidating than much larger natural obstacles, even on a mountain bike. I just picture getting stuck between the chairing and a tire. And then being mocked by a jeering crowd. I feel like I'd rather be mocked for my poor dismount/remount technique. So there's that.

Also also, no DNF's ever? Respect.

STG said...

Good to see you at the race - I hopped the barriers during my practice lap but they were coming loose and I thought I might break them loose from the ground and invent a new way to crash.

Anonymous said...

Lessee - Snobby rides a 'cross race on something that's a 'cross bike only in that it has 2 wheels? Why didn't you just show up with a Honda CRF250 or something similar?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 8:47am,

Lessee-the difference between the Jones and a cyclocross bike is basically wider tires and a different style handlebar, whereas the Honda CRF250 is a motorcycle. But other than that great analogy.

Some guy from upstate,

Of course, but I didn't want to!

--Tan Tenovo

Anonymous said...

Sorry Snobby, I thought 'cross races had requirements like the competitors must ride 'cross bikes. If they let you in there on the Jones, with its much wider tires and upright handlebars, why not go all the way and let folks race on CRF250's as they're certainly superior machines as well?

Scott said...

How do you feel the LWB performed on the smoother surfaces? Did you notice the cross bikes pulling away?

BikeSnobNYC said...


Riders pulled away from me for one reason only: they were all stronger than me.

--Tan Tenovo