Ironcross V looms, the longest, toughest bike race in America designed for cyclocross bikes. Come Sunday morning, I and many of my teammates and other 757 buds will riding 62 miles and climbing 6,300 feet up the ridges of Michaux State Forest near Gettysburg, Pa. The climb are tough, but the descents can be scary, screaming down gravel roads at 40+ mph into a switchback. It’s challenging and fun.
I’ve finished the past two years, completing the 2005 race in about 5:20 and being on pace to better that last year until suffering a series of five or six flats in the last 10 miles that had me begging for tubes from passing racers, including Tripp. Thank you all. (I think my tire choice – Maxxis Raze – is better this year.)
After a successful road season, I had high hopes for this year’s Ironcross, even planning an intense cross-bike base training session with lots of climbing over my two-week vacation in New Hampshire. But then I hurt my back and barely rode in August. Thanks to physical therapy and modern pharmaceuticals, I’ve recovered and put in nearly 700 miles on the bike in September. I did an easy four-hour ride (despite the unseasonable heat) on the cross bike Sunday.
Last night Kevin swapped out my cross bike’s drivetrain for the mountain bike drivetrain, giving me the 11-32 cassette in back to go with the 48/39 crankset on the front. (For his trouble, I gave him a six of Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. Yum!) That was enough gearing last year, though turning over the 39-32 at the top of the some of those climbs was a struggle. I think a compact 50/34 crankset would be better, but that’s even more $$$.
Ironcross looms. I’m counting the days.