Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pictures and Report from Lonestar Lakes CX Race

The folks at All About Bikes Racing did an excellent job designing this cyclocross course.  I have been practicing and training a lot more this year on grass so the long sections didn't bother me as much as in the past.

I showed up to race the 35+ event after fighting a head cold that had just moved into my chest.  No excuses, but I'm just saying.

Anyway I took this race much like I have taken all other CX races this year...for fun, but I'm still giving it all I have.

There is really not much to report.  I wasn't last but I wasn't in contention for the money either.  I felt pretty good and had a good time.

Here are some cool pictures taken of my during the race (why just me, well its my blog):

Photo by Keith Burnstein 
Photo by Keith Burnstein  
Photo by Mike Park

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frogs on the Farm Cyclocross Race: CX Race / Swim Meet

The first race of the VACX series is over and done.  Thanks to Donna and all the Frogs for putting on a great race.  I did this race last year.  It was a late season race competing with some big events else where so last year had a very low turnout.  Not a big deal for me since I usually find myself riding solo anyway.  I was very glad to see the Fat Frogs crew give it a chance again this year though.

Last year's race was muddy.  It had rained and rained, then was 30 degrees so nothing dried up.  It was a sticky, gooey mud.  The laps were long.  I think the 45 minute race was 3 laps (maybe 2).  Most of the course was off the bike.

This year's race was muddy.  It was currently raining and was in the 60's.  Much better conditions.  The course had been shortened and more of it was ridable.  Still a very long course when it came to how long it took.  The 45 minute race was 4 laps this year.

I chose to do the Master's 35+ this year.  It was my anniversary and the earlier start would allow me to get home quicker to my bride.  Here is what I looked like during the race:

Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by: Keith Bernstein
Photo by Pablo Custodio

Photo by: Keith Bernstein

Photos can be found at the following links:!/album.php?aid=75186&id=1589065989

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cyclocross Review: Top Mounted Brake Levers

You either love them or hate them, use them or don't, or maybe you have no idea whether they should stay or go.  I'm talking about the top mounted brake levers that come on many cyclocross bikes.
My Giant TCX came with them and I used them during the first year I rode cross.  I almost felt like I used them too much.  I don't typically ride the tops when on the road, so that riding position was as natural for me.  Last year I upgraded some stuff on the bike and took those levers off.  I personally feel like for me it was the right move.

There are some very good cross racers who use them, but at the same time it seems like if you buy a high end cross bike, they don't come with them.

I did an internet search and found a few forums about people talking about this.  Here is what I found:

More control over the bike when going down steep descends.  Less likely to do this:

More control during technical trail riding.
More control of your speed when approaching barriers.

Bars are too cramped.
The brakes become too much of a crutch.  In other words, you use them more than you should.
For many roadies it puts them in an awkward riding position.
Added weight to the bike.

I tend to do 90% of my CX riding on the hoods, so removal of those levers made sense.  For many CX racers with a mountain bike background, much of the riding might be done on the tops, in which those levers may come in handy.

Feel free to leave your opinions.