Monday, September 21, 2009

Wind Down/Up

Many things are in transition at the moment. We're settling into fall, slowly coming to terms with the waning evenings, dark at 7:30. Leaves are turning, falling...its a beautiful time of the year to ride. As many wrap up their season, worn down and in need of down time after hectic months on the bike, others are winding up for 'cross season.

Greg Cosgrove, one of the few Tall Tree team members who focuses on downhill riding and racing, had everything lined up for a podium finish at the Ontario Cup at Camp Fortune on Sunday. Sights set on the masters win, Greg had been preparing meticulously and, despite a hard crash a week prior, was feeling good about his chances. He was to roll somewhere around 2pm, so Steve and I got ourselves up there on our big wheeled bikes, taking the classic 5/15 route up. The trails were rolling with ease.

We made it up to the top of the hill just after 2, right on time. Fortuitously, we stumbled across Bass and Robb, good ol' friends and veteran downhill rippers. Robb had already taken the hardtail class win. So far so good.

Greg ripped by us looking good minutes later. He looked smooth and confident. After watching a bunch more descenders, Steve and I continued down to the bottom to catch up with Greg. We didn't find him until we were part way back up the hill. Flat tire. That was it, that's all it takes to leave the question of the day: 'Am I fast enough?,' unanswered. Greg has been doing this long enough to take it in stride, but it still burns to lose the opportunity to realize the fruit of your labour. The downhill season trails off now, and Greg, like others, will turn his gaze to the 'cross bike and a whole new world of experience on the bike.

Neil Scheiman, Tall Tree all-round hammer, will be tasting life in the fast lane sooner than the rest of us, as he launches his 'cross season in Las Vegas. After a year of solid performances on the mountain bike (and road bike), Neil managed to wrangle a spot in 'Cross Vegas,' one of the biggest 'cross races in North America. Attended by Lance last year, 'Cross Vegas is attacting bigger namer every year. The men's field is 100 deep; Neil got in as number 101! Bit of Canadian tenacity at the root of that I think! The race, held under stadium lights on Wednesday night, ought to be huge. We've given Neil his marching orders: take the holeshot and steal the media glory! Kidding, there is no chance Neil will be staged anywhere near the front. As far as I know, his main goal is to avoid getting lapped, and if he accomplishes this it'll be a stellar effort. These guys are seriously fast.

If anyone finds a link to a stream of the race, post it up here. It'd be great to see Niel dicing it up.

Rodd and I are off to the Singlespeed 'Cross Nationals in Guelph on Friday night. No, neither if us are singlespeed 'cross specialists, but the event promises to be fun, so we are going. We'll be doing a standard geared race in the morning, then the Nationals in the evening after converting our bikes. The winners get to represent Canada at the Singlespeed 'Cross World Championships in Portland. I'd love to go, but rather expect to get my @ss handed to me. That's ok, it takes years to get good at cross for mortals. Little by little. Rodd will be on his fresh custom Steelwool cross bike; I'll leave it to him to unveil it here. It is awesome.

Speaking of fresh bikes, my custom frame and fork are in, sitting in the shop in waiting for a few bits. Will was planning on a photo shoot for it along with the other frames in the batch, so as soon as I get the photos I will post them, then follow up with build photos. It looks really good, and promises to look outstanding all dressed up. There won't be much time left to ride it, as 'cross will occupy most of the fall, but I'm sure I'll find an opportunity to get it out for a long backroads ride before the snow.

Also on the new bike front, the boys have received a number of 2010 Konas at the shop. I counted up the number of times I did Parkway loops this season and hit just under 20. My new machine will be optimized for long allroad rides, not really a Parkway weapon. Since I am both 'discerning' and competitive, I've got my sights set on a new Kona model for straight road action. The guys at the shop have this one in stock right now:

The Haole is a Deda steel tubed ripper of a road bike, suited up with Ultegra and Ksyrium Equipes. It is rather unlike my new Steelwool; it has oversized, shaped tubes, a really short rear end, and limited clearance. The angles are not full on 'race,' but still a little tighter, with a 73 degree head angle versus my Steelwool's 72.5. Different rake and trail too. If I'm able to secure on of these for the season I'll be able to get a feel for the difference between the tube sets, research for future Steelwool projects. Exciting, I hope it comes together.

1 comment:

hayden said... new Marinoni came in, just in time for cx season. I also treated myself to a steelwool limited as a new commuter.