Its fair to say if you were going to ride the 3 Peaks route at any other time you probably wouldn’t choose to do it on a Cyclocross bike.
So come the last Sunday in September there will be 600 riders lined up all with their own version of a ‘peaks’ bike.
This is mine…. Quick spec below and if you really want to nerd out there are some notes further down on why I think this set up works (hopefully) for me.
||Felt F3x UHC Performance
||Felt UHC Advanced
||Ritchey Evomax 44cm
||Bontrager Cork Gel
||FSA OS115 110mm
||Selle SLR XC
||SRAM Force CX1
||Rotor 3D+ 175mm
||Hope retainer ring 36T
||SRAM Red 22
||Rival CX1 Long Cage
||Juin Tech R1
||XT Ice-Tec 160mm
||Syncros RP2.0 Tubeless
||Panaracer Gravel King Mud 35mm
Unless you are going to be swapping bikes for specific sections whatever you ride will be a compromised to some degree, what works on the steep off road climbs isn’t best suited to the fast road sections. Also everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses so my bike wont suit everyone.
Gearing: I’m a cyclist and loose time when on foot so the longer I can stay on the bike on the climbs the better. My gearing is a super low 36T x 11/42. It does mean my highest gear for the road sections is compromised and run the risk of spinning out, but at least it stops me from going too hard and should help save my legs for the climbs.
Gears: I’ve always run Shimano on my cross bikes but have moved over to SRAM, the long cage CX1 mechs can cope with a 42T cassette without any widgets/adaptors and they have a clutch so less chain slap and risk of dropping the chain. I also prefer the shape of the brake levers and they can be adjusted for reach.
Position: Previously I’ve always used crosstop/chicken levers for the descents but this year have moved to descending on the drops, I’ve found it gives me more control and better grasp of the brakes. To accommodate this I’ve switched to a shorter stem and raised the bars 15mm. Another ‘tweek’ this year is a switch to a bar with a slight flare (12degrees), again, just to help with descending on the drops.
Tyres: Always a battle between speed, grip, weight and durability. The much lusted after Tufo T34 tubulars are a distant memory and for me Landcruisers are just too heavy. Regular CX tubs are just not tough enough (except perhaps Clement) so that leaves Tubeless. The last couple of years I’ve run Clement MXP’s but this year i’m going for 35mm Panaracer Gravel King Mud’s, they seems to have a tougher carcass, slightly bigger volume, just enough tread to cope with the rougher stuff and wet grass and, well, tan walls…
Stuff I don’t do: I don’t bother with any pipe lagging or padding on the frame, personally my legs and lungs are usually hurting way more than my shoulder, plus i’d find it annoying if it started to move about.
I don’t bother double wrapping my bars either, they become too bulky for me and are harder to hold onto causing more aches than they prevent.
Stuff I’ll carry on me:
- Small multi tool with a chain breaker plus some SRAM quick links.
- CO2 Inflator.
- Survival blanket and whistle (not on the bike in case i need to swap to my spare).
- Gels in left hand pocket, so I can get to them when the bike is on my shoulder.
- Thats it, no spare tube/pump as the tyres are a nightmare to get off so would take too long.
Sunday morning will see Scot (One T) and Scotty ( Two T’s) take to the start line in this epic Cyclocross race! We wish them all the luck for a safe and fast race…