I heard about the course at Campton, and decided to rock the Superfish.
After a quick ‘go fast’ potion from my chief princess, I was ready to go.
I started off near the back of the pack (close to 100), and finished in 44th. There was a lot of passing.
Out of the gate, there was a nice start, a few gentle curves, a few tight curves, and then things funneled into a slight hillclimb. The hillclimb had railroad ties set across it for erosion control, and on the far right side of the course was a gentle ramp for CX bikes to roll up the ties. That pushed almost all of the bikes into a single line…which cued me up. Riding a full-suspension 29er felt like cheating. I took a line right up the middle, passing the other riders in clumps. There were a couple of spots with the railroad tie climbing, and the Superfish dominated in each.
There were also a series of off-camber switchbacks. People were wiping out left and right on those. On the ‘back’ set of switchbacks, I only had 1 lap in 4 where someone didn’t crash out in front of me. I was quite pleased to be able to not only ride the course cleanly, but to do so without stepping out or dabbing. The only time I was off the bike was over the barriers. Even when I had a guy wipeout immediately in front of me, I was able to stop, turn 60 degrees right, and continue uphill. Riding the mountain bike felt a bit like cheating a times like that. Wide bars, wide tires, big hydraulic brakes. I was able to rail the corners, and I just kept hearing Chad in my head: NO BRAKES NO BRAKES NO BRAKES.
At one point on the course, there was a paved downhill that turned to dirt with an off-camber, decreasing radius turn into a little wooded singletrack section with a couple little rollers. After the rollers, there were some rough roots, and then you were dumped immediately into a series of steep gooseneck curves. That section was my favorite part of the course.
Guys on CX bikes were braking and swinging wide for the turn into the singletrack. I would fly down the hill, brake late, and turn aggressively, passing on the inside–flow through the single track–full suspension across the roots–wide bars to manhandle the bike around the goosenecks. Here are the rollers:
Here’s one part of the goosenecks:
And here’s some prairie scenery.
The bike couldn’t have been better suited for the course. It was really, really fun to ride it on the Superfish–far more fun than the Vaya would have been. Everything on the Superfish performed perfectly. I didn’t need the full range of gears, but it was nice to have the double chainring, so I could drop into the little chainring for the tightest/steepest areas, and then shift once and hammer out of them. The 2.2″ tires let me sneak steeper, faster turns than the CX bikes, and let me carry more momentum throughout the course.
As far as my riding went, I rode hard. I was very pleased with how I did, and the passing I did. After the race, I felt as if I hadn’t held anything back. For my third cyclocross race ever, coming up through the ranks as I did was pretty sweet.
The Superfish is an incredibly versatile bike. I cannot think of a single thing to improve or upgrade on it for today’s race, or for 99% of the riding that I do on it. It’s that good. Thanks, Tobie.
Best part of the race? Hearing my two cheerleaders hollering for me. It was pretty awesome–and I felt pretty lucky all around.
Worst part? I need to work on my barriers. Dismounts were ok, remounts were good, but I was basically coming to a stop at the actual barrier. I should have practiced more with the Superfish before the race.
And in answer to the gentleman at the gooseneck curves who shouted questions each time I passed:
1. Yes, my mother does know I ride a full squish. She likes it.
2. Yes, I can track stand, and no, I was not trackstanding during the race…except for when you saw me trying to not run over the guy who crashed immediately in front of me.
3. Yes, it did feel pretty good.
4. Yes. Carbon does make me faster.
This is what the course looked like: