I may need to get a 3-ring binder, a set of Fiskars and read up on extreme couponing. Getting ready for cyclocross is similar to getting a shopping list together. “How are we on T.P.? Are you good on tires? Deodorant? How 'bout cassettes? The shaving cream feels a little light. What’s that bar tape look like?" The way it went last night, I’m gonna need two shopping carts at BioWheels bike shop, or a cyclocross intervention.
I pulled the IF Planet X off the hook, wheels out of their bags and took an inventory of needed parts. Unlike the clippy-clip obsessed people on TLC, I do not have a shelf of fresh cyclocross tires piled next to 97 tubes of Colgate toothpaste and 43 boxes of Rice A Roni in my garage, but that would be super cool wouldn’t it? At least I have a Groupon for the shop, a generous team discount and free reign of the BioWheels workshop. However, I’m not going to get two cart loads of parts for $1.56 after coupons. This is precisely the reason I told my wife I didn’t need any new clothes when she mentioned the sale at Banana Republic a few weeks ago. I’d go naked to race cross. Thankfully, she’s well aware of that weakness, is quick to point out holes in my t-shirts and is an extreme Grouponer.
It’s that awkward time of year when a cyclocrosser has to make the decision to ignore the rest of the summer races and focus on a season that’ll go through December, January if you plan on racing Nationals. I should be writing out the racing calendar and back dating a training plan to this week, an empty rest week dedicated to gearing up and focusing on cyclocross season. Instead I got lured into a Sunday mountain bike race and am intrigued by the criterium tonight. There’s a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Please Angel of CX, help me do this.
It barely shifted. I haven’t ridden this bike since the Sub 9 Death March months ago. I spun through the gears and adjusted the derailleur. Like an old man with bourbon, I hit it with lube and exercised its joints back into functionality. I pumped tires. The Fango held, although the tread is loose in two places. The Griffo wore out my triceps. With sweat dotting the garage floor and freddies forming in my armpits, the gauge would not top 20 pounds and returned to zero quickly. I unscrewed the valve stem and poured in sealant. The pump squeaked. My arms throbbed. Then I saw the horror of sealant bubbles. Help me Oprah. Save me Tom Cruise. It must have a half dozen pin holes in it. I marked the holes, hit it with more sealant and, as if it were alive, let it sit overnight in hopes that it will heal on its own. I know I’ll need two new tires, a 12-27 cassette, tire glue, a chain, cables, housing, bar tape, some swanky white Hudz, an oversized shopping cart and a good line when the credit car bill arrives.