Saturday, April 07, 2007

Oxbow Reconnaissance

Fellow Cat6er Morgan and I went down to Rochester to check out the Oxbow Spring Classic route. This is a cool idea, and I wish I'd been here in time to do it last year. It's based on the European spring classic road races, which feature nasty weather, nasty roads and lots of excitement. This route promises to be the same. Although it looked bright and sunny from inside, it was really cold and windy outside. Having been outside the night before, I knew to dress very warmly for this ride, and I'm glad I did. My weapon of choice, based on what I'd heard, would be my cyclocross bike, but with tires at the full 80psi, and water bottle cages of course. After picking up Morgan and some coffee, we headed down.
__The course was dry packed dirt for the most part, with plenty of potholes and some paved sections. The feared Oxenberg proved to be every bit as steep as promised, but very short. Pretty much like Chilkoot Hill, except maybe even steeper! Unlike Chilkoot, though, we only had to do it once per lap (which means only once in my case!), plus once for the rollout (so twice total). There was also a sneaker hill not long before the Oxenberg, which has as much elevation gain, but over a longer distance. Morgan speculates that this could be the real race decider. I figure he's right - it will decide whether I finish DFL or not!
__My weapon of choice proved to be wrong. I think I'll actually be better off on the Surly Pacer. Yes, all 23 pounds of it. It fits better for this kind of race and it's more comfortable. I'll swap the wheels from the 'cross bike, but keep the 700x25c tires. I might even change out the chainrings with the 'cross bike for the hills - the 38/48 was perfect. But I just didn't feel comfortable on the 'cross bike for a road race; too upright, not aero enough, harsh aluminum. Besides, it will be a good excuse to go tinker with my bikes just before a race! And I'll always be able to use the weight as an excuse when I get dropped. Perfect. And if I do decent, well, much smack talk will ensue.