At ‘cross purposes

When it comes to taking a tonic for what ails you, there’s nothing like a little sand in your craw.

After yesterday’s health-care debacle I prescribed myself an antidepressant: 90 minutes on a Steelman Eurocross cyclocross bike, doing laps around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

The old beastie still performs (I’m talking about the bike here). Reynolds 853 tubes; Shimano Ultegra eight-speed STI; 175mm RaceFace 48/36 cranks and a 12-28 cassette; Mavic Open Pro SUP rims with Dura-Ace hubs, DT spokes and Michelin Jet tires; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, augmented by Froggleg top-mounted levers; Cinelli Eubios bar with Off the Front tape; Ritchey stem; Time ATAC pedals; and a RockShox boingy post wearing the usual Selle Italia Flite saddle.

Riding a racing bike after a steady diet of touring machines felt seriously weird at first, but it started getting good to me after a half hour or so. Nearly slid out in one sandy hairpin — that rear Jet is starting to look like a slick — but happily, I did not require medical attention, as cyclocross and crashing are both pre-existing conditions.

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15 Responses to “At ‘cross purposes”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    When I return to the source I want my urn to be sourced of Reynolds 853. Decal and everything!

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Columbus SL for me! After yesterday’s stupidity I too need a bike ride – this afternoon. Next one will be down in Sicily next week I hope!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I still have a Dedacciai Zero Uno Steelman (the TT bike). I guess that makes me a man of the world, no?

  2. Carl Duellman Says:

    i rode my old steel frame mtb yesterday. first time riding with urgency in a few months. it felt good but i need some new trails to ride. i’ve only ridden these trails a few thousand times.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I keep finding new ones here, Carl. But I’ve only been here a shade over two years. In Bibleburg I knew ’em all backward and forward. Left bits and pieces of myself all over the sonsabitches.

  3. tj mora Says:

    48/36, 12/28, Michelin Jet . Eight speed! Simple and real.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Soon as the STI fails (which it does) I’m going to bar-cons. Maybe sooner. I already have the shifters and a set of Shimano 600 aero brake levers. Old school!

      • ryansubike Says:

        STI failing like clockwork every 3 years drove me to bar-cons, only Dura-ace I have ever owned. and down tube shifters and I have not looked back. That 853 stuff sounds cool.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I had some Dura-Ace way back when it was still (kinda) affordable. Now I’m down to hubs and bar-cons.

        And I have some downtube shifters too! Shimano 600, eight-speed, if I recall correctly. I seem to recall buying them for use on a TT bike about a thousand years ago. I gotta put those to work somewhere.

        Once you remember how to rock a set of bar-cons, indexed or otherwise, they’re just fine. Plus as I keep being reminded, the long throw on eight-speed STI is not nice to my palsied, arthritic paws.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Eight speed bar-cons? Shimano 600 brake levers? Man, your parts stash is starting to sound like Ken’s over at the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel.

  4. ryansubike Says:

    I looked up the republican death panel check list and I think I checked about 4 boxes….sum biches, I need to go ride my recently resurrected 1986 Schwinn Passage and forget about this crap for a while.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Schwinn Passage? Nice. I was all about the Varsity and Continental in high school and college. Once I took up racing in ’87 I lusted after a Paramount, but never pulled the trigger, even though a couple of my teams here in New Mexico were sponsored by Schwinn shops.

  5. Herb Clevenger Says:

    Remember well my Schwinn Tourer with TA triple and Campy Gran Turisimo derailleurs which I polished religiously in hopes that someday the cycling gods would allow them to actually move the chain from cog to cog without drama but alas, the miracle never happened. First real racing bike was a baby blue Falcon in Reynolds 531 that shifted gears every time I stood to sprint. That bike loved to throw the chain every time you even thought about trying the lower gears due to the frame being so misaligned. What the hell did I know. I just rode them thousands of miles and thought it was normal to only use 3-4 of the 10 gears! Eventually moved up to a Fuji Ace which almost killed me since that bike went where you pointed it and and in a hurry. I was a total terror in a pace line trying to master the twitchy bastard. But damn, I could use all the gears with only a few rubbing the front derailleur cage! Now my Rivendell Joe with mid level drivetrain shifts like silk and I simply take it for granted. But back in the day……

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I had a bike — can’t remember which one — that liked to dump me from the 23 into the 21 or 19 on steep climbs, like Heartbreak Hill southeast of Madrid during the Santa Fe Century. I could climb back then. kinda, sorta, but still.

      The Joe’s a fine bike, isn’t it? I took my Sam for a relaxing recovery spin yesterday. I need to ride that sucker to Santa Fe once the weather settles down a bit.

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