At ’cross purposes

Oh, yeah: It’s fall.

When the temps dip I head straight for the chile — green, red, or green-and-red — and the cyclocross bikes.

The eats lately have included turkey tacos with red Mexican rice; a red-chile posole; and a green-chile stew heavy on diced chicken thighs and spuds.

This bike will even work in California, because you don’t have to plug it in.

And the cycling? Lately it involves singletrack and my second-best Steelman, a red Eurocross that Brent built as part of an arrangement with the Clif Bar team back in the late Nineties or early 2000s.

It’s a snappy climber in the 34 x 28, but a little harsh on the bumpy stuff coming down, possibly because of the oversized, shaped True Temper top and down tubes, which have an aluminum vibe to them.

Yesterday, while climbing a trail that sensible people ride downhill, and certainly not on a ’cross bike, I successfully dodged a perambulating tarantula only to screw the pooch on a recently rearranged rocky bit (the trail fairies have been shifting the furniture around again). Caught between a rock and a hard place it was either plant a foot or take a dive. Bah, etc.

I need to reassess the cockpit configuration on this beastie. I half-assed it when I swapped stems a while back, grabbing an old Giant from the treasure chest; what I need is an entirely new stem and handlebar, the latter with a shorter reach and drop.

Plus I’ve always disliked this bike’s chunky aftermarket Shimano STI levers, which seem designed for the jumbo mitts of lesser primates. Oook ook ook.

Now that I think of it, what I really need is for Brent Steelman to come out of retirement and make me one of his old CCs, slightly updated for our modern world, such as it is. Now that was a go-anywhere, do-anything bike, back before any marketing smarties spitballed a few pitchable monikers for the category.

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9 Responses to “At ’cross purposes”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Talk of another bike? Custom no less? Hope Herself ain’t reading this, or see you in the van down by the river. Do me a solid and park the van by the Paseo del Bosque trailhead. Next time I come up, you will be easy to find.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Fortunately (or not, depending upon your perspective), Brent Steelman has moved on to other money-making opportunities, even sold his tools, or so I am told. So I can’t commission him to build me another CC.

      Of course, there’s always Mark Nobilette. …

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Lately, when I say I want to buy another “X”, my better half asks “which “X” that you already have are you going to get rid of?

    • JD Dallager Says:

      In the DoD budgeting world of yesteryear, we said: “What’s your offset?”

      Zero sum game, mi amigo! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Herself just barks,”NO!” And then cracks me on the noggin with her wedding ring.

    • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

      Just one more way I’m the luckiest man on the planet: When it comes to budgeting I can buy anything cycling-related that I want while the Prof can buy anything related to her line of work – no questions asked. When it comes to actual bicycles, I have more than enough when I consider all of ’em in various places I frequent regularly, though I will be moving some of them around in the next year or so.
      Right now my spending is on the shop space – tool chest is in, shelves are in, bikes are hanging up, workbench/workstand/lights will all (I hope) show up next week. All that will be left is to bring my box o’tools that used to live on the wall in Iowa over here – scheduled for March 2020.

  3. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    Geez, I’m surviving down in Sicily with just ONE road bike! Next year another Mondonico might join this one, but that’s pretty much it unless you count the shopping bike, which is getting new batteries for its lights before the clock change that will have it getting dark down here well before 6 PM very soon. Pizza joints don’t even open until 7:30!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Well, I only have one “road bike” too. It’s all them other ones what take up all the space in the garage.

      • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

        OK, one BICYCLE unless you (I don’t) count the shopping bike – that’s merely a substitute for a car.
        No gravel, no aero, no ‘cross, no MTB, no touring, no fixie, no e-bike. It’s just as well as I measured my new shop space as only 13 X 13 feet, not including the bathroom.
        Luckily there’s a loft above in case we ever want to bring some of the CycleItalia rental fleet down here – they can live up there when not in use.

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