Posts Tagged ‘Steelman Eurocross’

At ’cross purposes

October 10, 2019

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.

Drip grind

April 17, 2019

Welcome to the jungle.

Yesterday I rolled the dice and came up winners.

Come spring I dial the running back to once a week, usually Monday. But Monday was just too damn’ nice to pound ground, so I took Steelman Eurocross No. 1 out for a spin around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Don’t be gruel to a heart that’s true. (h/t the Checkered Demon
via S. Clay Wilson.)

Tuesday was a tossup. LIke Monday, it served up some prime cycling weather, but Wednesday’s forecast called for rain, and I hate a squishy trail. So I ran.

And a good thing too, because today is reminding me of my days slaving for an afternoon daily in Oregon, only without the mold, slugs, and bottomless drams of Jameson with Guinness backs.

I still get that 4 a.m. wakeup call, since Herself is an early riser. But at least I’m not the one who has to leave a warm, dry house to work. Give my umbrella to the Rain Dogs.

Riding the (temperature) range

April 15, 2019

Everything’s growing in the yard, including
the amount of time I spend mowing it.

Yesterday was one of those days when you stare into the kit drawer thinking, “Fuck it, I’ll just take it all.”

The temperature was 33 degrees when I first checked in the ayem, and topped out at 74. That’s quite a range. Had it been a song, not even Roy Orbison could’ve sung it.

Steelman Eurocross No. 1 on the high side of Tramway Lane.

Oddly, it never felt quite that warm; not to me, anyway. El Rancho Pendejo is a dark house, lodged at the bottom of a cul-de-sac, and cool morning air drifts down the hill and surrounds the joint like bad news, delivering an inaccurate perception of the actual conditions outside.

Thus I whiled away the morning serving the cats, performing domestic chores, and shouting at various websites, and didn’t start my ride until noonish.

I set out with arm and knee warmers. But while I pulled the arm bits off toward the end, the knee ones stayed on, in accordance with the Bostick Rule, which went something like “Cover your knees under 65 degrees.”

What a beautiful day for a two-hour ride on a cyclocross bike*, though. A little pavement, a little dirt, a lot of laughs. You won’t catch me crying on a day like that.

* Batteries not included.

Alto

March 18, 2019

Temps remain a bit below normal in the Duke City, but you don’t have to shovel cool.

Stop? Not me.

It was a gorgeous St. Patrick’s Day in the Duke City, and everybody and his/her granny was out and about, trying to sweat out the remnants of Gaelic brain eraser.

I awarded myself a day off from riding other people’s bikes and used one of my own, the Steelman Eurocross pictured in yesterday’s post.

The great thing about a ’cross bike — the original gravel bike, don’t you know — is that you can ride it pretty much anywhere. And that’s exactly what I did. Pavement, good and bad; singletrack; two-track, whatever.

For instance, it’s great fun to zip down Tramway Road from Juniper Hill, pull a U at the bottom, and ride back up the gullied trail that parallels it instead of grinding along next to the hordes of goggling tram-bound tourists.

It would be easier on a modern gravel bike, like Salsa’s Journeyman Claris 650, with its 2.1-inch 650b’s and low end of 30×34. The Steelman maxes out at 700×33 and a bottom of 36×28.

But if God wanted our lives to be easier He wouldn’t have given us Il Douche.

Santa Protection Factor

December 23, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is … frightful?

I hope jolly ol’ St. Nick remembers to slather on the SPF 50 when he brings all my toys to the Duke City. Unless he wants his snoot to get redder than Rudolph’s.

Doppelgrinder

November 15, 2018

Me and my shadow.

The little cold snap we’ve been enjoying finally broke, so yesterday I toddled out for a trail run wearing a not-inconsiderable amount of winter wear, and actually felt slightly overdressed — until I turned around into the wind.

Today the wind was still very much with us, but so was the sun, and when the temps finally slouched into the low 50s I went out to greet it.

Holy hell, was that wind brisk. Once again I questioned my garment selection. Long-sleeve polypro henley, long-sleeve jersey, knickers, and full-finger gloves, sure, but no tuque? No tights? No brains? Eeeeeyyugghhh!

Anyway, long story short, I warmed up pretty quickly because I was riding one of Mr. Steelman’s 20-year-old Eurocrosses on the trails around the Elena Gallegos Open Space and definitely not breaking any speed records, even though I never actually jumped off and ran.

There were a few breaks for conversation. My fellow trail users were a chatty lot, and not a grump in the bunch. Hikers, bikers, joggers, doggers, all and sundry were grinning like jackasses eating yellowjackets under the blue, blue skies. Even one mountain biker who’d blown his rear derailleur took it in stride, coasting back to his starting point.

Albuquerque has its problems, to be sure. But November weather mostly ain’t one of ’em.

Stem education

October 28, 2018

Autumn means cyclocross, even if you’re not wearing a number.

We’re back to what passes for normal, weather-wise, in the Duke City, which is to say sunny and warmish.

The uniform of the day is knickers, short sleeves and arm warmers, with long-fingered gloves held in reserve.

On Friday I’d planned a quick outing on Steelman Eurocross No. 1, a mango-colored Reynolds 853 bike. But as I mounted up the front tire felt squishy, and sure enough, there was a slow leak in the sonofabitch.

As I get older, the stems get shorter and steeper.

Happily, we do not lack for two-wheelers here at El Rancho Pendejo, and so I snagged Eurocross No. 2, a red jobber with a couple of shaped True Temper tubes in the frameset and Brent Steelman only knows what else.

It was part of a batch of framesets Brent made for the Clif Bar team back in … 1999? He thought of me when ordering the tubes for no good reason I can think of, other than that he was and is a righteous dude, dudes. And thus I always have a solid backup in the pit, though it’s rare to have to pit before the gun goes off, or even if it never does, since I haven’t raced since 2004.

Somehow this bike wound up with a 110mm, 6° Ritchey WCS stem, which is ridiculous for an inflexible elder of the geezer persuasion, and after a steady diet of shorter, taller stems (and frankly, fatter tires) I often found myself in my own way while horsing it around and about on the local singletrack.

Happily, I didn’t have an audience, it being a workday for the plebes. I like to be laughed at for a narrow selection of reasons, one of which is not the way I ride a ’cross bike on trails.

So, yeah. Yesterday morning I found a 100mm, 25° Giant stem in the parts bin and slapped that on. Boy, did that ever make a difference. It felt like a new bike, if I overlooked the crust of filth, the death-rattle of the beat-to-shit Shimano 600 rear derailleur, and a number of other oversights in dire need of correction.

Afterward, I patched the leak in Steelman No. 1’s front tube, because as any ’crosser will confirm, a pit with no spare bike is the pits.

Reynolds and rabbitbrush

October 22, 2018

Blue and yeller, ’crossin’ feller. The mango Steelman Eurocross is practically camo’ in the rabbitbrush until you lamp those electric-blue Mavic Open Pros.

Forward, into the past (part 1,672,078 in a series)

June 18, 2018

The road to the clouds. OK, so it’s the road to the tram. But the tram is the road to the clouds, so there, smartypants.

How pleasant to enjoy a respite from summer before its official arrival.

The rain ushered in a brief spell of cooler temps, and I actually considered wearing knee and arm warmers for yesterday’s ride. But the sun eventually came out, and stayed out, so I troweled on some sunscreen instead and got after it.

The Eurocross lacks handlebar tape, but otherwise it’s all set for 1990.

What was intended as a short spin wound up taking a couple hours, and afterward Herself and I slouched on the back patio with refreshing beverages, helping the cats watch the birds.

On Saturday, while it was still raining, I continued my time travels, chucking my favorite Steelman Eurocross into the Wayback Machine for a journey to the era when aero levers and bar-end shifters ruled Velo-earth. That Shimano 600 STI was just too dern modern for me.

While I was about it I added a new, wider bar, a 44cm Soma Highway One, which has less reach and drop than the old 42cm Cinelli Eubios. The Cinelli may be as old as the bike, which says something about Cinelli quality, the luck I was pushing, or perhaps both.

This way to the Egress

February 2, 2018

Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry, see the Wild Man ride Drop Bars on the Dirt of Doom!

Today it was the red Steelman’s turn on the trails.

I’d actually planned to ride mostly road, with a bit of dirt for sauce, but wound up riding mostly trail. What can I tell you? I love me some trail.

Especially if it leads away from the “news.” Lord, what P.T. Barnum would think of the fish so eagerly nibbling on the Nunes memo.

Probably drive him right out of the promotions racket. Where’s the sport in it? Putting one over on these rubes is like shooting puppies at the pound.

• Late addendum: Speaking of the circus, cyclocross worlds starts tomorrow with junior men, under-23 women and elite women. Cyclingfans.com has a variety of ways you can watch, if that’s your thing, but I can’t vouch for any of ’em because I haven’t been paying attention to racing lately.

• Even later addendum: CyclingTips has a UCI feed that works for me. Jaysis, what a filthy course. One for a mudder, to be sure.

• Latest addendum: Nope. Only for the lesser events, it seems. The UCI continues to win hearts and minds.