Archive for 30th November 2013

2013 Detroit Invitational Cyclocross

Today was my first time attending the CX Czar‘s outstanding Detroit Invitational Cyclocross race. This properly casual race at Detroit’s Dorais Park (aerial image) takes place at the intersection of Mound and Outer Drive, just south of Eight Mile at the site of the historic Dorais Velodrome. This was one of the constantly hard non-endurance races that I’ve done, and very likely the most enjoyable. With a course that snaked around the lumpy and rutted fields of the park, near a burned out house, past some dumped jetskis, along the cracked concrete velodrome, through a tight spiral of death on a hill side, and featured a dumped light pole crossing as a barrier and a double-barrier rundown, it was hard. But awesome.

One nifty twist to this race is that, not long before the end of each lap, one can choose to consume a shot of tequila and take a shortcut, or ride a rough/hard section that adds on quite a bit of distance. I’d estimate that 4 or 5 passes through the shortcut would make up an entire lap, but balanced with the tequila… it’d be a hard, strategic choice. It’s a great twist, and perfect for the race. In retrospect I probably should have taken the shortcut more often, as I only went for it on my last two laps (out of six). I fell once or twice (gently) while trying to turn corners, stayed upright on the rough sections, and had a lot of fun.

The most surprising part of today was what I ended up winning. Just before the race started, as I took my place at the start, close to the end of the pack, the raffle was called out. I could barely hear the number, but pulled mine out and thought it might have matched. I asked for it to be called again and yes, it was mine. I wasn’t sure what I’d won, but it was soon apparent that it was something nifty: a new, custom bike from Motorless City Bicycle Co..

I was really surprised, and somewhere there are a couple photos of me with a rather ridiculous smile on my face. I’m still a bit in shock about it, but I’m really excited about how it’ll end up. Chris from Motorless City was there and informed me it’ll be a drop bar, rigid steel disc frame intended for fatter tires, which sounds a whole lot like what I’m going for with the Vaya. He’s also got a thing going with TRP and wants to fit it with their shiny new HY/RD hybrid disc brakes. I have a feeling the Vaya will find a new home once this is available…

Tomorrow I need to email Chris with my basic geometry likes and such, but I’m a bit too spent from today’s great race (and beer) to put those thoughts together now. That sounds like a nice project for a slow Sunday. I’ve already got thoughts swirling around… I’m excited about this.

Wrap this all up with a great time hanging out at Kuhnhenn with a bunch of Velvet Elvis folks and other people from the race and it’s been a darned fine day.

(Here is the Garmin data from the race displayed by Strava. Here are three photos of me from the race; the first taken by Bob Bruce and the other two by Marty Shue: 1, 2, 3.)