Here we go then, the first time I have raced the BurlyCross against the big fast boys. Sherwood is about as fast a race average as you can get so I was unsure how to gear the bike in 1×9 setting. I had hoped to go with the 40T up front but I didnt like the chainline to Chain device relationship so I ended up running an old XT crank with a 32 ring on. (seperate post to follow on chainring issues)
Luckily the course had little in the way of super fast fireroad sections and my 32-12 max gear with the increased wheel size was more than fast enough. The biggest hurdle was a grid position in the high 40’s and a very narrow starting loop. several crashes and virtual stalls untill the race stretched out meant a very steady first lap and the chance to only pick up a few places.
Lap 2 and it started to open up; riding around riders on the start arena loops for fun I loved the front end grip and found my climbing training helped no end up the fireroad drag and passed three riders pretty easily. Into the singletrack and only gloopy section and this was fun, then back to the tight wooded area on the rturn to the stat arena and the big frame sure had to be manhandled round those trees. Onto the mid section of rolling whoops and plastacine mud and ??? The three riders just cruised straight past me again, I didn’t feel bad what was happening? I can only put it down to the increased resistance of the bigger contact patch of the wide footprint of the crossmarks at 28PSI.
Back into the loam section and the fast singletrack and I was right back on their tail, so it wasn’t me that was dying, upto the uphill drag for the finish loop and I once again cruised past them with ease, now they had the brakes on. This carried on for lap 3, they only two this time) passed me at exactly the same spot, I also noticed that through some of the deeper (roll-through) bumps on one section the hole approached the 29″ wheel’s size so closely, that it almost remains stuck in them, making it harder to get through them. I guess every wheel size has it’s critical bump size, and here there were just to many “wrong bumps”.
Trying to get the gap back again I messed up and lost the front in a 90 deg dead stop corner. This increased the gap back up and I then had to ride like a looney in the fast singletrack, wow the grip was ace and I once again cruised up to the two challangers. Then I couldn’t find the front brake lever……it was dangling loose from the bar.
The samll screw holding the lever plunger and the piston in had gone and I now had no front brake.
After just staying on track I then cruised round with them, I now had my tactics for the last lap, even if it was only with a back brake. Into the gloop I had to dig real deep and hang on, no problem but then one of the guys had problems over the mounds section and ACDC man escaped. The track was too narrow and a big gap opened up by the time I got past, but again i blasted upto him on the fast singletrack and then waited. On the sandy hill I went, powered away and that was it, the place was mine. 29th which was goal of top 30 achieved and an encouragement to do round 2 now with a better grid position, and two working brakes hopefully.
Joolze pics are here