Cyclocrossing with SRAM
Part of my job description is to try and break stuff. What I mean by that is I put bikes, equipment and anything else that crosses my desk through real world abuse to see what happens. Now I don’t “huck” stuff off the roof to see if it survives, but I either race or train on it, shift badly with it, or see if it keeps me cold or warm as the case may be. Then I write about it. Case in point; in the Idaho cross races there was a fallen log about six inches in height that you could either bunny hop or dismount and jump over. I choose to hop the front wheel over the log and then let the chainring hit the log. I did that lap after lap on both days. Why? I was curious how much abuse the Shimano chainring could take (it never bent) and it isn’t my bike. If it had been my rig I would have been a lot more careful. But test bikes are a bit like rental cars; abuse them and return them. Yeah it’s fun.
So I’ve been riding the SRAM Force group for a few months now and I love it. The SRAM group has been the most asked about piece of equipment I have ever tested. I’ve even had questions posed to me about it in the middle of a race! SRAM asked me if I would like to test a groupo for durability by riding and racing a Rival group on a cyclocross bike. I had briefly ridden and raced on a Cannondale cyclocross bike equipped with the Rival group and had no problems, but that was for only a few days. I now had the opportunity to build it onto a frame and beat the crap out of it for the rest of the cx season! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the group to come and finally it arrived! I built it up with no problems and took it on its maiden voyage. There is a section of land behind a wildlife sanctuary that is used for strawberry fields and oil fields. The terrain is a mixture of short inclines and flat stretches of fire road, perfect for its first ride. I tore around dirt turns and shifted in full sprint conditions. I practiced my dismounts and not once did the chain fall off. So for its first test day, it did well. No missed shifts and nothing broke. Admittedly it was only the first day, but I’ll continue to blog about my cx testing as the season continues and let you know if anything blows up. This weekend there’s racing in Ventura. Maybe I’ll gas up the Scion and head north…