Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Is It Me?

I used to harbour dreams of adding another lovely Enigma to my collection and building up one of their 'cross frames next year along with a few other bits of nice kit, but right now I'm struggling to see the point! It seems to me that 'cross just chews up your stuff and spits it out along with a nice big bill for yet more.

I've only raced 3 times this year but so far my list of broken/damaged/destroyed kit includes:

1 x 105 rear mech (2 damaged ribs went with that one)
1 x set of Castelli knee warmers
1 x Shutt training jersey (currently off for free repair - brilliant!)
1 x RS10 rear wheel that needs rebuilding
1 x Cannondale CAAD9 frame now scratched up, paint rubbed off inside the seat stays etc...

...before I even start thinking about the canti's that dont really do anything any more and need sorting and the bar tape that really needs replacing and the rapidly accelerated bearing wear I've created on a bike that was 2 years od when I bought it.

Don't get me wrong, for some unexplained reason I'm really enjoying racing despite being lapped, the falling in the mud and yesterday being humbled by LVRC members far older than my 40 years, and am focused on developing my skills and pushing my fitness and speed forward. However the edge is being taken off slightly when I get the bike home and start the washing and cleaning up process only to find yet more damage...

Is it me choosing uber muddy courses (are there any other kind?), the downside of riding a 2 year old bike with plenty of miles on it already or is it just part of the 'fun' of 'cross? I used to look at the 8 or 9 races in my calendar and wish there were plenty more whereas now I'm wondering if I can keep the bike going for all of those!


  1. Drop me an email with Your address, I have a black 5600 rear mech I can send You for free. I would throw in some cantilever break blocks as well, as I switched to froglegs.



  2. One word, Damon - singlespeed. Or is that two????!!!!

  3. You've been unlucky - rear mech breakages can to some extent be avoided by using the big ring (more chain tension) and checking the alignment of your mech and mech hanger (see forum).

    Sometimes people ride through really thick claggy mud sections when it might be quicker and safer to run - saw this a lot at Brockholes and Haslingden last year in the NW series. Both races saw a lot of broken rear mechs...

    Stick at it - it gets easier and cheaper with experience. Unless you get into tubs that is

  4. Thanks guys and really appreciate the offer Wolfram.

    I have noticed that in all 3 races I've really only used 3 gears and was looking seriously at a 1 x 9/10 setup for next year (the 46t is just too big for me in the mud TBH) or perhaps even a singlespeed, as I ride singlespeed on the road quite a lot and really enjoy it. My challenge with that is the 'Dale has vertical dropouts so singlespeeding it will be tough...before I even think about my legs!

    I started running through the gloop a lot yesterday as it was simply easier and faster but I was insanely jealous of the serious guys with spare bikes and blokes to wash them each lap! One day...

  5. Congrats on posting the best cross pic of the season. Pain, suffering, mud, pain. Chapeau.

  6. ^^ that was the GOOD bit that day!

  7. Damon, White Industries ENO Eccentric rear hub will resolve all of your vertical dropout issues if you feel the need to go s/s. I've got one of their Standards in my frame and it runs sweeter than Belgian waffles. 42 front and White Industries DOS 16/18 freewheel gets me through most courses just fine.

  8. I must be a total wimp or something then as I have really only been using 36t up front and typically 21/24/28 only at the rear. I know I'm not the world's most powerful rider and use a 44t/18t (about to go to 17t) on my road singlespeed, but as soon as I hit the wet, heavy grass or mud I am struggling to use anything else.

    It is my first year back on a bike and after 3500 miles or so I've come a long way but I suspect I have a long way to go yet. I think my next investment needs to be a coach and some guidance for the next 10 months!

  9. It's not your fitness, D-Large. Remember, I'm a lot closer to Kortrijk than Keighley! We don't do elevation on our courses!

  10. after seeing dry and dusty courses over the pond I'm tempted to finally take the plunge and relocate!

  11. No it's not you - Sunday saw me crash out after about 15 seconds when my front wheel was taken out in the opening sprint resulting in my right ergo lever body being broken in two! One bike, game over :(

    At least there wasn't too much mud to clean off this week :D

  12. I've been lucky so far, the only breakage this year was back in the NWCCA at Pignuts, again a ripped off mech and it wasn't even that muddy. Back down in the southwest it's all dry and dusty all season long and no breakages. Now I'll screw up at the weekend and snap my frame.