Last Saturday I entered the Platte River Battle Royale Mountain bike race at Platte River State Park in Louisville, NE.
Still without a mountain bike, I rode it on my cyclocross bike. Most of the folks refrained from commenting about it, my cyclocross bike. But for those who did, it was mostly about how I was a nut-job for riding a paperboy bike at Platte. Paperboy and clunkers were the nicknames given to the bikes ridden during mountain bike's infancy in the late 1970s. Basically, those bikes were coaster brake beach cruisers that true nut-jobs bombed hiking trails on when they weren't delivering newspapers.
As for me on my cyclocross bike? Nah, it wasn't that bad. You be the judge, here's a picture of the paperboy and his bike now:
Whoops, sorry about that -- that's not me on my clunker. That's Gary Fisher, the creator of the mountain bike. I mean, if Gary Fisher rode a paperboy bike why couldn't I ride Gary Fisher's Cronus CX at Platte?
To be fair, not all were naysayers. For example, Troy Krause sidled up to offer his version of the BCM Pep Talk during warmup. Troy said that he had ridden a cross bike at Platte twice before. And in both attempts, he only went over the handlebars once each ride.
Not that bad, see?
As for my race, I managed to ride an entire lap without killing myself before pinch-flatting in the rocky creek gully. I tried to prevent pinch flatting from happening by installing a set of Bontrager LT3 700x38c tires before the race. Apparently that still wasn't enough. And although Shim had given me a tube and a can of air before the race, I decided to pull the plug and step off the course.
Riding a cyclocross bike on single track is a blast, but it's probably best done on training rides. You can't argue that drop bars, CX tires and no suspension doesn't have its moments out there.
Then again, I suppose that's the mountain biking experience regardless of the bike one rides.
In any case, I'm not done with the dirt.