Neutral Corner: A View From The Pits – Clermont CX Gran Prix

On January 12, 2013 by VeloChamp

Ed: The addition of Velo Champ and their sponsorship of the FLCX Series was one of the most successful additions of the 2012/13 season. They helped out countless racers and even provided quite a few heckles to all of the racers involved. Makes sure to stop by their shop the next time you are in the Tampa area and say hello!

View from the Pits – Clermont CX Gran Prix

If I am to judge how much fun was had at last weekends race, only by the mechanicals that came into the pit, I would say Clermont Cyclocross Gran Prix 2013 was one hell of race..!

Considering the location of the race, I suspected the normal combination of flats, punctures, and other dry/sandy course issues I have seen all season. With some confirmation of this from our fearless race promoter earlier Saturday morning, I expected a trouble-free, fast course. I am still amazed with how quickly this expectation was blown out of the water!

The Velo Champ wheel pit was in a perfect location to view the racing in Clermont. (Photo: Jordan Miller)

Day 1 of the Clermont CX Gran Prix started of mostly trouble-free. The cold weather, massive run-ups and overall rad course design seemed to keep speeds low, and riders spent plenty of time off their bikes. The day was spent addressing mostly minor issues including some wheel swaps, brake cable re-routing and general cable-stretch related shifting work. To my amazement, the number of tire/tube punctures were quite low and not a single rolled tubular tire. I truly expected the more technical features of the course to help roll at least a few tubulars. Oh, does separated shoulder/clavicle/AC separating count as a mechanical..?

The off-camber turns made for fun spectating at the pit. (Photo: Jordan Miller)

Day 2 proved to be be strikingly different from the previous days race. Before lunchtime (beer time) we were alarmed by the how many catastrophic mechanicals/crash-related failures came into the pit. Punctures and pinch flats were far more prevalent. This seemed in line with the course changes that took place for Day 2 that took the riders into the rough, ridge areas surrounding the previous days course. Only two rolled tubulars made their way into the pit. Wheel swaps came into pit throughout the day. Among the flats and failed cassette bodies was a Lightweight Meilenstein rear wheel with broken spokes. This wheel damage came along with one of many broken derailleur hangers. It seems crash-related, rear derailleur issues were one of two trends we noticed on Sunday’s race. The other being a surprising number of similar, front derailleur shifting issues. These came in the form of stretched cable/compressed housing, derailleur impact and even a loose, drive-side crank arm.  We certainly noticed a number riders having issues with dropped chains throughout the weekend. In our opinion, chain-guides/chain-keepers are a worthy upgrade for any cross bike. In addition, improperly adjusted rear derailleurs proved to be the death of more than one bike.

Keeping watch. (Photo: Jordan Miller)

Our constant presence with pit/spare bikes proved useful again last weekend.  A few riders from several categories hopped on our pit bikes to finish their race(s).

All in all, Clermont Cyclocross Gran Prix proved to be one of the most challenging races all year and we were ecstatic to be able to support such great race. We are excited for this year’s State Championships. See you in Dade City!