My first dedicated CX bike was a Specialized Crux. It was an aluminum frame with Avid BB7 discs brakes. For whatever reason this bike was the go to bike when it was nasty out. The worse the weather and conditions were them more attractive riding the CX bike became. It was a simple, realitively inexpensive, and other than adjusting the discs (the BB7 road discs are rotten, BTW), it was easy to maintain. I’d put in a pile of miles riding this bike off road. By off road, I don’t mean gravel. No we are talking real single track with technical lines, big rocks, drops, and lung searing climbs. I owned this bike for 4 years and never once raced it.
Along the way mountain biking had me riding a carbon frame and I love the feel of carbon, so the Al Crux had to go. In August of 2015 I replaced the Crux with a Raleigh. At some point I’ll go in to details on the Raleigh, but it wasn’t the bike that got me racing as much as it was the shop where I bought it.
Admittedly, as an ex-shop mechanic, I have a hard time with bike shops. In most cases I hate dealing with the attitudes, the bad information, the opinions (like elbows and assholes), and being called “bro.” That said, there is a little bike shop near my house, Eastside Cycles. I started going there for small things that I didn’t want to order online and wait for. It took some time but they won me over with great service, a humble approach, and a willingness to always help, even when they knew it wouldn’t result in a sale. Now they are my first stop for anything.
In any case, Eastside is the go to shop for CX. It was there that I bought my Raleigh and it was through their encouragement that I entered my first CX race. What can I say about my first race? I thought I was going to die. It was the toughest 48 minutes I’ve ever spent on a bike. There was nothing comfortable or familiar about any part of it. The course had a brutal run up, deep tracked out sand, a number of nasty boxes, and I wanted to puke when I crossed the finish line. To sum it up, it was the most fun I’ve had on a bike in a long time. I’m hooked.
Not that this story hasn’t gone on long enough, but do you want to know the most ironic thing about that Crux. I sold it on Craigslist to a guy who stood on the podium in every CX race I participated in during 2015. Nothing like getting your doors blown off by your old bike. How’s that old adage go? Something about it being the rider and not the bike…