Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Iron Cross Equipment


Choose your equipment wisely. The course has some pretty rough and steep (for a typical 'cross race) sections.  The following are similar to recommendations we've had since the start of this gig, but have been updated to reflect the slightly less technical nature of the current course.

First and foremost, this is a 'cross race.  That's the spirit of it and what we've had in mind from day 1.  We don't restrict what you run though (and we certainly don't hold you to less than 33mm tires!). We know that you can choose to ride whatever you want.  Without a doubt there are sections of this thing that will be faster on a mountain bike than a 'cross bike.  That being said, mountain bikes are fewer in number on the start line each year because the way to experience this race is on a 'cross bike - that is what makes it Iron Cross!  (BTW, at some point MTBs will be no more at IC.  That day isn't here yet, but it is coming.)


  • If you're on a 'cross bike, running the biggest tires that will fit may offer a bit of comfort and will certainly help protect from flats, but the fastest set-up if you know what you're doing on the singletrack is probably something in the 35-40 width.

  • If you're on a mountain bike, run tires as small as won't pinch flat.  A 29er with a true 'cross tire in the 35-40 size is a pretty decent choice.

  • If you're on a singlespeed, choose a gear as big as you can climb on or you'll spin out too easily on the pavement sections. 

  • A long time ago when I was fast, fit and in shape on a pre-ride this is what I said, "I ran a 42 single ring with a 12-27 and would have liked something lower later in the course. It's probably not necessary to go lower in order to ride the climbs, but figure with a time of at least 4-5 hours to finish its going to be a long day. Lower gears may save your legs for later in the race."  Now I would say - bring the low gears!  You'll want them.  A double is very smart.  A triple if you're at all concerned makes perfect sense.  A compact to get you that 34 on the front...stellar.

  • There are no pits so there are no bike changes. You start on and finish on the same bike you ride on the rest of the course.

    You're going to need either some bottle cages and bottles or a camelback, don't rely on the aid stations for water as they're too far apart to keep you hydrated if you only drink there. Eat lots and drink lots during this ride. It sure is pretty out here during fall, but don't get all distracted and make sure to keep sucking down that Hammer HEED.