Still trying to recover from the inundation of everything Cyclocross Nationals at the moment. I think I drank too much Nationals Dechutes Special Edition Beer, ate one too many Bend National Monument Burritos and spent a little too much time thinking about what everyone is going to do next year for Nationals.
Although I must say, all in all, I had a great time.
Parked right next to the race course, on that long road stretch, right before the right hand turn to the finish line you might have seen a little blue Shimano tent. That tent was being manned by one mechanic — Jake — and inhabited by the one and only Molly Cameron. She had a front row seat there at the venue and I took a few moments to have Jake give me a brief tour of what was going on. Ok, well he really only showed me how to turn on and off Molly's Space Bike, but that seemed to be enough.
One could probably say that in comparison to the last two bikes that we have seen this could be considered one of the most tricked out bikes on the US Circuit. Sure, Niels Albert and Sven Nys have been riding the Shimano Di2 in the toughest of European conditions, but here in the states they elected Molly to put it to the test. Her results in the Masters 30-34 category, as well as a 2nd overall in the Northwest Based Cross Crusade Races are a testament to the hard work that she puts in — on and off the bike.
I have to say that the electric happens to look a little tricky even if it is not. And I would probably have some sort of a mental hangup with riding the stuff in the worst of conditions. Maybe because it requires you to mount a Space Pod above the BB, but also maybe just because I do not think of electric shit working in the wettest and muddiest of conditions.
Although, can I just say that if you had to find a testing ground for this equipment Portland would probably be a good spot to try it out. With the muddy and wet conditions that we have faced in more than one race this year one might think that the testing grounds might even be called ideal.
Notice in the above photo that the adjustment pod (just made that up) with the Red light on (in adjustment mode) can also be tucked behind the brake cable for when the bicycle is in motion. My guess? To keep the bike a little more aero. Jake was kind enough to show me how to make adustments (hold down the button till the light turns red.)
In all seriousness this bike is literally dripping with Shimano components, but it is done so in a way that still looks good. Great in fact. PRO bar and stem combo, full Dura Ace Di2 everything, XTR pedals (there they are again) and a sweet DA carbon wheelset. I am sure that even the chainrings were some sort of a special one off Dura Ace made only for cyclocross chainring.
The frame however is a the Ridley X-Knight in the custom "colorway" that Molly designed for her Portland Bicycle Studio team. Lots of raw Carbon here and I have to say that I like it. The White and Blue really make the frame design stand out, but the raw carbon look is definitely the way to go. And the integrated seat mast? Well that does not look too shabby either.
However I do have to say that the special touches to any one persons bicycle are the things that make it the most interesting and unique (obviously) and Molly's bike is not for lack of these. The custom FMB Portland Bicycle Studio Tyres are the first things that jump to attention. Pretty friggin awesome. Not a bad way to go.
But then when you start to really dig into the meat of this beast you will see a few other little touches that make this bike home. Or at least as close an approximation that you can get with a few light pieces of carbon tubing. One of my favorite things being the Gold Chris King bottom bracket. Especially because I know that it is an attempt to match the Gold Strip within the PBS kit and I appreciate that attention to detail.
The other thing? Well, that would have to be Jake. He and Ryan are the lead mechanics over at Molly's Veloshop and they both do a great job of making sure that everything is happening properly. It is probably a larger discussion that I am prepared to make here, but it would seem to me that the best trick that you can apply to any of this cross racing is just to be prepared for anything and everything that is happening. And that is where your race mechanic comes in.
So, great job to the MC this weekend, and remember when we met up in Belgium last year? See? Like I said, good times.
And speaking of Cyclocross, check out the Pavé website to see a little interview that I did with the founder of the site a one Mr. Whit Yost. You may have seen some of his fine writings on the Embrocation site. It might seem a little bit much to talk about...well, me, but I had a great time answering the questions that he sent over, so it was a great exercise.