A summer cyclocross race might not sound too inviting. After all, cyclocross is a fall/winter sport, right? Well…yes, it is. But having an pre-season, summer race, is a good way to get your bike dialed in for the real start of the cyclocross season in mid-September. And that is how I approached the Monson Cyclocross Race. I have made quite a few changes to my bike set up over last season, and there is only so much I can test out on my little 1/4 mile course in my back yard. So, off I go to an 80 degree cyclocross race in August.
The most significant change that I made on my bike this year was going tubeless. I also switched to Kenda Kross Supreme tires, a more aggressive tread patter than I’m use to. I’m not new to tubeless, but cyclocross tubeless is new to me. I first set up my tires with just Stan’s No Tubes rim tape. A very easy set up, but certainly not the proper set up. Then I installed Stan’s Cyclocross Rim Strips. Clearly a better set up…the right set up. That is obviously why Stan’s has the cyclocross rim strip. My mountain bike rims don’t require the rim strip, so using the rim strip is actually the first time for me. And after some questions and answers with Stan’s and what I though was following the instruction, tires were mounted and sealant was added. After a few minutes there were no leaks.
Off to the races I go. After pre-riding 3 laps, I wanted more air in the tires. There was a lot of pavement on the course, so I went to 40 psi. That’s a hard tire. I never thought that I could roll the bead off the rim at 40 psi, but I did…on lap 2…about 15 minutes into the race.
When I got home, I took the tire off and immediately saw the problem. The rim strip wasn’t seated in the rim properly. I’m not sure if I installed it wrong, or if it was a result of using tire levers, but it clearly affected how the bead sat on the rim. I’m also not 100% confident that these tires are tubeless friendly. I may have to go back to the Kenda tires I know.
So, both rim strips are re-installed, correctly, and tires are mounted and filled with air. With three weeks until the real start of the cyclocross season, I have plenty of time to make sure I didn’t make another dumb mistake.
Needless to say that the race for me was a complete bust. I have to settle for a DNF.