Got a little gap in the schedule today, so I commenced to morph the A. Homer Hilsen a bit.
As I mentioned a short while ago, I’d been thinking about fall a bit. Fall - despite what the ball sport folks would try to tell you - is cyclocross season. As my riding has been less steady this past summer, it struck me as a bit optimistic to roar into the first races with the Quickbeam. As much as I generally prefer a simple system, my marshmallowy musclature may not be so enthralled about it right now. There are still some miles to ride (and run??!?!) plus a bit of sweat to drop before that’s going to be anything less than supremely painful under race conditions.
While my fragile ego appreciates the instant excuse of “dude, I was riding a singlespeed”, the working theory is that I’ll just quietly toe the line with some gearing options at my fingertips. It certainly isn’t that I’m going to suddenly become - oh, heck, what’s that phrase? oh yeah - competitive or anything. I’m really just hoping not to be suddenly and violently blown out the back of any race that I decide to spend some folding money on.
Which more or less brings me back around to today’s project - the CX-inization of the A. Homer Hilsen.
I’d been sorta dinking around with the wheels from my old Poprad frameset. They are light and pretty beefy, with a semi-aero profile which seems positively quaint these days. I’d respaced the rear and dug out a couple of old Salsa skewers that more or less matched the paint job. Today was the day to detach all of the non-racy bits.
It went pretty quickly. Fenders off, rack removed, bolts stashed in little plastic bags zip-tied to the bits so I could reattach things with a minimum of fuss. The worst part of the day was tracking down all of my small Park wrenches, which seem to have migrated into various onboard tool kits and saddlebag “need-its”. As I scrounged around in the parts box from the departed Poprad, I realized that the race-worn Selle San Something saddle was still mounted on the seatpost. So, rather than having to detach the Nigel Smythe Country Bag from the Brooks and then the Brooks from the post, I could just do a quick swap. And, all of a sudden the Hilsen had a very stripped down and serious look to it:
Once again, I find myself really impressed with the design of Rivendell bicycles. With the clearances of this framese, I can run my Michelin Mud2 tires and still have gobs of room for mud and such. Versatility of design is not an easy thing to find in the bicycle world these days, but it does live here.
I won’t have time to do a proper trail ride until Sunday, and there are few things that may continue to change. Saddle position isn’t tuned yet, of course. The gearing is a little wacky right now - I’m a little afraid that I’ll throw it down into smallest front chainring by accident, which isn’t necessarily the happiest combination of gearing. It might be worth swapping the cranks over from the Poprad as well - though that would mean a bb switch (it’s an octalink) and moving the front derailleur up just a hair to cover the 48T ring. I’m still going to swap to a shorter stem, which means that eventually, I’ll have to undo Mark A’s fine twining work on the finish of the bar wrap.
All pretty easy things to mess with. After getting it a bit dirty, of course. That’ll be the fun part.
In the meantime, meet “C. Xavier Hilsen”…
For more on the story, here’s the trail ride…