Berger Hardware Criterium

Posted: June 7, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

My primary race focus is endurance oriented single speed events but I also like to mix things up. I enjoy building, riding, and racing many style of bikes. For the past few weeks, I have been spending a bit of time on my geared road bike.

In Raleigh, we have a nice criterium style road race on Sundays sponsored by Berger Hardware. I managed to get a 3rd place finish in the masters category behind some pretty fast dudes.

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Many of the guys were on full carbon replica bikes that reflect the machines used at the Tour de France.  I was racing my own unique steel bike.  My bike is a little bit heavier than some of the other bikes but the frame really only weighs about 2.5 pounds more. When you look at the weight of the racer plus the bike, 2.5 pounds works out to be around 2% of the total weight. Basically, the difference between steel and carbon in terms of race performance is meaningless.

Where I think my bike had an advantage was in ride quality, fit, and handling.  The Berger race course has a few spots with nasty pavement.  I noticed some of the other guys having trouble with their wheels skittering around.  My tires run 28mm and my frame has a long wheelbase vs. “typical” bikes.  The long wheelbase combined with my relaxed body position gave me far more than a 2% advantage over bikes that I have owned in the past.  The steel bike felt stable around the turns especially in places where the pavement was cracked.

The race followed the same basic script that plays out in criteriums all over the world.  We road around for a while as a big group for 40 minutes.  On the final lap the pace picked up a bit and we came around for a sprint finish.  It was fun; criteriums don’t have the total soul crushing race experience that I seek when I race six hour mountain bike events. Then again, it’s nice to occasionally have energy after the race to enjoy the afternoon and not simply curl up in a ball. I’ll save that for next weekend when I do the 6 hour race in the Southern Endurance Series at Crabtree. See you there!

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