Clearance (Race Report: Kruger’s Crossing, 11/20/2011)

Published 2011-11-21

Once upon a time I made fun of people who spent their hard-earned money on boutique canti brakes with excessively wide “clearance.” The physics of such brakes suggest they look powerful and have short modulation but not actually much stopping power. The reason proffered for such cool-looking brakes is that they have “great mud clearance.”

My usual retort was: “when have you actually needed two inches of mud clearance?”

At Kruger’s yesterday, two inches would not have been enough. The early morning fields had frozen mud, by 10:30 (my start) the conditions were merely slippery. We had about two laps of wonderful slip-n-slidey stuff, but by lap 3 any patch of ground with a little exposure had become a tacky, adobe-like mess.

I had moments in this race where, if I did not apply power directly to the wheel, it would refuse to turn. Because of the two-plus inches of mud blocking up the wheel. Like racing with both brakes rubbing hard. Bringing the bike over barriers became difficult, carrying — or pushing — it almost impossible. It probably had 10 pounds of extra weight on it.

Thom’s write-up has all the particulars: we staged together near the back and he jumped dozens of places immediately. I fought my way up to 27th of 128 but never caught Thom. (And, by the way, check out those field sizes. This is an after-season, non-series race. Wow.)

Otherwise: hey, it’s Kruger’s Farm. Captured by Porches, caramel apples, wood-fired pizza, what’s not to love?