This is the story of a man and a cupcake. Or is it about a cupcake and a man? I can’t remember. Oh wait… I know. It’s about a man who loves cupcakes. (mmmmm… cupcakes)
Who is that man? Me.
And boy do I love me some cupcakes.
This is a problem. You see, I am also a man that has two little kids, an exhausted wife (did I mention the two little kids?), a full time job, and 30 minutes a day to myself. That’s it. It’s hard to stay in shape when you only have 30 minutes a day to work out, and a love of cupcakes. Well actually, it’s easy to stay in shape…
It’s just that the shape I’m in lately resembles that of a pear.
I’ve never been the kind of guy that will work-out inside. I’m not going to ride a trainer. I’m not going to buy a gym membership.
I’m just not.
I love being outside, and the thought of staring at a TV screen while I mindlessly churn out miles just sounds awful. I need fresh air. I need sunshine. I need to see the horizon. I also need a goal. I need something to focus on. I need a reason to get out the door that is more compelling than a second cup of coffee.
I’m also a little competitive. If I am going to train for something, I don’t want to just participate. I want to race. I want to give it a little gas. So what do I do? What can I train for in only 30 minutes a day that will deal with both the cupcake problem and my need for speed?
Cyclocross, that’s what.
Arizona has a surprisingly robust cross scene, and a fantastic race series. No, there isn’t very much mud, but there is a ton of sand, and some amazing venues. Cyclocross races (in the categories I would be participating in) last 30-45 minutes. Perfect! I could do that!
Now there was only one problem. I needed a cross bike.
So I did what any self respecting bike geek would do, and I scoured the internet. I read reviews. I poured through the forums. I watched the races, and I compared all of the different models. I am a huge Sven Nys fan, and I was definitely interested in the carbon uber-bike that Trek built for him…
It’s a beautiful, incredibly well thought out bike. I was all but decided on getting one, and was taking one last sweep through the Trek website, when I did something I hadn’t done before.
I scrolled to the bottom of the page.
And then I saw it.
And I immediately fell in love. That color! It took me back to the late 80s and early 90s. Back to when I first fell in love with cycling. At that time, all of the pro teams were decked out in pretty flamboyant kit. Pink and celeste and neon ruled. It was all very Miami Vice.
I had to have this bike. I asked Paraic to size me up on our size cycle, and boy am I glad that I did. I was all set to order a 56, but the measurements we came to lined up closer to the 58. I can’t stress enough how highly I recommend that you do this before you make a bike purchase. I would have been sooooooooo disappointed to build up that bike and to only then find out that it wasn’t right.
So I ordered the correct size frameset, and started gathering all of the parts I would need.
I already had a set of tubeless cross wheels that I wanted to use. They were a little old, but were built up on super smooth 10 speed hubs. I’d only put a few hundred miles on them, and it seemed a shame to not get them dirty. I bought a tried and true Ultegra groupset, and a Zipp cockpit and seatpost.
I think it turned out pretty freaking beautiful!
I know, I know. Looks are one thing, but how does it ride?
In a word? Deliciously.
I have ridden the Crockett on grass, in sand, and on hardpack desert trails. It handles it all. A few thoughts.
1- Tubeless cross tires and wheels are the way to go. Depending on the terrain, I have run mine at anywhere from 32 to 45 psi, and I’ll never go back to tubes again. The lower psi is super forgiving, and the increased size of the contact patch gives traction for days. Leaning into a loose corner? No problem. Wet off camber section? Easy peezy. No more pinch flats? Hallelujah.
2- Trek flat out nailed the geometry on this bike. The IsoSpeed fork tracks like a laser, and the slightly relaxed rake has saved me on more than one occasion on steep downhills. The longer wheelbase feels stable in the bumps, but I have never felt limited when going around tight switchbacks. Getting the wheels off the ground for bunny hops or step-ups feels as natural as it does on my mountain bike.
3- White bar tape on a cross bike is ridiculous (but it looks soooooooooo good).
4- The Ultegra 10 speed is solid, dependable, a ton of bang for your buck, and... for some reason, feels slow on this bike. The Crockett begs to be ridden fast. It dives into corners and is super snappy coming out of them. It shines out of the saddle, and practically begs you to sprint at every opportunity. As good as the Ultegra 10 speed is, I found myself wishing it would respond just a little faster. I have an 11 speed group set on a different bike, and I am going to switch it over. I’m pretty sure that the extra tension in the 11 speed set will be a better match to how quick the Crockett feels. I guess my almost new 10 speed wheels will have to find a new home as well.
In the end, I have fallen in love with the Crockett. It allows me to ride at the very limit of my ability, and makes me want to ride more. I can’t wait to race it this fall.
A bike this good, a bike with this much character, deserves a name. What did we end up calling it?
“Cupcake,” of course.
So here's the thing. The Crockett rides so well, and is so much fun, that I can't help but wonder what it would be like to try out a Boone.
Rear IsoSpeed decoupler.
Bontrager tubeless wheels.
Hmmmmmm... (Don't tell Cupcake. We don't want her getting jealous.)