when my son was but a mere babe in arms, his final feed of the evening tended to be around 11pm. as the typical husband, i had no real need of staying up that late; of what earthly use could i be? however, in an attempt to show some solidarity with mrs washingmachinepost, i figured it would be less than diplomatic to head off to bed at that particular point. yet, i was still disinterested enough to have need of something that might occupy my waning, late night interest and the solution turned out to be american football.
channel four had begun broadcasting the sport on this side of the pond, a sport that, to the uninitiated such as myself, seemed shrouded in obscurity. how could a game that ought only to have lasted an hour, take four hours to play? why were there different blokes on the field depending on whether their team was defending or offending? how come there were so many timeouts? though i've no doubt all this is second nature to native americans, it took me several weeks to figure out what the heck was happening.
but repeated exposure to first downs, quarter-back sackings and field goals meant that the whole enchilada finally began to sink in to the point where i figured i understood enough to enjoy what i was viewing. this new found enthusiasm brought with it the unwritten obligation to watch all four hours (and then some) of the season closing super bowl in early february which, by dint of the time difference, meant staying up till well into the wee small hours. and on a school night too.
those days are long gone (my son gets married in a matter of months) and the interest and intrigue engendered by american football has all but evaporated. this year, for the first time, i made no attempt to watch the super bowl game, even as far as the usually apalling half-time entertainment and thus a chapter of a past life has come to a quiet close.
however, as one door closes another one opens, one that did so several years past when, in common with many obsessive others, i started to view the road season as simply getting in the way of cyclocross. to modify that sentiment just a smidgeon in my favour, i equate the period occupied by the spring classics as on an equal footing with 'cross season, but the grand tours have begun to lose their lustre just a bit. and in the general way of things, it seems quite disingenuous to obsess over each twist, turn and hurdle offered by the super-prestige and world cup seasons without looking forward expectantly to the annual world championships.
at the risk of placing all things out of kilter, i have begun to appreciate that the cyclocross world championship may very well be the highlight of the season. well, apart from van der poel's puncture, that would definitely have been the case.
yet, though my interest in american football brought with it no desire to don either a helmet or an oversized jersey with shoulder pads, cyclocross has pleasingly encouraged a desire to hurtle through the undergrowth, bereft of the skills demonstrated by van aerts or jeremy powers. however, in much the same way as the punk generation proved it largely unnecessary to play a musical instrument, with no overwhelming need to race, it is perfectly possible to enjoy life on a cyclocross bicycle without trying to emulate sven nys. and not to overstate my grasp of the sport, i have also achieved the capability to discriminate between machinery that is good and that which is even better.
the very brightly coloured specialized crux elite has not only proved to be my constant and selflessly encouraging companion across all manner of less than forgiving terrain, but often a welcome conversation piece with the civilian population, predominantly due to its fluorescence. yet the orangey/red that meets the lime green of the fork legs and rear dropouts has been cleverly constituted by specialized to gently degrade under ultra-violet light to a particularly fetching darker red. at least, that is the strategy; with a dearth of uv light in the hebrides, that has yet to come to pass.
the £2300 crux elite x1 is bordered above by the expert version costing £600 more and below by both sport and e5 versions. i refrained from requesting the expert version on the basis that it's plainly something i'm not. it is, however, very hard to comprehend how much better than the elite the expert could possibly be.
i have already stated my delayed conversion as to the efficacy of thru-axles as a means of improved tracking on the bike. those meandering, narrow sheep tracks along uiskentuie strand have become as mere bagatelle even to one with demonstrably little in the way of navigational skills. and the sram rival hydraulic discs they were designed to serve have helped both bicycle and rider remain scar free. in common with many reviewers, though keen to test a bicycle on its supplied merits, i'd usually change the saddle for one more endeared to my posterior. however, after six months on the specialized cro-mo phenom comp i'm really in no hurry to even consider an alternative.
i'd be fibbing if i said i have a noted record of each and every on and offroad kilometre; bar-mounted gps units are simply more than just a few digits too many in the way of a bike ride. but over the last twenty-something weeks the crux has had few opportunities to rest on its laurels. yet encrusted crud aside, you'd be forgiven for thinking the terra pro tyres had been taken from their boxes last saturday. in fact, now that you come to mention it, the whole bike still has that new man about town persona, one which it wears insouciantly in the face of adversity. it's a situation i expect to remain so for the foreseeable future.
i'm a firm believer that a bicycle is not just for christmas, but nor is it, in this case, purely for wearing during the cyclocross season. i am on record as mentioning the crux elite to be one of, if not the finest bicycles i have ever ridden. nothing has transpired over the last six months to give cause for reconsideration. if you only want or need one bicycle...
grateful thanks are due to specialized uk for allowing the crux elite's extended review period. it's possible there may be another update in a few months.
tuesday 14 february 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................