If you don’t have a Gunnar Crosshairs, you need one. I’ve been racing and training on the Crosshairs since 2004, and it is an awesome bike. The superlight OS steel frame is perfect for the bumps and bruises of cross, and especially for those long dirt and gravel rides which might throw in some singletrack. For racing, some people like to lose a pound or so and get a flat top tube, but my race bike comes in around 17lbs—which is a bit hard to improve on without going all Lennard Zinn. This year I added the new TRP Euro X alloy brakes on both my new race bike and Alison’s new crosshairs. These are really nice brakes, with all the cool adjustment nobs that used to come on their $400 variety—only for closer to $100—and about the same weight. They already saved my ass. I finally had my new race bike built up for the Bubba at Faust, but I had Choak at Carbondale Cycles set it up on my Mavic Ksyriums, which are my pit wheels. But, my old trust Mavic Cosmic Carbones are quite a bit wider. I knew this and thought I had readjusted the night before the race—-only I had the Campy brake release out. So, I get to the race and my back brake is locked. No worries. A few fiddles with the adjustment and I was ready to race. Having that extra adjustment capacity is HUGE for cross, where you may be ch.anging to several different wheels, and it’s becoming more and more important in general with the new wide-stance tubulars coming out from several manufacturers.
I have to say I lust after Alison’s setup. She’s always been a Shimano person, but made the leap to SRAM. I set her up with a Rival compact mix with an X-9 mtb rear derailleur and an X-0 11-36 cassette. So, she has a 34-36 and a 50-11—more range than almost any triple! She went with the steel fork, which is awesome. There is nothing like bombing dirt and gravel on a steel fork, and the braking is much better as well. I’m often tempted to race my training bike with the steel fork on bumpy courses with off-camber descents.