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Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for December 24, 2005

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross. Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to mtb@cyclingnews.com

Bikes of 'Cross Nationals, part 1; Mo Bruno's IF Planet Cross

By Steve Medcroft

Bruno-Roy is congratulated
Click for larger image
IF tops off the Planet Cross
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One of the great benefits of attending an event like Cyclo-cross Nationals is the opportunity to drool over thousands of bikes that the racers have put together. Providence didn't disappoint; we saw everything from ten thousand dollar custom titaniums to all-carbon dream machines.

What stood out mostly though was the representation of so many boutique and custom builders. Maybe because the U.S. 'cross scene is a smaller, tighter community than the pro mountain bike or road scenes, it can be a great home for lesser-known builders to showcase what are often some of the most finely made, and beautiful bikes available.

In the special tech series that follows, we'll bring you closer to three standout bikes from Cyclo-cross Nationals.

For the first installment, we talked to Maureen Bruno-Roy, who rode her Independent Fabrication Ti Planet Cross into a national championship jersey in the women's 30-34 master's race and third in the women's elite race.

Who is Independent Fabrication?

Somerville, Massachusetts' custom frame builder Independent Fabrication (IF) sponsors Bruno-Roy. The employee-owned enterprise got its modest start when a group of former Fat City Cycles employees, out of work when the holding company that also owned Serotta bought Fat City from Chris Chance and moved its operations to New York, put together a business plan, received a small grant form the Somerville Economic Development Partnership, and started building steel frames in a tiny business-incubator space.

The company claims a checkered history in its first ten years. On IF's website, the official company history is full of stories of wild adventures (broken bones and arrests) and IF says that if you research the company on the Internet you would run across "the fact that the plant in East Overshoe burned down or the company was the subject of a major product liability law suit." But the thirteen-employee company, which builds colourful, all-custom frames in steel, titanium and ti/carbon mixtures, is healthy today and well respected in the industry; especially in the Northeast where its grass-roots racing initiative supports a slew of mountain bikers, roadies and, in the case of Maureen Bruno-Roy, cyclo-cross racers.

Read the entire pro bike report on Maureen Bruno-Roy's Independent Fabrication Planet Cross here.

Help Maureen Bruno-Roy attend Cyclo-cross World's

After break-out success in the U.S. 'cross scene this season, Maureen Bruno-Roy has earned a discretionary invitation to join the U.S. National Team for Cyclo-cross World's in Zeddam, the Netherlands in January. An expensive proposition for this full-time massage therapist, Bruno-Roy's family, friends, coach and sponsors have gathered together to help pay her way and sent this note to ask if you would be willing to help as well:

Maureen Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications)
Photo ©: Paul McKenzie
(Click for larger image) Maureen Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications) finished an excellent third
Two seasons ago, Mo Bruno-Roy decided to try a cyclo-cross race or two. At the snowy Verge Series season finale that year, she found herself battling for the win in Merrimack, New Hampshire with Olympian Mary McConneloug. "Hey, you might be kinda good at this ‘cross thing," we all told her.

The next year, Mo got a little more serious. She hired a coach, trained more, planned a set race schedule, and came pretty damn close to winning a master's national championship in the deep mud of Portland, Oregon. She finished 2nd after a tussle with another rider in the last 2 turns. The next day, she squeezed out a 15th place in the elite women¹s race with whatever energy she had left. Clearly, there was progress, and potential for more.

It was a hard thing to live with; that second place. So Mo raised her game again in 2005. She set concrete goals, started training sooner and harder, and had custom bikes provided by Independent Fabrication. Mo showed up at the national championships in Providence, Rhode Island as the top-ranked US rider, with a Verge New England Series title under her belt. She used the Masters race as a warm up, winning with a two minute lead over the next rider, taking the stars and stripes jersey, and avenging her 2nd place from 2004. The following day, Mo showed up and did more damage, tearing off the start to take charge of the race, ripping the field apart and battling to a bronze medal. With that result she earned an invitation to ride in the 2006 Cyclo-Cross World Championships, in Zeddam, The Netherlands, and the confirmation that Mo is truly a world-class cyclo-cross rider.

The thing is, Mo's not a professional cyclist. She's a full-time massage therapist who works not only to pay her normal bills, but to cover all the expenses she incurs for the joy of racing her bike. Because the trip to the World Championships isn't funded by the national cycling federation, Mo's friends, family, and sponsors are coming together to make sure she has the financial resources to take this opportunity as far as her talent will allow her.

Mo's trip will begin when she flies to Belgium on January 12th. She'll race the World Cup in France on January 15th, the World Cup in the Netherlands on January 22nd, and finally, the World Championships in the Netherlands on January 29th. Below are three ways you can help Mo make this trip and achieve her goals:

Benefit show: On Thursday, December 29th, at Great Scott in Allston, MA, "Human Shield" and "The Feel Like You Wouldn't Believe" will be playing a double bill and donating all the proceeds from the door to Mo's World Championship effort. If you're a Boston-area cyclist, you might recognize Human Shield's front man Craig Gaulzetti as the manager of International Bicycle Center in Brighton, and sponsor of New England's Pro Cycling Team, Team Nerac/Outdoorlights.com. The Feel Like You Wouldn't Believe is an all-bike-dork deal, including Jon Bruno on guitar, Logan Hodson on drums, Matt Roy on sax, keys, and sound effects, and Adam Hodges Myerson on bass. Tickets are $10 at the door. Doors open at 9 pm. Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave in Allston, MA

Redbones party: On Tuesday evening, January 3rd, the party moves to Redbones in Davis Square, Somerville, for a fundraising dinner, raffle, and celebration of Mo's national championship weekend. It'll be a great Redbones buffet (with food for the vegetarians, too), free beer from Harpoon Brewery, and lots of raffle prizes from Mo's sponsors and supporters like Independent Fabrication, Cycle-Smart, and others. The party starts at 7 pm. Entry is $15 at the door, and includes a trip through the buffet, a pint of Harpoon's IPA, and a raffle ticket.

Bikereg.com donation page: If you can't make any of the functions but still want to be part of the effort to send Mo to World's, BikeReg.com has set up a donations page for her and is contributing 100% of the service fee back to Mo. Go to www.bikereg.com and show Mo some love!

On test: Reynolds Stratus cyclo-cross wheels

The cyclo-cross incarnation of Reynolds' mid-depth carbon fiber wheels uses a few more spokes to give it the strength for 'cross. Rob Karman finds it plenty tough enough but wishes for the holy grail of better braking.

Classy dark grey and silver
Photo ©: Rob Karman
(Click for larger image) Classy dark grey and silver color scheme goes great with any color bike, especially titanium.

After our recent review of the Zipp 303 cross wheels, competitor Reynolds Composites was quick to send a set of their own version of barrier hopping carbon hoops, the Stratus 'Cross. Using the same rim as the standard Reynolds Stratus DV which we reviewed back in 2004, the 'cross version features an additional four spokes per wheel so there are 20 radially-laced spokes up front and 24 in back, laced two-cross on the drive side and radial on the left.

Build quality

These wheels are exceptionally well built right out of the box. Spoke tension was higher than other carbon wheels I've ridden and I'm told by Reynolds that it is due to the strength of their rim. After pounding these wheels for several weeks I believe them. They were as true and evenly tensioned at the end of my test as they started. That's a good job because the spoke nipples are buried in the rim - as they often are with deep-rim wheels - so you have to unglue the tires in order to true the wheels. A special tool is included to reach down into the rim and turn the nipples, but I was glad to not have to use it.


The hubs are branded as Reynolds' own and they are very smooth even after a bit of riding in wet sand and other junk. The freewheel ratchet engages positively and is on the quiet side when coasting which is what I prefer. Reynolds used to use White Industries hubs and switched to their own similar-looking brand as a running change sometime last year. Whoever is making their hubs is doing a stand up job as I had no quality or maintenance issues with them.

Read the entire Reynolds Stratus cyclo-cross wheels review here.

The big show: The Barabara Howe diary

How did Barbarella fare at the recent U.S. cyclo-cross national champonships? Find out in the latest installment of her diary.

Our tent without its skin,
Photo ©: Sabine Dukes
Click for larger image

Thursday: Fly to Boston on the early flight. Josh, Simon and I are at the airport eating bagels when Melodie calls an hour before our flight. She slept through her alarm and is just leaving Berkeley. She makes it to the airport with enough time to eat an egg bagel sandwich. Lesson learned from this: Josh and I woke up and got to the airport way too early. After an uneventful flight, we arrive in a gelid Boston and commence the drive to Providence. Our host for the first night lives in a beautiful old house near downtown and even closer to a Whole Foods store. A few bags of groceries and several dollars later we have dinner and build up a few bikes.

Friday: The crazy weekend starts off with a pre-ride in pouring rain. The rain is like icing on the snow and is somehow grippier than the dirt. After a few laps my feet start to get cold and my rain pants are soaking through. Enough is enough, Josh and I get in the van, warm up and change out of our soggy clothes. While changing we notice the temperature drop from 36 to 31 degrees. The rain shifts to sleet, switches to hail and settles into a blustery blinding snowstorm. To make a long story short, the weather was horrific and several races were canceled when tents in the pits blew onto the course.

Read the entire Barbara Howe diary here.

Verge MAC Series banquet to celebrate 2005 season

The Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclo-cross Series will hold their season-ending banquet at 6:00pm, January 14 at the world-famous Cadence Performance Cycling Centre in Philadelphia's Manyunk section. The venue is just around the corner from the infamous Manyunk Wall, the most famous hill in American road racing, and will celebrate a season highlighted by eight excellent races and the emergence of Georgia Gould as a star to watch. There's also a host of other highlights from the 2005 Verge MAC season to celebrate.

Doors will open at 5:30pm with light appetisers starting at 6:00pm and awards beginning promptly at 6:30pm. Directions to Cadence, including a map, can be found at www.cadencecycling.com/aboutus/locator/. To RSVP just log onto www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?EventID=2910.

Adam Hodges-Myerson named to UCI cyclo-cross commission

Along with four other Americans, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has appointed Adam Hodges-Myerson its various commission responsible for the oversight of rule, regulations and the overall management of the growth and success of the sport of cyclo-cross.

Somerville, Massachusetts based Hodges-Myerson is a professional road and 'cross racer, and president and founder of the Cycle-Smart coaching service. He races for the Team Nerac.com, is a board member of the Northampton Cycling Club and President of the New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series.

The other Americans names to UCI commissions were USA Cycling chief executive officer Gerard Bisceglia (the three-person Solidarity Commission), USA Cycling chief of staff Sean Petty (Road Commission), 2001 MTB World Champion Alison Dunlap (Mountain Bike Commission), and Gary Ream (BMX freestyle)

For a complete list of UCI commissions and members, click here.

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