Cyclocross Maintenance – What do you know?

Tips for Easy & Fast Cross Maintenance

So now a month into racing cyclocross I encountered my first mud race.  Like torrential downpour mud race.  I slipped, I fell, I was a muddy mess, my bike was a disgusting muddy mess.  So when I finished my race I got in the line and hosed the old girl down to make sure she was mud free before I even went back to the tent post race.  Well apparently just hosing down the bike isn’t the only maintenance you are supposed to do???  Who knew???  So today my poor sick husband decides he is feeling good with some Dayquil in him so hey lets go enjoy these last few rainy days of Oregon fall and go out and race Blind Date up at Alpenrose.

Heiser Farm Cyclocross Race Cross Maintenance

My husband gets my bike off the rack, which in turns spins the wheels and I can see it in his super annoyed face, I already did something not good.  He tells me to hurry up because I need to check if I can shift ok because my bikes does not look good.  As soon as I get my foot on the bike I notice it, the chain is sticking, not moving and just all jacked up.  I rush up to 21st Ave Cycles tent and they look at.  They tell my bottom bracket is jacked, I need to take it apart and hopefully I don’t need to replace the bearings.  But don’t worry you race it will just be a challenge.

Enter said husband again.  No that is not what is wrong he tells me, still annoyed.  I just didn’t bother to clean and do the whole cross maintenance routine on my bike so my chain is basically dry as a desert and can’t move without lube.  Ok I will give him that it makes sense.  He puts what little chain lube we have left on my chain, works it around and says good luck.  Sweet that is how I totally love to head up to the start line.

Heiser Farm Cross Race Mud Pit Maintenance Tiips

Boom whistle goes off and I do my thing and after taking a lap to get out of my head, forget my poor sick husband who is totally annoyed with me (did I mention I borrowed his cycling socks and forgot to ask?) and my bikes feels great again.  Shifts like she did before the mud and I end up getting fifth place in Cat 3, out of roughly 12 I think.  So back to my point, if you were doing your first cross season would you know what to do with your bike after a race and before your next one?  As my husband loves to remind me, he is not my built in mechanic.

So to help those of you who may be like me and assume that all you have to do is spray the bike down getting the mud and gunk off, here is a lovely breakdown of what one should do after a muddy or basically any cross race. Watch this video of how to clean your bike, thanks GCN!

  1. Check your shifters and brake levers.  Squeeze them and check for any random grass, mud or items stuck in there from your sliding or mucking around.
  2. Check your brakes, both calipers and disc.  My disc brake pads had grass all up in there.  That would not be good when you are hauling down a steep hill or down a gravel road and need some braking.
  3. Check your crank.  Check for play in the bottom bracker, any noise or drag.  Check your front derailleur and ensure everything shifts as it should.
  4. Check your pedals for gunk or any issues.
  5. Check your chain.  Make sure it is clean and all the links move easily and freely.  Check your rear derailleur.  Make sure you are shifting easily through all your gears.
  6. Check your wheels.  Check your tires.  Check for debris, anything stuck in them, check to see if they are holding air well.  If you are running tubeless or tubular make sure you don’t need to add more sealant.

So guess what I am doing tomorrow after we get back from errands?  I am going to go buy some more chain lube, get some degreaser and get my girl ready for the weekend.  I need to make sure i Can take care of her and not always rely on my husband, though he is who I go to with questions.

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