I GOT CROSS× 20.06.2011 It’s always been a fascination of mine.Maybe it comes from cross-country running days at school. I was always close to the lead guys, but always found myself wishing I could throw a bike over my shoulder and sneakily gain some time by riding my bike. See; cheating. Maybe it comes from seeing photos of uber-nerdy Europeans shouldering what looked to me like road bikes up snowy steps with mud flecked eyeballs during my mid-nineties fascination with cycling magazines. See; printed glossy publications, pre ‘blog’.Maybe it comes from my desire to regularly and systematically turn myself inside out for shits-and-giggles. See; stupidity.Who knows.I had resigned to the fact that we’d probably never see Cyclocross racing here in Melbourne.Then came Dirty Deeds.I didn’t race last year. Didn’t get my shit together.This year, with the help of a garage full of bits, a Surly Cross-Check frame and Lincoln at Bike Gallery, I got my shit together.We finished the build on Friday, just in-time for one quick ride on Saturday. My shifters had not come into stock yet, so I had to lockout the rear derailleur on one gear. I chose 34/15.I rocked up at Darebin Parklands to find a pantomime of hipsters, roadies, mountain-bikers, vegans, MAMILS, families, dogs and the like. The atmosphere was friendly, supportive and colourful.After a couple of practice laps I realised that going ghetto single-speed was not a bad idea. The course was pretty flat, bar a couple of pinches to dance over. Also, it was damn muddy and racing hadn’t even started.I warmed up nervously in the comfort of the Cyclops tent until race start.The race format was 40 minutes, plus one lap. Each lap was about 4-5 minutes long. And a mix of pavement, grass, dirt, mud, four dismount-barriers and a little singletrack.The A-grade field was big, about 50 riders. I knew that positioning was going to be important, but sat second row because I had no idea how things would pan out.The start of the race was a bit of a dog fight and I was in about 20th going into the first corner.By the end of lap one I was already muddy and coughing up lung-parts, but had ridden into 8th.I was battling with two other riders and had made a mid-race surge into 7th when I pinch-flatted in a muddy ditch. I shouldered by bike back to the start-finish area and asked a spectator for his front wheel. He gave me his road wheel with a semi-slick 28mm commuter tyre. Very slidey compared to my compared to my 35mm Cyclocross knobby!The commissaire popped me back in the race after one lap out and I slid, ran and mashed myself back into 8th by the time the bell rang.First moustache, first singlespeed and first steel bike, to my knowledge. I’m calling that a win!The mud-thirsty drunk crowd and the atmosphere at Dirtydeeds made it perhaps the most fun race have ever had the stupidity to enter. No need to get a cross bike (though I suggest you do!) as you can always race the open category where any bike is allowed.Now, time to get one of those proper cross-bikes for round two. I’m thinking C35 carbon tubs, Ultegra Di2 wrapped around one of these frames....Thanks to all the photographers for supplying the awesome shots!