– We at the CCC wish each and everyone one of you a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the turkey, enjoy the cheer, but most importantly enjoy your family and friends and be thankful for their company.

Verdigris Village CX junior David Lombardo was selected to attend Euro Cross Camp over the Christmas holiday. There are significant costs associated with the trip and David’s teammates have set up a donation page for the CCC community to help. Any funds above and beyond the goal will be donated back to the CCC to help with junior development programs.

– The CCC is thankful for many things, especially our series sponsors. For the 4th year Iron Cycles has been the CCC series title sponsor. We recently caught up with owner and all around CX racer Brandon Elliott to see what’s been happening at the shop.

: You’re well known to arrive at CCC races with some beautiful rides in your trademark black and orange, and your website shows off many of the amazeball builds you do for your customers. Your latest personal build is one of our favorites. What inspired you to build the full carbon Indy Fab SS – and how do you like it so far?
: Honestly, that Cross Jester was about ready to be sold. I waited forever for it, and got it the Monday after Montrose last year. I rode it all winter/spring/summer, but with Felt backing our team was ready to sell it. I tore it down, but didn’t have the heart to let it go, so I re-purposed it into a SS. The PF30 bottom bracket adapted perfectly to an eccentric one and I was in business. That bike is so light, so stiff, yet so comfortable, and on top of that it’s so beautiful. I’ve never owned a bike for a full year, this one may stand the test of time.

: Why does Single Speed appeal to you as a race rig for cross?
: I jumped on to the SS bandwagon to try to ease the burden of maintenance on my own bikes. We get a lot of dirty bikes breaking down this time of year and my thought was to make it easier on myself. I later realized I’m still just as anal about having a clean bike, so it saved me nothing! Once I got riding SS though I realized I was having a lot more fun.

: The trickle down effect has allowed folks to pick up really nice handling race bikes for half of what they were a few years ago, what are some of your favorite values?
: Our best bang this year is the Felt F65x. SRAM Rival/Apex mix with disc brakes, BB30, and a tapered steerer for under $1900. Felt also knocked it out with the F75x, Shimano 105 for $1500. That’s been a super solid bike and there are a bunch of them running around the course this year.

: Being a dad and shop owner that often requires long hours, many of us can relate but not perform as well as you have been doing. How do you stay motivated to train and race the entire CX season?
: This was the first year since I started racing that I didn’t hit every weekend. I picked the courses I really enjoy or were close. It allowed me to take some weekends away from racing and keep motivated. The last few years I found myself burnt out by the time December hit, but this year I’m staying much more excited. The extra time to train comes from my wife and the guys at the shop. The guys don’t complain when I leave a little early to ride and my wife manages with me leaving for a couple hours each morning on the weekends. Without them being so understanding it would never happen.

: Is Iron Cycles seeing an increase in customers that get into cross racing and take it more seriously?
: Not a huge increase to people being die-hard, more an increase coming from people who were “CX-curious” to identifying themselves and “CX racers”. People that are taking time to not just ride more, but also work on barriers, dismounts, and caring a lot more about tires and PSI. They went from commuting and maybe seeing a race to planning weekends around racing and spectating, but not necessarily giving up their social lives.

: What may be new in the store to customers that have not been in to see you for a little while?
: Cross-related we’re carrying some new embro, a much deeper selection of tires, and we’re also carrying Ridley bicycles this year. We’ve gone a lot deeper in our shoe line-up as well as pedals so people can try more options before committing to something. Outside of CX, we’re hitting mountain biking a lot harder. Everyone here at the shop spends as much time as possible on the trails in the summer, so we’re trying to share that with more people.

: What products and services do you offer that may be specifically related to cyclocross or are unique to your shop or area?
: Our new bike wash is pretty sweet for us. Indoors, heated, warm water, it makes it much easier and more comfortable for us to clean up really nasty bikes. This season has been another dry one for the most part so far, but we’re ready for it to get muddy.

: What are your winter hours?
: M/T/Th/Fri 11-7, Sat 10-4, closed Wed/Sun

: Are you offering any repair or fitness classes during the winter months?
: We gave the group class thing a chance and it didn’t go too well for us. What we’ve decided on are one-on-one classes. We don’t promote them a ton, but when someone is interested in something if we have the chance we try to set up 30 minutes or so on the side where we can work directly with that person on exactly what they want to learn. I’ve found it to be much more productive and we can really address the thing they are looking for help with.

: Any chance you’re heading to Louisville for Worlds?
: That’s the plan. With baby #2 due late February, we’ll see how that plan holds up. I’m currently registered to race Masters, and hoping the baby will hold off long enough for me to watch the Elite race. Fingers crossed that all goes to plan…..