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Heavy Surly Crosscheck

Old 07-11-15, 03:35 PM
  #1  
mvallejo
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Heavy Surly Crosscheck

Hey all -

I have been the proud owner of a 2012 Surly Cross Check that I have been using for commuting and light touring for the last couple of years. I really love the bike for picking up groceries, running errands, and everyday commuting. However, recently, I have started doing some weekend rides with a bunch of friends who have some decent road bikes. I have never been a road biker, but I really enjoy the rides. The issue here, is that my cross check weighs 31 lbs. It is currently stock, with an upgrade to a triple chain ring (for touring), a rear rack, brooks saddle, and some super heavy marathon plus tires.

I truly love the bike, but am not afraid to say that the weight does hold me back a little on these rides. The way I see it, I have two options. Either slim down the Surly, or add to my bike collection and eventually give the Surly to a family member or sell it. Anybody have any suggestions. I went and checked out the Trek Crossrip and Trek FX today. I had an FX a while back and liked it before going to the Surly, however I am not sure I can go back to a flat bar. The only cross-rip they had was too big for me, but the bike also felt very weird. Very different from the Trek FX (despite the different bars). Also, I'm really not sure how much I can shave off the surly, i think the frame is meant to be a tank...

So all of that said, looking for suggestions on whether to slim down my Surly (which I'm currently doubtful of), or if any other bikes meet my criteria. I really don't want a racey road bike. I guess I'm looking for a semi-light road/commuter, preferably drop bars, that can have a rear rack attached.

Thanks!
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Old 07-11-15, 04:39 PM
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A few disjointed questions and thoughts:

Are you feeling the Surly's weight on the hills or pretty much everywhere?

My honest opinion is that you could probably get the crosscheck down to 27 or 28 lbs. with fenders and a rack but not much lighter than that.

Is the weight really holding you back that much?

I don't think those tires are doing you any favors in terms of speed.

If you're struggling to keep up, you definitely don't want to go with flat bars. Perhaps lowering the bars on your CC would help?

I guess I'm of two minds on this. If you want a single bike for both touring and fast group rides, you might just have to turn yourself into a faster rider. Otherwise you made need two bikes. And if you're really struggling to keep up, a different bike alone likely won't solve the problem.

Something I needed to learn on my first group rides was to stay on peoples' wheel to avoid working any harder than I had to. You burn a lot of energy if you fall back and then need to catch up.

If you're the one doing the pulling, you just keep the pace you can manage.

Last edited by tjspiel; 07-11-15 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 07-11-15, 04:57 PM
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Agree with tjspiel; you're only going to be able to shave a few pounds off the Cross-check. I wouldn't recommend getting a flat-bar hybrid as a second bike, though -- at least not if the idea is that you will be able to go faster on it. Most 700c flat-bar hybrids aren't going to weigh much less than your slimmed-down Cross-check and aren't going to be anymore aerodynamic. I appreciate that you don't want to go all-out on a shiny new racing bicycle, but absent getting stronger/fitter, I'm not sure what else would feel any less sluggish on the climbs than what you already have.
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Old 07-11-15, 05:34 PM
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You say you really love the bike...so, why risk buying another bike that doesn't quite hit the spot like your cross check does? If you weigh in at 180 or less, I'd recommend having a light wheel set built up. Probably cost you $600 for something really nice, but rotational weight saved is comparable to three times itself in dead weight. It will make a heavy bike feel a lot lighter than it actually is. Just make sure whoever builds them has good wheel building credentials. FYI, any bike shop that has Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) as one of its distributors can have wheels custom built through them, and QBP built wheels are as good as they come, plus the vast majority of bike shops have an account with them.

Here is a wheelset that I've been extremely impressed with for several years now on my Cross Check. (Non disc):

-White Industries M15 hubs w/ titanium freehub body, 32 hole
-Sun Equalizer-21 rims
-double butted spokes laced 2 cross front and rear
-alloy nipples

Super fast and light and surprisingly strong considering it's a 2 cross instead of 3.

Last edited by Wolf Dust; 07-11-15 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 07-11-15, 05:44 PM
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Keep in mind that the Cross Check you already have is one of the most versatile frames you can own. There is a thousand ways one could be built up, so if it fits you right and has made you happy, spending some seriouse $$$ for a fast, light wheelset really is a good idea, plus you can keep the wheelset you are currently running and put a different set of tires on each wheelset so that in just a matter of minutes you can swap them out. Maybe have a pair of ultra light slicks on one wheelset, and then some fat knobby tires on the other. Oh, the possibilities!

Last edited by Wolf Dust; 07-11-15 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 07-11-15, 07:26 PM
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Being one who favors practicality over other considerations, if you can't keep up with fast riders on road bike you have 3 choices.

1. Become a stronger rider than those you ride with so you can keep up on your bike of choice.
2. Become as strong a rider as those you ride with, and get a bike with similar capabilities.
3. Find different friends to ride with, who share your abilities and interests in bikes.

I'm very selective in what kind of group rides I will do, its supposed to be fun, not some sort of make-or-break trial to be endured.
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Old 07-11-15, 09:15 PM
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Get another wheelset that you can switch to for fast rides. A lighter rim and tire will help with speed and make the bike feel lighter.

Or

Buy a road bike. Why go flat bar though? Get an actual road bike and have fun.
If you still can't keep up, you clearly know why.



One thing to consider- what is the gearing now for your CC? If you have mtg gearing as your triple, or small rings, that right there will keep you from going as fast as possible on the CC.
Do you have a 52-11 or 12 option for flats and downhill?
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Old 07-11-15, 09:33 PM
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The best solution is to get a light road bike. Keep your other bike as a commuter/tourer. That's what n+1 is all about.
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Old 07-11-15, 09:49 PM
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n*2 baby! (by wheel count; n*1.33 by weight)



ps-> I am doing 20-25 mile commute routes on the new bike (vs my 12 mile minimum actual distance) in addition to weekend fun riding, it is so awesome, but it is so flimsy and so very not practical that I will be lucky to get 3 months a year on it.
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Old 07-11-15, 10:03 PM
  #10  
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Any chance you could borrow a lightweight road bike that fits from one of your riding buddies? That way you could judge if it really is bike weight that is slowing you down.

I like the lightweight wheel advice, too...maybe you could borrow a wheel set?
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Old 07-11-15, 11:03 PM
  #11  
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I've always liked skinny tires.

Recently I picked up a Specialized Tricross. The bike is ok, but I just don't find the fat tire bike as fun to ride. It just seems as if there is more rolling resistance. Perhaps I just need to work on getting better tires.

Then I took a hybrid out. Flat bars, flat pedals. The bike is ok, but I just couldn't get used to it at all.

Anyway, you could put drop bars on and accessorize your Surly a bit, but if you're doing a lot of road riding, it is hard to beat a good road bike.
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Old 07-12-15, 02:16 AM
  #12  
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The Surly Crosscheck is built to be an all-around bike.

If you need something faster, get a road bike.

Its not fair to compare the Crosscheck to a road bike, they're intended for different applications.

Keep that in mind when you ride it.
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Old 07-12-15, 02:53 AM
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Are you running stock tires? Trying out new tires is cheaper, and you can carry them over to a new bike should you still choose to upgrade.
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Old 07-12-15, 05:10 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
Being one who favors practicality over other considerations, if you can't keep up with fast riders on road bike you have 3 choices.

1. Become a stronger rider than those you ride with so you can keep up on your bike of choice.
2. Become as strong a rider as those you ride with, and get a bike with similar capabilities.
3. Find different friends to ride with, who share your abilities and interests in bikes.
4. Get used to it.
5. Ride by yourself.

Cop the right attitude. If you fall behind it's because you're on a slow bike. When you manage to hang with the group it's because you're so strong, you can do it on a Surly.
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Old 07-12-15, 07:54 AM
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The only complaint I've ever heard from an actual owner of a Surly CrossCheck--or any Surly for that matter--is that they're jam-packed with extra gravity. It's as if Surly thinks extra mass is a desirable trait, so they add an extra dollop or two.

Even if you ditch the Brooks and the Marathons (two other products that seem to think extra mass for its own sake is a good thing, because you never know when you'll go flying off the planet) you won't "shave" much off the bike.

That said, if you're slow on a Surly, you'll also be slow on a carbon wonderbike.

I threw in the kitchen sink on this post in another thread so I don't have to repeat myself. The Portland is also 31 pounds as shown, with dynamo hub and full water bottle and toolbag, but empty panniers.

At the end of a one-hour commute, it is only two or three minutes slower than the other bike shown, which is 13 pounds lighter--also as shown and with a full water bottle and toolbag.

On the other hand, my Litespeed feels a lot faster and much more lively even if it's only two or three minutes faster on that one-hour commute. That's why I own it in the first place, and why I'll ride it to work as often as practical. It's just plain more fun.

Not that the Portland isn't, but the fun I get out that is of a different sort--outclimbing guys on carbon wonderbikes for instance, or when a local collegiate team slots in behind me to draft (read: rest) for a while.

Based on my experience, while you can buy a little speed, it's not that much. To truly get faster, you have to do the work--leg speed drills, intervals, and so on.

Or as I put it in a post on another forum, "You can put a pro on a POS X-Mart bike in the wrong size, with a rusty chain, half-flat tires, wobbly wheels, dragging brakes and frozen shift cables, and he'll still be faster than you or me."

It's because he's done the work.

Last edited by tsl; 07-12-15 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 07-12-15, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
The only complaint I've ever heard from an actual owner of a Surly CrossCheck--or any Surly for that matter--is that they're jam-packed with extra gravity. It's as if Surly thinks extra mass is a desirable trait, so they add an extra dollop or two.

Even if you ditch the Brooks and the Marathons (two other products that seem to think extra mass for its own sake is a good thing, because you never know when you'll go flying off the planet) you won't "shave" much off the bike.

That said, if you're slow on a Surly, you'll also be slow on a carbon wonderbike.

I threw in the kitchen sink on this post in another thread so I don't have to repeat myself. The Portland is also 31 pounds as shown, with dynamo hub and full water bottle and toolbag, but empty panniers.

At the end of a one-hour commute, it is only two or three minutes slower than the other bike shown, which is 13 pounds lighter--also as shown and with a full water bottle and toolbag.

On the other hand, my Litespeed feels a lot faster and much more lively even if it's only two or three minutes faster on that one-hour commute. That's why I own it in the first place, and why I'll ride it to work as often as practical. It's just plain more fun.

Not that the Portland isn't, but the fun I get out that is of a different sort--outclimbing guys on carbon wonderbikes for instance, or when a local collegiate team slots in behind me to draft for a while.

Based on my experience, while you can buy a little speed, it's not that much. To truly get faster, you have to do the work--leg speed drills, intervals, and so on.

Or as I put it in a post on another forum, "You can put a pro on a POS X-Mart bike in the wrong size, with a rusty chain, half-flat tires, wobbly wheels, dragging brakes and frozen shift cables, and he'll still be faster than you or me."

It's because he's done the work.
The fact that the bike is 2 or 3 minutes faster over the course of an hour is enough to tell you that it could make a big difference in a fast group ride. Having a little extra acceleration to catch a wheel in front of you without draining all of your energy can make things a whole lot easier. If there are some serious climbs on the route, shaving a few pounds can be enough to stay in or near the pack.

I did emphasize the word "can". If there's a big enough difference between you and the other riders in terms of speed, it won't matter what you ride.
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Old 07-12-15, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
The fact that the bike is 2 or 3 minutes faster over the course of an hour is enough to tell you that it could make a big difference in a fast group ride.
Also makes it easier to do the same ride later in the day at the same speed.
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Old 07-12-15, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
The fact that the bike is 2 or 3 minutes faster over the course of an hour is enough to tell you that it could make a big difference in a fast group ride.
I suppose too that it depends on what you call a fast group ride.

I've never been on any group ride of any sort that didn't have to stop at intersections and such. All but the slowest riders in my club can catch up at a stop sign waiting to cross a state highway. I'm in New York State, after all, and there's a lot of traffic even in "rural" areas. Plus, cycling three miles without a stop sign is cause for celebration. (And it explains why I find the MUP such an attraction that I commute on it daily. There's a five-mile stretch with no stops.)

In any event, I've never been on any group ride of any sort that didn't stop at least once an hour to regroup, snack, or have a pee.

In those circumstances, three minutes per hour isn't a hill of beans--or even a small pile. It's 5%, or the difference between a 20MPH average and a 19MPH average.

Put another way, 5% is the approximate difference between each of the gears on my cassette, in the 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19 range (I ride a ten-speed 12-23.) One shift. Not a huge difference.

Maybe I just ride with the "wrong" groups. Or have the wrong idea of what constitutes a huge difference in speed.

I still maintain that if you put Chris Froome on my bike, yes, he'd lose the jersey, but he'd still make the time cut. Me? I'd never even make the time cut on his bike.

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Old 07-12-15, 09:12 AM
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Back to the OP's question.

The difference between my heaviest and least aerodynamic bike (especially with full panniers) and my lightest most aerodynamic bike is 5% over an hour at a cost of roughly $4,000 or $800 for each percent. (And that's buying everything--frame, groupset, the works--second-hand.)

But, that's also about the limit (for me anyway) of buying speed. The truly significant gains I've made--about 35%--have been to the engine room. And those gains apply equally to every bike I own, and on every ride I ride. Plus, they've been free.
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Old 07-12-15, 09:32 AM
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How much do you weigh OP? Shaving a few pounds off the rider is usually cheaper and easier than shaving it off a bike. I sold my old cross check because I wanted something better. Went through 5 bikes, and now just built up another Cross Check. Great bikes!
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Old 07-12-15, 09:50 AM
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Nothing weighs less than a part not installed.
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Old 07-12-15, 11:18 AM
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My commuter bike at 34 lbs plus panniers loaded with work clothes, spare tube, and emergency pump outweigh's the OP's bike. You veteran riders confirmed what I suspected - it's the human engine more than anything. I had to work hard to keep up with my coworker, who was riding a Trek Madone with next to nothing on it, but it was doable in bursts. I just couldn't sustain that level of effort for more than a few seconds at a time.

I do hear N+1 calling me though
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Old 07-12-15, 01:41 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
I do hear N+1 calling me though
N+1 in and of itself isn't a bad thing. I enjoy tremendously having a "fast road bike" in addition to my commuters. I can't imagine not having it for the joy and change of pace it brings.

But, in and of itself, a "fast road bike" won't make you a fast rider. You can't go from being a C rider to an A rider by writing a check. Or even from B to A, or C to B.

It'll help--no doubt--and the sensation and the incentive provided by that sensation kept me interested enough that I became willing to do the work. (I began to think that maybe I just could become one of the fast guys.)

It's doing the work and the upkeep that follows which truly makes a fast rider.

Oh! I just noticed you have Onoda as your avatar. The story isn't too far off the mark.

Onoda became a fast rider on his mamachari because he had the incentive. He had to climb that hill to get home, and he had to get to Akihabara and back in time for dinner. This is what impressed Imaizumi (and Captain Sunglasses) on that first hill climb race.

When Onoda was gifted the road bike in the Welcoming Race, it did not turn him into a winner. Imaizumi won that one too. But he continued to do the work. The 1,000 km training weekend shows how hard, and how he refused to give up, even when the deck was stacked against him.

Those qualities are what got him the win at the Interhigh against a much more experienced rider on a carbon wonderbike. While still on his heavy, old, steel training bike (which strangely, had 5700-series 105).

There's a lot that's fantastical in YP, and without a doubt, it's an ode to racing bikes and roadie culture. But strip off the jewelry, and the core of the story hews very close to the truth of real life.

EDIT: Now I notice your sig! Arakita's story--hell even Midousuji's--follows suit.

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Old 07-12-15, 02:30 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
N+1 in and of itself isn't a bad thing. I enjoy tremendously having a "fast road bike" in addition to my commuters. I can't imagine not having it for the joy and change of pace it brings.

But, in and of itself, a "fast road bike" won't make you a fast rider. You can't go from being a C rider to an A rider by writing a check. Or even from B to A, or C to B.
I believe you are right, which is why I am requiring myself to wait at least a year before succumbing to N+1. My stamina has to get better. My body is still not used to riding nearly 50 miles a week (25 miles on commute day, 1-2 times a week, plus grocery rides and pleasure rides). I can reach the 20 mph speed range in short bursts but that is about it. I only sprint like that when traffic conditions on the street demand it - eg. the descent down 15th St during rush hour. So in short, my commuting ride style is to take it easy on the MUPs, enjoy the scenery, then sprint when I'm required to do so on the streets during rush hour. Following N+1 will be my reward for the work I will put in - a drop bar bike with a little bit more zip to it rather than a lot as I'm more interested in endurance road bikes than ones with the pure speed geometry. My current bike has only one hand position...

Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Oh! I just noticed you have Onoda as your avatar. The story isn't too far off the mark.

Onoda became a fast rider on his mamachari because he had the incentive. He had to climb that hill to get home, and he had to get to Akihabara and back in time for dinner. This is what impressed Imaizumi (and Captain Sunglasses) on that first hill climb race.

When Onoda was gifted the road bike in the Welcoming Race, it did not turn him into a winner. Imaizumi won that one too. But he continued to do the work. The 1,000 km training weekend shows how hard, and how he refused to give up, even when the deck was stacked against him.

Those qualities are what got him the win at the Interhigh against a much more experienced rider on a carbon wonderbike. While still on his heavy, old, steel training bike (which strangely, had 5700-series 105).

There's a lot that's fantastical in YP, and without a doubt, it's an ode to racing bikes and roadie culture. But strip off the jewelry, and the core of the story hews very close to the truth of real life.
YP is indeed dear to my heart, as I got into it just as I was learning how to ride a bike. Onoda is my avatar because as his friend observed, he is the embodiment of the joy of riding.

It did take me a while to understand why Imaizumi's was so shocked the first time he saw Onoda climbing that hill on a mommy bike:

1. It's a singlespeed cruiser.
2. It weighs about 25 lbs more than Imaizumi's Scott racing bike.
3. The hill is 20% grade. The hill to my house starts at 9% and levels to about 7%, so it's nothing compared to that, yet I'm wiped out.
4. Onoda is not standing or showing any discomfort at all. He's pedaling seated, and singing at that.

Imaizumi's mind was so blown at that, that he challenged Onoda to a one-on-one race, just to get another look at his pedaling. The race in turn got the attention of the cycling club, and Kanzaki, the owner of the LBS, which later built Onoda's racer out of spare parts.

BTW, he actually beat Imaizumi on the mountain stage of the Welcome Race - though not because of the road bike. The road bike merely allowed him to compete with the other kids in the race on more equal footing. He beat Imaizumi by keeping up with his exceptional cadence, then springing the two-shift click-and-dance attack that he had just learned from Naruko. Its a lot like Pantani beating Armstrong in the Tour De France 2000 mountain stage; Pantani just trailed Armstrong until the very last second, then attacked. That's why Onoda is shown wearing the King Of The Mountain jersey later. The captain gave him a choice which basically amounted to: Finish the whole race #3 , or win the mountain stage and drop out. The captain seemed pleased when Onoda went for the mountain stage and was ok with Onoda dropping out.

Yes, I agree YP is an ode to cycling and bike culture. The author of the manga has posted several photos of himself in on a bike in cycling gear, on his personal blog. He wears a Sohoku High jersey and kind of looks like a real life Captain Kinjou.

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 07-12-15 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 07-12-15, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
BTW, he actually beat Imaizumi on the mountain stage of the Welcome Race - though not because of the road bike.
We're saying the same thing, but using different meanings of the word stage.

Yes, Onoda did beat Imaizumi to the top of Minegayama to claim the polka-dot jersey, and he abandoned the race there too. Imaizumi went on to win the race by out-sprinting Naruko. -- Episode 9 of the first season of the anime, Full Power vs Full Power. I don't recall which chapter of the manga.

The problem is in nomenclature and translation. These days, a stage race's stages are the full day's race in a multi-day race. A mountain stage is a day's race through the mountains. It is not a single climb in a day's race that starts and ends in the flats. YP loses the definition there.

There is the possibility that in Japan, they do use the word stage to refer to a portion of a race--my Japanese isn't good enough yet to research this.

It happens with borrowed words. We've narrowed the use of the borrowed word anime to refer only to the one specific style of animation, whereas the original term in Japanese refers to all types of animation in general. The Japanese may have narrowed their use of the borrowed word stage to mean a portion of a day's race, rather than one day in a multi-day race.

So while you were using stage in the context that YP uses it, I was using stage in the context of the UCI. Either way, we're both saying Onoda took the KOM, but Imaizumi won the day.

Last edited by tsl; 07-12-15 at 04:15 PM.
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