My wife’s family has a couple holiday traditions. The first is the annual ornament exchange. The majority of these ornaments are homemade, or “artisinal” in hipster parlance. The ornaments are intended to commemorate something memorable from your year. Most of them are sentimental, celebrating a new house, a promotion, a new baby, or some other memorable event. But not all memorable events are positive, so some of the ornaments are intended to mock your lesser moments from the year.Continue reading
Pennsylvania has a rich geological and natural resource history. The Appalachian Mountain range extending through the center of the state running diagonally supplied early colonists with iron ore, hardwood and limestone. These same natural resources today supply off-road cyclists a constant source of GNARishment. Seizing the opportunity offered up by nature, Mike Kuhn director of the Transylvania Mountain Bike Epic (aka “TSE” or simply “The Epic”) and front man of High Speed Cycling, designed Iron Cross, the “Original North American Ultracross Race”. The event is part of the American Ultracross Series (http://www.ultracx.com/ultracx.html). Held annually each Autumn, Iron Cross turned 12 this year.Continue reading
Colorado finally got some dramatic weather on Sunday at Cross Of The North and Rodeo went out to investigate. After a race wherein Trail Donkey’s crank fell off and the pit bike saved the day, I stuck around to shoot some of the later races. Racing is a blast, and shooting races is a blast. Most of the time I have to chose one or the other, but thanks to a day pass from my wife, I got to have my cake and eat it too on Sunday. I’m quite thankful because the combination of a great course, epic wind, mud, and some cool late afternoon light made it a great day to spend some time behind the camera.
So, as with the turning of the seasons, it reminds me of how life follows the patterns of nature. We’re talking about the diminishing of oneself and the tuition of our next generation. My son, B., has expressed continued interest in cyclocross, did a race last year, and successfully petitioned me to purchase him a ‘cross bike (Thanks Salvagetti for being so helpful!). When I told him about the, now 3rd annual, Colorado Junior Cyclocross Camp in Empire, CO, he was more than excited. So, I signed him up for the full weekend getaway and me as a parent chaperone and worker. A week from the camp, his great-grandmother passed away, and thus a hastily arranged funeral service would be arranged in Texas. Deirdre, the camp director and awesome BOSS, was very kind and offered to let B. come up to the camp after he returned to Colorado. So, up we were at 0600, threw the bike in the back of the 2002, and we were out the door for the camp in the mountains at 0645.
Our much maligned, much loved, much misunderstood, much understood CX.1 team kits arrived on Friday, just in time to debut at Boulder Cup on Saturday. w00ts! Instead of doing our first CX race of the year the normal way (drive there, warm up on rollers, race, drive home), we decided to ride 40 miles to the race course, race, and ride 40 miles home. That’s a Rodeo style day of CX racing.Continue reading
This whole Trail Donkey project has been quite a romp, as I babbled on about in my last writeup on the subject. Now that we’ve ridden the spit out of the rigs, we have a fair amount of confidence in their abilities to convey us, under our own power, just about anywhere we point them. Beyond the typical dirt riding they’ve been seeing, Chris Magnotta notably rode his to 3rd place at the Deer Trail State Champ Road race here in Colorado. The only thing he changed from dirt spec to road spec was the tires. Chris is a bit of a monster rider anyway so we can’t go and say that a Donkey gave him magical powers, but we do think it is satisfying it’s original mission to be “one bike to rule them all”. We aren’t really kidding ourselves, we don’t think that a glorified cyclocross bike RULES other specialized road or mountain bikes in their respective disciplines, but it does road ride better than an MTB, and it does MTB better than a road bike, so we will be generous and playfully allow ourselves to keep using the title, tongue in cheek. Come at us, haters!
No time for a full race report right now, but Patrick Charles stuck around after his morning race to shoot the 11:45 races and hopefully get some cool Rodeo action shots. He also got some cool shots here and there of the other races and racers. It was a great day for Rodeo, thanks to the promoters and all of the other racers and teams out there yesterday.
I once read somewhere that you should not be trying to win a Category 5 race. Cat 5 races are for gaining experience and learning, rather than achieving results. Beginning racers need to learn to negotiate riding in a pack, holding lines in tight turns, and coping with the extremely high intensity. But make no mistake: I was racing the Louisville Criterium Cat 5 race to win.
It turns out that I finished 3rd. Initially I was pretty jacked about this result. But after a little time to reflect on it, I see some things I could have should have would have done better. Plus, I’m trying to maintain the perspective that it was only a Cat 5 race… with a field of 23 other novices… for only 20 minutes. Not exactly epic. But I am excited about the result and even more excited about what I learned from the experience. So I truly managed to achieve the best of both worlds. The following is a report on the entire experience.Continue reading
Gorge Roubaix is an irresistible weekend of gravel racing set in the picture perfect hills above The Dalles, Oregon. Entire volumes could be written about the simple beauty of the place, but I’m tired, so just picture perfect emerald green rolling hills threaded with perfect ribbons of tarmac and gravel then dotted with abandoned school houses and farms and you will get the idea.
Yesterday was the kick off of crit season and the second race with riders under the Rodeo banner. (The first was the Carter Lake road race done by Patrick Charles).
The course for the crit was almost as brutal as can be created for crit racing. A short and intense wall led into the start-finish area, followed by a mean climb in to a headwind, followed by a fast s-turn descent through some tight 90 degree corners… followed by that first brutal hill again. The effort profile for the course actually looked like perfectly spaced interval efforts. Sometimes only a few hundred watts and some coasting were required, but a few times per lap the wattage spiked to 500-800 watts for extended periods during the tough bits. The net effect was that the races all but shattered shortly after starting and often became loosely spaced TT efforts for dropped racers. There was nowhere to hide from the course, nowhere to sit in and rest, each racer just had to go go go until the bell.