What do you do when someone tells you that you are not mentally tough enough? Scotti’s answer was to sign up for the 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race as a pair with my husband Ernie, and take home the win. Since then she has set multiple FKT at Arkansas High Country, has unfinished business with the Atlas Mountain Race and it hot of a new FKT for Stagecoach 400.Continue reading
The fourth featured build for Spork 2.0 is an in house build.
When we moved into our new office in January 2018 I found an old prototype Traildonkey 2.0 frameset that hadn’t been seen any use in over two years. Putting a perfectly good albeit old frame out to pasture seemed like a huge waste to me so I thought that it would be fun to simply use it as a canvas on which to experiment with paint. I spent a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon sanding it back down to raw carbon, a process I found strangely therapeutic. When it came time to lay down some paint I hit a wall. I had no idea what I wanted the frame to look like or what I wanted to use it for.
Race photos by Kit Hunders
As the end of 2017 arrived, the Colorado State Cyclocross Championships arrived with it.
Cyclocross has changed for me over the years. A half decade ago I was so jazzed about the bike racing discipline that I couldn’t even sleep the night before a race. I would genuinely dream about it. I wanted go fast, I wanted to see if I could win. I had a pretty singular mindset.
Gravel racing is great and all, but in terms of drop bar bikes Cyclocross delivers the quickest, most intense punch in the thrills department.
Words by Nik Van der W00ts, Photos by Brett Stakelin (@das_guy)
Cyclocross is a niche within a niche, but there is something I love about this high energy, gritty sport. I got started grinding my gears on the grass, sand, mud and barriers on the east coast. Some would cite this as the unofficial heart and home of American cyclocross. The days spent racing and volunteering in Gloucester and Providence were cold, muddy and certainly epic affairs. Those memories have stuck with me and often are the first that come to mind when I think of cyclocross.
After a hiatus from cyclocross (prompted by grad-school and a 2,000 mile relocation to Colorado) I re-tested the waters. I was in for a shock. The climate and terrain were unfamiliar compared with my first dirt-covered memories. Gone were the days of racing in parks with pristine grass that turned to rutted muddy lines. In Colorado if a race is on grass, it is spiky unfriendly blades. All the moisture is evaporated, leaving dusty loose conditions. Many a time I have come home from racing and felt like a miner, hacking up dust for the next few days. Some of the rugged courses tested my nerves on cantilever brakes and left my hands sore from trying to modulate my speed.
A few weeks back I lined up for the Battle Of The Bear endurance XC MTB race in Morrison, Colorado. I was using the race as a way to get 3-4 difficult hours of training in for the leadup to Dirty Kanza, not so much with any specific race goals in sight. Bear Creek State Park is a flast, flowy, and often smooth XC race so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try something new on Traildonkey 2.0.
Cowboy Cross at the Western Stockyard Complex. The smiles won’t soon fade.
In my opinion it is the best CX race and best atmosphere of any race in the Front Range. The labyrinth course in, through, under, and around the stockyards is SO. MUCH. FUN.
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.
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