Form my bud in Louisville (KY, not CO):
[Photos as well here ]
Monday, December 4, 2006
Cyclocross makes splash
Competitors, spectators enjoy muddy River Road course
By Melissa Gagliardi
With mud on his face, Robert Bobrow took to the winding trail looping through River Road Country Club in a sport that is gaining popularity in Louisville: cyclocross.
About 160 enthusiasts of cyclocross, which is like steeplechase with a bicycle, competed in "Storm the Greens" yesterday at the city-owned golf course, which has been closed nearly two years.
Competitors slopped through mud, raced up stairs and encountered other obstacles that forced them to dismount, run and jump back on their bikes in one fluid motion -- at least for the more seasoned riders.
Bobrow, who lives in St. Matthews, was the Kentucky champion last year, but he came in second this year, losing the hourlong off-road race by about 40 seconds to Kevin Attkisson.
But he wasn't disappointed.
"It was great. I was very happy," Bobrow said, adding that his 5-year-old son, Will, won first place in a shortened version for children.
Bobrow is among a group of local riders hoping to see the course, at River Road and Zorn Avenue, become a permanent venue for the sport. He has raced on courses across the country and said the country club is one of the best he has experienced.
"We could even hold the nationals there," he said, noting that the event would bring about 1,800 riders and possibly twice as many visitors to the city.
Spectators are a big part of cyclocross.
To encourage the riders through one tough leg of the course, Pat Ruzicka stood on a bench ringing a cowbell, a tradition that goes back to the sport's origins in the dairy regions of Western Europe.
After searching all over town for a bell, Ruzicka found one at a hobby shop and said it was worth the $5 investment to support the racers.
"I've never seen a cyclocross race before. It's exciting," said Ruzicka, a member of the Louisville Bicycle Club.
Rick Lyon banged a spoon against a metal dog dish to encourage racers as they entered a particularly dangerous leg of the course where several muddy wipeouts occurred.
"Cowbells are for sissy Belgians," quipped Lyon, who had planned to participate but was recovering from the flu.
Watching his fellow racers proved to be a fun substitute. He was among dozens of spectators to crowd along the course's obstacles, which included sand traps, muddy dips and what's called a "whoop dee doo" -- the bikers must dismount, carry their bikes up stairs, then whip through two sharp 180-degree turns before taking on a small but steep hill.
Given the serpentine nature of the course, cyclocross events attract many spectators, who get to watch the competitors come through several times.
Brad Swope said Louisville is fast becoming a hotbed for the sport, and he wasn't surprised that this year's event had more than twice as many competitors as last year's, which was the first state championship to be held in Louisville.
"It's the next new thing. It's growing like wildfire," he said.
Andrew Llewellyn is one of the top younger riders. The 16-year-old placed second in the junior division, even though he was just introduced to cyclocross this year.
He said the atmosphere, with so many supportive people, is part of its appeal.
"It's so much fun. I fell in love with it," he said.
Reporter Melissa Gagliardi can be reached at (502) 582-4117.
Jeeze Louise, get me outta this season (in one piece and without any further hemorrhage of body and wallet).
Today started off chillier than a well diggers ass. The drive down to Red Rocks Elementary for the second to last race of the season was a cold one (see left). Got there and parking was abysmal. I lugged three bikes today (almost needed all of them!). Both CX'ers and my single speed. Warmed up on the SS.
Snowy and icy when we first began. I got on Kiester's wheel at the whole shot in 6th and rode it for 2 laps until my first incident (crash on the backside before coming down to the driveway. Got up and motored but could not close the gap and waited for Clay. Clay dropped the hammer and said adios on lap 3 and I settled into a rhythm for a lap or so. By this time Tim F, Kiester and some other dude (s) and are irretrievable. Gone. I can see 'em, just can't get 'em. So, I settle in. Cruising the course in like top 10. I am bunny hopping that barrier in the back consistently. Coming around to set up to do it again around the back side by the pits and then WHAM. Crash again. This time lever bent and no shifting on my primary bike. Pedal my perturbed ass all the way around and drop it off and pick up my other bike. Get into a rhythm again and WHAM. Down again. Oh yeah, I forgot, I have 2 season old Tufos on that bike which are bald. Good idea in the snow Greg This time it's worse. Cut the living crizap out of my knees, one worse than the other. Ball game, bad guys. This is where I F up my knees and I am just watching dudes pass me without a care to chase them. I end up 14th and I am happy to be out of it with 'only' a $100+ plus Dura Ace lever (2nd this season), pair of leg warmers and a shit load of skin.
BUT!!! (There's always a but!): All is not lost. Rocky Mounts scored (count 'em) THREEE wins today (35 + 4's via David K, 4's via Zach W and 3's bay "The WB" himself, Ward B). NICE WORK!! I went from being a sad sorry beeatch for myself to being so proud and pumped watching my bros. It was like an an anesthetic for my brain to watch them suffer and suffer well. Especially ward who won by 52 seconds and had this AWESOME bogger saliva thing dripping from his frozen face to his jersey. Sick.
That a certain group of folks containing 'crossers and town authorities with a certain collective interest in a certain park in a certain town in Colorado had a 'walk through' of what a cyclocross course would physically be like and how it would mesh with the other park's activities. More later. Keep your fingers crossed!
SIGN PETITION HERE!
I just knew you fashion mavens could not wait, so without further delay, here' s a sneak peak at our finalized design before we send to Verge. Black is the new Black:
The skin suits are gonna look SICK!
Today, rollers. I am really becoming a fan of these. Been riding for years and never tried them. A bud who moved to Washington gave me a p.o.s. set of them like a year ago. With all this snow, I was getting bored so tried them out. Got up first time which was promising. Man, you need some focus at first. Aim sneaked a snap of me today in the cellar sweating a bit before I bring the boys to see Happy Feet.
So after posting this Tufo deal (and after learning essentially how to put these things on myself), my team mate sends me this handy link:
Video instruction on how to install these things.
So after my blow out last weekend of my wheel and Tufo, I got around last night to putting on my Tufo clincher/tubular. I realize some secrets after struggling like a muthafugga to get them on in the past.
1) Let them sit for a few days inflated when you get them.
2) Keep them indoors (especially in the winter) to allow maximum stretching.
3) If you get the chance, stretch them during the time that they are waiting to be installed. How? Literally let the air out, put your foot on the floor holding on to the tire and streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch them like an old school Jack Lalane workout tool. Careful to have the valve on the side not where your foot is or near your hands. I did this like twice in two days for like 3 or for minutes.
4) When it is time to install, start with the valve area like you would with a tire and tube.
5) Get the valve in and start by squeezing the tire between two fingers to seat the lips that attach themselves to the rim. Work this system of squeezing and seating those lips about ¾ away around the rim.
6) Things at this point start to get tight. You need to more or less stretch that remaining part of the tire you’re trying to get on the rim up and upside down…almost as if the tire tread is looking at the nipple wells of the rim (remember with clincher Tubulars you do NOT use rim tape).
7) Note that to get that last part up and over the rim as you are stretching, I learned a secret from
8) You then flip and roll that remaining part of the tire up and onto the rim.
9) You’ll note that it is not yet seated in the rim in that last remaining area. I inflated the Tufo to like 20PSI then squeezed and seated the lips of the clincher tubular all the way around the rim.
10) Done! In like less than 4 minutes. The stretching and pre-inflation over the foirst two days is the key.
OK, it's late in the season I realize, but my new custom frame Paul is building is done! I've been riding and racing (and testing!) Rock Lobsters in various connotations for years and I can not believe how beautiful these frames feel. For this season I order from Paul who still has my measurements a new Scandium beauty to have identical dimensional steeds with the same parts groups, gearing etc. First time I have ever been 'blessed' with this in my cross life. Together, the wonder twins looked like this when they were a happy family:
So the old blue frame I cherished, raced on the West Coast, won Surf City races on etc etc met a horrible death: The low hanging garage at Vail Ski resort (which has seen a zillion bike collisions apparently). Brand new mini van, 4 brand new Rocky Mounts lariats and a Rock Lobster, Dean and Santa Cruz on top. Kids going OFF in teh back seat after a 2 hours in the car hingry for food. "Look! A parking garage!" I bang the left and errrrrrrrrr (metal scraping noise...). Done. The effect:
Anyhoo, the new one Paul worked his ass off on while finishing other frame jobs...oh and TAKING A 9TH PLACE AT THE USGP's in his age group! (SICK!!) he somehow found time to jam out my frame for me. A photo negative image of my black one...whote frame with black stickers. Boing! Thanks Paul!
Well, we'll be CX-ing in snow fo shoa this weekend. I remember when I first moved here from CA in 04 doing a race at Xilinx in a blizzard and thnking "holy crap, this is what it's like CX-ing in CO. Oh, and I can;t breath at this altitude...". Here's what it looked like then: