Entries in cyclocross (84)
At the portal once more again. More than a decade has passed since I threw my leg over a machine to race the beautiful sport and I still get the same feelings. I will see old friends this weekend that I haven't seen since last January...and we will proceed to beat the living snot out of each other as soon as the official says go!
At the portal once more again. Each year is going to be the year .Less of a Quixotic challenge and more of a burning desire to see what I can do. I convinced the finish lines in front of me are not windmills. I can see the difference...or so I tell myself.
At the portal once more again. Each month of each year....no: each DAY of each month...I'm thinking about it. I catch myself stutter stepping up the stair case between floors of my building at work Mario De Clercq style. I don't just get back on my mountain bike on a casual Saturday ride, I remount.
At the portal once more again.
A right of passage every August for a decade. The cyclocross practice drills begin in these doggishly hot days of summer. The tender wussiness of my collarbone blossoms into a sort of violet hue as I repeat the motion...
Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off.
Over and over again. I love it. The kids think I am crazy as I do this stuff after work in the driveway as they play nearby.
Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off.
But it's here. The season's falling fast upon us. The chatter is loud over the interwebs about people's cross dreams...
Better season. Improvement. Smoother. More fun. Go to Nationals. Trying tubulars. Lighter bike. Losing weight. Buying cowbells. Wife's first season. Kids first season.
All these are plucked from threads I've read. The wave is here. The frequency is fever pitched and the leaves haven't even begun to think about their transition yet. I love so much how my body feels when I ask it to remount and my foot finds pedal. I will never, ever be old with that feeling.
I've got to tell you, folks, the people at Rodale Press' are tapping into the 'wave' that we all know is here and cresting: cyclocross. Rodale is demonstrating this support to us all by their Mountain Bike Magazine's sponsorship of marquee 'cross events like CrossVegas. Mountain bikers understand 'cross. It's just a slightly smaller set of knobby tires mounted another rad frame, right? So the sponsorship and support they're providing to the event is outstanding to see. Moreover, waves of folks (like you and me) who raced MTB's tons in the 90's, ultimately abandoning our Tomac-like aspirations to pursue careers and families are now pouring back into the racing scene on any given Sunday with 'cross as their focus and proxy to re-inject racing back into their lives. The demographic who slaved to build these careers and families is BACK...with their wallets...in force...and raring to get dirty again.
So with this understood, I got pinged by a dear friend of mine, Chris DiStefano about an interesting project going on. Chris is a passionate husband, daddy, worker bee, industry luminary and cyclocross evangelist out of the great cyclocross city of PDX. He asked me about my interest in talking about the 'state of cross' and what it means to me...at least from my specific voice. A voice that is sort of atypical...e.g. not from an industry insider, official or full time pro racer. I guess the intent was to capture it from the voice that you and I speak: passion and love for this game we devote so much to.
So, these words were parlayed into Mountain Bike Magazine's staple column in their monthly mag, 'The MB Interview' in preparation for the wave of cross Rodale/Mountain Bike Magazine are devoting air cover to. Below is the outcome of the interview in Mountain Bike's September issue which is on newstands or can be delivered right to your door. I am honored and indebted to Chris and Mountain Bike's Editor in Chief Jasen Thorpe for the opportunity to tell it the way I see it.
I hope I did us justice 'crossers! I am so pumped for the season.
She's gone and done it. AD has announced her un-retirement...for 'cross! That's right Allison; the Force in this sport, too strong is.
This makes me unspeakably happy. It shows that the attraction of the sport is 100% fun. The pain and suffering required to be good is proving to fade away as the joy of being at a 'cross race and demonstrate yourself in front of fans lining the tape and being in your face every weekend outweighs....well, outweighs just about anything. Even perceived 'age'.
You rock on AD. Bring the pain to those young'uns like Compton and Georgia. Just man up and get rid of that bunk shoulder pad on your top tube! Totally un-PRO. Ha!
Photo ©: AFP
There is nothing more to say as far as I am concerned. It's here. Cross is here and is popping up in corners of our country that less than 3 years ago, wouldn't know a cross from a cross-walk. It's assuming control! The genius of the sport has reached critical mass: its shortness yet its epic-ness. Its attraction for the workin' (wo)man...less training, more fun, being competitive, family and friends seeing you muddy and filthy every 7 minutes or so each lap. The radness of the equipment. It's all a cocktail of beauty for the cyclist.
It's all coming to a head.
Alpenrose had 1267 racers this weekend per my main honkey Chris DiStefano this weekend out in Portland. And clearly, this is an age old hub of cross, but the numbers are out of hand. Holy absolute CRAP! Something has been added to the PDX water system for that many disciples. Grab some eye candy of the spectacle here....
My friend Blair Oxford from the South East in the epically beautiful and funky town of Savannah GA have announced their upcoming cross race, the Superprestige! Part of the Georgia Cross series. And yes, the course features ALL of my 'gotta haves'...barriers, sand traps and YES, a FLYOVER!
See their picture collection here. Amazing. I'm gonna have to go and race that thing one of these days! PDX races have featured a flyover recently too. Man, Boulder/Denver needs to GET CREATIVE!
Amazing for me to see this growth. Louisville KY, we want to see some pics from your growth! I'm hearing all kinds of stories, but no joy on teh visual tip! Send me pics!
The days are clicking by. It's unbelievable. I blinked and I was eating waffles with KP and Dubba in Belgium....and now am already feeling the coolness of the mornings again.
The changing of the leaves is here. The gluing of the tires is here. The bruising of the shoulder is here. The bury-yourself intervals are here.
Even with the greatest of perspectives on life which I try so hard to have...e.g. beautiful family, beautiful friends, beautiful health (when I'm not yard sale-ing myself over rocks mind you), etc...I use 'cross as an anchor to literally PULL me through the dog days and get me through to the calendar's finish line. God I love it. 50 degree sunny days, embrocation, trees blowing up with color, cowbells making my ear drums rattle.
I still struggle to make sense over career, goals, etc. It's all there in compartments I manage and I am blessed to the core as I push onward with it all (painfully on the imbalanced teeter totter days), but I swear to you I have a vision and know precisely how I'd like to crush it....but I digress. I'll not take up pixels here on that now....
The family these days makes me smile so wide. My beautiful wife is flourishing and we both stand back and watch these boys of ours grow into incredible young men.
I want them to have a 'cross in their lives...whatever it may be. Sports, art, love of some form or another. To help pull them through.
Everyone should experience this.
The fam and I were invited by our dear friends and neighbors up to their place in Edwards which is a small village near Beaver Creek. They basically hijacked us to take us away from the grind here these days and to get our minds off the blah. Awesome times were had. Kids all over the place playing and lots of solid beers sunk (side note: the Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale is one of the finest Browns I've ever imbibed...Thanks Gord!).
Being up there, I decided to take advantage of the thin air so I rolled hard up through and in-between the epicness of Beaver Creek and Eagle Vail. It was delicious singletrack of the rooty-twisty-shit-eating-grin kind. While rolling, I had some nice moments of clarity thinking about this coming cross season. I'm as excited as ever for yet another season of the changing leaves. But I need to really think about what I want this year and temper it all with some serious reality. It's already SO different than last. But maybe there's some magic still left. We'll see be the time now is so limited but it is what it is. The thoughts kept coming into focus on needing to dedicate myself to educating this sport of ours. Teaching it as often and as widely as possible....and let my personal season come in its own form the way it will. At the end of the day, I'm tired of starving myself and waking up at 5:30! Ha! The goals will be outlined soon for what they will be, as will some announcements of other changes which I'm working on and I am excited about. A focus on ed-u-muh-ka-shun of 'cross and the whole lifestyle in and around it we live here. Teaching the sport to those falling in love with it and falling hard.
More soon. Maybe less now will be more. Bring it.
Well folks, it appears to be happening. Gregg Germer, an American living abroad in Belgie-land and proprietor of a bike touring company, Chainring Tours, is in the process of moving forward with his plans to build and sponsor a 100% American professional 'cross squad to race the SP's. GvA's and WK's.
Have a look at his sponsorship video and if compelled to help support, do so!
What a great evening! Our bud Zach Lee of CommArts, his boss and other compatriots are working on a large project to assist a group in Belgium with a bike park project. Sound Familiar? Zach is also deeply involved with the Valmont Bike Park project, leveraging his considerable graphic arts skills to help create the visual identity for the park here in Boulder.
The proposed park in Belgium is to be called VeloCity in the town of Massmechelen (in the provence of Limburg). This is the region that hosts the Amstel Gold race as well as the GP Stad Hasselt cyclocross race and is about 50 minutes from Blauberg where Dubba, KP and I stayed for our stint in January this year for 'cross master's worlds etc.
A contingency of folks flew over from Za Motherland including the mayor of Maasmechelen, Georges Lenssen, the Executive Director of the Limburg Chamber of Commerce Johann Leten, a journalist Philip Hilven and David Winkels, who is director of the VeloCity bike park project. They came exclusively to explore the idea of creating a Sister Cycling City or some other alliance between Boulder and their town . Zach assembled a GREAT crew of folks from Boulder, all cycling mafia, from those involved in the Valmont Bike Park project to racers (Timmy Duggan was here to represent...even while recovering from is crash! Great to see you man. Very inspiring.), to media (Neal Rogers in za house...great to have beers with you too man!) and lastly Shaun McGrath, our mayor. It was very cool to speak with Georges and Shaun and talk through how community + government can actually get it done.
All in all a great night and fantastic to speak with our counterparts in Belgium getting this park concept together. The sames sets of challenges; the same core passion.
And I repeated that phrase more than once over the last few days. Sorry for the lack of updates folks but the fam and I were in May-hee-co on some family R & R. I am sufficiently bloated and anesthetized by way of bad well drinks and Dos Equis served in plastic cups. Mmm.
The brief vaca was a great relief from the pressure cooker and at the epicenter of that relief was watching my boys absolutely free, running like mad men up and down the beach, through the surf without care 1 in the world. It's inspiring to see that. I distinctly remember doing that as a kid. Running up and down the beach on the water's edge, back and forth for hours doing the thrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp with my lips to sound exactly like a 1970's 2-stroke Yamaha until my lips were swollen and red all around. I saw my kids doing the same...occasionally interrupted with a bout of Transformers or Power Rangers combat between themselves, then back to moto's.
So, we're back, somewhat tanned and stoked that we just bucked the system and punched a hole in the chaos to circle our wagons and be with each other as a family, The getting out of the grind was good. It didn't change the core of how I feel about certain things these days on one side of the 3 part teeter totter, but did give me clarity over how I truly feel about it and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As my beautiful wife has told me time ad infinitum: the cage door is open.
Moving on to 'cross things, no Cult Cross for me folks. As 'crossy as I am, I am not going to make it up to Eagle. I am not kidding when I say that my fingertips and toes are JUST back to normal after their 'nip from CO States on 12/7. Crazy and I'll not be inviting that back into my life any time soon so LG's 10-20" of snow on the course while 'fun' sounding send shivers up my spine on ho to work through that frost nip/bite stuff. I am entirely on the down low for now with training and even if just to attend Cult Cross and shoot photos and see my peeps, I personally want to stay close to home for the time being and not go yet one more place...one more trip...one more get up and go which I can't seem to make stop these days. Down low is the tempo these days. Enjoy yourselves though race fans!