Entries in cyclocross (84)
Za plans du Belgique are rounding out and I've not just got my hands on my UCI license and the authorization papers required to race in a foreign country. So, if'n you, my faithful M & C readers, are interested in doing this at some point, don't forget to contact USA Cycling for these! They came in like a day and officials at these races are known to ask you for them at random times apparently from when you register to while pre-riding I hear. The folks there in the 'Springs are super helpful.
The toes are de-numbing but one week on still not 100%. Crazy. It's exactly like the sensation you have when you get your teeth worked on and the Novocaine is starting to wear off. More depth today to bake in what's needed in the legs so suffer fest up/down/up/down Poorman's is prescribed. I will likely be cross-eyed when done. I hope my toes don't re-freeze.
Thanks Stephen for sending me this! Dubba's been after this set of stars and bars for some time now. To bridge like I heard he did to Mark and be able to come out on top is huge. We're all proud of you man!
I'm out here in a balmy SF for the day. Gotta get my work on out here at the Mother Ship. My run this AM was pleasant given the gorgeous weather. Back home: More pow pow. And yes, my big toes are STILL numb. What the _ _ _ _?!?! They are a bit better each day but this is scary. I can not imagine what those Everest climber freaks experience.
I fire up the PC this AM and check out the KC results. NICE JOB MATTY! It's awesome to see how many CO folks are at Nats. Indeed the geography makes it a bit easier for CO folks to get to KC, but I want to run some data to see the demographics after Sunday. It is insane to see this type of growth in the sport. 1900 competitors last year, 2000+ this year.
Speaking of demographics and data, I've been using Google Analytics to provide me with some visibility into who reads my shitty blog. As a data guy, it's sick what you get for free. Some major enterprises I've worked with do not even have this level of data to get a lens into where and how interested people are coming to them from.
Radio Freddy, you will be happy to see that you are the No. 1 reference link into M & C. Rad. It's interesting to see how long people stay (about 2 minutes) which is not quite as long as the average length of time a porno is viewed before it is stopped (about 4.5 minutes) so maybe I need some further bike porn or something to keep people hooked. HA!
Not so shocking is the geographic info. CO is the region where people are from viewing M & C. Probably just due to word of mouth. I need me some advertising or something in those other regions! What up, Wyoming, Arkansas and Mississippi?? What? No cross there? C'mon!
So I got my new doses of the motherland from Josef and I am watching the 2007 Jaarmarktcross and Bart and Lars are throwing down.....hard. It's a mud fest and both these guys are known mudders. Lars gets a gap on Bart and is coming through the start finish with 2 to go.
Then he starts slapping himself silly.
I'm like....WHAT THE?...so I rewind that shit and sure enough, homie starts slapping himself in the face. Ha! What a retard. Bart takes him in the end anyways but is this supposed to be his motivator?
OK, so Longman sold me out. He took it upon his resourceful self to get the awesome shot he took of my boogs pouring out of my nose at States this weekend all up and posted on Velonews. I showed my wife the pic on VeloNews over coffee this AM and she says, "Oh yeah man, you're pretty gross when you race. That pic's about par for your course."
And all this time I'm thinking I'm like Mario Cipolini out there.
So it got me to perusing some old pics. Holy God. I am disgusting when I race. I am a free-flow-booger-shooter when the heart rate creeps up to 180. I do admit that I get shot by photographers often and that's cool. It's fun to see yourself captured in time. Now I know why they like shooting me. I am a fricking bio-hazard out there.
There are certain things you notice in cross if you have been around the sport for a while. While you watch the muddy and pained expressions go by as you stand in a pair of Wellingtons by the course tape or on your bootlegged Sporza DVD's, a moderately trained eye can see the difference between those who have come to play, and those who have come to be pack fodder....
The way Erwin shoulders the bike in a motion fluid, you're not sure how it got there....
The smoothness of Ryan Trebon's remounting...done so precisely, it belies his height...
The way Wellens muds....running so efficiently with arm wrapped tight around his Ridley's head tube.
It all leaves these indelible impressions on my mind. I study it obsessively.
Now freeze it all. In fact, freeze it in black and white to strip away all the unnecessary color to focus on the form, frozen in time.
This is exactly what the latest crop of photographers are giving us around our local race courses in from Portland, Boulder, Seattle and Boston all the way to East Outnowhere, US on any given Sunday.
And they get it.
There's Joe Sales....
Study his photo here at Loenhut in 06. Perfect. It's what we see but don't absorb every week at the races as its not the obvious race action...but the beautiful white noise and peripheral movement going on during it. He got it.
....and Natearm from the Pac NW,
In my (untrained) opinion, Natearm's images are glaringly the most stunning. Lots of black and white with absolutely crystalline clarity. They are almost creepy to look at....but like a car wreck, I can't turn away. I get lost in them like when you used to watch that girl across the classroom in 6th grade twirl her hair around her finger. Perfect.
Russ and Nancy Wright from the Bay Area....
Ah, my old friends. It was their photos they took of my crappy Cat 50+ races a decade ago where I saw myself as a crosser for the first time....at least it helped me see an identity I longed for so long ago when I was falling in love. They specialize in the racer as a subject of the race itself....not as a subject of nature or a pawn caught in an art school project. They capture as we are.
Local Boulder photographer who makes the art his trade, is Steve Z. I've been trading mails and blog posts with him since last year's Boulder Cup and got to meet home for the first time at the CO States this Sunday! (Great to meet you man!).
If you study it hard enough, you get it: Steve is a core biker. It's less of what Steve captures, but when. Wrap that sense of timing with a layer of dripping art that makes you say, whoa, and you get Steve.
And lest I forget, take the time to visit Denver/Boulder area photographers Mark Wollcott, Joe Strandell and Jason Rice who's pictures I post often given the frequency we see each other and commune over 'cross. These guys are the heart and soul of the local cross scene capturing every cat, at every race for months on end for us to purchase for our keepsakes.
So there you have it. I hope I have been able to expose a few more great artists who are capturing our sport for us to remember for the rest of our lives. If you explore their sites, you get into viral mode where they link to their incredibly talented friends who also use celluloid as their medium, while we use Dugasts and mud as ours.
Coming up: Coloardo State Championships. Now, for non-Coloradans, you'll be interested to know that there are two State Championships. The USCF States (a.k.a. the 'Durango States') and the ROTS* Championships. Weird, but we all know what the real one is. Ha! The course shockingly will not be at Xilinx this year (as it always/traditionally is...I'll have to get the scoop as I love that course and its bunny hop-able ditch). This year, it is in Lyons CO....just North of Boulder in a new park. I'll be reconning this but I hear it's grassy and flat.
I'm feeling better and better since last weekend and today showed good signs. All I know is that the work is in and the head feels happy. I want to finish up strong as I can and move on into some training before Belgie.
Photo by Jason Rice
*ROTS: Rest of the State Championships.
So, imagine I had an IM chat with the devil last week.....
Handsome_Devil: GK You there?
Handsome_Devil: NP. While you're on mute playing biz dev fool, think about racing this weekend.
Handsome_Devil: You are such a galactic _ _ssy!
Handsome_Devil: P _ SSY!
Handsome_Devil: Cross is for _ussies. Oh wait. You cross, right? Therefore...
Handsome_Devil: Yes you will, GK, yes, you will. Boo wah ah ah ah ah!
And so it went folks, against all instincts, the devil made me do it. I have had mad flu with awesome ear infection and a hack since Wednesday. The only cure: more cowbell. All in all, a decent day which I can not complain about. More on that later...
Today's ACA action took place at Bear Creek Lake Park in lovely Golden (or maybe Morrison). Home of Coors and Yeti. Sweet. The course was absolutely the most fun yet this season...where fun is relative to the mountain biker's fun meter. Today featured lots of rollers, awesome single track, a bunny hop-able barrier (with another set of boards on the other side run up) and well timed sand traps. It was a fun fun course. The day started up in The Republic with 20 degree weather, 70 mph winds and sheets of ice on the street. The 50 minute drive due south was 10-20 degrees warmer with beautiful sun and zero win.d.
I got there and pre-road and loved it. Even with a fever, I was smiling....and could care about placing. I needed to be out there (again, the devil made me do it). The 35 Opens today was not a humongous field. Probably 20+ riders with most of the usual suspects in tow. I lined up 2nd row. Gun went off and we shot up a paved hill and nearly immediately on to the first sand trap. The sand trap exit was also the finish line so either the course designers knew it was going to be a clear winner in each cat or for sure they are sadists and wanted a running sprint through the sand side by side across the line. The sand was not ridable as it was super deep and dog legged sharply.
By the 2nd and 3rd laps I am rolling OK with Jeff W, Jeff H and Jared S. All is good in the hood. I figured it would stay this way. We went around a few laps together and I'd take them on the run ups and through the barriers and put more distance on them through the bunny hop barrier, but I had no depth in leg speed to keep the gaps I'd open due to the flu. So they'd bridge back to me each time. And so those antics went on like that for a few laps until my rubber band finally broke and I had to let them go and I spun alone. By the 2nd to last lap, this guy was coming on hard from behind. After knowing how I felt on the run ups, I let this guy bridge to me as we went through the sand trap and past the ACA officials counting riders....and when he made contact, I sat up. I let this poor guy pull me all the way around the course on the bell lap until the barriered run up and then I just had to drop that dude (sorry man!....but, uh, not so sorry). I flew up the run up Wellens style, re mounted and the gap I put in was too much for him so I rolled in nice and easy over the line. Took 9th. Some points earned which is cool but more happier just to have raced. Up yours devil.
After my race, I sat with Matty O while he warmed up. We watched rider after rider in the 4's try to bunny hop that barrier and some of the most horrific face plants I've ever seen occurred. I SHOULD HAVE had my camera out to tape that sheeit and YouTubed it. But alas, you get nothing. Matt and I watched AC have what should have been a break through race but home boy rolled a Dugast after some foolio took him out so I had to help him swap bikes. Luckily I had my spare in the pit so I threw on my wheel for him and he finished up the race. AC, you were going to punch a hole in that race today boy! You looked great. Pound for pound, in all sincerity, you had the best form bar none. Even the leader who had some leg speed had no form near yours. You are hard Belgian.
So while he's warming up, I told Matt that he was for sure going to win the 3's today and he should just accept it. He says, "Ya think?" I says, "Yup."And so it came to be. Matty O laid the wood down and got him a shiny 'x' in the W column. Nice, boy. I'm proud of you. Sorry I couldn't stay.
So I got home and the little men helped me with the bikes. As you can see, not much mud but the perfect kind. The Dugasts at 40lbs were SICK! Perfect. Not once did they come unhitched off of the muddy single track and hard apex turns.
States next weekend and then 'done'.....that is until I start some more training to ramp into January and the coming of the Mol.