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From the lens of Matty Opp

Some of the images Matty Opp snapped from Wednesdays World Championships...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Closing in on CO States

The 2nd to last Wednesday Worlds went down today in balmy weather out here in the Ree-poo-bleek and I'll report it later. Matty Opp took the pics today and I'm waiting on them! (hint hint, Matt!)

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.

Cross Racing Week 8 er ah, 9 er ah, 10!: Against all good instincts

So, imagine I had an IM chat with the devil last week.....

Handsome_Devil: GK You there?

Cross_Dork: Hold on HD. On a con call.

Handsome_Devil: NP. While you're on mute playing biz dev fool, think about racing this weekend.

Cross_Dork: Dude, WTF?! I'm sicker than a mo fo!

Handsome_Devil: You are such a galactic _ _ssy!

Cross_Dork: Seriously, STFU. I am sick!

Handsome_Devil: P _ SSY!

Cross_Dork: What f-ing ever. Will you be there?

Handsome_Devil: Cross is for _ussies. Oh wait. You cross, right? Therefore...

Cross_Dork: SIUYA, HD. I'll be there.

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.

'Cross on.

The Wed Morning Cross World Championships...No 11

Ah, so good to be back home again and participate in the Wednesday Worlds throw-down. 32 degrees this AM and we had a monster crew. While waiting at Amante, the clock was ticking towards 8AM and there were a handful of folks then nearly at the stroke of 8, it's like all these 'crossers just materialized out of the thin, cold air.

Elks was the first stop and teh conditions were cherry. Tacky, no slop and fast. The 45 or so of us lined up and I started the count down when Matty-O yells GO! and caught us all with our pants down. I was in like 10th place and and still trying to clip in when I finally caught my stride and passed a bunch of dudes and waited until we ggot to the barriers to do more damage.

Two weeks of rest. No races, limited work outs and indeed, I felt fast. I could feel a certain depth that hasn't been there in a long time. All corners were sprung out of and all flat sections out of the saddle sprints to raise the tempo. Lately, I'd have been sitting and trying to recover! Now, I just need to sit on this, tune what's in me and try to uncork a bit during these last few CO races before some training then rest before Belgium.

Oh, silly me. I've been boring you! You're here for the pics! The standard digital celluloid:

The Mullet of the WB. Extremely impressive. Probably too much wind resistance though.

Hup hup, Danny. Good luck at Nats!!

Danny again....

Teton: Man, myth, legend. You were going well today man!

Dan and Bill. Dan, start going slower so they don't upgrade you. Ha!


The legend Charlie Hayes running a 42 x 16 SS!!

JHK's new toy. Mmm, Dugast Rhino 45's. Mmmm.

Matty Opp, JHK and Heather

Matt P and his 39 x 18 Primus Mootry he's been making people suffer behind

Bravo Procycling mag!!

There is hope ladies and gents. A magazine with a fairly wide distribution followed through on their promise from about this time last year....and that was to give 'cross some due coverage. So I sent them an email to say KUDOS by looping back and reading good 'ol Mud and Cowbells dot com.

So here goes:
To the Procycling staff:

You did it! You embraced the tidal wave otherwise known as cyclocross and I am immensely happy. The coverage in your December 2007 issue was spectacular. The stories, photos and tech articles gave a great insight to the now full time discipline of 'cross for your readers to learn about. I've been a subscriber to Procycling for time ad infinitum and I enjoyed the fact you are one of the first long standing road cycling mags to not treat it as the 'winter training sport' pro roadies traditionally leveraged to keep the fat off after drinking too much Leffe and eating too much chevres on their winter holidays. Cross is life for so many cycling enthusiasts now. The specialization of the sport over the last decade (most intensely the last 5 years here in the States) has both racer and bike industry person enamored.

Let's look at it from the angle of the Procycling reader's typical demographic (and I'm venturing a guess here!):

Exhibit A) 25-55 males with full time jobs and likely families to boot.

Now take that info and lay that over the top of the sport of 'cross:

Exhibit B) Races that are 45 minutes to an hour of absolute fun (OK, fun is relative to how much suffering you want to take) putting riders on courses that their entire family can watch them lap after lap slog through the mud, jump over barriers and be treated to a carnival atmosphere. Pretty different to a road race where you wave goodbye to your loved one and see them in 3.5 to 5 hours.

What do you have: A perfect match when you combine the two.

The tidal wave is reaching its crest and the bike industry is waking up to it. Racer fields are growing and the availability of specific frames, tires, bits and training knowledge are creating a frenzy of information need. And you supplied some goodness. Kudos!

Greg Colorado-USA

Nice work Procycling!

(all photos credited to Procycling magazine - December 2007)

Turning the engine over

Got out with the Boups-man early this AM before work to get the engine fired back up. For me, it's exactly like getting your '84 VW diesel warmed up and moving. Once that fuel's been un-gelled, I'm OK.

Today was beautiful and cold. Frost on the ground here and Boups and I did some nice flowy tempo stuff on our trail network. We caught up which was good and talked cross like school boys.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit tired but the rest has helped. The legs still feel heavy but not in the way just after lots of work, more in the way that the work is all in there but you need to crack the muscles open and get 'em going again. More openers again this week and then on to finish up the season over the next two weekends.

I need to get to the bank for a little wire transfer action to pay the place we're staying at in Belgium. The crew is set and we are stoked. I really can not wait! I just need to stay healthy and get some good training and rest in December and early Jan before I get on the big plane over there. The ultimate vacation...


Ah, back in the Republic. 4 AM wakeup this AM for a 5 AM flight from Spokane back to DIA. We nailed it and the kids were total champs. A few small Ben 10 toys helped to enure the correct amount of 5 and 3 year old cooperation. All spoiling rules go out the window at 5AM ....and when you are traveling with kids.

The vacation was spectacular. Ball family: We love and miss you. It was so unbelievable fun to hang and share this vacation with you. Best of luck on your journey back to the old home!

So, we got home pretty early, unpacked and I basically immediately got on the bike. I couldn't wait! I have found that I truly missed riding while taking this last week or so off. I guess that is the intent! That and watching Ruddervoorde 07 with Joe got the juices flowing for sure. I rolled with Taro on the cross bikes and we spun out the legs on all of the cherry dirt paths that spider thier way across the Republic. Frankly, it was good to get some mud on the bikes! It's all been so dry and fast this season!
Taro's still recovering from La Ruta. The stories he talked me through sounded epic. Like a total recall of what the Tour must have been like in the early days where epic conditions and local knowledge and "support" made the race truly epic.

More races out here in a FINALLY crossy Colorado today, but obviously I could not make it given the travel. The race reports I am sure will be coming in today and I'm looking forward to hearing what went down. For me, I've got some catch up to do but the rest was so welcome.

See you chumps at the Wednesday Worlds.

I'm ready to get back on the bike now

I think it is time. Time for me to act like a cyclist again and crank up the monastic life I was leading up to approximately 11:56PM last night.

The evening began with a lovely dinner with best friends. The cocktails were flowing as were the conversations and laughter.
After the food epic and with a few liquid golds put back, someone said the word:


Oh, God, the ugliness factor was high. We made our way over to the only gig in town and walked in amongst the true people of Spokane. The proverbial record basically scratched when we walked in the door. But after a few more liquid golds and whipping out my best Space Oddity, the crowd was mine.
The requests for encores came flooding in and of course I had to respond. It was essentially the American Idol for Idiots with me as the star pitted against Cristina The Lesbian and Chester the Vietnam Vet. A veritable battle of the stars. We rocked into the wee hours trading songs like bullets. Cristine throwing out some Indigo Girls, Chester with some Brick House and me with some classic faves. In the end, my wife witnessed me get picked up by the local Harper Valley PTA lady and I was the clear favorite for the lesbian contingent, out muscling their patron Cristina.

To the winner goes the spoils...

I am now ready folks. Stress relief in a bottle and a microphone. Exactly what was needed in my 'training'.

Gobble gobble part deux

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone is getting their turkey on. Mmm. Protein. We're with our best friends in a cold and very scenic Spokane. The kids are going off playing with each other and our ladies are dialing a mad feast.

Joe and I took the white bullet (Roxy the yellow lab) out for a run in this awesome trail network directly behind Joe's house. It is like the most perfect little short track course I have ever seen. I think Joe needs to run some underground races here.

We've been drinking the Belgie suds, laughing our asses off and having a great time. Joe and I of course have been glued to the hi fi watching the latest rounds of DVDs (Ruddervoorde and others) from the 07 season with Chimay's in hand. Awesome. Enjoy the feasts everyone!

Release in a tunnel of light

What an inexplicable release. My dear friends, some new souls met, my single speed and deliciously epic, tight and twisty technical single a tunnel of light.

At work today, my head came close to exploding no less than 4 times. I literally was calculating what the anuyerysm woudl feel like when it happens. I was sort of hoping it woudl be quick and not hurt a lot. By 4:30 I am watching my watch. I'm in an executive meeting. We are announcing major changes and I all I am thinking of is that that I need to get going 'cause I am going to be late for hooking up with my boys! Joe is flying in from Spokane and Brian has a huge crew assembled including the awesome duo from Yeti, Ariel and Abby, former Boulderites now calling Santa Cruz their home and working for the Tribe.

We assembled at the Java Hut in downtown Fairfax CA....the Boulder of the West. I got there a 1/2 hour late and then Joe rips into the parking lot, family in tow, moments later, fresh out of Oakland Airport. Bri and the crew patiently waited for us for 45 minuets and Joe and I got ready and we jammed before 7PM. Team Yeti has bikes prepared for everyone, but I am going to roll the 1 x 1. I just love my own bike as tempting as those ASR's and 575's were....

We climbed and ripped Tamarancho and then traversed up and over into terrain I've never been on. Let's just say this was 'unmarked'.



Epic, cherry, technical single track. The tight and obscenely twisty stuff that you dream night in a tunnel of light. An utter release after a week of mental torture. My dearest family in the Bay Area communing on the tight and twisty.

I miss you.

Bri and Ariel on the ascent.
Joe advertising
Brian selling the shit out of the Yeti experience
Abby loading the Yeti rig
Speed Buggy healing up after Achilles surgery
Ball as he is seen in his high powered biz dev role