I always forget the men race after the women at these cyclocross races. You watch the women try and murder each other, every rider fighting tooth and nail for 45 minutes like their lives depend on it and the men’s race can seem a bit, ah, hmmm, pedestrian by comparison? Well, the elite men finally got their act together and put an exciting race together that surpassed the Visigothic bloodshed of the women’s race. Brian (Dark) Matter eventually won but it took a while to shake off Werner and Timmerman. Bloggy has a thing for the Sachs team so it took a lot of self control to not stalk Timmerman around and only shoot his bike, but I think I got a fair sampling of the other racers. Huzzah!
Only set of elite dreadlocks I’ve seen all season. This was a rare moment.
The elite pit area. Kinda pointless on a nice, dry course.
Product placement. Ahem. Good to see Brian Matter races with an Edge 500, like Eric Smith.
Chase Dickens leads the “Chase” group. OK he’s not leading the chase group but the pun doesn’t work if I use Jake Wells so relax.
Timmerman rolls across the line. What’s with the kid and his reckless eyeballin’?
The end of July means the cyclocross deviants emerge from their lairs/right wing militia bunkers and start assessing their cross needs for the upcoming season. Independent Bicycle Dealers, take advantage of their lethargy and partially hindered motor skills to sell them the necessary tools of the trade like tubular tires, glue, cantilever brakes, back issues of “The Ruby Ridge Examiner” and various embrocations and balms (including handlebar mustache wax). A good place to look for cyclocross ideas is the upcoming Hawley Masterlink for August, chock full of farm-raised, hand-picked cyclocross goodies from our always eager product managers. Find the hidden acrostic relating to the Randy Weaver threat source profile and take an extra 5 percent off your first pallet of beer hand-up palm adhesive. Have a frank and productive weekend. Also do plenty of this:
This cake appeared in the Hawley Beta Breakroom today. Questions were asked, walnuts were consumed:
I know I intimated no more posts about cyclocross because road and mountain season are in full swing (for some, they never ended) and most of our dealers haven’t sold a single cyclocross related product in days/hours. That being said, after a lot of hand wringing and collar tugging, I was able to find a spot with solid WiFi and reasonably priced caffeinated beverages Sunday morning for the World Champioship. Of course, the REAL race was the day before (Beloften) as Lars van der Haar showed off the Dutch might that made the East India Company the scourge of commerce during a 45 minute duel with Belgium’s Wietses Bosmans. On the last lap, things got chippy if not downright rude. Van Der Heijden bridged up and then “things” started happening. Mainly Bosmans shoulder checks Van Der Heijden (4:57) and then more shoulder rubbing, but not of a sensual variety, but of a “I’m freakin’ out!” variety. It was old fashioned, last-person-standing, bare knuckle racing the kind a dum dum like Nick Saban could relate to (ie, DIRTY). Van Der Heijden starts passing in the sand and then Bosmans sends his bike perpendicular. Hey, sometimes things just happen, don’t make this weird man. Link to the final lap embedded in the last screenshot. You be the judge…
Speaking of dirty tactics and kill-or-be-killed mindsets, no stranger to the thunderdome that is the Receiving Department, today is Dave’s last day at Hawley. Dave’s weapon of choice in the Receiving Thunderdome was a double ply clipboard and a serrated scalping cutlass dipped in cobra venom. Fare thee well Dave, you are dead to me.
The great thing about cyclocross compared to mountain biking is that with the latter, when it’s nasty out, you’re advised to stay off the bike and give the trails some time to drain and with the former, the nastier it is the better because nobody cares about public parks, disc golf fairways and parking lots and apparently being covered in mud makes great photography subjects. While that isn’t technically true, it’s nebulousness and over-arching generality makes it seem true, so it is. After the “conditions” argument against mountain biking and for cross, mountain biking wins in every comparison. That being said, Bloggy can say that he is genuinely excited about this weekend’s world championship. No doubt we’ve read about the treacherous sand (and the Shai Hulud dwelling below), the huge crowds (40,000 tickets sold with another 10,000 counterfeits being printed up), the vast quantities of alcohol ordered (Kokaijde means “nature’s urinal in Flemish) and the American contingent looking to make their mark this year (I bet my left kidney Driscoll podiums). What we haven’t read about is where you plan on inviting Bloggy to view the race with you. I like waffles, grits, scrambled eggs, blueberry bagels, mimosas, french press anything and the less conversation the better so keep that in mind before you send me your evite. Also, I’m lactose intolerant and my silverware needs to be kosher. Keeping things on the Heule tip, here’s another gopro video from his Koksijde practice lap. This is a lovely lead-in (or lead-out) to mention the new-for-2012 Go Pro camera mounts from our machinist friends K-Edge. These are strong, lightweight and can be used on the bars or the saddle. The Go Pro adapter mount (SD9980) lets you attach your camera to things like skateboards or helicopter blades if cycling isn’t cutting it for you anymore but you still want to see some visual proof of your activites. HDBR9502 and HDBR9504 will satisfy your handlebar mount needs while SD9984 is for the saddle rail view, ie “that dude WAS staring at my backside, lasciviously!”…
Here’s some hot Go Pro action from Christian Heule…
Bloggy found himself an hour from the first round of the NCCX in Sandhills so I figured I’d give it go, then meet up with Teenwolf the following day in Raleigh for round 2. I showed up late and had time for a quick warm up lap to scout the course while I wolfed down a cold bagel. Lots of sand including a loose downhill whose line I wouldn’t solve until the penultimate lap of my race. It was chilly, my skinsuit was in the bag and my warm wear was nowhere to be found. I then remembered I grabbed a bottle of the new-for-Hawley ELITE warming oil (BODY8070, not online yet, but it WILL be) from Patrick last week. It’s not embrocation but a light, somewhat slick oil with capsicum that provides instant warmth without the moisture activated heat from regular embrocations. I worked it into my legs and arms in the most non-erotic method I could muster without titillating any of my fellow parking lot compatriots. Needless to say, the oil was pretty awesome and my parking lot compatriots seemed unnerved by the spectacle. I didn’t look like a hot oil wrestler and it warmed me up for the standard 10 minutes of standing around at the start line. The start went horrible as I found myself in the back being gapped from the start. I would spend the race yo yo-ing with a group of racers until I found myself with two fine fellows who seemed content to ride together. Feeling frisky, I tried to gap them on the pavement leading into the final lap. My gap achieved, I bonked in the grassy power section and finished 10-15 seconds behind my cohorts I had attacked only a few minutes earlier. As usual, the combination of American Classic tubulars and Challenge Grifos were “jam up jelly tight”. Sadly, I’m pretty sure Stephen Hawking could handle a bike better than me right now. Ugh, makes me sick to think of how much time I lost on that sandy downhill. Oh well, lesson learned. This was the new Hawley kits debut at a race so if anybody has pictures of me almost eating it in the sand pit, shoot me an email. Here are some random pics I snapped from the race…
One of the Shields twins goes nuts and attempts to ride the pit, which she did until the hairpin…
Super-fresh Ibis in the Masters race. Alpha Q fork, ahhh gone but not forgotten.
The leading women’s duo prep for dismount.
Men’s race starts with the customary trackstand.
I ate three curried beef chalupas washed down with a 64 ounce Diet Mountain Dew a few minutes before my race to provide the fuel my body would need. As luck would have it, there was a fresh porta-john near the staging area waiting to be desecrated with my spicy innards. No regrets baby, no regrets. Stink fumes are barely visible.
During the race, there was a particularly drunken group of hecklers who were giving out drug-laced Twizzlers to unsuspecting riders and children alike. While I enjoy the works of Carlos Castaneda, I have no interest in living through them, let alone racing in them. I prefer my psychedelic desert landscapes like everybody else, airbrushed on the side of a Chevy van outside my Uncle Chico’s house.
The Twizzler crew, chased from the tree barriers make camp on one of the climbs. I asked them for a beer and heard audible gasps of disbelief. Prudes!
I passed this fellow on both days. I nicknamed him The Ogre. The racer next to him was six foot ten inches tall, 290 pounds. They say the Ogre’s frame was fashioned from leftover Alaskan pipeline materials and welded together by a wizard. There is also a good chance he tried to kill me and eat my bones on lap 2. But keeping my wits about me, I escaped the ogre on a right hand turn and left him to the hapless Twizzler hecklers.
The tree barriers were treacherous for many a racer. Their height made traversing them a choice between climbing over them or leaping while their width made portage a tricky affair. Needless to say, I made sure to approach these with caution.
As I alluded to yesterday, I made the mistake of passing a gentleman close to the finish, thus setting myself up for an embarrassing sprint finish. As luck would have it, I found a picture of the intrepid racer and opportunist. Those curried beef chalupas were banging outside the proverbial gates and I had no time for last place glory.
And just as my race started in the proverbial crapper on the 98th row, it ended in the proverbial crapper too! You can’t plan on these things happening folks. Once again, thanks to Jose and American Classic for helping me procure the Carbon 58 wheels. Also big ups to Paul S. for welding a frame I’m not worthy to race on!
With a hankering for some masochism and a desire to indulge my interest in “Homicide” and “The Wire” shooting locales (where was Yaphet Kotto buried anyway?), Bloggy packed his carpetbag and headed north to bucolic Baltimore, Maryland for a weekend of sightseeing and cross racing. Charm City Cross was held at Druid Hill Park and its UCI status meant all sorts of folks were going to show up… and show up they did! Belgians, Brits, Germans, Pennsylvanians, etc. A veritable who’s who of East Coast cyclocross enthusiasts! My reasoning for entry into the B-race was two fold. The first being to see where my fitness (lack thereof) stood for the upcoming North Carolina series and more importantly, to see if my tubular gluing job would hold up under duress. For those who don’t know, our good friends at American Classic make carbon tubulars with a 58mm deep section rim (WHEL78904 for those of you who run Campy) just itching for ankle deep sand and mud bogs. The bearings are smoother than tadpole rumps which makes for “real fast going”. For a 58mm wheel, the weight wasn’t too shabby for the carrying and such as my arms felt good and rubbery after each race. I was genuinely excited and nervous. American Classic “hustla” Robert Marion was there racing as was a another guy in our B race wearing an American Classic kit so I figured the wheels were worth their weight in cyclocross gold which calmed me down. For both days, I was stuck on like row 98 or something at the start so it took a while for the field to spread out. After lots of brake grabbing and slow downs, I was able to give the wheels and the newly glued Challenge Grifos (TIRE84245) a work out. They performed flawlessly both days. Huzzah! The couple of mud bogs were easily navigated as the wheels cut through the mucky muck like a laser beam. Sunday saw a surprise dual sandpit added to the B race after the Elite race. I cleared the pits no problem until the last lap, but that was more fatigue and a laissez-faire attitude towards fighting for 80th place than a wheel problem. Sadly, I made the mistake of passing with a few hundred yards to go and was then summarily out-sprinted to the line as I fought down mouthfuls of exertion-laced puke. Dang, that was humiliating. All in all, the races were tons of fun and the spectators were in good if not seriously drunken spirits. Twenty 20 cycling is a primo bike shop and puts on a great race. A weekend with so many logistical challenges was run like clockwork. My helmet is off to Twenty 20 and all the good folks who made a great race happen. I’ll definitely be back next year…
The motley rabble of 125 racers. Relaxed and at attention…
I called this guy Pony Boy and always tried to keep him within my sights. Not for any reason, I just happened to enjoy looking at his ponytail.
Here’s what the leading trio looked like. I would never see these guys, ever. Therefore, they never existed; and yet, there they are.
I have nothing against this racer, but we’ve got to stop this unnecessary leg tattoo trend from going any further. Arms are bad enough. Like I said, I’m sure the guy is super nice!
More leg tattoos that make little to no sense. This doesn’t appear to have any script, just a squidy black cloud of ink. Nice form though!
The run-up featured a sharp downhill into a hairpin and then the widely spaced “steps”. You dismounted at the top and just hung on for dear life as people stood by giving you helpful tips like “Hurry” and “Hup”. Thanks guys!
The aforementioned American Classic Carbon 58 wheels attached to my beloved Jacques Lobster. These wheels are utterly ridiculous and waaaaaay more than Bloggy needs, but it’s good to be excessive every now and then.
… SECRET TRAINING. Grass covered cross bike from an early morning cross practice session. Challenge Grifo aramid bead tires (TIRE75403) make an optimal commuter tire as well. Same tread but beefier rubber for all of the road garbage in Lexington county. The season is fast approaching, time to fine tune your skillz.
First things first, happy Monday wage slaves. We trust your weekend was restful and full of episodes of “The Closer” (on TNT) re-runs. Bloggy has been trying to upgrade from the lowly realm of CX4 all winter and this weekend would be his last chance until next season which meant no re-runs of “The Closer” (on TNT). Durham was the place and NCCX#13 was the race. Simply put, the race was in this order: race track, infield, grass, gravel, off camber, run-up, single track, barriers, gravel, race track; Repeat 5 times. Needless to say, it was infinitely enjoyable. 54 racers towed the line and with a field that size, there’s usually some carnage… and carnage there was! The infield section saw a wreck 30 seconds into the race but Bloggy was lucky enough to steer clear yet lost sight of the lead group. Realizing the chance for upgrade points were riding away, Bloggy and a few other riders gave chase and eventually started reeling riders in like Bill Dance reels in bucket mouths. On the penultimate lap, moves were made and “Days Of Thunder” oaths were muttered as I suddenly found myself in second. First was within sight but would I be able to avoid mishap? Of course not. Coming out of the woods, a lapped rider veered to the right just a bit too much and our wheels clashed and we both ground to a halt. As I watched 1st nimbly hop over the barriers, I realized my second place was in danger. IMMINENT DANGER. Sure enough, after dis-entangling from the straggler, third place was on my wheel. We went over the barriers together (sounds vaguely romantic) and made our way back to the entrance to the track. On the steep incline, I gave a hard kick to give myself a gap but to no avail. Third was still there as we pulled through turn three of the track. I glanced over my shoulder and gave another kick for a few seconds. No dice. He was behind me like Nasty Nate as we came around turn four into the final few hundred yards. Not having the legs, skill or inclination to sprint, I halfheartedly countered as third sprinted by me. Oh well, the upgrade points were secure and my bibs were still unsoiled from the exertion, a moral victory. As we rounded turn two to cool off (and do the uber-cool on the bike handshake), some of the run-up hecklers went “Nice sprint dude!” Curses, I thought my feeble effort had gone unnoticed but the cross spectator’s trenchant wit is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-heckling. The “love” felt good and I saluted my cheering section in a fashion that befitted the occasion. As we rolled around in the infield, a weird, one might describe as an almost friendly feeling of camaraderie pervaded the racers as people swapped stories about the off-camber freakouts before the run-up or the big sweeping gravel turn that was looser than granddaddy’s stool or the mucozoidal life form i spat on lap three that missed a kindly old spectator’s face by a nanometer knowing that the cyclocross sun was setting on a seaon that is one of the longest in the country (if not the world!). Some interesting things of note: 1) Not much climbing per lap so the course designer included more twists, wooded twisty singletrack and a well placed run-up that hurt just enough to make sure the power riders didn’t ride away with things. 2) Free coffee provided by Counter Culture who are good people doing good things and making really awesome coffee who also like the new Hawley logo and who also let Bloggy drink about seven gallons of coffee. 3) Sausage wagon slingin’ the sausage. 4) Free beer, two locations! 5) A rider recognizing Bloggy’s Hoffenchard kit from a short track race last year in Charlotte. He said “Yeah, I remember one of you guys. You did like one race. You never came back” I.e. “you got freaking dominated” Chapeau! Check out this in-your-face photo-graphical evidence…