Tag Archives: Cyclocross

There Will Be Mud!

And sand! And run ups! And barriers!

Running through the sand at the Georgia State Championship.

I have found a new love.  Cyclocross.  Now my road bike has even more reason to glare at me from its prison on the trainer.  My mountain bike is crying outside in the garage.  The cyclocross bike that I’m borrowing…she’s chomping at the bit to get ridden more.  (Sorry Kurt, but I’ve decided your bike is a girl.)

My first two races in the Georgia Cross series were done on  Frankenbike 2 after I pumped the tires a bit higher and played with the fork settings.  Here’s a quick clip of me running the barriers at my second race.

I love the advice from my friend who was filming.  “Don’t fall.”  Yeah, right.

For the GA State Championship at Ft. Yargo, I got my hands on a true cyclocross bike.  I only had five days to get used to the lack of suspension.  My first ride was at night in rainy 38 degree weather.  I came home with frozen toes, frozen fingers, and a huge smile frozen on my face.  The day before the race I did a few laps of the local beginner mountain bike trails.  I was even able to keep up with several guys on full suspension 29rs.

The race course had telephone poles, two sets of barriers, and my first sand section.  I had a blast.  The CX4 racers got to do four laps.  I cleared the telephone poles twice and nearly crashed into them on the last lap.  I wasn’t able to ride through the sand on the first two laps, so the last two I didn’t even try.  The last lap I rode alone, trying to bridge about a 15 second gap to a group of four guys that I’ve been chasing at both of the other races I did this year, but it didn’t happen.  Oh well…there’s always next year.  Hopefully I’ll have more time dedicated to training specifically for CX on my own bike.  As it is, I can say that I am the 40th ranked CX4 racer in the state of Georgia.  For anyone who is interested, here is my ride on Strava (which is a great website).

The title for this post references a shirt design from an awesome design group Stomach of Anger.  You should get the t-shirt.


Bring it on 2010!

It’s almost mid-February and by now people have forgotten their New Year’s resolutions.  Usually that would be the case with me.  But this year, I took the time to write down my recreational goals, and I’m going to share them here to keep myself reminded of the lofty ambitions instilled in me with each passing January.  So as I look back on a relatively unproductive first month, resolution-wise, I am reminded that I already have to play catch-up on a whole month’s worth of workouts.

My first resolution is to fix my right knee.  During last year’s ING Georgia Half Marathon, I injured it around mile 4 but still finished the race.  Feeling completely disoriented, I decided I’d rather go with the flow of 11,000 participants than against them.  Maybe not the best decision in retrospect, but at the time it actually hurt more when I walked than when I ran.  Eleven months later, I struggle to run 2 miles without significant pain.  I resolve to actively repair my knee: be it through stretching, weights, non-impact exercise machines, even physical therapy or any combination thereof.

Last year I had a set of mileage goals that I did not achieve, so I am going to use those as my goals again this year:

Swim – 88,000 yds (50 miles, including at least two hour-long continuous swims)

Bike – 2,237 miles (the total distance of the 2010 Tour de France)

Run – 262 miles (10 marathons worth or a long run for Dean Karnazes)

Aside from the general mileage goals, I want to participate in two cycling races (one road; one mountain) and two triathlons, as well as finish my first century ride and maybe even a cyclocross race.  I want to get involved at the velodrome here in Atlanta and complete their beginner’s program.  I want to build a pump track in my backyard.  I also plan on volunteering at 4 trail days.  There is nothing more satisfying for me than riding past the grade reversal I carved out all by myself at a local mountain bike trail. They might pass by in a split second while I’m riding, but those 15 feet of trail give me a sense of ownership far beyond anything else.

Act Two – In which I begin to live the dream

So fast-forward to last year.  I’d continued cycling (now with my own non-pink Masi) and graduated from a sprint triathlon to an Olympic tri, but I was still topping out at about 25 miles a ride.  I was moving to Atlanta to be closer to my fiancée, and I had decided to try my hand at the cycling industry.  Plus, paying to get my bike serviced was getting old.

I walked into a bike shop, told them I wanted a job, and BAM—my foot’s in the door (well, it was a little less instantaneous than “BAM,” but you get my point).  I figure, I’ve been a cyclist for a year or two now, I like reading cycling magazines and getting out on my bike, and I know the different levels of Shimano componentry—I’ve got it made.

Wrong.  I never felt so humbled in my life than that first week at the bike shop. There are still days when my bike knowledge is totally shown up by a customer, but I also found out that cycling was way bigger than just the Tour de France and triathlon world I was familiar with.  Freeriding, pelotons, cyclocross, downhill, velodromes, crit races; the wide world of cycling was turning out to be wide indeed.

Every day I continue to learn something new about cycling.  I regularly conduct “market research,” or at least that’s what I tell my wife as I bring home scores of old cycling magazines.  The best part of working at a bike shop, aside from the discounted schwag, is getting other people excited about cycling.  I don’t care if it’s a soccer mom buying an entry level road bike for her first triathlon; a downtown hipster converting some old, rusty, vintage Schwinn to a fixie; or a full-face helmet, knee-pad wearing high-schooler. I love getting excited with and for other people.