Category Archives: Cyclocross

‘Cross and Company

I had an exciting weekend.  Okay, much of the cycling world and many local Louisvillians had an exciting weekend.  The UCI Cyclocross World Championships were held here in Louisville.  This is the first time the event has been held outside of Europe.

In addition, Jenny & Shawn from San Francisco flew to town and stayed with me for the insanity.  I’d never met them in person, but I feel like I’ve known them from Google+.

The races were originally planned for Saturday and Sunday.  The Ohio River had other plans, and was encroaching on the ‘cross course.  The city was using pumps and sandbags to slow it down, but it was a losing battle.  The races were rescheduled to get them all done Saturday before the river raised anymore.

Although they rented a car upon arriving in town late Friday, parking for the races would be problematic.  The couple from California were going to ride bikes to the race in the morning!

We woke to a snowy scene.  There’s was probably an inch of fresh accumulation and the roads had not been cleared.  Shawn rode my Fargo, Jenny the rSogn.  These bikes did not fit them properly, but it worked.  I rode the Big Dummy.

Not quite a winter wonderland
Not quite a winter wonderland

We carefully made our way to North End Cafe for breakfast.  After a satisfying breakfast, it was a short ride to the already-packed venue.  Bike parking was not done well.  We had to chain to a fence, along with dozens (hundreds?) of other bikes.  Having three of my fleet left alone for hours was a bit worrying.

Shortly after arriving we ran into Geoff from Rhode Island.  He’s another Google+ user we know.  He stayed in a hotel in town.

Shawn, Jenny, and Geoff - a G+ reunion
Shawn, Jenny, and Geoff – a G+ reunion

I don’t follow racing.  I know how cyclocross is run, but I don’t know who the racers are.  For me, it was more of a party with bikes.  I walked around in the mud and snow, drank beer, took pictures, and did a lot of people watching.

I eventually found Tim.  We wandered around together a while during the U23 (under 23) race and the women’s race.  We found quite a few the regular Louisville crew.

Ah, yes, people watching...
Ah, yes, people watching…

The fans were out in force.  I’d guess that most people at the event were not locals.  I heard several different languages being spoken, including Flemish from some of the Belgians.

Muddy cyclists
Muddy cyclists

Tim and I settled in with Louisville locals near an area of the course with barriers that most riders dismounted and ran over.  A few riders would bunny-hop them.  It would gain them a second, but risked a crash if they did it wrong.

He's not risking a crash
He’s not risking a crash

Normally, I’d say these Louisville fans are the craziest, but they had stiff competition.

Do More Drugs!
Do More Drugs!

I’m betting the guy at the bottom right of the picture is not named Clif.

Clif?
Clif?

This is how you do the barriers if you’re feeling invincible.  He did a good job here, but he didn’t win.

Bunny Hop!
Bunny Hop!

Cyclocross is all about mud.  We had plenty of it.  My boots will never be the same.

Feetprints
Feetprints

The river was definitely encroaching on the course.

Flooding
Flooding

As the Elite Men’s race was getting near the weather turned colder and the snow returned.  Luckily, I was well fortified with Vitamin B(eer). I would assume this intrepid soul was also.

Showing his pride, and his cyclist legs
Showing his pride, and his cyclist legs

The Elite Men’s race was a mud-fest.  Forget getting a feel for the course.  They were getting a taste of it.

Mmmm.  Mud.
Mmmm. Mud.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Cookie Monster for now.  Later, I’ll tell you about the after-parties and such.

Cookies!  Drugs!
Cookies! Drugs!

Stupidification

I spent the weekend spending too much money on food, beer, and bike parts.  Now I’m going to be poor for a week and a half.  So much for being financially responsible.

I also almost hot hit by a car on Sunday night.  It was dark, but I was well lit and wearing a reflective vest.  The car coming up fast behind me left some tire on the road to keep from hitting me.  It was certainly a bit of an adrenaline boost.  The guy/gal driving was speeding and overtaking a car on the right when it happened.  This was on Eastern Parkway.  I had no time to react.  I brushed it off at the time, but it’s been bothering me all day today.

I don’t need money to have fun.  I met up with Tim for some more ‘cross after work today.  I hadn’t bothered to bring cycling clothes to work with me, so I was riding a touring bike (with fenders!) on a ‘cross course while wearing business casual (I lean more to the casual side).

Normally, nobody would notice, but there was a sizable group of cyclists practicing.  This group was nearly 50% women.  Young, attractive, fit women.  Yikes.  I had to get out of there.

‘Cross Is Hard

Damn.  Tim invited me out for ‘cross training tonight.  We’re considering a ‘cross race on 10/30.

  1. We’ll get lapped – and a I guess that’s a DNF
  2. I suck at cross

I’ll do it anyway if he does (or Patrick for that matter), but I’m a lemming.  I’m not a leader.

We did two easy laps and two “hot” laps.  I just followed Tim on the easy laps.  No problem.  I fell far behind on the “hot” laps.  We did the last one in reverse, and I mistakenly missed a turn and went down stairs.  I kept the bike upright but my feet came off the pedals, and my hands barely held unto the bars.  I was bouncing on the saddle.  Ouch.

In an actual race the course would be better marked, but I still suck.  I also don’t have a ‘cross bike.  That’s right, I used my LHT, a touring bike, for ‘cross training.

In addition to being a bit heavy, the LHT is outfitted with Schwalbe Marathon tire… not idea, but fine for training.  If I race, I’ll switch them out.  It also has a rack and fenders, which would be removed for the race.

What I can’t change is the geometry.  The low bottom-bracket meant I had to be very careful on some of the turns to avoid pedal strike.

Tim has his view of it here.

His take is that I would be better off on my single-speed on that course.  I think he’s right.  I could strip the fenders, lights, and rack from it and put on some better tires and be good to go.  The pink bar-tape is just an extra point.  :)