Some lovely filth

Your Humble Narrator makes the masters-45 podium at the 1999 Colorado state championships. Photo: Neal McQuarie

The USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships are going on in Louisville, and some decidedly un-’crosslike weather is going on in Albuquerque.

This is nothing new. The weather, that is. I began losing my interest in ’cross about the same time everybody else “discovered” it, in part because winter was starting to seem like something you saw in old movies, or that only the graybeards talked about.

“You call this winter? Pssh! Why, back in ’98. …”

For me, getting cold and muddy was about half the fun. While all the roadies were doing squats in the gym, riding fixed gears on the street, or even worse, sitting on the trainer in front of some old Tour tapes, a select few of us were running around in the slush, wearing thick coats of goo, broad grins, and perfectly rideable bicycles.

“Ooo, there’s some lovely filth over ’ere!”

Anyway, thinking about ’cross and the lack of proper weather for same reminded me of a BRAIN column from 2002, and that constitutes the bulk of this week’s episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, which got a bum call-up and thus is a little slow getting off the start line.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone, Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack, and the old 2009 iMac. Background music is “Newborn,” a jingle lifted from Apple’s iMovie, which also supplied the “Medal Ceremony” opener.

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18 Responses to “Some lovely filth”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Sure beats running, which is what I did today for the first time in a dog’s age. And boy, does my ankle hurt….

    • JG Says:

      Lots ‘o running in Louisville today – maybe more than most wanted… big props to all that finished!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Are you down there, JG? Looks pretty gooey from the pix over at Cyclocross Magazine. Gonna stay that way today? I may have to clap my peepers on the streaming video.

        • JG Says:

          No – not in KY. We were watching the streaming video in the shop.avoiding real work… Jake Wells showed off his running style in the Men’s single speed win.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Well done indeed. Never work when you can watch ’cross on TV. Or better yet, in person. Or even better yet, race it yourself.

          The junior men’s race was killer. The elite races are gonna be loads of laughs. I’d like to see my homegirl Katie Compton take another title, but man, she’s had a tough year.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Running was the only thing that kept me in the game. Give me a national holiday, some truly foul weather to keep the fast guys at home, and a course that was about two-thirds running, and I wouldn’t be DFL.

      K, I hope you remembered to start slow. Jog a little, walk a little, jog a little. Definitely walk those descents until the carcass recovers its notions of what is right and proper. Nothing like running downhill to send you to the hurt locker if you haven’t pounded ground in a while.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I did the jog/walk gig today. I’m a lot heavier than I was when I ran pretty well but that was thirty years and twenty pounds ago….

        • Hurben Says:

          I can’t run anymore, which guts me, I did distance running for 45 years until my knees gave up. Nowadays I cycle but it’s not the same, running defined me, I was a runner.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          The Army ruined running for me for a lifetime. I ran a 5 mile leg on a marathon team in the Mule Mountain Marathon charity run in 1984. That reminded me how much I hated it. Haven’t ran since, except to avoid getting run over by traffic. Carrying a bike should be limited to portages.

          • Steve O Says:

            Same here. Airborne shuffle, 30 inch steps at 3 mph, ruined my knees. Wearing the wrong shoes ruined my arches. Then I inherited my dads inflexibility. Light non-competitive jogging has gifted me with plantar fasciitis, double torn meniscus (menisci?), a blown Achilles, and tendinitis just about everywhere.

            The worst part is, every time I went in to sick call, they doubled up the 800 mg ibuprofen and said, see ya tomorrow. So I got zilch from the VA. Fortunately all that cross dressing I did got me a Section 8, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          But it’s so much fun!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I think my man Hal would be devastated if he couldn’t run. That’s been his primary form of exercise and a defining feature of his personality for as long as I’ve known him.

        He’s always kept trim — I think he goes about 150 pounds these days — and so far, knock on wood, none of his injuries have been career-enders.

        Me, I like running a couple days a week so I have something to do outdoors when the weather sucks. I have a few little aches and pains here and there, and my form is not a thing of beauty, but if I can run some rolling trail for 45 minutes to an hour or so I’m content.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    ‘Cross in most parts of the USA seems like ice-hockey in Las Vegas…or ‘cross in Las Vegas. Or like roller-skiing when it’s a perfectly fine day to be out riding a bicycle. The wife was pretty good at it (the ‘cross) with a way-cool Guerciotti/Alan bike and plenty of hard-won trophies and medals. Me, not so much.
    Closest we get to rough stuff these days is vintage bikes on dirt roads or perhaps when we scope out Napoli a bit more today, we might end up bringing down the ancient MTB’s instead of road bikes? We’re going out on a private tour this morning to get a better idea of how, well….interesting the cycling might be here. I’ve already chosen the bikes that will likely be stolen!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, when it became flavor of the month ’cross was in a lot of places it seemed … well, out of place.

      I’m serious when I say I used to drag the kit post-race to a car wash. More than once after a race in Fort Collins or Boulder I had the bikes, my shoes, skinsuit, helmet and gloves up against the wall in a concrete stall, hosing it all down with the wand.

      We used to have some truly filthy races, in the kind of weather that gave you second thoughts about making the drive from home to the venue. And there were no power washers in the pits, this being something of a low-rent activity Back in the Day®. Buckets and brushes were more like it, maybe the occasional plastic jug with a hand pump.

      Once I quit racing I still rode a ’cross bike pretty much everywhere because it was so versatile — a gravel bike before gravel bikes were cool — but sometimes on heavy snow days I’d ride the mountain bike for the lower profile and fatter tires. Either that or snowshoe or ski.

      Now I just run. Simpler.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    My favorite bike wash photo of all time is on the blog, just scroll down to the bottom to see the founder of GIOS, Tolmino himself “washing” a bike by throwing it into the river! Probably less damaging than the power washers of today?

  4. Roger Caldwell Says:

    Nice pic! We were so much younger then, and better looking too.

  5. Libby Says:

    Oops , didn’t see this post! I love the pretty picture and will listen to the podcast!

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