Here’s mud in your eye (or not)

My 1998 Steelman Eurocross didn’t get muddy today, either.
I’da wanted mud, I’da had to pee a damp spot into the dust.

The great thing about being a retired cycling scribe is that if there’s a race going on that you don’t care about, you don’t have to watch.

So instead of finding some way to catch cyclocross worlds over the Innertubes, I went out and rode my own damn cyclocross bike for 90 minutes.

Your Humble Narrator on the job during a rare soft day at the Bear Creek Cyclo-cross. As you can see, I am a veritable blur of activity.

I watched one lap of yesterday’s women’s race on YouTube earlier in the day, and that was enough. The Fayetteville course looks like a lot of fun, and I hope it hosts many years of exciting racing.

But I’m sorry. I gotta have filth.

No knock against the race organization — they couldn’t get a hammerlock on the Arkansas legislature, so you know they can’t control the weather — but I gots to have me some evil weather, mud and/or snow, equipment failures, spectacular crashes, pit strategy, and all the rest of the unpredictability sweepstakes that keeps a ’cross from turning into a dirt crit.

I promoted a few dirt crits in my day, but in my defense I will say that the Dogs at Large Velo races in Bibleburg were always intended to provide a gentle transition from road season to ’cross season. Occasionally we got a bit of weather to make the Bear Creek course interesting, but generally it was pretty predictable.

Me, I lived for the sloppy conditions we’d get at Chatfield, Fort Collins, or the horse park in Franktown. The kind of race where you spend so much time off the bike and running that your cyclocomputer goes to sleep. And you have to clean up in a nearby car wash afterward — bike, spare bike, and kit —  because the wife caught you doing it in the shower once and you’re lucky she still lets you into the house, much less your slime-soaked gear.

Of course, the course and conditions don’t seem to have much effect on the actual finishing order. I notice the strong people mostly win wherever and whenever.

So, congrats to all the freshly minted world champions in Fayetteville. I hope that shiny new kit gets dirty one of these days.

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12 Responses to “Here’s mud in your eye (or not)”

  1. JD Says:

    Geesh, P’OG. If you’d have started a cyclocross/gravel/MTB line of clothing based on what you wore then, you’d be runnin’ with some of the “stylin'” current cycling clothing producers. What goes around comes around, eh?! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve always been ahead of my time, JD.

      Actually, that was my race director’s garb. I think I came prepared to race that day but found myself shorthanded and pissing out various fires, so I just roared around the course on my Eurocross, tending to this and that.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I’ve been amazingly lazy this week. Barely rode at all. Took out the folding Giant Halfway to do some shopping today rather than start the car. So that was it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I got in four rides (two on the Eurocross, two on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff) and two short runs. One day off. As a Professional Layabout, I find that if I don’t do something nearly every day I will degenerate into sloth and torpor.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Mix a guitar, a good beer, sloth, a little torpor, COVID-19, and retirement and what do you get? Me, more or less. But, I got a new hiking bag and the buzzworms are still asleep, so I think a hike today should shake me out of it. I will take a good piece of hickory with me.

        • Herb from Michigan Says:

          Nothing worse than mid afternoon torpor where you are listless and haven’t done a fekking thing all day. You realize all you are is of your own making, and by Zeus you’ll have to get up and at em. Well you lads don’t have to bundle up against the 9 degrees like old Herb but nonetheless it takes gumption for you both to suit up/gear up and hit the trails. Keep it up boyz-I trust it will keep your brain cells firing and the snappy commentary coming.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Nine degrees. Oof. I remember those days. And not fondly, either.

            I’ve had it easy this January, with temps in the 40s to 50s. That’s about to change, according to the weather wizards. This is one reason I wanted to get back to running, if only casually. Pounding ground keeps that core temp up and reduces the wind chill.

            Also, you don’t gotta do it for long. Herself’s motto is: “C’mon. We can do anything for 30 minutes.”

          • Shawn Says:

            I had a friend up in the land north of the Great White North who had a father who ran year round. Every once in a while at the University (UAF), we’d see Corky (the father’s name) trotting along in the minus 30F temps. There was conversation at that time about the harm of exercising in the cold, but it was clear later on that the real harm was from the air stagnated pollution in the ice fog floating around at town level. If you got out and about up in the hills above the ice fog, all was well. As for the harm, well my friend’s father is doing well although retired and residing in a little warmer State.

            As for my excuse about exercise at this time, I’m working on living up to your jersey motto.

    • B Lester Says:

      I’m on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, and the only bikes being ridden here are clamped to something in the basement. I’ve been spending the first month of my early retirement taking walks around the ‘hood. My Garmin laughs at me, going about 3 mph, but whatev’… My city has a great paved trail system, but unlike some municipalities around here, doesn’t plow it. I think I’ll eventually try to pick up a reasonably priced fat tire rig. Even 3 inch mountain bike tires just bog down in the stuff.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Real winter is a bitch. I haven’t had to deal with it for many a moon. On the rare heavy-snow day in Bibleburg we might XC-ski the streets or a neighborhood park; if it wasn’t too deep or too heavy we might slog through it on mountain bikes with insanely low pressures. Running was dicey because some of the FreeDummies refused to shovel their sidewalks, and you didn’t want to be in the street because your average Bibleburger drives in the snow about as well as a goat plays the saxophone.

        In Weirdcliffe we could snowshoe a good chunk of our 43-acre property. There was plenty of vertical gain to be had, too. But some days it was just too bloody cold to go out for anything other than more firewood.

        • Cranky Oldguy Says:

          I was feeling cranky after my ride yesterday to the market so i followed Mark Bittman’s recipe and baked a loaf of no-knead bread in the dutch oven. I surprised myself how good it came out.

  3. SAO' Says:

    For today’s edition of Maddog Out of Context™️, we present:

    “Because the wife caught you doing it in the shower once and you’re lucky she still lets you into the house.”

    Thank you, and please enjoy the waitstaff and don’t forget to tip the veal.

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