Archive for the ‘Cyclo-cross’ Category

After you, Alphonse. …

September 11, 2019

The old DBR Axis TT still rolls a lot better than I do.

For a change it was the other fella on a cyclocross bike and Your Humble Narrator on a mountain bike.

I was descending a narrow bit of singletrack that he was climbing, so I found a small patch of shoulder and yielded trail.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Great, thanks,” he replied with a grin.

Your cyclocrosser is nothing if not a perfect gent at all times. The rest of you lot could learn something from us.

Though now that I think about it, I suppose he could’ve been a gravel rider. I don’t know a thing about those tossers. A special bike for gravel, is it? D’ye also have ones for road and trail and track so? A cyclocrosser rides his machine where he will and devil take the hindmost.

Now you mention it, his tires did look a little plump for ’cross. Not honest 33mms like the ones on my Steelman.

The cheek of the fuckin’ bastards. Trying to pass themselves off as cyclocrossers on the singletrack. First they take our drop bars, then our knobbies, and before you can say Danny De Bie they’ll be making eyes at our daughters.

Thank God I was on a mountain bike. Now he doesn’t know that I know.

Quaddammit

February 16, 2019

The 36th Mount Taylor Winter Quadradthlon is today.

Don’t look for me in results — it’s been years since I raced the Quad, but I was pretty OK at it a time or two. The bike and run legs, anyway.

Hal’s wife, Mary, and I used to race it as a mixed pair, and we won in 1990, 1992 and 1993.

I was usually in decent shape, being tanned, rested and ready following a long cyclocross season. And Mary was always tip-top, living at altitude up Weirdcliffe way and running around with jackasses, some of them four-legged (ho, ho).

Quadware included Nambé medals and platters.

Hal, of course, did the whole thing solo, which always looked a bit too much like work to me. I was only so-so on snowshoes and an outright hazard on cross-country skis.

This was and remains a toy-heavy pasatiempo, and Hal’s truck would be stuffed to the topper with bikes, wheels, tires, skis, shoes, snowshoes and a ridiculous amount of clothing suited to any and all weather conditions.

Running shoes were augmented with sheet-metal screws in the soles for traction, in case there was ice on the run leg (there usually was).

Clip-on aero bars? Sometimes. Once I used a set of Scott Rakes to good effect, aero bars giving me The Fear on the descent back to Grants.

The bike was usually standard road. In 1990 I was rocking an aluminum Trek 1500 with 53/39 rings and a 13-24 freewheel.

I know I’ve written about the Quad before, but whatever I cranked out is squirreled away on a Zip disk somewhere or in an actual magazine, and I don’t feel like diving down those rabbit holes this morning.

However, I did find a reference to my first Quad in my 1990 training diary, and that reads as follows:

“Big-time pain. I don’t think I’ve felt this bad since I got the shit kicked out of me at Alamogordo last year. Bike leg was slower than I’d hoped for … and my uphill run was fucking awful. Downhill run was better — but not much — and the downhill bike was spiked by the Headwind from Hell.”

Yeah, good times. The Quad will never be the new golf.

• Editor’s note: Hal “Mr. Awesome” Walter notes that I lifted his faux curse “Quadammit” from one of his own works. This explains why a Spotlight search failed to turn it up on any of my hard drives; that, and an admittedly casual approach to petty theft. Give it a read.

Santa Protection Factor

December 23, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is … frightful?

I hope jolly ol’ St. Nick remembers to slather on the SPF 50 when he brings all my toys to the Duke City. Unless he wants his snoot to get redder than Rudolph’s.

Some lovely filth, Kaintucky style

December 16, 2018

Cyclocross! Getcha cyclocross here! Get it while it’s hot!

OK, so more like “Get it while it’s cold and sloppy.”

• Late update: Congrats to Katie Compton on No. 15! Damn, I love watching her race. She puts on the Great Stone Face, hangs out the “Open for Business” sign, and goes to work serving out heaping helpings from that 55-gallon drum of whup-ass.

Some lovely filth

December 15, 2018

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.

Doppelgrinder

November 15, 2018

Me and my shadow.

The little cold snap we’ve been enjoying finally broke, so yesterday I toddled out for a trail run wearing a not-inconsiderable amount of winter wear, and actually felt slightly overdressed — until I turned around into the wind.

Today the wind was still very much with us, but so was the sun, and when the temps finally slouched into the low 50s I went out to greet it.

Holy hell, was that wind brisk. Once again I questioned my garment selection. Long-sleeve polypro henley, long-sleeve jersey, knickers, and full-finger gloves, sure, but no tuque? No tights? No brains? Eeeeeyyugghhh!

Anyway, long story short, I warmed up pretty quickly because I was riding one of Mr. Steelman’s 20-year-old Eurocrosses on the trails around the Elena Gallegos Open Space and definitely not breaking any speed records, even though I never actually jumped off and ran.

There were a few breaks for conversation. My fellow trail users were a chatty lot, and not a grump in the bunch. Hikers, bikers, joggers, doggers, all and sundry were grinning like jackasses eating yellowjackets under the blue, blue skies. Even one mountain biker who’d blown his rear derailleur took it in stride, coasting back to his starting point.

Albuquerque has its problems, to be sure. But November weather mostly ain’t one of ’em.

Stem education

October 28, 2018

Autumn means cyclocross, even if you’re not wearing a number.

We’re back to what passes for normal, weather-wise, in the Duke City, which is to say sunny and warmish.

The uniform of the day is knickers, short sleeves and arm warmers, with long-fingered gloves held in reserve.

On Friday I’d planned a quick outing on Steelman Eurocross No. 1, a mango-colored Reynolds 853 bike. But as I mounted up the front tire felt squishy, and sure enough, there was a slow leak in the sonofabitch.

As I get older, the stems get shorter and steeper.

Happily, we do not lack for two-wheelers here at El Rancho Pendejo, and so I snagged Eurocross No. 2, a red jobber with a couple of shaped True Temper tubes in the frameset and Brent Steelman only knows what else.

It was part of a batch of framesets Brent made for the Clif Bar team back in … 1999? He thought of me when ordering the tubes for no good reason I can think of, other than that he was and is a righteous dude, dudes. And thus I always have a solid backup in the pit, though it’s rare to have to pit before the gun goes off, or even if it never does, since I haven’t raced since 2004.

Somehow this bike wound up with a 110mm, 6° Ritchey WCS stem, which is ridiculous for an inflexible elder of the geezer persuasion, and after a steady diet of shorter, taller stems (and frankly, fatter tires) I often found myself in my own way while horsing it around and about on the local singletrack.

Happily, I didn’t have an audience, it being a workday for the plebes. I like to be laughed at for a narrow selection of reasons, one of which is not the way I ride a ’cross bike on trails.

So, yeah. Yesterday morning I found a 100mm, 25° Giant stem in the parts bin and slapped that on. Boy, did that ever make a difference. It felt like a new bike, if I overlooked the crust of filth, the death-rattle of the beat-to-shit Shimano 600 rear derailleur, and a number of other oversights in dire need of correction.

Afterward, I patched the leak in Steelman No. 1’s front tube, because as any ’crosser will confirm, a pit with no spare bike is the pits.

Reynolds and rabbitbrush

October 22, 2018

Blue and yeller, ’crossin’ feller. The mango Steelman Eurocross is practically camo’ in the rabbitbrush until you lamp those electric-blue Mavic Open Pros.

Interbike 2018: The dream is gone

September 20, 2018

El Grande, being (ahem) gravitationally challenged, rarely participates in the Sport of Kings. Organizers grew tired of the frantic phone calls from the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado.

The inaugural RenoCross took place last night. Alas, neither I, the Mud Stud nor the Old Guy Who Gets Fat in Winter was in attendance.

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of coverage out there at 8 a.m. New Mexico time, though cxmagazine.com has a brief report, results and pix.

My colleague Steve Frothingham had contemplated doing the Wheelers & Dealers race, but his new duties may have kept him in the Show Daily office. The Fake News never sleeps, and it rarely pins on a number.

El Grande did, from time to time. But it usually got swallowed by a roll, crease or fold, and even if he finished none of the judges could see it and thus he never got his just deserts.

Sometimes he didn’t even get beered.

• Next: Relax.

Fubo or FUBAR? You make the call!

February 4, 2018

Videocy.

It’s Super Sunday — unless you’re a cyclocross fan, in which case it’s just another day on the trackless video beach.

I don’t follow racing anymore, but a filthy cyclocross world championships is always worth a look-see, if you can get one.

Alas, it seems the only viewing option for those of us confined to the Land of the Free is a thing called Fubo TV. It got a good review last year from Boy Genius Report. You can sign up for a seven-day free trial, then pay $19.99 for your first month.

But it’s $44.99 per month thereafter and the 80-plus channels seem heavy on the usual ball-and-stick shtick.

One of the reasons we croaked the cable back in the day was that there were a gazillion channels, especially sports channels, that we never watched but got billed for just the same. So, uh, no thank you.

Best of luck to Fubo, especially if it continues to cover cycling, but I’d be happy with a pay-per-view option for the worlds. And I expect a few other cycling fans might like that, too.