Archive for the ‘Cyclo-cross’ Category

Stupor Sunday

February 2, 2020

His Excellency confers with the underside of his eyelids.

As you can see, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant Miss Mia Sopaipilla can’t wait for The Big Game to get under way.

We don’t follow the feets ball here at El Rancho Pendejo, having gotten our fill of artificially augmented athletes at that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla stands watch at the rear portcullis.

Indeed, we watch no televised sports of any kind, preferring to participate rather than spectate.

Oh, sometimes I’ll watch the U.S. cyclocross nationals, or ’cross worlds, if I can find a free feed uncontaminated by bots, viruses, Trojan horses, poltergeists, pixies, h’ants, djinni, cooties, boogers, and other agents of Chaos.

But I didn’t even watch worlds this weekend. My gal Katie Compton just missed the podium after a poor start, and Mathieu van der Poel — well, let’s just say that the dude might as well have been racing all by himself.

Anyway, this morning I had other concerns. Ironically, they involved my own doping regimen.

As I stumbled into the kitchen Herself intercepts me and goes all like: “Bad news. The coffee grinder’s broken again.”

Happily, she’d managed to brew just enough joe for me to pour a shot in each eyeball and then get to work rebooting the evil sonofabitch.

Happy solstice

December 21, 2019

The Sandias, as captured by my “new” iPhone SE.

O sweet irony, that the first day of winter should be the warmest we’ve had all week.

Your Humble Narrator has been doing more running than riding lately, so once the temperature inched past 45 I scooted out the door with a Steelman Eurocross and logged a refreshing 90 minutes on mixed terrain.

I didn’t want to ride a bunch of road, because all the drivers are drunk and texting relatives about what size orthopedic socks to buy Uncle Junior for Christmas and will they fit under his ankle monitor. And I didn’t want to ride a bunch of trails because all the cyclists are using them to hide from the drunk, texting drivers. Thus, “mixed terrain.” Keep the fuckers guessing.

I took my “new” iPhone SE with me, but didn’t think to take any snaps until I got home. The transition from iPhone 5 to iPhone SE was surprisingly simple — swap SIM cards, charge and boot the SE, load it with an iTunes backup of the 5, zip and zip and zip. Mere minutes only. And everything seems to be working. Even the old Tech 21 case fits like a glove.

It goes without saying that my first two calls on the “new” phone came from bots. But I’m saying it anyway.

And I’m also saying, “A happy solstice to thee and thine.” Grianstad Sona Daoibh!

Slainte, Katie

December 16, 2019

You can’t always be the windshield. Some days you’re the bug.

It happened to Katie Compton yesterday at U.S. cyclocross nationals in Tacoma. She never looked quite herself, barring one stellar, gutsy, downhill pass early on. But she never quit — she hung grimly on to finish third behind Clara Honsinger and runner-up Rebecca Fahringer.

“Yeah, I’m disappointed, but mostly I just didn’t feel that great, and it’s always hard to not have your best day, but that’s OK,” Compton told Cyclingnews. “It’s good to see Clara and Becca riding as well as they are.”

And it’s good to see the 15-time national champ gutting it out to the finish, clawing her way back onto the podium when it looked like a lost cause, and praising the two riders who finally dethroned her. She may have lost the jersey, but she’s still a champion.

Here’s mud in your eye

December 13, 2019

That old cyclocrossin’ gang of mine from the Nineties, at a race in Fort Collins. Lee Waldman (second from right) is still at it: He just took fifth in the 70-74 race in Tacoma.

If you’re weary of watching the mudslinging in DeeCee, why not change the channel to cyclocross nationals in Tacoma?

You can stream Sunday’s elite races live at Cyclocross Magazine‘s website or at USA Cycling’s YouTube channel. M’boy Tim Johnson will be providing commentary along with Meredith Miller and Brad Sohner.

Sounds like a runner’s course out there. My kind of course. I coulda been there instead of here, in Palookaville. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.

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.