Posts Tagged ‘Valmont Park’

Park place

January 13, 2014
From the annuals of VeloNews, circa 1998.

From the annuals of VeloNews, circa 1998.

Chapeau to all the folks who are taking stars-and-stripes jerseys home from Boulder, especially Bibleburg’s very own Katie Compton, who racked up title No. 10 at Valmont Bike Park on Sunday.

Our politically and spiritually unhinged community is home to some top ’cross talent, for reasons that elude me. There’s six-time U.S. ’cross champ Alison Dunlap, who used to live right here in the Patty Jewett Wild Democrat Preserve and can often be seen towing a trailer full of offspring at a pace that makes grown men weep.

And of course there’s Ms. Compton, who seems so genteel and mild-mannered when buying a bottle of wine at Coaltrain, yet come race day can be seen methodically ripping off people’s legs, eating them, and then using the bloody bones to club lesser riders out of her path.

With two such exemplars of the discipline in residence, you’d think some bright person would have had the idea to duplicate Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park down here in God’s Country™, where men are men and so are the women, only more so.

Alas, the Free Hand of the Market is too busy jerking off to fantasies of an Olympic museum, a “multipurpose” stadium and a visitors center for the U.S. Air Force Academy, which already has one.

You know — places for looking at things, instead of actually doing them.

As one-half of the executive team that operates The House Back East™ Bide-a-Wee Vacation Home & Money Laundry, I have yet to encounter a guest who longs to visit museums, stadia and visitors centers.

What they want to do is tackle the Incline, Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods, and Manitou Springs. They want to do stuff, not just look at it. And some of them want to do it while blazing a fatty.

But don’t tell that to the local leadership. They turned this place into Six Flags Over Bethlehem and now it’s all about The Five Rings To Rule Them All, the feddle gummint’s saggy ol’ sugar tit and state-supported fantasies about what a bunch of old white guys think will get the money train chugging through town again.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “spectator” as “a person who sees or watches something without taking an active part; onlooker.”

Yeah, that’s just what we need.

The big show

January 12, 2014

crosstoonNo, I’m not talking about the Belgian national championships (which is basically a second world championships, and which Sven Nys crushed today). I’m talking about today’s elite men’s and women’s USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships at Valmont Park in Boulder.

The Twitterati say the wind is up and the temps are down as Katie Compton and Jonathan Page prepare for their title defenses, and you can catch the action as it happens via streaming video starting at 11 a.m. this morning.

Here’s hoping mic’ jockeys Dave Towle and Colt McElwaine go a little deeper into history today when calling out the names of the greats — elite titlists like six-time champ Alison Dunlap and five-timer Laurence Malone deserve their fair share of the shout-outs.

‘Cross purposes

January 11, 2014
The off-camber bit, which had about two "good" lines.

The off-camber bit, which had about two “good” lines.

If you’re anywhere near Boulder this weekend, get thee to the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships at Valmont Park.

It’s been a good long while since I attended nats, either as a racer or a rumormonger, but my brief inspection tour of the 2014 circuit left me seriously impressed with how course design has improved in my absence. (It may help to have a cycling-specific park in which to host one’s event; I was never so fortunate.)

Express elevator to Hell, going down!

Express elevator to Hell, going down!

There’s a little something for everyone on the rolling circuit — run-ups on stairs and in mud; a sand pit; scary, sloppy descents; bumpy, steeply off-camber bits; a whole bunch of cornering; and on Thursday, anyway, lots of slippery goo. A “heavy” course, in other words. Pete Webber did a fine job setting it up, and then went on to win today’s masters 40-44 race. Chapeau.

I watched a couple of masters events — women 40-44 and men 50-54 — and caught up with an old racing rival, Mike Spak (at right in this photo). He finished 25th in the 60-64s and said that first trip down the mudslide was a doozy. A Slip’N Slide full of extended legs, chainrings and cursing, I bet. I would’ve been one of the dudes making the most noise, what with white knuckles exploding on brake levers, explosive bowel evacuations and ear-splitting screams.

The descent leads to a long staircase run followed by an off-camber plummet reminiscent of Satan’s descent from Heaven:

Hurl’d headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky,

With hideous ruin and combustion, down

To bottomless perdition. …

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but there were only two lines and both of them looked like Hell to me.

The rest of the course basically heaps insult atop injury, with another short staircase run, a sand pit and lots of little bits of this, that and the other, all of which add up to being nibbled to death by zombie ducks.

Word is it’s windy out there today, with temps in the 50s, and Webber told Cyclocross Magazine that it was “a dry and fast course.” If the weather holds, tomorrow should be even more so.

If you can’t make it there in person, you can catch live streaming video of the marquee events starting with the U23 race at 12:30 p.m. Mountain time today.

• Late update: If you missed the live stream, what you missed was largely a one-man show, a wire-to-wire ass-whuppin’ administered by first-year U23 Logan “See Ya, Wouldn’t Want To Be Ya” Owen. You can catch a replay at USA Cycling’s YouTube channel. But the part everyone is talking about is his teammate Cody Kaiser’s riding — hopping, actually — of the Belgian Stairs. Watch and enjoy.

And now, a recipe for organic chamois butter

January 10, 2014