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So You Wanna Be One Of Them Skatey-Skiers, Part 4

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This is part of a series for bike dorks who are nordi-curious.


When she's not winning the World Cup overall, Virpi likes long walks on the beach, cuddling by the fire, and never escaping the cloud of doping suspicion.

Alrighty, so we had a little interruption of service back there. I figured with Christmas being totally in your face, you probably weren't reading this, and with rain coming out of the sky you probably weren't that excited to get on skis, anyway. Well now it's the week between the holidays and colder than average (but not snowier), let's finish it off!

Poling

There's not too much to say about the poling motion itself; at the most basic level, you want to push on your poles a bit for propulsion and balance. And we aren't going anywhere further than the basic level here.

Luckily, before you go anywhere you've got to put the damn things on, and there's a 50% chance you'll do that wrong, if you don't keep reading.

When you actually d…

So You Wanna Be One Of Them Skatey-Skiers, Part 3

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This is part of a series for bike dorks who are nordi-curious.

Alright! So you've got skis, boots, poles, you know where you can ski locally or not-that-locally, and you're ready to rock. Of course you don't know anything about how to do it, but that's ok, I'm sure you'll rip it up.

Part 3: Moving On Skis

Holy crap, after all this anticipation, you should definitely put all your equipment on and go skiing. I'm gonna give you a bunch of advice about how to ski, but it won't mean anything until you've tried an failed. First... you must know what you do not know. Put your gear on and go "skate" for ten minutes. I'll wait.

So you only made it 100 yards? Nice.

Ok, look me in the eye. You should take a lesson. This sport is not like running. Your body does not intuitively know how to locomote (not a real word) on skis, and it won't figure it out very fast without some guidance. You can read thousands of words here about ski tech…

So You Wanna Be One Of Them Skatey-Skiers, Part 2

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This is part 2 in the "nordic skiing for bike dorks" series. The full series is here.

Part 2: Where do I go?

So you have skate skis, one way or another, or maybe you're going to rent some. Where should you go?

The most common option around Boston is Weston. They have snowmaking, night skiing, Tuesday night races, and almost zero interesting terrain. They're the only place you can regularly ski midweek if you work in Boston and have a day job. If you're looking for the simplest exposure to nordic skiing, go to Weston, rent skis, duff around for a bit. Done.

But you might not like it that much. Skiing at Weston is like racing at Wells Ave, or mountain biking around the Fells -- nothing special, but it's close and convenient. Since you're a cyclist, your other option was probably riding the trainer in your basement, so maybe you can't even tell that the scenery and terrain variety at Weston sucks.

Assuming you'd like to make an actual experience of i…

So You Wanna Be One Of Them Skatey-Skiers, Part 1b

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This is part 2 of probably... 5 in the "nordic skiing for bike dorks" skiers. Part 1 is here.

A few years of practice and you'll look like this guy, "obviously flawed but moving pretty well." Excited yet??
Equipment, Part 1b: So you're gonna ignore me, and get some used stuffAlright, I did my best. If you're hell-bent on getting some used gear that only kinda fits you, maybe I can help. Just a bit. Still though, used boots? Really?

Where are you gonna get used gear? You have a few choices. #1 is probably your local craigslist, where you can find other cyclists giving up on the gear they bought last year. #2? Ebay is always good for a few "used the skis 3 times, moved to a warm climate" deals as well. If you're in a location that still has stuff like a "ski swap" (aka "not Boston"), that's always an exciting crapshoot. And of course, choice #4 is "borrowing/buying from some dude I know."
BootsTwo t…

So You Wanna Be One Of Them Skatey-Skiers, Part 1

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Face it: cross season's over.

"I have a great idea -- wanna ride all winter doing base with our powertaps? It'll be above freezing, like, much of the time.

"Oh.. you don't?

"Well shit. What else are we gonna do?"

I assume this dialog happens fairly regularly in Boston in December, at least if the volume of "hey, what do I need to know about nordic skiing?" inquiries I get are any indicator. My standard response has been "I'll blog about it, just wait," so... time to put up or shut up.The dream

Alright, so you wanna do some nordic skiing this winter, because you heard it's good cross-training for cycling. This is true. You know why it's good cross training? Because it's really friggin' hard to do. Even if you're technically proficient, you have to use basically every muscle group in your body to move quickly. If you're not, you have to use every muscle just to move at all.

It's like swimming -- techn…

Ice Weasels Cometh Race Report

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It's pretty well established that you can't run around all morning promoting a race, forgetting to eat, and hardly sleeping for two nights, and then jump in the last race of the day and have it go well.

Well, you can't, unless you built a course perfectly suited to your skillset, and you're driven by the perfect mix of relief and adrenaline. You know that feeling you get, when you walk out of your last final of the semester, and no matter how little sleep you've been getting you're SUPER AMPED, just because the albatross is finally gone? That's how I felt lining up for the 1/2/3 race. Don't get me wrong, I loved putting this race on, but there's a lot to be said for not waking up in the middle of the night, wondering "what if X goes wrong?"

For a month straight I'd been worried it might be 34 and raining at Ice Weasels. Now I was lining up on 2 inches of packed snow. Flippin' perfect. Let's rock this thing.

Of course befor…

The Ice Weasels Cometh

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I thought last year's Ice Weasels was a big success. I also thought that since we did it last year, it would be easier to run this year.

Sometimes I think stupid things.

We stepped it up in just a few small ways -- Kevin used a Harpoon connection to get us some kegs, and Paul Nixon hooked us up with his PA equipment. I think that's about all that changed. Oh, wait, we built a berm. And we doubled the prize money. And had another 12 months of hype to draw racers. And it snowed. Ok, so maybe I should have realized that this was going to be a little crazy.

The first sign of craziness was when our Cat 4 field maxed out. I had arbitrarily thrown a field limit of 100 on it, we had 49 Cat 4's last year, I never though I would end up staging 20 rows of Cat 4's behind the garden at 10am. The gun went off and the back 15 rows didn't move. At all. The guys in row 20 realized that they weren't going anywhere for another 10 seconds and dismounted to start running t…

Women's Cyclocross National Championships Bar Cam

While I was off promoting a silly race, Linnea went out west to kick ass and take names in a very non-silly race. I sent my bar cam along so I could vicariously experience her race.

It ended up being a total, catastrophic debacle -- broke her skinsuit zipper before the start, missed her callup trying to fix it, bad start, and then, just when she put it together enough to start moving up -- BAM, rolled tubular FAR from the pit. Game over.

It sucked a lot, but there are two important things to remember here: 1) it was her first of many elite nationals. She is so pissed now that she will crush everyone next season, me included. 2) AT LEAST SHE GOT SOME CAM FOOTAGE! Priorities, people!

Enjoy:

NBX GP of Cross Day 2 Race Report

Of all the race report's I've ever written, I think this one is the most delayed. Seven days! The actual writing of it hung in the balance all week -- but after a great weekend (Ice Weasels Saturday, Nationals "on TV" Sunday) I'm psyched for cross again and decided that NBX Day 2 was, in fact, blogworthy. What's that, the season's over? Nonsense, it's only 9 months away.

So I laid down the somewhat-common "Saturday of Suck" at NBX Day 1. That's ok, rise from the ashes and eat souls Sunday, right? Right.

The promised snow made a nice showing in Boston, but was totally absent from the venue. Disappointing but predictable -- the ocean was just too warm for snow at Goddard Park. Apparently only goes back one year, because I had no idea how fast a dry NBX Day 2 course was going to ride. I thought it was going to be technical, but you almost didn't have to brake at all. Or maybe I just needed to pedal harder.

Anyway, if you've…

NBX GP of Cross Day 2 Bar Cam

NBX GP of Cross Day 2 Bar Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

I have a dream of getting around to the race report, but the weasel consumes all this week.

Styched for the Weasel

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Styched, of course, is the combination of stoked and psyched. I can't take credit for it; I first heard it from a cyclingdirt interview with Adam Snyder. And I doubt he made it up, either. If you'd like to try using made-up words, I might also suggest adding "jenvious" to your vocabulary.

Ordinarily you'd be reading the NBX GP of Cross Day 1 Race Report here, but there are bigger fish to fry -- it's Ice Weasels promoter freakout week. And besides, I sucked at Day 1 of NBX. It was a Saturday; it happens. There was no camera to record it, and thus nothing of value came out of it. Let's move on.

So yeah, if you're not going to Nationals, the place to be this Saturday is at White Barn Farm in Wrentham, MA.

We have some new stuff going on this year -- an improved, or at least different, course layout that should have fewer crazy-tight 180s and more passing opportunities. There's a new bermy-thing in the field, and oh yeah, beer sponsor. We…

Baystate Cyclocross Day 2 Race Report

A wise man once said, "never admit to blogging at 10pm on a Friday."

So let's just pretend that I wrote this one up and forgot to hit publish back. Because I'm obviously out at some place cool (like Lord Hobo), not sitting at home "catching up" on something as vitally important as the blog.

So anyway. Back to last Sunday. Another double weekend, another better course on Sunday. Everyone seems to like the Sunday courses better this year, right? I can't figure out if it's because us old-timers (yes, this is my fourth season of racing Verge, believe it or not) are just excited to see something different at the classic venues, or it the Sunday courses are actually better. It seems like they're more technical on the second day, so that could be why I am so stoked about it, too.

In any case, Sterling day 2 was a quality setup, if not a picturesque one (a tight turn around a transformer box? AWESOME!). It was lots of braking and sprinting with o…

Baystate Cyclocross Day 1 Bar Cam

Baystate Cyclocross Day 1 Bar Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.
The only casualty from putting $10k of bikes on Cary's trunk and driving 70mph into a 40mph headwind was that I lost the nut that locks my rear camera in place. So no picture-in-picture this weekend.

Adam Snyder lamented the lack of seat cam when he lined up behind me, but then he rode two laps directly in front of me to get plenty of camera time. He rode the horse jump on camera twice, and it's so smooth/subtle you can barely see it if you don't know to look for it. Nice.

I also accidentally left some blank titles in the video, because iMovie and I had some philosophical differences about how user interfaces should work (Hint: two mouse buttons). Yeah, that's it. But that's another discussion, for another blog...

Baystate Cyclocross Day 1 Race Report

I heard that the ground beneath Chocksett School in Sterling, Massachusetts is home to the largest naturally occurring sponge in the Western Hemisphere.

I heard that Tom Stevens spent 12 hours Friday night with a Shop Vac taking water off the course.

I heard that 40mph wind can really dry out a place.

All I'm saying is, I did not expect Sterling to be dry, fast and fun on Saturday. It rained all day Friday, and the wind was "25 gusting to 40" on Saturday. I was ready for the nastiest, coldest mud fest ever. I was so sure of this that I didn't even bring a rear Fango.

Keep that in mind when you think I know what I'm talking about.

With Linnea off in Maine doing pro stuff like "taking a weekend off," I carpooled with the Verge Cat 3 Men's leader and Natalia G out to Sterling, with $10k of bike strapped to the rear of Cary's car, watching Cary's bike lift off with every gust. It was a little unnerving.

Of course, since Cary races at noon, I was …

Whitmore's Super Cross Cup Race Reports

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It's a short week so we're rolling two reports and a video into one. Hold on to your coffee.

I rolled down to Southampton this weekend with Linnea and Sara. They are fast ladies, so they were hoping to take advantage of the promoters's increased women's payout to score mad bank. I am an occasionally-fast dude, so I was hoping to not get lapped by Tim Johnson.

The lapping situation was grim, though, because Southampton is a shortshortshort lap with a ton of climbing, so the fast guys are only 5 minutes away from lapping you when the race starts and the course really lets them showcase how they are "professional cyclists" and you are "not."

The rest of the UCI pack fodder stayed home, so I got the coveted back row lineup along with Pete Bradshaw. We joked about how lonely we were, then the whistle blew and he crushed it to a 16th place, last-guy-on-the-lead-lap race. Bastard.

Oh, and spoiler alert, if Pete crushed it and was last guy on the lead lap,…

Mercer Cup Day 2 Cams

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Don't tell anyone, but I'm going to this party purely to see what Dave does when he's not beating me on a bike... cuz, you know, I've never seen that before.

I think I finally maxed out the internet in my life. I've had a half-edited picture-in-picture Northampton video sitting here for a week now. I didn't get around to seat-camming Mercer Day 2 until Thursday night because I was busy with results/shirts/blogs/fantasy nordic. This is not a "pity me and my million web projects" blog post... I just want you to understand. I wanted to make videos, really I did.

Anyway. This one is pretty nice visually. No commentary this time around, but it's got two classic techno tracks, a great crash (9:00), high quality, and picture-in-picture. Fullscreen it for the full experience... maybe not if you're watching at work.


I had to use IMovie for this one to do the P-in-P, and I gotta say, Apple tries really hard to make stuff simple and intuitive in th…

USGP Mercer Cup Day 2 Race Report

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Despite a DNF after 25 minutes of racing on Saturday, I was loving life Sunday morning. Why? Super-nice housing, thanks to my crossresults uploader-friend Jess and her husband Vinnie. They have no internet presence, and even if they did, THEY'RE ALL MINE, so no links for you. 15 minutes from the venue, full bike shop in the basement, gas-powered pressure washer (!!), overzealous hosting. Between this and last weekend with Meg and JD, I am irreparably softened on race housing. I will never be able to get up at 6am or sleep on a floor again. Alas.

But anyway! I was STOKED Sunday morning, unlike my competitors, who had poured their souls out onto the course Saturday and were but shells of men. Skipping a muddy Saturday is practically cheating... it's right up there with good start position on the "secrets to a breakout race" checklist.

I sure didn't have the good start position thing going, though. We were milling around during callups, as always, when out o…

USGP Mercer Cup Day 1 Race Report

I went to the Mercer Cup last year, and it turned out to be a bland, unfun mudfest with some organizational issues. So why the hell did I come back?

The real answer, of course, is that Linnea wanted to go, but let's pretend for a second that I have free will. The USGP, despite all its flaws, is simply the biggest show in town, and until there's another race on the east coast of that magnitude, it's the closest I'll get to racing Nationals every year. With 80 starters, it was only a marginally larger field than Gloucester, but according to crossresults it was significantly stronger. I was predicted to beat a grand total of 6 people.

Awesome.

The location was different, but the conditions and course managed to serve up the same experience as last year: interminably long straights that could be ridden only slightly faster than they could be run, and a bike change every half-lap. That's REAL CROSS, remember, for all of you who complain about grass crits. And yet I…

Cycle-Smart International Day 2 Race Report

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Sunday at Northampton I faced a new dilemma -- how to get motivated when you didn't suck on Saturday? Usually I have a crushing defeat from Saturday motivating me to KILLKILLKILL on Sunday, so there was definitely a big, empty hole where my motivation should be. I remember sitting at breakfast, thinking, "no matter what happens today you got 27th yesterday. You're a decent bike racer. It's ok, buddy" Not exactly fire and brimstone, and yes, I call myself "buddy" in my head.

I think the real turnaround in my desire was due to the fact that the Northampton Day 2 course is awesome, the weather was perfect, and the spectators were out in force. Even the grinchiest curmudgeons would have fun. And if you're having fun racing your bike, everything else just works out. Funny, that.

So we lined up with a palpable sense of fear in the field -- after yesterday's start issues, most of us were just hoping to make it through the first turn intact. Our re…