Showing posts from 2011

Ice Weasels Cometh Promotion Report

I've figured out the progession, now, every year Ice Weasels gets bigger, and every year I ride slower. This year, there was almost no point to lining up -- I was on 5 hours sleep, sick, and barely ate all morning.

Luckily there's more to bike racing than what place you finish in -- like the fact that this year's course was AWESOME. I really didn't care how I did, I just wanted to do some hot laps. Kevin is part badger and had dug out an entirely new back section; we had a new tree section; we had hoppable barriers; and we had as much flow as you can possibly squeeze out of the house section without killing your lap length. The flyover allowed for the figure-eight course layout, which means tons of HEY BUDDY sections. Hell yes!

As predicted, I didn't have any legs, so I hunted down a few (illegal) beer feeds, cornered as hard as I dared, messed with as many other racers as I could, and then rode the last lap UCI-race-hard to catch my tenant Andrew.  Lappe…

NBX GP of Cross Day 1 Race Report

I have never been so pleasantly surprised by a race course in my life as I was at NBX Day 1.
I prerode, and it was basically the fastest, easiest cross course in the history of bikes.  As someone who needs accelerations and technical sections to be respectable in the elite race, this sent me into immediate WHINE MODE.
It also sent me into find-a-file-tread mode, because if there aren't any damn corners on the course then I have no intention of having any traction.
So in between whining about how it was a stupid power course and I was going to get crushed and this is lame, bike racing shouldn't have that much pedaling... I got some file treads from Matt Myette.   Which was cool.
Then I spent the rest of my warmup complaining about the course anyway.  Just to open the lungs, dontcha know.
The Day 1 start is the weirdest holeshot in all of cross, because we ride literally a quarter mile straightaway before the first turn.  Everyone accelerates to 28 mph...and then... sits in.  So we b…

BRC Shedd Park Race Report

So, the plus side of having a terrible weekend of racing at Sterling is that I don't really want to write about it, so I can roll back the clock to TEN WHOLE DAYS AGO and talk about the most epic cyclocross grudge match in the world, instead.

Quick Sterling recap -- Day one was one of those days where you ride around and think about how NEXT YEAR I'M GONNA TRAIN BETTER.  My legs were flatter than Iowa.  Cary smashed me in our Cross Clash, and with two laps to go Richard Bardwell and JP T-R attacked me so hard I thought about downgrading to Cat 3.  I beat all of five people.

Day two was totally different, the course was technical and I felt great!  So of course I had a SRAM shifter malfunction on lap three, disengaging the cable and leaving me with a 34x13 singlespeed.  For the first time in my life I threw my bike in disgust.

(I already talked to SRAM about it, and it turns out there was some kind of defect in the shifter they sent me, as it has a gap that allows the cable to …

Northeast Velo Cross Race Report

I think my GoPro is starting to show its age.  Today's course was super fun, the racing was great, the field was large, and I wanted SOOOO BAD to make a sweet video of it.

And then... on the start line... ye olde bar cam inexplicably keeps turning off instead of recording DAT FOOTAGE.  Nooooo!

Anyway.  Text it is!

People kept calling the VeloCross course "mountain bikey," but I like to think it was "euro."  Steep drops, sharp ups, velodrome section, whoops, and not much grass?  EUROPE.  Or as close as we get in New England.

We staged by points (gosh, what an awesome website!) and I got #9, which shows you how leeeeegit this race was.  Eight guys in one place who are better than me on a bike, that's preposterous!

Because the course was fun I may have preridden my face off and felt very not-snappy on the start line.  Which is not a good feeling, especially when Anthony Clark is next to you.  The gun went off and I chiiiiiilled into a very cas…

Eco Cross Race Report

Dammit!  I posted this video to vimeo on Monday and then totally forgot to give it any kind of race report justice or bloggage.  GO GO GO!

So for the first time in my life I had Veteran's Day off (thanks Steve) and there was a HOLIDAY BIKE RACE to attend.  Awesome!  The fact that it was 90 minutes away and the 1/2/3 race started at 10am was but a minor hurdle... until I set my alarm for 5:45.  What am I, a Cat 4?

I met up with Jeff Elie in Medford and we rocked down to the cape to resume our mediocre elite rider vs elite mediocre rider battle from Canton.  The course was jungle cross at it's "best," super short laps, tons of effective singletrack, weirdly tight 180s -- basically Ice Weasels 1.0 -- but it doesn't matter because TWENTY FIVE dudes are here at 10am to race bikes on a FRIDAY!

The race itself was pretty straightforward, as jungle-cross basically turns into a time trial for an hour.  Mark the Shark was going super slow on lap one so I freaked out and …

Cycle-Smart International Day 1 Race Report

Traditionally, CSI is where I save my cyclocross season, because it's a crazy-fast grass crit that lets wheelsucking sprinters like myself ride waaaay over their heads.  Despite this year's October snowpocalypse, Look Park melted in the nick of time and we got the file-tread conditions I was praying for.  The true professionals were in Cincinnati, but everyone who MATTERED (aka my cat 2 scrub brethren!) were present.  Let's do this!
I drew a sweet fourth-row start and lined up behind FREAK OUT on the outside.  There's basically only two ways this could go:  either he freaks out and we get a great start, or he freaks out and I end up in a crash.

The gun went off and we freaked out on the outside line into a top-15 start!

Any time you find yourself coasting in a bike race next to Justin Lindine, things are going well.  Unless he is lapping you.

Unfortunately when we hit the first turn, everyone dive bombed it and got jammed, and when Anthony gets jammed he FREAKS OUT (of …

Canton Cup Race Report

The Canton Cup highlights one of the things that makes 'cross so different from mountain bike racing:  it's one of the least interesting courses around, but as long as you can find a group of dudes to mix it up with it's a BLAST. If you get stuck time trialing around by yourself on the mostly-straight, minimally-technical, 9-minute laps, I'll forgive you for thinking that it sucks.  But 'cross was meant to be social, so an unselective course can still be totally awesome.

See how I just said nice things about Canton even though I *hate* the course?  Coffee makes me so positive sometimes!

This year's Canton was on SNOWPOCALYPSE EVE and every race on Sunday was cancelled.  The only chance to look for one's power animal was Canton... so when the weather turned from "45 and overcast" to "40 and effin pouring" two hours before the elite race there was nothing to do except take that lemon mother nature gave us and take a big old bite of it.  Ye…

Downeast Cyclocross Day 2 Race Report

So apparently the price I pay for NOT racing Night Weasels (aka "how can a mountain be a BOG" Weasels) is that the next time I did show up for a cross race in New England we would get the exact same conditions.  Minus the mountain.  But Day 1 at New Gloucester was all the derailleur-snapping goodness that Night Weasels was... maybe more.  Out of the 23 finishers in the 60-minute elite race, I think all of 3 did it without a pit bike.

I, of course, begged/borrowed/stole Steve's bike to use as a pit bike and I was able to finish the race, although the one time I tried to go 2 laps without pitting it nearly exploded.

Even worse, everyone behind me (and there were quite a few people behind me, no, really) didn't have a pit bike because they're a scrub like me.  So their bike broke and then quit.  And then when the results came out I was LAST.  Because JD doesn't list DNF's because he hates me.

Last place was, in fact, good enough to be IN THE MONEY so it was…

Providence Day 1 Lap Time Analysis, aka "Don't Fear The Upgrade"

Every once in a while, I do something here that isn't a race report.  I've been meaning to get this one out for a while, now, because it's EARLY CROSS SEASON which means that all anyone ever talks about is how other people need to upgrade.

Personally, I don't spend as much time worrying about sandbaggers as my twitter account might suggest.  Such is the advantage of racing in the only category you can't sandbag.

I've been racing cross for six years now and one thing has never changed:  people act like the jump between categories is much larger than it is.  The standard refrain when someone upgrades to Cat 3 is "well, now it's time to get lapped!" and that is... um... not even remotely true.  If you're fast enough to get any kind of merit-based promotion out of Cat 4, then you're already riding at midpack Cat 3 speed.

In fact, this is true for Cat 3->Cat 2 as well.  The only catch is that with Elite Men riding up to 10 laps, you can be …

Granogue Race Weekend Report

I have done exactly one non-UCI race this season, the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross, which had enough foreigners in it you'd have thought there were UCI points on the line.  So, a wise man might have taken advantage of the first non-UCI weekend in New England in the last month to stop getting sand kicked in his face by the actual good bike racers out there, and instead return the sand-kicking favor to those uppity Cat 3's in a local 1/2/3.

But I am not a wise man... I am a man who is woefully susceptible to peer pressure.  Fatmarc started hassling me about attending Granogue back in August 2010.. and by the time 2011 rolled around, I was helpless to resist.

So, off to the mid-Atlantic we go!  I had never raced there except for two exceedingly non-awesome USGP's back in the day, so I was interested to see what it would be like.  I had ridden my bike once in the last 12 days, so victory was inevitable.

Then I got to the course.

Fatmarc had set me up.

Apparently everyone except…

Providence Day 2 Bar Cam

I was totally shattered from a week of race promoting so I didn't race at all this weekend.  What's a guy to do?  Live vicariously through his girlfriend, of course!

I put the GoPro on Christin's stem, but I neglected to notice that it had some kind of slippery varnish on it that my stem doesn't have... so after a lap, it slipped down and then she spent the rest of the race getting distracted by the $300 of electronics flopping around on her bars.



Gloucester Day 1 Chainstay Cam

I drew a back row start and passed like 40 guys in the first 2 minutes to get me into the "slighty over my head zone." Then I suffered like a dog to hang on... only to get lapped on the finish straight with one to go anyway. But so what, it was still awesome:

GMCX Day 2/Noreaster Race Report

I'm not quite sure how this happened, but by making my day job instead of my night job I actually got busier. The last few weeks since I got back from vacation out west have been as busy as I've ever been in my life. In case you were wondering why I wasn't cranking out blog content like the old days.

Last night I went out to the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross and it was totally dope. It turns out that participating in a night race is almost as fun as putting one on. Luckily the original New England night race is next week so I get to do both! Yay!

If you need me between now and then, I'll be NOT SLEEPING.

Also, can we get a third night race next year? Then we could make an awesome series and no one would ever sleep in the month of October.

But anyway, before I talk about Midnight Ride I should discuss Green Mountain CX Day 2 (the Euro-ing) and Noreaster (return of the Euro) because there were bike races that happened and must be logged.

GMCX Day 2

Green Mountain Cyclocross Day 1 Race Report

This race is the perfect thing to cool off my cross fever.  I hadn't raced in 5 weeks (FIVE!  WEEKS!) and just like everyone else I was on the verge of melting due to the excitement of 'cross season.  So let's drive 3.5 hours to race a grass hillclimb!  Bike racing, guys!

Thus ends my commentary on the Day 1 course.  Shut up and pedal, Colin!  Er, blog.  Like you do.

My greatest failure was leaving the SD card for my GoPro at home, but bringing the rest of the camera.  They told us we had 60 seconds to start, I turned the camera on, and it was like... beep beep beep you're an idiot.  So if you were hoping for sick 'cross vids, it's gonna be another week.  Although watching some footage from last year might do in a pinch.

The reason I hadn't raced for a month is because I was frolicking around the western half of the country with Christin.  As you might know, the western half of this country is at "elevation" and thus I had actually been "dopi…

24 Hours of Great Glen Race Report

The 24 Hours of Great Glen is a special race for me, because it's the perfect blend of stupidawesomesilly that gets me excited any time of the year. In the last 8 years, I've raced it 6 times and crewed it once. I have also been on the second place team for twoyears in a row now. Which is annoying, to say the least.

This year there were terrifying rumors of a super-pro-team showing up and crushing us... but sadly they turned out to be false. The alleged super-pro roster was actually so terrifying that it probably wouldn't have even been a race... but now we'll never know.

ANYWAY. We were the only pro team there, so my standard prerace anxiety was focused on the incredible shame we would feel if THE PRO TEAM got beat by any other team. That's pretty much as #notpro as it gets, right?

I have actually been feeling straight-up terrible since the Beverly Crit, but I was so JACKED UP to race the bikes that I almost convinced Mike to let me do the Le Mans start. So…

Gran Prix of Beverly Race Report

I did this race last year and it was tons of fun and I got third. Thus I was SUPERSTOKED to do it this year.

In related news, last year I was a Cat 4 in the 4/5 race. This year I am a Cat 3 in the 1/2/3 race. This time around was a little...different.

I don't really do anything above threshold until 'cross season (except for intervals... yeah, I'm gonna do some intervals soon, I swear) so my little mountain biker muscle cells were CONFUSED when the race started. SPRINT! TURN! Coast... coast... coastcoastcoast oh god why are we not pedaling? SPRINT! SPRINTSPRINTSPRINT sweet jesus why are we still accelerating??

Repeat that for 60 minutes and you have my view of the race.

I got a SICK clip-in off the start with my new Speedplays, probably because they feel just like MTB pedals, and got right up into 20-25 wheel. Which seemed like a good place to be, except that we went LUDICROUS SPEED from the gun and we were single-file all the way back to 25th or whatever. Or mayb…

Hodges Village Dam Race Report

A week late, just like I promised!

Actually there is no race report at all. It was pouring rain, I had no legs, and was on pace for three hours of racing. I recognized that flogging myself and my bike for 3 hours to get last place was not conducive to what I really care about (smashing Great Glen the following weekend), so I dropped out with zero remorse.

Jay Mueller properly epic-ified my experience with this picture, which is really the reason I decided to post anything at all.
"Heyyyyy, that sucked"