Showing posts from 2013

Ice Weasels Cometh Promotion Report

I think I make the same joke here every year -- "each Ice Weasels must be more difficult to promote than the previous year."  This year that "joke" hit new heights... here's the story.

So we lost our original venue.  Five years of increasingly drunken and muddy farm-cross took its toll, although it was not the landowner that requested we leave -- it was the town.  White Barn Farm, we'll miss you.  It took us five year to nail it, but I think we really did manage to put on the best possible cross race you could do at that tiny field, hemmed in by an ever-rising tide of suburbia.

But it didn't matter, it was gone and The Weasel needed a new home.

We tried to move the race to Adams Farm in Walpole, a venue EVEN CLOSER to Boston, which had just put on a successful mountain bike race this summer.

To make a long story short, the difficulty of getting a permit to use Adams Farm and our perception of that difficulty turned out to be entirely mismatched.  By the…

Baystate Cyclocross Day 2 Race Report

Baystate Cyclocross Chainstay Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

The story for this race actually starts the Friday after Thanksgiving, where my brother, his wife, Christin and my Dad and I went for a winter hike in the White Mountains.  The initial plan was to just go to Crag Camp (3 miles and 2500 vertical feet) but the weather above treeline was astoundingly good for November so three of us ended up going all the way to the top of Mt Adams.

Of course "astoundingly good" still meant that I one point, my ear was so cold I thought it was coated in a layer of ice, so I was like "oh I'll scrape that off" but it turned out to just my ear so... hmm.

Unfortunately the summit is separated from the car by 5 miles and 4500' feet of descending, and by the time I got down I was pretty sure I would never be able to walk again.

But!  The healing powers of STOKE are quite robust.  On Sunday morning, I was still sore as hell, but the weather was looking GNARTASTIC in Sterli…

Shedd Park Cyclocross Race Report

Shedd Park is one of the best local races on the New England calendar, and like many local races, it's hard to really pinpoint WHY.  But for some reason, EVERYONE shows up, so the Cat 1/2/3 race is highly entertaining, and there's lot of cat 3 scrubs padding out the cat 2 scrub zone.   Yes!!
This course is also the scene of my first cyclocross victory ever, the Cat 4 race in 2006, back when I was so fresh to the cyclocross that I didn't blog about it!  It's also the place where I beat Chandler that time after all that trash talk.  ahhhh, memories.
If you want to know about lap one, watch the video.  The quick summary is that I was going too hard to stay with the lead group (shocker) and was popped off said group along with my perpetual riding companion Charlie on lap two.  
Charlie and I rode around for twenty or so minutes and picked up a backward-sliding Chandler and a forward-moving Bill Kenney during this time.  This game the group a dangerous dynamic of one guy w…

West Hill Shop Race Report

I made this video on Tuesday and I thought I was going to blog about the race but then... I don't even know what happened.  Let's pretend I have kids and they got sick or something.

West Hill Shop CX Bar Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

ANYWAY the video is nice, you should watch it.

I made the lead group on lap one, which was cool, because it had roughly half the field in it, but not cool because I was the weakest dude there and guys wanted to pedal hard (shocker).  So I made some big efforts to stay attached, and it turns out there's a price for that, especially when you have to run up a freaking wall right after the big pedaling section.

Soooo eventually I got sawed off the group and rode around by myself, trying my little heart out, until I realized two dudes chasing (Eric Follen and Craig Calhoun) were steadily taking time out of me.  When they got to within 5 or 10 seconds with 3 laps to go, I decided that I would rather hang out with them than continue TT'ing and p…

Cycle-Smart International Race Reports

I finally did it!  After eight seasons, a double-DNF weekend.  It's exactly as fun as it sounds.

The best ten minutes of racing I did are in this video:

Cycle-Smart International Chainstay Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

Day 1 I drew a back row start, somehow sliced my way to thirty-sixth in a lap, broke a spoke after 15 minutes and decided that "it wasn't that bad" and "my pit bike has mud tires and janky shifting" so I should just keep riding it.

Thirty minutes of being inexplicably unable to hold a wheel later, I stepped off the course thinking about what a failure of a human being I was.  Tried to roll my now-dismounted bike away and....ka-shuck.  Brake was hitting the blown wheel in a spot so bad it barely turned.  How did I not feel this riding?  Nevermind.  I'm an idiot.  Good thing there's Sunday...

Day 2 I had just reached the "hey, you might be able to do this for the rest of the race" point, and Charlie Schubert had just come by…

Orchard Cross Race Report

(First things first, I wrote about two weeks ago but never really publicized it, so no one read it.  Read it now, or not)

Hey!  Orchard Cross is a good race.   I hadn't done it in a long time (it was actually the first time I ever ran the chainstay cam), and now that it's over 2 hours from where I live, I almost went to Bennington for Wicked Creepy Cross (which is another great race... oh New England)... but the siren song of hanging out on the edge of the money with bunch of fellow cat 2 scrubs was more than I could resist.  So away I went!

The course is noticeably improved from "back in the day," which is to say a bunch of unfun power sections were taken out and replaced by twisty things.  There was still quite a bit of pedaling and sketchy-loose-rocky-sandy turny stuff, so it was legit.  As Adam Myerson said, "this is like a Belgian B race."

One of the "B race" attributes of the course is that it gets narrow really fast.  I do not think starti…

Mansfield & Minteman Race Reports

As has become traditional, I skipped the Providence Cross Fest weekend.  While I'm sure it's a good show and all (gap jump photos can't be wrong!), paying $60 to get pulled in 45 minutes isn't my kind of value proposition... especially when I can barely function after Night Weasels anyway.

So!  All that not-racing left me with a burning desire to race dem bikes on a double weekend.  Which is a good way to feel, man.

Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross
This is one of the oldest still-running cross races in New England -- it might be the oldest, actually.  Maybe Putney goes back further?  In any case, the promoter gave us a nice speech on the start line about how cool it was to see Frank and Mark McCormack still racing there, since apparently 25 years ago they were the juniors who were begging him to get into the elite race.

The course is fabulously all-around solid, too.  It's a pavement start stretch away from being a venue for a UCI race... but we "only" had 23 g…

Holy Week Race Report

Holy crap, Holy Week.  Um.  Four years ago, when I told Chip it would be super rad to have a night race on the Wednesday between Gloucester and Providence... I should have clarified:  it would be super rad for SOMEONE ELSE to put on a night race between Gloucester and Providence.  SOMEONE.  ELSE.
Note to future Colin:  don't plan on getting anything done in the latter half of September.

I did manage to race my bike, or at least pay money to pin numbers on, in the days leading up to THE NIGHT WEASEL.  Let's talk about it.

Midnight Ride of Cyclocross
I am so incredibly glad this race exists, because it means I get to actually participate in one of these night races I think are so rad.  Even better, it is as close to the perfect cyclocross course for me as can be obtained.  My results here are hilariously misrepresentative of my ability.

Why?  The grass is SO SMOOTH and there are SO MANY corners.  The entire race is basically nothing but line selection and acceleration, it's …

Green Mountain Cyclocross Race Reports

I have been going to Green Mountain CX religiously every single year since 2008.  And I hate it.   But it's the first UCI race of the year!  Any my love for trying not to get lapped exceed my hatred for pedaling uphill.  So away we go.

This year was especially good because I got sick the week before and just barely got my bike built and tubulars glued by Saturday morning.  I felt like a sheep going to the slaughterhouse.

But you know, low expectations are the key to happiness.

GMCX Day 1:  If you'd done GMSR this would seem easy I drew a horrible starting spot, which was actually exactly what I wanted.

(Quick aside, it's pretty cool that we had something like 30 starters in the UCI races at GMCX.  I remember back when there would be 30 guys and all you had do was not break your bike to get paid)

So the race goes off and I am bottled up at the back with everyone else, but unlike guys with top-25 dreams, I don't waste any energy trying to pass guys while we ride warp spe…

Quad Cross Race Report

I am a traditional opponent of early-September cyclocross, but with my 29er frame broken there wasn't much to do except roll out to Quad Cross and eat dust.

Due to an 11th-hour bike build (is there any other kind?), I didn't preregister, which was stupid because I ended up not finishing the build and just racing on last year's bike, proving that finishing the build was unnecessary and I could have saved myself $10 and about 30 start spots if I had just USED THE BIKEREG.

Quad Cross Bar Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

The holeshot was 40 yards into a turn, then a turn, and then a lot more turns, so any first-minute heroics were ruled out for those of us on the back row.  Instead I tried to "stay calm" or whatever it is I would have told Christin to do, and move up when I could without getting into any crashes.

This plan lasted for a solid two minutes, until we hit the dirt road on the backstretch and things opened up enough for me to get EXCITED.  And what do we do …

Dirty 40 Race Report

I have never been as prepared for a race (or was it a "race"?) to go completely ice-world as I have this one. As someone who regularly loses sleep over race budgets, seeing this race EXIST AT ALL with 340 racers at an average entry fee of maybe $10 each blew my mind.  Putting on a road race with a $3400 budget is basically impossible.... hell, by the time you pay for insurance, timing and portapotties for that many people, you might be already out of money.

But you know, when you're so deep in the Kingdom the race course regularly has to turn away from the Canadian border, those might be your only expenses...and I'm not convinced we were actually insured.  And you know what?  It was AWESOME.

The nice thing about $0-10 entries is the massive no-show rate reduced turnout to "only" a 220-rider neutral start, behind a pickup truck.  I established a position at the front well before we rolled anywhere, and missed the shenanigans you knew had to be happening when…

Catamount ProXCT Cat 1 Race Report

I'll admit it, I did some complaining on the internet about this one.  I'd like to say that it's 2013 and that's just how the world works now, but it doesn't hurt that I just put on a mountain bike race so now I'm an expert in EVERYTHING.

My chief complaint was with the distance (12 miles!) on a course that appeared to be over 50% grass.  Luckily, it turns out that the posted distance was wrong, and the race turned out to be over 15 miles.  And the half of the course that WASN'T grassy field was basically the funnest trail ever.  And it was super-punchy, and super-fast, and we were done in about an hour and fifteen minutes.  Some people might say "oh I don't want to drive that far to race seventy five minutes" and the proper response is I HOPE YOU DON'T RACE CYCLOCROSS, THEN.

The whole thing was basically a super-fun cross race on mountain bikes.  Some people might not consider that a good thing, but I'll take it.  Heck, the whole thin…

Wilderness 101 Race Report

For the record, this was Christin's idea.

After a successful High Cascades last year, I wanted to share the joy* of riding a hundred miles on a mountain bike with her, and due to everyone I know getting married this August we couldn't go back to HC 100.  So she found Wildnerness 101, and that was that.  At no point, I swear, did I say "Wilderness will be fun" or "I've heard great things about Wildnerness."

The nice thing about doing a hundred miler within driving distance of home is ACTUALLY KNOWING PEOPLE at the race.   The downside there, of course, is that when your two teammates (Hughes and Brian) drop you on the first climb, you KNOW WHO THEY ARE and it's annoying and makes you immediately question the wisdom of sticking to the "slow start" plan.

The first climb, like every climb at Wilderness 101, is long and on gravel.  In this case, 20 minutes and 1000 vertical feet, but who's counting Strava-ing?  The difference is that on th…