Friday, October 14, 2011

Gettin learned

I'm about knee deep into this craze that we affectionately  call 'Cross Racing.

I raced my first race a few weeks ago and flatted in the middle of the second lap.  With no wheels in the pit I was done for the day.  I am not sure if this was a blessing or just bad luck.  I will say it again, but when you watch something don't ever fool yourself into thinking you can do it.  Oh yeah I can do that... it looks easy.  And, never ever try and use your brain to come to the conclusion that you can do it.  Me talking to my brain:  I can race road bikes, I can ride a mountain bike, and this looks so easy.  Do it man, you will kick @s$!!! Yeah, I will do it, and I will kick @S$!!!  Another thing of note, I usually had a man soda in my hand while watching 'Cross racing, and several others safe inside my belly.  Not a good combo when common sense should be used.

I hate Time Trials, because they are hard and I suck at them, No, really.  I'm the guy at a TT that is there to make the winners times look so good.  'Cross racing is all the pain of a TT, but with the added bonus, or bonuses of having to jump over barriers, mount and dismount a moving bike, sand, mud, rain, grass, gravel, corners, off-camber turns, 180*s, and just basic Pain turned up to 11, because 10 would just be too easy. 

I understand why it is appropriate to heckle at a 'Cross race.  If you have made the wise decision to race 'Cross, you deserve the beratement.  'Cross is not right.  And those of us who have chosen this path are either brilliant or completely deranged.  It is a fine line.

So far I have learned that flat prevention is a must, I will no longer have unprotected tires.  I decided to go super low budget and throw some Stan's in the tubes.  So far so good.  Maybe if I am really good I will get an upgrade for my birthday.  Tubeless.  I will never be sold on tubular, well not until or if someone would like to sponsor me.  If you would like to sponsor me send me an email and shloads of cash or product.

I know now that I just need to get out my Big Chief Tablet and get ready for some school.  I have two #2 pencils sharpened and ready to go.  I just hope some of these lessons are learned from experience gained and not from failure.  Well not too many from failure.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paris - Tours 2011

What is not to love about the Fall Classics?

If you did not catch this monument, you must at least find and watch the last 20km.  Do your homework you will thank me. Google it, find it, watch it, enjoy.  Most importantly be amazed by the awesomeness that is a Classic.  I wish I had talent to express in words what was played out on the French roads today.

I was utterly glued to the tablet watching the last 20km, a bomb could have gone off and I would have been unfazed.  FDJ had Gerard looking comfortable up front after he attacked the breakaway, but then Van Avermaet and Marcato went for the chase.  When the pair caught Gerard he looked like he had the boat anchor out and was headed backwards.  Van Avermaet and Marcato went full gas to the finish and ended it in a one up sprint.  Like I said, I lack the words to paint a picture.

Like many of us in the "Western World", and I'm not talking west of the Mississippi.  I'm talking about 'mericans.  We were all scratching our heads thinking who is Greg Van Avermaet?  While the whole nation of Belgium probably has trading cards of the young lad.  Some of his accomplishments include the U23 National Champ of Belgium '06, he was picked up by Lotto and raced for them until 2011 when he signed with BMC.  Greg is a workhorse and a true hardman of the cycling world.  His second year Pro he won the Points Classification in the Vuelta, and was 8th at Ronde van Vlaanderen.  In '09 he just missed the podium at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Het Volk).  These are not easy races, these are not races that you can just sit in and enjoy the weather and the conversation.  They are the heart and soul of the Belgian Classics.  When BMC added him to the roster, I felt like they had made an excellent choice for a Rouleur and for the future campaigns for the Classics.  I'm gonna get Boo'ed here, but Greg has a better chance at Roubaix than George.  Hey I have much love and respect for George, and would be in awe if he hoisted the famous sett.

What the heck is going on at BMC with Thor, Van Avermaet, and Gilbert? Just to name a few. Seems like the stable is a little full of horses.  Where does George fit into the plan with all of these cannibals?  If anyone knows what they are doing with all this firepower it has to be Jim Ochowicz.  What an awesome move to get Cadel to sign onto a team that looked to be in a very early building stage, who knew that they would be a force at le Tour?  I will be watching this team very closely.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Psycho Cross

So, there is this thing.

I've watched a lot of cross, and it looks like so much fun.  Heckling from the "other" side of the tape is so much fun.  The craziest thing happened... all my friends were getting Cross rigs and gearing up to race Cross this season.  Not to be outdone, and lord let's not forget peer pressure (real or conceived).  I broke down and bought a frame, cannibalized my race bike and now I have a full on CX race machine.  A no excuse race machine.  Yeah!  I'm totally set.

What the ____ was I thinking? Cross is hard. Period. I'm talking kick to the crotch pain. It starts off like it's not gonna hurt, but then it slowly builds into an agonizing body death that can only be cured by a mass quantity of brewed man soda.  Cross is full gas from the hole shot.  The only time you can rest is when you come to the line at the finish or when you spend some time on the ground after a failed dismount over a barrier.

People Pros make things look easier than they are, make sure you know what you are doing before you sink time and money into a soul crushing body destroying good time.  Don't get me wrong, Cross is awesome.  Cross is tough, full on, and it requires time to perfect. 

I'm watching Superprestige Rudervoorde on the interweb right now and it seriously looks like so much fun and they make it look so darn easy.  Like another sport that I used to play, Hockey.  Watching Pros play hockey is so beautiful, graceful, and it looks so easy.  Yeah, now go out and try and ice skate, now try and hockey stop -both sides.  Not so easy is it?  Now try to stick handle, shoot, pass, and try not getting knocked on your backside.  Yet it looks so easy.  Now go ride your bike in the mud. Sand. Grass.  Barriers?  Stairs?  Really?

Now that looks like fun, and it has to be easy right? 

Crossing the tape (no pun intended) from spectator to participant seemed like such an easy thing.  Buy a bike, ride the bike, race the bike.  Oh, no!  Once you commit you are committed...for good or evil. 

I always wondered why Cross racers wore skinsuits?  Answer:  it is the next closest thing to a straight jacket that the cycling world has to offer.