Saturday, December 30, 2006

let the good times roll

these are good times...really really fun times

What's also good times is having a babysitter this morning so that we could get out for a 2+ hour mtb ride in Avalon. My mtb skills are rusty while Melanie's have gone to the next level. She cleaned one nasty rock section that I flailed on (walked). 'Cross season is done so I'll be out on the trails more trying to get my mtb-groove back.

Laissez les bon temps roulez

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Hard at work on the Sesame Street work bench

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Monday, December 25, 2006

trains and trucks

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.
trains and trucks

and a day for family

Merry Christmas

Christmas morning

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

More Million Man Race video

2006 Cyclocross Nationals 35+ B

Thanks to Jeff Anderson for the footage

Saturday, December 23, 2006

coffee time = chamois time = training time

Early morning spin down to the Old Mill Bakery for a mocha and a muffin.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

I'm going to enjoy riding the fixie this Winter.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What's gonna work? Teamwork!

It looks like it's a toys and tv morning at home.
I'm guessing it's everyone's favorite show "The Wonder Pets"

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Natz Souvenir

The bruise on my left leg is starting color up.
This is my souvenir from the 35+ B race when a guy swung his bike into me as we ran over the hurdles. Whoever it was I'd like to thank him. That was some fun racing!

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CX Natz Sunday

Sunday at Cyclocross Nationals
35+ B race (196 starters!)
otherwise known as the Million Man Race

Sunday was a good day on the bike. My legs were still pretty cooked and I was tired, but I told myself over and over that I would race aggressively from start to finish. There would be no holding back, saving energy, or conceding a position. I was going to give everything and see what happened.

I joked to Bryan that I would get the hole shot and instead of turning right onto the grass I would go straight to the Compound to drink beer. I did get the hole shot, but I was feeling good so I kept on going. My plan changed to going as hard as I could until I blew up.


I made it across the off-camber cleanly and I was still on the wheel of 'cross legend Paul Curley.
That guy is strong and very crafty on the bike. I learned a few new tricks when it comes to controlling the riders behind you.


I was putting a hurting on myself riding near the front, but the cheers and encouragement of friends around the course helped me dig a little deeper. It meant a lot to me to have so much support.

Late in lap one as we came by the Pit I accelerated to the front of the lead group. I've actually got a video of me leading the freaking race for a bit. That's one for the digital scrapbook. I'll find a way to get the footage posted for posterity (my ego).

Attacking at this point was probably a bad idea since I ended up pulling the lead group along the gravel path and road right into a headwind. But I didn't care. This was my moment of glory, my chance to take race aggressively and not worry about the consequences.

Sometime toward the end of lap 2 I paid for my early aggressiveness. I was determined to turn myself inside out to hold onto the leaders, but a moment of inattention (or crosseyed-ness) allowed a small gap to open. I dug hard to close it, but I kept slipping away.

A strong chase group was close behind and they quickly caught me. I wasn't going to let them get away so I got out of the saddle and latched onto them on the upper road section. My buddy Mike Birner was in this group and we hung together for most of the race.


For the rest of the race we dropped some guys and got passed by other strong dudes (like Dag Selander) that started further back, but we didn't give up much ground. We gave it everything and pushed hard the entire way. With so many racers in the field you couldn't ease up for a second or there would be 10 guys riding past you. We suffered and we hurt, but it felt good!


This time over the hurdles was clean, but on the last lap I had a tangle with a guy that tried to squeeze me into a tree on the right side. His bike slammed my leg and I pushed back pretty hard with the elbow as we ran. It was intense, aggressive racing and I was loving it. I got around him and rode away.


I gave it everything on the last lap. Coming onto the road at the finish it was another guy, me, and Mike. When I hit the road my teammates and friends were screaming at me to catch the guy in front of me. The pain went away and I sprinted with everything I had to beat him by a wheel at the line to finish 20th, only 1 minute behind the winner. It was a very satisfying way to end the season.


Though I've had better placings this was my most rewarding race ever.
I pushed myself from start to finish harder than I ever have before.

20th place might not sound like much, but I feel really good about it.

With that my Nationals weekend came to a close. We loaded up the car, said our goodbyes, and rolled out during the collegiate race. I would have liked to have stayed for the Super Cup and Elite Women's race, but we had a 6+ hour drive home and I really wanted to get home to my family before my son went to bed.

We made it with an hour to spare and the smile on Thor's face when he saw me made my weekend. When I finally got to bed I was exhausted. I slept soundly until 1:30am when I awoke thinking about the race, the weekend, and the season. So many great memories and feelings passed through my brain as I lay there that I couldn't go back to sleep. Needless to say I was pretty wrecked on Monday, but I was still smiling.

CX Natz Saturday

Cyclocross Nationals Saturday

Exhaustion and beer led to a solid night of sleep. We awoke early to fuel up on coffee , oatmeal, and yogurt at the buffet. Morgan and Sam were racing early and we wanted to arrive early to get set up in the Pit.

Those guys had solid races against tough (and older) competition. They'll be back to challenge for the jerseys next year.

Sam's Dad, Harshman, Bernie, and I had the Pit covered.


After the Junior races I finally got my cooldown from the day before. I did a super-easy spin on trainer and then did a couple of laps on the course. It was firm and much faster than the day before.

The rest of the day was spent watching the U23 and Elite races. Fast dudes on a fast course was fun to watch. Trebon did as expected and went for the win immediately. He got the gap and kept riding away. Wicks was a good teammate as he had the chase group covered. Tim Johnson and Todd Wells put in an impressive charge to ride up to the chase group. I would have liked to have seen a couple of guys stick with Trebon longer, but it was still fun to watch.

I was pretty beat from running around and spending most of the day on my feet so I made the drastic decision to forgo beer on Saturday night. I was desperate to salvage a good ride on Sunday.

After another cold shower (I was 0 for 3 on hot showers) we hit Bertucci's again for another solid, no surprises Italian dinner. Butts drank enough beer for all of us. I got an Advil gel cap stuck in my right nostril in an attempt to swallow it through my nose.

On the way back to the hotel we had the surreal experience of seeing the police approaching an SUV that literally had the rear wheels falling off the axle. The lady in the passenger seat was dressed in a shower curtain and had some monstrous something or other on her head. And I really didn't drink that night. Bryan made a bid at getting us arrested by hooting at the cops as we drove past. Good times were had by all.

Back at the Holiday Inn Express I cleaned my drivetrain and did openers in the hallway. I'm sure that embarrassing photos will show up here sometime soon.

It had been a long, fun, and interesting day. Sleep came easily.

CX Natz Friday

Cyclocross Nationals Masters 35-39 (146 starters)
Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm disappointed with how I raced on Friday.

My legs felt good.
I had the course dialed in.
I got a great start.
I suffered, but had good power all the way through.

What did me in was that I was not aggressive enough. In a race of this caliber with 146 starters you have to get angry and fight for position. Hesitation is punished immediately. It looks like I was bit too mellow on the start line.

At the top of the starting stretch of road a few of the front guys slowed a bit before the curb bunnyhop onto the grass. I had a lane on the outside to keep accelerating, but I coasted and stayed on the wheel in front of me. Once I conceded that lane it was filled with a line of riders flying past me.

Onto the grass guys were throwing shoulders and chopping wheels to move up. I meekly allowed guys to move me off my line.

Once we made the tight turn next to the pit I snapped out of it and began asserting my position, but by this point I had been shuffled pretty far back.

I rode for a while with fatMarc in a pretty big group.

photo by Gina Harshman

It was good to have a friendly face in the group, but neither one of us was pleased with where we were in the race.

photo by Gina Harshman

Marc got the front of the group and I got tailed off the back. I was stuck solo with this group of about 12 dangling in front with another group of 10+ hovering just a few seconds behind me. I don't know where my head was, but I wasn't doing what is needed to stick with a group, much less ride through them.

Marc kept drilling it at the front of this group and I was pretty sure he was going to drop them all. My goal and motivation became keeping the group behind from catching me.

I started to feel better on the last two laps and was picking off a few guys from the group in front of me. Near the end Marc crashed and drifted back to me. I was bummed for him, but we still had racing to do. I got by him on the final run-up and hit the road 2nd wheel in our group.

I followed the intial sprint easily, but I hesitated when the front guy slowed. Marc came blasting around us with an impressive sprint. It was another moment of hesitation for me, but as fast as Marc was sprinting I wouldn't have been able to hold him off. I still got second in the group for a less than stellar 62nd place finish.

My cool-down consisted of riding back to the car, changing clothes, and running to the Pit to work for Harshman and Butts in the 30-34 race.

This race was amazing and erased any negative vibes from the day. Chris and Bryan rode well, although untimely crashes cost them some spots. Neither one needed a bike change, but I yelled myself hoarse everytime they came by the Pit. Teammate Dusty Labarr also rocked it to finish a very respectable 28th. He started 88th.

The highlight of the day was seeing Ryan "DVdV" Leech put in an inspiring ride to win the 30-34 National Championship with a puke-inducing sprint to the line. Wes Schempf also rode a brilliant race to finish 9th after a first lap bike tangle at the hurdles.

At the end of the day I was exhausted and hungry. After a shower it was off to a Thai/pan-Asian place called Lemongrass (i think) for a very good dinner.

After dinner we hung out at E-Town (check his racing mullet in photo #9) and D-Dub's suite drinking Belgian beers and socializing with the DCC of D. Katie Compton was in the house, relaxed and confident. That's the first time I've met her and she is very cool. I hope she puts on a show at Worlds.

After a few beers it was time for some much needed sleep.

CX Natz - Thursday

Cyclocross Nationals Thursday

Bryan and I rolled out of my driveway by 6:30 for the drive to Providence. After a quick stop for bagels, juice, and coffee we were on I-95 heading North.

The drive up was surprisingly easy. We made it to the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick (Waaahwick) by 12:30. The parking lot was full of bike racks and bike racers. Everyone was getting ready to head to Roger Williams Park to preview the course. After checking in and dropping off our bags that's where we headed too.

We pulled up to the impressive DCC of D - Mid-Atlantic Compound. The brainchild of Tom McDaniel it consisted of a heated changing trailer, rows of bike racks, a line of stationary trainers, and a multi-room heated tent. In the tent was a food/coffee area and a lounge. Everyone pitched in to make it happen, but special recognition has to go to Tom and Suzy Gerlak. Our compound was the envy of many. Wristbands and a bouncer kept the riff-raff out. 8-)

At quarter of two a massive crew of MAC racers crossed the tape to preview the track. Course pre-ride's are one of my favorite things in 'cross and doing it with such a great group of people was really cool. I was smiling the entire time...except for during a couple of start efforts where I was definitely not smiling.

I wanted to keep riding the course until dark, but with a big race the next day I rolled back to the car after an hour and a half. It's easy to get lost driving around Providence and we did our best. I-95 runs right next to the Park, but it took us over 30 minutes to find a way to get on it. We did get to explore some sketchy neighborhoods and listen to people with thick New England accents try to give us directions. Even they weren't quite sure how to get on 95.

Next up was a slow dinner at Bertucci's. Bryan ate about a dozen rolls and I think they tacked on an extra charge for them. From there Suzy drove us to the Westin to pick up numbers. Of course, we got lost and made some interesting turns to make our way there. Number pick up was super smooth and we were on our way very quickly.

Back at the MAC race hotel we drank a beer and got our numbers pinned on before turning out the lights. Thankfully, sleep came easily.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

35+ B video

Someone posted this video on YouTube.

It's from the 35+ B race (Million Man Race) on Sunday at Cyclocross Nationals.

This was on the roller-coaster section of the bowl about two-third's of the way through the first lap.

I'm in 4th place at the time going all out to escape the carnage that is inevitable when there are 196 riders in a 'cross race.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A few words about Natz

I'm back from Providence, but I'm pretty wrecked so this will be short.
I have a lot to say once I can figure out how to put it into words.

Here are some things from the trip that were amazing:
-Ryan Leech's heart-stopping, come from behind, jersey winning ride in the 30-34 race.
-The MAB/S
-The DCCofD and auxilliary organizations
-Tom McDaniel's uber-pimped out Mid-Atlantic Race Compound
-The support and camaraderie of everyone.
-The pain I put myself through on Sunday. I think I pushed through to another level.

I'll try to put the weekend into words (and hopefully photos) soon.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dieter wins!

I didn't think a Belgian was eligible to win the jersey, but perhaps he has dual citizenship

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.


The DCCofD/Mid-Atlantic Compound

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


We're here.
Time to get unloaded and check out the course.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Monday, December 11, 2006

final approach

Cyclocross Nationals are just days away and the weather is looking up. Warm & mostly dry. I am looking forward to not dealing with frostbite and hypothermia. Last year my fingertips were still numb 2 weeks into January.

Wed 48/41 60% chance of showers
Thurs 52/38 partly cloudy & slight chance of showers
Fri 51/35 partly cloudy & slight chance of showers
Sat 51/43 partly cloudy
Sun 53/35 partly cloudy

I could see the track being a little sloppy on Thursday, but gradually firming up as the weekend progresses. For Friday I'm guessing it'll be a little torn up and slick.

I hope the organizers get everything together. Last year was a bit chaotic, but the weather was partly to blame. So far things still seem pretty unorganized.

If they took some of the energy being used to pimp the host hotel and used it to communicate some details about the event people wouldn't perceive a lack of organization.

I'm pretty tranquil about it but for an event of this importance there should be more communication between promoter & racer.

It sounds like the racer technical guide will be released later today so that's a step in the right direction.

Our crew is rolling deep and in style. I've got my bikes as dialed in as they're going to get and my gear and supplies are piled up in the garage awaiting an early Thursday departure. One more stop to the store from some Belgian beers and I'll be ready. I hope to have good legs, but either way I'm going to have fun.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


After days of frigid weather we got a nice break on Sunday.
It was sunny and almost 60. We headed over to the playground for fun playing on the jungle gym and picking up rocks...and visualizing a cyclocross course in the park.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Choo Choo

The local fire station has an amazing model train display set up for the holiday. Trains + Fire Engines = A lot of fun for a 19 month old toddler.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Friday, December 08, 2006

pvc boots

Now we're looking at rain Wednesday through Friday with decent weather for the weekend.
Mid-40's and Partly cloudy Saturday and Sunday.

We'll have mud for sure, but it'll be much nicer if it's not raining.

I picked up a cheap pair of 16 inch rubber boots last night.
As long as the hotel has a washer & dryer I'm ready for the slop.

A buddy of mine is building a pump track and a trials area in a big wooded section of his backyard. Looks like I'll be doing some digging and log hauling this winter. Maybe I'll actually acquire some skillz. It'll be fun trying.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Natz weather whether wither

The extended forecast for Natz...

Wed - Few Showers 30%, Hi/Low 48/37
Thurs - Scattered Showers 60%, 49/36
Fri - Scattered Showers 60%, 49/32
Sat - Scattered Showers 30%, 42/31

Rain + Temps above freezing + A lot of racers = A torn up course and plenty of action in the pit

The weather in New England is finicky so this could change dramatically, but for now it looks like rubber boots and rain coats will be the fashion trend in Providence next weekend.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fringe sport

Cyclocross = Bike racing + chess match + NASCAR + WWF wrestling + travelling circus

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Speaking of utopia

One thing consistent in all visions of utopia must be the concept of doing a night ride on singlespeeds with your wife.

Tonight we had a babysitter and got out for a beautiful SS ride under a full moon.

It was cold.

It was fun.

One step closer to utopia.

Time to finish this bottle of Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale.



To clarify an earlier point I believe we have achieved a state of killer B utopia in the MAC.

Nobody dominated.
A lot of guys were consistently good.

We had parity.
And not a watered-down NFL parity.

Each race a lot of different guys believed they could win...and they were right.
If the season were longer there would be more different winners.

The competition was fierce.
Nobody gave an inch.

The only downside is that we don't have anyone to target for email abuse.
Except maybe that Bike Doctor guy in the 10am race at Reston.

Monday, December 04, 2006

post-Reston thoughts

Capital 'Cross Classic in Reston, VA

My first ever 'cross race was at Reston and I've always enjoyed racing there.
The course is mostly a fast power course with a couple of technical bits thrown in.

High speed twisty descents are fun.


The start was interesting. After picking a spot on the second row I must have blacked out. I don't remember an official saying a word. No "You're racing for 45 minutes blah blah blah". No "1 minute to go". No nothing. We're all standing around bullshitting and joking around when a loud whistle sounds.
Some guys started riding. Somebody asked if that was really the start. The official said something to the effect of "of course, you dumbass". I had both feet on the ground. Oh well.

Early on there was a lot of jockeying for position. Much of the course encouraged group racing, but there were a few spots on the course where it paid to be in front. It was always a battle to move up before those spots. It was aggressive racing, but clean and fun.


I rode pretty well going from mid 20's to moving into 14th when I caught Rob Collins on the last lap. I got in front of him just before the technical descent. I'd ridden it cleanly all race and was telling myself to just ride it smoothly one more time. Once again thinking screwed me up. I was so worried about being conservative that I grabbed a little brake and messed up my line. I caught the transition back onto the paved path at a funky angle and bounced my back end throwing the chain. I also screwed up Rob as he got tangled up with me. I felt bad about that and apologized to him after the race.

I need to figure out a better way to keep the chain on because the inside chain stopper did more harm than good. The chain was wedged underneath the stopper. It took brute force to yank the chain back into position. I went from 14th to 18th pretty quickly. But it was still a good race for me. I'm always happy when I can find an extra gear the last couple of laps and move up late in a race rather than fade and hang on.

I think I'll end up 17th in the series which I'm really happy with. The MAC B's were tough this year. Instead of 1 or 2 guys dominating there were at least 10 guys that could win any given race. There was only double race winner this year and that was Jeremy Dunn in the mud. I think that the depth of the fields pushed the pace and raised everyone's level.

It was nice to do most of the series this year. I only missed HPCX and a bummer too as it sounds like my kind of course. Last year I only did 3 MAC races due to illness and schedule conflicts.

I'm looking forward to focusing on the MAC once again next year. Besides the intense racing, the camaraderie of the MAC (especially within the killer B field) makes the experience rewarding on many levels.

As for my Reston pick...well Evan finished 2nd and Nick Bax would have raced the Elite race if they would have let him. So I had the right idea.

Mayhew did confirm his strength by riding a very powerful race. The guy races smart and tough and always busts out some interesting facial hair. To quote from "The Big Lebowski"..."Worthy fuckin' adversary."


Now the question is: Will he race the A's next year or go for the B series crown? Come to think of it, since nobody dominated I could see all the top 10 guys back in the B's. Who will we target with the Sandbagger tag? 8-)

At a few races this season I ended up riding warm-up laps with E-Town and fatMarc. This day was no different. They probably think I'm stalking them or trying to spy the good lines, but when you're a hack like me you need every edge you can get. E-Town pointed out the Pete Rose line on the sketchy descent while Marc showed us how to ride the log run-up. Of course, when I tried it I endoed on the uphill. Thanks fellas and great season.

The MAC B fields were full of "worthy fuckin' adversaries"

Now it's on to Nationals...quality time with the good people of our cyclocross community and some good racing taboot.

photos courtesy of Gina Harshman

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pre-Reg Race Report

Originally uploaded by slothenstein.
Results from the first race of 'cross Natz are posted.

Some people will bitch about the process, but aside from running qualifying races or rankings (huge pains in the ass logistically) this seems like the most fair way to do it.

The track makes it possible for someone to move up pretty quickly and the top guys from the previous year will be starting up front anyway. The strong guys will do well. There will only be one winner. Everyone will be racing their ass off...and having fun. The results will sort themselves out.

Maybe I'm ok with it because I ended up with pretty good spots:

8th in the 35-39 race ---> probably 2nd row after the call up's
5th in the B35+ race ---> front row

But everyone knew the protocol and the exact time that online registration would open.
I guess that those of us who use BikeReg on a regular basis had a little bit of an advantage as our personal info was already loaded into the system. My credit card # even auto-filled for me. That probably made a 10 place difference.

Now that we have that behind us we can move on to more important things...

Like what kind of beer to bring.

And fine tuning the form to be fast and rested in two week's time.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

vicarious ride

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.
I just received this camera phone photo from the trails at Avalon. It looks like a nice morning to be out on the bike riding through the lifting fog and the fallen leaves.

I'm stuck here at a desk...

Though I did get a ride in this morning.

However, it was on the trainer in the basement doing intervals...watching Hincapie get tag-teamed by the Domo Farm Frites boys on the muddy cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.

Sunrise mtb rides will begin very soon. That's the way to start the day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good reads

I'm really into travel adventures. There's some really good travel writing out there, both in book and blog form. Here's some stuff I've been enjoying.

Harlan Price is talented rider & writer. He does a really nice job of weaving elements of travel, culture, and cycling together. Check out his ongoing race report from La Ruta here.

This guy, Andy, has been travelling the globe hobo-style for more than 4 years and blogging about it...interesting stuff.

I'm a sucker for good tales of euro-travel.

I just finished A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke.
A British dude gets a job in Paris and deals with immersion in French culture.

My current read is Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson.
A writer/storyteller with a good sense of humor wanders Europe retracing a backpacking trip of his youth.

And I listen to Rick Steves' travel podcast every week.

All this stuff gives me the itch to travel. Perhaps that trip to Cyclocross Worlds will work out. If not, I'll keep on reading and planning the next adventure.


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

We planted two red maples and a birch in the backyard.

Mmmmm trees. I'm looking forward to a bit of shade on the deck next Summer.

My 'cross bikes are still in pieces in the garage, but at least they are clean.

I hope I'm not rebuilding them Saturday night. I think there's a cardinal rule against doing major bike maintenance the night before a race.

Speaking of the race, it's looking like another smallish, but stacked field in the B's. At this point in the season it's down to the hard core 'crossers. Some of the early races had up to 90 racers in the B's, but a 50ish rider field is still pretty damn big!

Other than not having a double pit I really like the Reston course. I'm looking forward to the race and hope my legs are there. My pick to win the B race is Evan Ellicott. It's his local race and he's been riding really well this season.

My new helmet is on order from Joe's Bike Shop (best bike shop I know of and recipient of a substantial % of my earnings). This will be my third new helmet this year. The first two ate it on over-the-bars crashes over on the Hilton/Hilltop area at Avalon. The trails over there are technical, steep, rocky, rooty, and so much fun.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thankful for good helmets

In lieu of racing this weekend and due to a need to burn some calories I got out on the mountain bike both days this weekend. These were the maiden voyages on my Bianchi Rita 29er singlespeed. Here are the pro's and con's of yesterday's ride.

-Temps in the 60's
-Trails in pretty good shape
-Great crew to ride with
-The new bike is sweet
-2.5 hours on the trails...legs cooked
-Plenty of hard efforts grinding up the steeps on the SS
-Helmet technology. Thank you Giro!

-Leaves hiding nasties
-Rock slipping from under my front wheel after hopping a log on a rocky downhill
-Flying over the bars suddenly and violently
-Slamming head into large rock
-Slamming bike into another large rock
-Two big dents in helmet
-One nasty dent in new bike
-One big knot on right forearm
-Whiplash or something like it
-Losing my nerve on the sketchy stuff the rest of the ride

To do list
-Use heating pad
-Take plenty of anti-inflammatory meds
-Buy new helmet
-Place sticker over seatstay dent
-Recover before the weekend
-Finish rebuilding 'cross bikes

I am very grateful for the amazing job my helmet did. I slammed the side of my head very very hard into a large rock and didn't even have a headache afterwards. My neck/back are a little tweaked and the helmet is pretty dented, but that's it. I will be buying another Giro Atmos this week.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fried Hokie

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.
Jon & Charlie
2 Hokies
Fried up a good turkey

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lemons --> Lemonade

The love of the cyclocross community was in full effect this weekend.

Team affiliations didn't matter. Everyone was out there supporting and encouraging one another.

I'm not going to focus or comment on the shortcomings of the weekend...I think most everyone knows what needs to be improved.

I'd rather highlight the spirit and camaraderie of the MABS.

It was really cool to see the crew take tough circumstances and turn them into a positive experience.

Special thanks has to go to the DCC of D for their enthusiasm and tireless work in the pit.
If you took a bike you can be sure that one of them helped out in the operation...and they had fun doing it.

My bikes are made of adobe

Sunday - Evo 'Cross

I was cooked from Sat. but a big breakfast, including a BELGIAN waffle put some fuel back in my legs.

The course was better...less running, but plenty of mud that was 50/50 as to whether to run or ride. There were definitely some good lines out there and I did my best to find them. Quite often it was riding the tape and stiff arming the stakes like a slalom ski racer.

I'm glad I was able to ride most of the muck, because I left my running legs on the course on Saturday. I was barely getting my feet over the hurdles.

I got a great start following fatMarc, Harshman, and Mayhew through the first big mud bog. We smoked it! I swear mud was flying everywhere. I was running my tires around 25psi. I could push them all the way to the rim with my thumb. They were rolling all of the bumpy stuff smoothly and hooking up like drunk college kids in the mud. I think I was smiling at that point because I had a lot of mud in my teeth after the race.

I settled into a groove (of pain) after the start and conceded some places to guys that were making huge efforts to move up. Once again Morgan came by me on his way to the front. His breathing sounded like a freight train and he was moving like one too.

I got a smooth bike change from my teammate Lisa after a couple of laps. It was just in time because my bike was caked with mud and grass. However, the tires on the pit bike were not near as good as those on bike #1 so I was looking forward to getting a clean bike back for the last half of the race.

After a lap on the pit bike I stopped at the pit to get my #1 bike back. I screwed up by not looking up to see if it was ready. Of course, it was still being worked on to get all the crap out of the drivetrain. Several guys rode past me as I gazed cluelessly around the pit for my bike. After a bit I snapped out of it and headed back out on the course by way of the pit entrance.

I was momentarily discouraged, but quickly put it out of my mind. As I came by the other pit my bike was CLEAN and ready. When I got back on bike #1 I got a huge mental boost and at the same time my legs came back around in a big way.

On the out and back section before the start/finish I passed all the guys that had gotten by me while I was in the pit. I felt like I was riding a paved path and they were slogging through the mud. It was strangely wonderful.

On the last two laps I bridged up to fatMarc and E-Town. I gave them some words of encouragement and was hoping we could work together to hold off the guys behind us. I went to the front after the hurdles and felt really good going up the bumpy rise. I just tried to pedal smoothly and ended up getting a gap.

On the last lap I caught Adam in the same spot, had a brief chat with him, and then rode away. My legs felt incredible and I just felt like my bike was rolling across those fields so smoothly.

As I entered the out and back the final time I could see another guy a little ways ahead. I gave it some gas and started closing the gap. When he had to dismount and run a mucky section I really started to get closer. Just before the u-turn I got by him and put in a huge acceleration after the turn. My legs were still they've felt all season.

At the last turn I was closing on Colin Sandburg. I put in a sprint, but there wasn't enough distance to the line and I finished 2 seconds back for first MAC B top 10 and a big goal of mine this season. It felt really good to have a race where I got stronger each lap and felt confident on the bike.

Morgan was at the front with the guy that won both days and seeing him up there crushing it was a big motivation for me all race long. It was so cool to see him having such a good ride. It inspired me to try just a little bit harder.

Despite the conditions I really had a great time this weekend. I think the most fun was working in the pit on Saturday. I'm sorry I couldn't stick around to help out on Sunday, but I had to get home.

Have a great Thanksgiving and I'll see everyone at Reston!

Now it's time to clean bikes, replace cables, and wrap new bar tape!

Lovely day for a tractor pull

Saturday - Guy's 'Cross

Chris Harshman and I made the trek up to PA from EC for some racing. We had a feeling that there would be mud, but the quantity and ferociousness of that mud far exceeded our expectations.

It was a lot of this on Saturday. By most estimates we were running about a third of every lap.

photo by Dennis Smith

Each lap there was more running than the last as the course deteriorated. It was hard. Where you could ride you had to put out a lot of power just to keep moving. Even on the slightly downhill sections it felt like you were going uphill.

I knew this race would be more mental than anything so I tried to psyche myself up to not get discouraged with the conditions and to just keep grinding and pushing to the line. I figured many guys would get frustrated and crack and I was determined to stay positive.

I don't really remember much about the race except for the running and passing guys that had cracked. I got a smooth bike change from Dieter and Lisa with a lap and a half to go that allowed me to finish strongly in 11th place, my best MAC B finish ever. Harshman was just in front of me in 10th. We were both happy with the race.

Our bikes were not. It quite a bit of dunking and scrubbing over in the pond and creek to get them sort of clean. We cleaned up the drivetrains a bit more over at the hotel. Suzy was the MVP of the day. She hand washed our muddy clothes in the bathtub. All of the grass, mud, and hay clogged the tub. I'm sure the hotel was happy about that. 8-)

Highlight of the race was E-Town trying to give Mayhew a high-five mid-slop, mid-race.

Morgan has gotten better every week and he is FLYING now and riding the mud like a pro. I swear he was floating over some unridable sections. He was in the lead until a flat bumped him back to 6th.

Here's Morgan - focused & making freight train noises as he passes me
photo by Dennis Smith

Most of the C3/ADG/Joe's team plus Harshman went out for a pasta dinner to celebrate the day and fuel up for Sunday. Sleep came easily, though the morning arrive too soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What's in your drivetrain?

Somebody was pretty interested in all the mud crusted on my bikes when I got home.

What do you call the type of mud that has a bunch of grass and assorted other shit mixed in it?
In a crazy cyclocross way, this weekend was a lot of fun.
I'll have more to say about it later.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

mud'n at Guy's 'Cross


*the real fun was in the pit

11th - B-spot, but I'm really happy with it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lotta what-have-you's

Slow afternoon in the bond business
The dude sitting next to me is streaming some old skool classic rock - foreplay/long time

Another solo cross practice on Wednesday with the helmet light
Freaked out some deer

Date night last night
Christmas shopping last night at Toys-R-Us, then dinner

5:30am Openers on the trainer watching the '05 Giro go up the Stelvio
Then I shaved my beat-up legs

On the road in the morning for a weekend of mud in No Hope, PA
One month left in the season

Time flies
I'm having fun

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pick up the pieces!

Dennis Smith captured the aftermath of my crash at Lower Allen.

I need to remember how to ride a bike

Morgan comes by. He did a nice job of not running into me.

Hmmmm, my chain is not where it should be.

But luckily it slid back on the ring.

Dennis Smith is THE man. These are his photos.

Monday, November 13, 2006

holy shit!

Virginia beat #10 Arizona in hoops last night to open the swank new John Paul Jones arena.

Hope springs eternal in hooville.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rainy day

No racing for me yesterday. I'm always up for a nasty mud-fest, but that's ok. I don't think I could handle back-to-back double race weekends right now. I enjoyed a nice rainy day at home with the family. What a nice way to recharge after a hard day of racing.

Lower Allen 'Cross was fun, as usual. The course is always great and I think this year was the best. Hebe worked his magic to design a fantastic track. There were plenty of tricky turns and off-cambers, but many of the turns were opened up allowing you to take them with more speed.
This added a nice risk-reward element to the racing.
More speed through the turns reaped big rewards, as long as you didn't crash. And the more speed you carried the more likely you were to crash. The racing was fast and there were many racers pushing the limits of traction and hitting the deck.

I had one nice crash on a fast off-camber left hander. I'd been taking this one fast in warm-up and the first few laps of the race. I think I got over-confident.

good start, right up there with the big dogs

I had gotten a good start right around top-10 and was in a really nice group with Harshman & Morgan. We had a little gap behind and it was that point in the race where you're trying to grab a little recovery from the start before pushing through to the finish.

rolling in a fast group with friends

I took the same line I'd been taking all morning, but maybe a little faster and I went down without warning, sliding on my left side. I got back up pretty quickly and when I remounted I saw my chain was halfway off of the chainring. Luckily it hopped back on when I pedaled.

This was a fast part of the course and my group was now riding away from me. I don't know why, but this crushed me mentally. I made the cardinal sin of 'cross racing...I started to think!

suffering, drifting backwards, & pondering why???

In 'cross racing, raw aggression and instinct are your friends. Thinking is the enemy. I was thinking about how much I was hurting. I was thinking about how much I wanted to just do a long, mellow ride in the woods on my new singlespeed. I thought about how it would have been nice if I'd just stayed home and made pancakes with my family. I thought about how many guys were going to pass me that lap. Auer, Fort James, and Wes all yelled encouragement and I felt bad that I was sucking so bad.

Eventually I got pissed off and started racing again. I just put my head down and tried to block out the pain. My only focus was on turning the pedals. Pissed off is a good state of mind for 'cross racing! 8-)

head down and racing again

I ended up re-passing a number of guys and managed to ride cleanly the rest of the way. I had a pretty good duel with Zack Blaser the last couple of laps. We traded spots a few times and he led it out coming up the gravel finishing straight. I was on his wheel, but once again didn't have a sprint. I think it's mostly mental...I just need to get hungry and be more aggressive at the finish. I was too willing to concede a place.

I finished up in 18th, which I'm happy about. There was a point in the race where I was going backwards and questioning whether I would even do any more races this year. I easily could have faded way back or even DNF'd, but I pushed through the negative thoughts and kept on racing. If I had given up I'd be really bummed right now.

The MAC B's are tough, as always. From top to bottom the racing is intense. I had a shot at flirting with the top 10 again, but a crash and mental weakness cost me. I really want to put together at least one race this year where I ride strongly and cleanly from start to finish.

This weekend I'm doing the double in New Hope, PA. I have no idea what to expect from the courses, but I know the racing will be hard...and fun. The weather forecast calls for rain all week so I'll probably get to enjoy a couple of nasty mud-fests after all.

*photos courtesy of Gina Harshman

Wednesday, November 08, 2006



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Extracting happiness out of suffering

Race Pace 'Cross: Some blinding glimpses of the obvious and other thoughts.

-Fighting a cold makes you suffer & probably slows you down.

-A poor warm-up means before the race means you'll spend the first part of the race warming up (and going backwards).

-A front-row position means you'll get a decent start, but a lot of good that does you when you can't go fast.

-Tufo's are slippery, especially when they are pumped up like road tires. I rode the off-camber turns like I was drunk. I got yelled at a lot on the first lap. The way I was riding I wanted to yell at myself too.

-Fast course with some nice tweaks from last year. Good training for me, but not suited to my limited strengths. It's a fun race and less than 20 minutes from my house so that's a win-win.

-Evan Fader and I had a good battle the last 3 laps. He'd get in front before the technical section (the part that should have been my strength, but which I sucked on) and then he'd sit up as we got to the paved path. I had worked hard to pass and get away from the guy's chasing and I didn't want them catching up so I'd pass him and drill it. He'd sit on my wheel for the rest of the lap and then get in front for the tricky stuff. On the final climb I put in a massively feeble attack to try and shake him to no avail. He jumped me as we crested the hill and held it to the line to take 10th. It was a good battle. I didn't play it right tactically, but I was forced to ride hard late in the race and that's good training. Sometimes the gaps open up and you can get lazy and back off late in the race.

-This was the final race in the growing MABRA series. I did 4 out of the 6 races and ended up 10th in the B's. Next year I want to get on the podium.

-The top B guys are really strong and nice too. I feel no shame in getting kicked in the head by them week after week.

-I need some rest and recovery. Hopefully the training and racing will lead to some better results in the second half of the season. It's funny how some days the power is there and some days it's not.

-Regardless, you just have to stay tough and giv'r whatever you've got. If you do that you can extract the happiness out of the suffering.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

The bridge

The grand opening for the foot bridge linking Ilchester to Patapsco Valley State Park was Saturday monring. As bridges go it's a beautiful structure. It runs from the base of Ilchester Rd. and spans 164 feet over the Patapsco River to the Grist Mill trail inside the Park.

This bridge gives us one more point of access into the Park. We'll be able to use it to get to the Rolling Rd. trailhead quickly if we're meeting friends. It will also open up some more ride options for road rides or mixed road/trail rides on the 'cross bike.

We bought our house for the location (primarily schools & access to the Park --> miles and miles of stellar mountain biking) and we couldn't be happier. With this new foot bridge the location just got even better.

The Friends of Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway were the driving force in working with Maryland DNR to get this project done. They were also out in the Park planting trees on Saturday. They are a nice group doing good work. I'm going to volunteer to help them out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mad Lib Race Report Template

Today was the ________ (adjective) _________ (race name) 'Cross at ____________ (location).

It’s just about the ___________ (adjective) race in the ___________ (series name) Series.

Last night I ate a crapload of _____________ (type of spicy ethnic food) for dinner. I was up half the night ____________ (verb) so I wasn’t feeling my best when I woke up. For breakfast I inhaled a bunch of __________ (food) and guzzled ___ (number) ounces of ______ (beverage).

I managed to get on the road and only forgot to bring my __________ (piece of gear). On the drive to the race I chugged a bunch of _________ (beverage) and was worried that if I didn’t get to a restroom soon I might ________ (bodily function) myself.

I made it to the venue and beelined it to the _________ (type of toilet).
It was ____________ (adjective), but probably better than squatting behind a ______ (noun). Note to self, pack handi-wipes next time.

I picked up my number and _______ (number between 2 and 20) safety pins from registration and managed to not complain about ________ (typical whiny bike racer gripe).

After putting on my gear I headed out to preview the track. It was really ________ (adjective). There were 3 nasty __________ (plural technical features) and 1 evil (technical feature). The mud was ________ (adjective). It was the consistency of ________ (mud-type).

I was running my _________ (plural brand of tire) at _____ (number between 20 & 50) psi so I was really ________ (adjective) in the mud. The fast sections were _________ (adjective) _________ (adjective) which was really ________ (adjective) for me.

Over at the starting grid I got a _______ (number) row call-up thanks to my _______ (adjective) performances thus far in the season. Awaiting the gun I was ________ (adverb) nervous. I nearly ________ (bodily function) my skinsuit.

My start was _________(adjective). My legs were spinning with the ferocity of a _________ (animal). Onto the dirt I was in about _______ (number between 1st and 80th) position. I was incredibly __________ (emotion).

As the race wore on I _______ (verb) the _________ (section of the course) very ______(adverb) which put me in a position to _________ (verb) through the field.

On the last lap I was in a small group. I tried to drop them on the ________(technical feature) but it came down to a sprint. In the sprint it was like a _______(type of car) vs. a ______(type of car), and I was the ________(type of car).

In the end, I had a truly __________(adjective) ride today to finish ______th (number).

__________ (fellow competitor) was killing it today! I just wish he didn't slam his bike into my _______(noun). Anyway, he's a sandbagger.

My new ________ (sponsor’s product) is mind-blowingly amazing. Without it I would be a lot slower.

After the race I drank a ________ (beverage) and talked shit with my fellow racers.

You just don't get this type of scene in a _________(type of cycling) race.


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Natz News

California Giant Berry Farms has signed on as the title sponsor of this year's 'Cross Natz.
They seem to be a big sponsor of cycling out on the left coast.
It's nice to see that they have stepped up to provide important sponsorship to the event.

Also, a confirmed rider list will be posted on bikereg on December 1st.
So, we'll have a couple of weeks to geek out about start positions and related conspiracies.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ik ga braken (I'm going to vomit)

Beacon 'Cross
Bridgeton, NJ

photo courtesy of Natasha Bunten. Thanks 'Tash!

Post-race interview

Me: How was your morning?
me: tranquilo...nice breakfast with the family & an easy drive. Bernie hooked me up with a good parking spot and the two of us previewed the course, figuring out the lines.

Me: Any changes to your setup?
me: An extra slathering of chamois cream & I ran the Tufos (at too high a PSI).

Me: Describe the course.
me: Fast. Hard. Not NYS.

Me: How about those stairs?
me: Screw you...First off, they're not stairs. They were brutal. Inhaling charcoal smoke at the top was helpful. Another lap and I'd have been crawling up them.

Me: How was your start?
me: I was on the 2nd row and got a decent start, but nothing special. I had to go from the far left lane and find a place to slot in after the surge went up the right side. The first two turns were a mess, but I got through without having to stop. I was top-2o, closer to the 20th.

Me: And after that?
me: I was not connected to my inner-Sven. As expected guys were going apeshit to move up. I quickly discovered that I wasn't having a good day. I was incapable of going apeshit. I couldn't close gaps and I had trouble holding wheels when guys came past me. It seemed like I had one speed and just couldn't muster up the extra gear when I needed it. I was still going pretty good and just tried to defend my position.

Me: It looked like you had some good battles out there...
me: Yup...promoter Wade Hess and I were going at it. I put him in the bushes a couple of times when he tried to pass and he ended up making the pass through the bushes. It was crazy! He had a rhododendron branch hanging from his derailleur cage. We passed and repassed each other and jockeyed for position entering the gravel descent to the beach where he shouldered me out of the way. It was awesome. We were locked in a duel of a race lap after lap. I managed to get by him on the last lap and hold it to the finish. It was really fun racing. Wade was busting out some of the moves he learned racing over in Belgium. We were laughing about it after the race ended. 8-)

Me: So, you're sprint is still MIA?
me: No kidding. I got the beat-down at Granogue and then yesterday Frank Zgoda caught me just as we hit the road finishing straight. I led it out, but he got me by a bike length. I just couldn't get that last acceleration. I think I was over-geared (or under-legged).

Me: You still got some points so the day wasn't for naught.
me: Yeah, I'm pretty happy to be in the points on a day when I didn't have good legs. I know I'm capable of a better finish in a MAC race, but at least I've been top-25 in the first 3 events and that's an improvement over last year. The guys I'm racing against are really strong and great guys taboot. Getting smacked around by them every week will make me stronger. I feel like on a good day I've got a shot at a MAC top 10...maybe Lower Allen or Reston.

Me: What will it take to get there?
me: Besides luck or a lot of guys getting flats? Hard training, good coffee, and some more intense music for the drive to the race. Listening to a guy talk about philosophy on NPR is pretty sweet, but it doesn't get one in the aggro-mode needed for going apeshit in a cyclocross race.

Me: The team looked good.
me: The killer B squad kicked ass. Morgan & JH3 are both starting to ride really well and Miles put in a big ride to move from way back to 21st. Bernie was still sick and had to dnf, but he'll be back strong at Lower Allen. The rest of the team did really well too. We have a good crew.

Me: What's next on the agenda?
me: I'm going to clean all the sand out of my drivetrain and maybe do the Race Pace 'Cross on Sunday, but my schedule is tight. If not, the next event will be Lower Allen. I'm doing a sprint workout in the morning to try to get my ass in gear.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


C3/ADG/Joe's Bike Shop

Team spirit at Wiss

Photo courtesy of the talented Kevin Dillard


me @ Granogue

From Kevin Dillard's RAW series
Taken at Granogue 'Cross, Saturday 10/21/06

Paying the cost

It's been pretty lonely at 'cross practice recently.
Just me and my beat up barriers stashed in the trees.
Between the weather and a fading of early season enthusiasm attendance drops off by mid-October. For me, however, 'cross is my only real racing season & I'm committed to doing it right start to finish. I think if you can fight through that mid-season burnout and get enough recovery you can come into the last races flying and with a better shot at results since attendance dips.

Yesterday I focused on gettting ready for Beacon. I set ut up the barriers out of a right-hand U-turn. I did the race two years ago and that's the way it went with a tricky approach to the hurdles. Making that tight turn mid-dismount is not easy to do smoothly, but you can make up a second or two per lap if your technique is solid. I did a lot of reps working on the dismount and I'm glad I did. The first few were really sloppy, but eventually I got a feel for doing the lean and carving the turn. I also practiced dismounting early and running the u-turn in case there's traffic early in the race.

My starts have been shaky so I did some really hard start efforts to get used to the pain. The first two were horrible...well, good for 20 seconds and then my legs could barely pedal. The rest were pretty decent as my body got used to recovering from the initial sprint.

To prepare for the long beach run I shouldered the bike and did some tempo runs the length of a football field as part of my practice loop. The running felt fine, but when I remounted the first few pedal strokes were not pleasant. I think the key for me is to NOT sprint the run, but rather to run at a tempo pace and use my longer stride to my advantage.

I'm not sure how to prepare for the amphitheatre steps. They are evil. I did a few runs up a steep hill, but I don't really think that simulates the effort of the big stairs. They are like doing one-legged squats.

Even though I was solo I still got in a decent workout and since I started early I made it home in time for dinner.

Last night was also the final night for a practice with daylight. Starting
next week I'll use the helmet mounted light and move over next to the lighted fields.
And maybe I'll bring the iPod to keep my company.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I love my chicken

Halloween costume




Wissy CX

photo courtesy of Gina Harshman

After a good night's sleep in Exton, PA I travelled a few miles north to Ludwig's Corner for the Wissahickon 'Cross. I did this race two year's ago when it was at the Belmont Plateau in Philly so this venue was new to me.

Whenever possible I arrive early and spend some quality time getting to know the track, figuring out lines, speeds, sections on which to attack, and sections on which to survive. After about 2 minutes of course preview it was clear that the start would be crucial.

There were many slow, tight, technical turns that would lead to big traffic jams early in the race. The sandpit would be ridable with one decent line, but in traffic would it be possible to stay on that line and continue moving forward? The fast, open power sections would up the speed and extend the gaps. I followed fastMarc & E-town around on the warm-up laps spying on their lines since both of them tore it up at Granogue. I was the padawan trying to learn from the jedi.

I really liked the course and enjoyed the fact that as the race progressed you could learn a little bit more and ride a little bit faster each lap, legs & lungs willing!

So it was clear that the start would be pretty important. I knew it and was ready for it. Once again I was on the 3rd row. 3rd row is hit or miss depending on what the guys in front of you do. In the first 10 seconds of the race you can either be at the front or 50 guys back.

Lined up next to me was Don Kessel. I became a Dad last year and Don will become one very soon. We talked about baby stuff as we waited for the start. It was really cool to recall those experiences and think about what he has in store. However, all of this happy baby-stuff might have cooled some of the pre-race fire and aggression that is key to a good start, but that's all good. 8-)

When the gun went off the two guys in front of me had trouble...clipping in and spinning out on the gravelly surface. I had to pedal in slow motion for several seconds waiting for room to move. In those seconds a good chunk of the field accelerated past me.

I was frustrated. I felt lonely. I wanted to get in the car and drive home. Then I realized how pissed I would be if I DNF'd so I kept going.

The first lap was a nightmare. I practically came to a stop in the first half dozen turns and got chopped in the one turn that I entered carrying any speed. When we got to the sand pit things were FUBAR, not unlike the traffic heading home on 95 South. So, 3 minutes into the race I was way back in the field and the leaders were probably a minute in front.

The second lap wasn't much better. The gaps were growing, but at least there was a little more room to pick and ride your own lines. Passing was difficult and took a lot of effort and good timing. I worked my way up to my teammate Bernie mid-race and hoped we'd be able to work together, but it only lasted for a lap. We weren't far apart, but with a bunch of chasers just behind there was no point in slowing and forming a big group.

The rest of the race I focused on picking off one rider at a time and constantly moving forward. I got a few guys by riding turns faster and then jumping past before the next turn. I made more passes in the last part of the sand pit. On the fast, open sections I latched onto the back of groups and attacked before the gravel filled right hand turn. If you could get in front entering the 'spiral of death' you could gap guys. And surprisingly I even passed a couple of dudes on the run-up. Two other passes late in the race were gifts...Don K. dropping his chain and Eric Morgan dumping it in turn a slick off-camber turn.

Overall I passed a lot more than I was passed. One guy that did get by me was Jeremy Dunn. He smoked me as we entered the 'spiral' entering the turn very hot. It was an aggressive and very smooth pass. He kept on moving up and ended the race in 14th. I'd like to say that I should have stuck to his wheel, but it wasn't happening. I was feeling good, but he was moving!

Michael Hosang and I did battle trading spots and jockeying into the turns for the last 2 laps. It was intense racing, but I got away from him on the run-up last lap. Fun stuff.

Coming up the finishing straight I was closing on Chris Harshman and my teammate Morgan Gerlak. With another lap I might have connected with them. I was happy to even get close to them as they were clearly riding well. Despite the crappy start I ended up having pretty good legs and solid focus.

I ended up 22nd, good for a handful of series points. After the first lap I thought I had no shot at the top 25 so I was happy with the result. For the remaining MAC races I really want to get a starting position on the first two rows and have a better shot at the Top 10. I'm not strong enough to make my way up there from mid-pack, but I think that with a good start and some luck I've got a shot.

Congrats to my teammates. Everyone is having a good season and our killer B squad is looking really good with JH3, Morgan, Bernie, & Miles.

'Cross is hard & humbling & painful, but the rewards from expanding one's limits are manifested in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways. Perhaps even cooler is the family that is the 'cross community. Seeing friends and making new ones is pretty damn sweet.

Monday, October 23, 2006


What a weekend. Seriously tough racing, but it was fun. The MAC cranks it up a few notches in all respects.


photo courtesy of Gina Harshman

I lined up on the 3rd row and thankfully some space opened up quickly. I was able to move up and get on the tail of the front group. With a field of 90 killa B's it was important to get in front of the inevitable log jams. I hit it hard for the first couple of laps until the gaps settled in. Then I focused on riding cleanly and dosing my efforts so that I didn't fade at the end.

The other 2 times I've done this race I've had mechanical and crash issues that have pushed me well back in the results. This year I rode really smoothly and managed to keep the power up, even as I suffered on all of the climbs.

The last half of the race I was battling with Chris Mayhew and Colin Sandberg. They put it to me on the power sections and I clawed back on the technical stuff. It was really fun racing as we jockeyed for position each lap.

The final time down the twisty off-camber hill I passed Colin and sat on Mayhew's wheel. He hit the road first and I was right on his wheel, ready (I thought) for the sprint. However, Colin unleashed a wicked jump that I had no answer for. At the same moment we were caught by two other strong dudes, Ray Ignosh & Andrew Crooks. I was outgunned and I knew it. The sprint started and mentally I had already checked out. The shock & awe overwhelmed me.

I rolled in on the back of that group to finish 17th. I was happy with the race, but I was also a bit disappointed to be that close to knocking on the door of the top 10 and lose several places in the last 200m. It was intense racing and just what I needed from a training standpoint.

Even better than racing was watching the other races. The DCC of D did an amazing job to put on a national caliber event. Even though I was racing again on Sunday I couldn't help but drink some beer, eat some tacos, and run around watching the elite races. The scene on the evil run-up was huge. It was packed with screaming, cowbell clanging cross fans urging the racers up the hill...very cool stuff.

Bike racing is cool, but 'cross is just a special experience. Beautiful venue, good people, friendly vibes...a true MAC Love-In.