Friday, September 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

'Cross Talk video podcast!!!

Peter Nicoll from Squadra Coppi & Superluminalmedia is doing a video podcast called "'Cross Talk". This week's episode is from Charm City 'Cross. It should be up on iTunes in a few days so check it out and subscribe. He plans to produce video podcasts from 'cross races around the region this season.

Check it out and spread the WORD!

Great work, Peter! Thank you!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The rubber is important

For last night's 'cross practice I put the clinchers on my pit bike (Lemond) and rolled over to the park. The last time I had ridden these wheels was for a combo road/dirt ride so the tires were pumped up to 50+ psi. That's great for doing some miles on the road/bike path/fire road, but not so good for doing hot laps on a twisty 'cross course.

We had a good turnout last night and the group was riding some spirited laps. I was following Mike B. and after a couple of turns I commented that I was running way too much pressure. A few turns later we hit an off-camber right sweeper at speed and my bike just slid out from under me. I hit hard on my ribs, elbow (which was already bruised from a mtb crash the night before), and the side of my head. Ouch.

Instead of letting out some pressure I jumped back on my bike and kept riding. I guess I am just dumb or stubborn. Next lap I'm in the middle of a 180 turn on dirt/stone road when the same friggin' thing happens and my knee/shin gets the cheese grater treatment. Thankfully, Sean didn't run my ass over as I was layed out in the dirt.

I think part of the problem is that my tub's were hooking up so well in Sunday's race that I became overconfident in my cornering abilities. I was jamming into the curves at speed thinking the bike would stay hold the line. I guess I forgot that I wasn't on the Dugast's pumped to 35psi. Bike handling skills are nice, but the rubber (and tire pressure) really does make a difference.

Other than the crashes it was a fun practice. I'm looking forward to racing again this weekend at the Ed Sander 'Cross.

Here's a camera-phone shot of the damage. Nothing too bad, but scrubbing the dirt and pebbles out of the scrapes was not fun.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

C3 CX Men's B report

Charm City 'Cross

For me this race started the day after last year's race. There was a lot of planning and hard work by a lot of people to make the race happen. I'm really proud of the work we did and the spirit in which we did it. It was a total team effort. To have the day come together the way it did was really cool.

After hours of work on Saturday prepping the course and little sleep that night I was up at 4:30 Sunday morning. Despite the lack of sleep I was jacked up on adrenaline from the minute I rolled out of bed. I made a quick stop at Dunkin for coffee and food for our volunteers and made it to the Park at 5:30.

We got to work setting up the registration area and then started setting up the course in the dark. That was fun! Thankfully the sun came up quickly making our job a little bit easier.

The course came together almost effortlessly (except for all the stakes, tape, & getting on our knees to pick up glass!). We had spent a lot of time tweaking the course to get the right balance and proper lap times. The hardest part was working the turns to assure that they were technical, but still fast if you rode them properly. I think the course had a nice balance and plenty of flow...but I'm biased. 8-)

I raced in the huge killer B field. I think we had 88 starters. As expected it got crazy at the start. Mike O'Hara zoomed out of the gate to take the whole shot, but he overcooked the first grassy off-camber left bend and went into the tape.

The start (Brewer is already up front)
c3cx dens start

A pile-up ensued and I was momentarily stuck behind it. I had just put my foot down when a small gap opened up in the middle of the carnage. I squeezed through and got moving trying to close the gap to the leaders. It was jail-break city and everyone was scrambling to close gaps.

Georgia Gould came by at some point and I followed her for a while passing a handful of guys. Eventually she pulled away from me. She is fast & super nice taboot!

I ended up following fastMarc Vettori for a while too. He was riding a fast pace and was very smooth through the technical stuff so he was an excellent wheel to follow.

Following fastmarc

He dropped me after a while. I was trying avoid blowing up and fading late in the race like I tend to do sometimes. My legs had felt horrible warming up, but I seemed to have good power during the race. I never felt great, but I never felt the power disappear.

At the end of one of the early laps Morgan passed me like I was standing still...and he didn't even have the decency to give me a push! 8-) He had a huge ride to make the podium...he's 14 years old. wow.

I had a minor crisis when I saw that we had 4 laps to go. I was guessing that I'd see 2 to go so that was tough on me mentally. I briefly dealt with some negative thoughts, but shook them off and got back to business.

I rode by myself for a while pushing myself to stay on the gas. The lead group was not far ahead and there were a bunch of chasers just in front of me. I was dangling around 12th place.

I was definitely better on the technical parts of the course and just tried to survive on the fitness parts. I figured out where I could push it and where I could recover. I tried to hit the shorter hills out of the saddle and rode a steady grind on the long grassy sections.

This was my first race on the Dugast Rhino 34's and they were wonderful. I was running them pretty low (mid 30's I'd guess) and they were hooking up on all of the turns. I was able to carry most of my momentum out of the curves. They also rolled really well on the bumpy grass.

solo in the sand. The new skinsuits look hot & ARE hot when it's 80 degrees!

Gradually I started to pick off guys in front of me. I don't think I was riding any faster. It seemed like they were paying for earlier efforts. As I passed I dug deep and tried to put in a quick gap before they recovered. I know from experience on the other end that this is a psychological blow.

I got by E-Town, Jared Nieters, Steve Fife, and Eric Linder late in the race. I was suffering and worried that they'd re-pass me so I did a really hard lap with 2 to go. On the last lap I was pretty sure that nobody would catch me if I could keep it together.

Evan Fader was just in front of me, but I couldn't quite catch him before we hit the field. With his engine he pulled away from me and had a few seconds on me as we crossed back over the road for the last part of the lap. There was no way I was going to close the gap on my own but he bounced his bike after the last set of hurdles and dropped his chain.

I jumped by and drilled it to the turn wanting to have a good gap before hitting the finishing road section. I kept the gap and rolled across the line in 7th, happy to be done and happier that I had done a good ride.

Due to promoter-legs I had set low expectations for this race. I just wanted to get in a good workout and have fun. I think that course knowledge & adrenaline made up for tired legs. Whatever it was I was smiling.

John Brewer won a hard fought battle with Georgia and Todd Hesel to take a well deserved win. We knew he had the engine & now he's got the skills to match. He has a nice report up on his blog.

Many other people had great rides, including Marc V, Morgan, Zach & Todd. Nick Bax could have won if he hadn't had to work through so much traffic. Georgia really animated the race and attacked constantly. There were plney of other strong dudes in the race as well. One thing is for sure, it's going to be a fun & competitive season!

The rest of the day was a blat as well. Dieter & Sean G. added some drama to the Elite Men's race with an awesome battle most of the way. We were very thankful that so many people came out to support our race and make the day one to remember.

Results are up at BikeReg.

We'll be back next year better than ever.

Next up is Ed Sander 'Cross on Sunday. See ya there!


***Thanks to Gina Harshman and Dennis Smith for the photos!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Today was a good day

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.
Charm City 'Cross exceeded our expectations today.
We had a huge turnout and everyone seemed to have a fun time. It was a lot of work and stress, but the atmosphere and excitement of today's event made it all worthwhile.

We're compiling a PR packet to help sell our event to the City in order to make getting use of the Park easier. We'll be collecting photos and stories to make the case that our event is a positive for the City. If anyone has any comments that might help please send them my way. I'd love to hear any suggestions or criticisms too. We want to keep improving the race year after year.
Thank you.

I'll have more to say about the day and the racing later.
I need some sleep first.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

mussels & frites

Chilly mornings whisper Fall is near
Time to clean up the bikes
Check for damage, make things right

New chain, fresh tape
Pour a beer and re-stick those tires
Ahhh the smell of glue

Dust off the skills
Gingerly at first
On off, on off, run around

With the races near
Thoughts drift to hopes & goals
& memories

Good times
Good people
Familiar places

Like mussels & frites
Or a waffle with that pearled sugar
The spirit of 'cross warms my belly, satisfied

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nys Bike

Sven Nys had a run-in with a drunken spectator at today's race and it was not pretty.

nys bike

Since when did Colnago start making bikes out of plastic?

Monday, September 18, 2006

6 days 'til Charm City 'Cross

Charm City 'Cross pre-reg is up to 164 nearly a week before race day. Even Dieter has pre-reg'd! That could be a first.

Wow...the pressure is on to pull off a good event.

As a promoter there's a lot of stress to deal with in the weeks leading up to the race. But at least our event is early and we can spend the rest of the season just racing!

We did some course scouting yesterday.

The laps were too long last year so we're shortening up the loop by taking out the paver stone out-and-back. That eliminates a road crossing too, freeing up course marshalls. We're also taking out the small set of stairs. They were too narrow and potentially slick if it's wet. A shorter loop will make for better spectating and more exciting racing. We should still have 4 dismounts per lap.

Here's a quick tour of the track (subject to change!):
1. Same road start, up the hill, round the bend to the right and down the finishing straight
2. Transition off the road & onto the grass
3. Off-camber left bend out to a wide sweeper of a U-turn
4. Up the gradual slope & into the freshly tilled sand. Tight turn in the sand forces a dismount
5. Traversing down the hill and out to a tighter U-turn
6. Off-camber dip and tight turn back up the slope between some trees
7. Across the grass and up a short climb by Columbus Pavilion heading to the Pit
8. Down the slope & across the road to the open field
9. Grinding power sections in the grass with a tricky set of barriers before heading up the hill
10. A fun off-camber turn on a grassy knoll before a fast descent to the bottom of the hill
11. Across the road & up the hill by the Pit before a dismount over a natural obstacle & U-turn around a tree.
12. Down the hill into a slightly off-camber right and back up the hill
13. Grassy false flat up to a left bend and a double set of barriers parallel to the start/finish.
14. A twisty downhill section dumping you back onto the road by the start line.

The grass hadn't been mowed and there were a lot of tree branches on the ground so the course was bumpy and not rolling all that well. Plus, I had my tires at 60psi. The grass should be cut at the end of this week and we'll be out there on Saturday cleaning things up. It'll be better on race day. Even so, I'll be running the tires on the low side to roll better on the grass.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sniffing Glue

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I feel like I'm one of the cool kids now

Rhino's baby!
They're stretching on the rims getting ready for glue-a-palooza.

And now for the obligatory gushing about 'cross practice... 8-)

'Cross practice was the best yet. We did some skills work and then raced around a slightly modified practice loop, kicking each lap off with a practice start on the road section. Mike, Christine, Rodger, Kevin and I chased each other around; drifting through turns, attacking, closing gaps, and slipping along off-cambers at a pretty fast pace. Sean's front wheel was half-taco'd, most likely from a yard sale crash at Nationals, so he did some running.

Hopefully we'll get a few more people out and keep up the momentum for the workouts.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cyclocross & Husker Du

Here's a recap of my 'cross races last season with the appropriate Husker Du songs.
Huskers make good songs for training. Plenty of energy, anger, & speed to fuel your efforts.

Charm City - I worked all Saturday and from 5am Sunday to put on the event so I was hurting when it came time for me to race.
59 Times The Pain

Ed Sander - I made it to the lead group, attacked and led for a bit before yo-yo-ing and getting popped by the leaders.
Keep Hanging On

Granogue - New bike, loose headset, wheel comes out of the dropouts, crash, crappy legs, tough day.
Everything Falls Apart

Lower Allen - Good & fast group racing following wheels and my legs felt decent for the first time all season.
Wheels --> Turn It Around

Race Pace - The weather was HOT and the race was FAST. I felt good and was up front early but couldn't quite make it into the top 5.
Sunshine Superman

Reston - FAST & HARD Race with no time for recovery, but I felt good and finished strong.
Beyond The Threshold

MABRA Cross Champs - Stomach bug had me very ill and in bed all weekend so no races.
From The Gut

Fair Hill - I was down 7 pounds from Thursday to Sunday and feeling weak just days before Natz.
Hardly Getting Over It

Nationals - The 35-39 race on Friday was just about as epic as they get. Strangely I felt great.
Standing In The Rain --> Masochism World --> Ice Cold Ice

Friday, September 08, 2006

Toy Store

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.
Thor was digging the train table at the toy store.
We had a nice trip to Richmond this weekend.
We caught up with family & friends, ate much good food, and enjoyed some much needed R&R.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shenandoah 100

Earlier in the week the forecast for the race was looking bleak. Ernesto was heading up the East Coast promising to dump many inches of rain on Virginia. The mountains did end up getting quite a bit of rain, but luckily the meat of the storm stayed further East sparing the trails from the worst of it.

Around midday on Saturday I picked up Poz and we rolled out in the direction of Harrisonburg. Initially we drove through a steady rain as the tail end of the storm worked its way North. As we made our way down I-81 the clouds broke and the sun came out. Instead of a rainy weekend we were in for cool temps and sunshine, perfect weather for an all day mountain bike ride.

Arriving at the Stokesville campground we found the campsite that Jason Berry had kindly saved for us. It was just far enough from the Pavilion to allow us to get a good night's sleep. We registered and talked with many friends and acquaintances that had gathered to join in the fun. After a tasty meal of spaghetti & meatballs that was prepared by the army of amazing volunteers it was time to get some sleep.

And a good night's sleep it was.

The gong woke me up at 5am and I quickly went from relaxed to scrambling. I got dressed and rolled over to the pavilion to chug some coffee and half a bagel. Soon thereafter I was in a thankfully short line for the crapper. That went well and I was back for a refill of coffee before rolling back to our campsite.

At this point we were 15 minutes from the 6:30 start and Poz and I seemed to be in slow motion getting our shit together. I had just finished getting my helmet on when I heard a roar and the rev of the moto's as the f-ing race started...with us still at our campsite! shit!

The Start
I looked at Poz and said "I'm outta here." He was still getting ready but I think he hurried after that. I sprinted down the camp road and caught the pack before they turned onto the main road.

I resisted the temptation to hammer the climb up Narrowback, but I kept a pretty solid pace without having to dig deep. The fireroad part of the climb was pretty easy with only a few short steep sections that hurt. Once onto the singletrack I was feeling clumsy. The rocks were kind of slippery and I just wasn't feeling any flow-mojo. I was really fighting the trail and working way too hard.

All of the traffic didn't make it any easier as it only took one person off the bike to force all those behind to dismount and run/walk. One guy that wasn't dismounting was Poz. It was on this section that he came storming by me riding by a bunch of walkers on a rocky section of the climb. He was flying!

Wolf Ridge
Coming off the descent we made a right onto Tillman Rd and passed Aid Station #1. I kept rolling and hooked onto the back of a good group. At first the pace was hurting me a little, but after 10 minutes or so I settled in and my legs finally opened up. As we climbed up the road and our group shrunk we rolled a nice paceline and kept the tempo high until we turned left onto Lynn Trail.

The first part of the trail was fine, but soon enough the slope kicked up and the trail narrowed considerably. Every effort was made to keep pedalling, but eventually enough riders started walking that it was practically impossible to stay on the bike. And so we settled into a long long train of racers hiking up the steep switchback climb. From time to time we'd get back on our bikes and ride for a bit, but then we'd come to a halt and resume trudging. A nest of bees kept things interesting and stung quite a few people. That was one thing that did suck. 8-)

The Wolf Ridge downhill did not suck. In fact, it was spectacular and very very fast.

Once into Aid Station #2 I got a refill on my camelback and bottle from the super volunteers while I ate some food and popped endurolytes.

Hankey Mountain --> Dowell's Draft
The climb up Hankey just kept going. First it was a long, twisting fire road.
Then it changed over to a grassy double track before narrowing to singletrack.
Following my gameplan I kept my pace steady and evntually passed several riders that were suffering after starting the climb too fast.

The downhill was spectacular. I paused at the top to take some endurolytes before clipping in for the seriously fast ride to the bottom. I rolled right down the couple of steep rocky sections that some chose to walk. These areas were a little hairy, but nothing crazy. However, dodging people walking downhill made it sketchier than it needed to be. Eventually the trail settled into smooth, benchcut singletrack that was so much fun. I managed to follow Elk's wheel down the second half of the descent. He was not having a good day, but it was cool to get to ride with him for a bit.

I only stayed at Aid Station #3 long enough to refill my fluids and eat a PB&J. In '04 I spent way too long at this stop getting my knee cleaned up and bandaged up after a big crash on the downhill.

Mountain House/Braley's Pond
The first part of this section was an extended road ride up a false flat into the wind.
I hooked up with a couple of riders and we rode a moderate paceline all the way to the turnoff for Mountain House.

Across the calf deep stream & up the hike-a-bike beginning of the climb and it was time to grind.
This climb is a beautiful benchcut singletrack that winds its way up the mountain. With fresh legs much of this climb is ridable, but after 50 miles of racing it is often more efficient to get off and push. And that's how it went...ride a bit and hike a bit.

I was pretty happy when the trail turned downhill sooner than I expected...this never happens at the SM100! 8-) All the downhills at this race rock, but this one might be the best. You drop off the mountain at high speed on smooth, narrow, curvy singletrack. I think I let out a yell of joy at some point.

At Aid Station #4 the volunteers filled me up and David Crouse made sure that I knew what was coming up next...the long uphill drag to #5 two-thirds of the way up to Little Bald Knob.

The Morale Crushing Climb
Rolling out of #4 I turned on my iPod for the first time. I needed something to distract me for the roughly two hour climb that lay ahead. The first part of the climb is a false flat, but it grinds on and on. My legs were hurting and I was not moving very fast. When the road finally kicked up I started to feel better. I was still going slow, but I was making steady progress. Aside from a quick stop to take a leak I kept on pedaling.

Upon arriving at Aid Station #5 I grabbed my drop bag for fresh gloves and socks. I also reapplied chamois cream. The Assos stuff was awesome. I had no chafing issues!
After taking care of gear issues I hit the food table. I was needing some energy at this point so I down some Coke and ate a piece of pizza. The pizza was money. I was getting sick of gels and other sweet energy foods.

I caught up to JoeP on the way out of # 5 and rode with up on the never-ending climb up to Little Bald Knob. The first part of the descent was sketchy as hell with rocks covered by wet leaves. Braking or changing lines was asking for trouble so we pointed our bikes downhill and hoped. By this point my triceps were screaming from getting pounded by the rocks. The bottom half of the downhill was smooth and fast....ahhhh that felt good.

Aid Station # 6 came shortly thereafter. A quick pb&j and half a banana were all I grabbed before hopping back on my bike and heading off for the final section of the race.

Hankey Redux to the FINISH!
On the way to the climb I reached in my jersey pocket for one last dose of endurolytes. My baggie only had two pills left. I'd been taking 3 per hour so I was going to be a little light for the last hour. I carefully reached into the bag as I rode and grabbed the pills. I didn't want to drop them and tempt more cramps on the final climb. Of course I dropped one! I wasn't about to turn around and look for it so I swallowed the one pill and rode on.

The course takes in this climb earlier in the day continuing all the way to the top. On this final leg we would only be going part of the way up before turning off in a different direction. The first time up the climb I had timed myself up to the turnoff. It had taken 20 minutes on relatively fresh legs. It would take longer on cooked legs, but at least I had an idea of how long I needed to sustain the effort.

I wasn't moving fast, but I was on the bike and I was making progress. My legs and mind were weary, but the turnoff came in 25 minutes, quicker than I expected. I ground my way up the rest of the way before the trail turned downhill.

Now it was mostly downhill the rest of the way. I really wanted to finish inside of 11 hours so I bombed the downhill and then hammered the flattish sections on the way to the campground. Entering the campground I felt like I was in a 'cross race carving the downhill turns at speed and making a nice pass on one of the waterbars.

I caught a little air heading into the grassy field and cruised across the line. I was smiling as I rang the gong and grabbed a pint glass. My time was 10:48, knocking 26 minutes off my 2004 effort. I felt much better than I did the last time when I was a wreck after the finish. This year I parked my bike and went right to the keg for a recovery beer. I ate much food, got a sweet massage, and drank a few more beers before calling it a night. I did not contest for the rock star GC.

This report has been delayed too long and I don't have time to add anything else so this is it, but to sum up the experience, it was a blast and I'll be back.

Monday, September 04, 2006

It didn't suck

Things that didn't suck at the Shenandoah 100

The weather
The trails
The free beer
The food
The amazing volunteers
The atmosphere
The community
Riding a mountain bike all day
Pushing through many levels of suffering to discover that your limits are mostly in your head