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.