Wednesday, January 31, 2007


This morning I stopped outside my protege's door and heard him talking (probably to a stuffed animal). He was practicing new words. I listened to him work on 'crayon'. I'm amazed at how many words he understands. Every day he probably learns 20 or more new words and he understands most everything we say to him. Now he's starting to say more words. Sometimes he'll babble conversationally and other times he'll work on pronouncing specific words. It's a fascinating process! Mind-blowing in fact.

Nathan Spear has the GOODS yet again.
The elite races at this year's 'Cross Worlds were riveting. They are worthy of multiple viewings.
Download the elite men's race here.

Quick rant against the forces of evil
sick of 'em
they weaken organizations, nations, etc.
and they are annoying as shit
how about thinking for yourself and taking the risk to express your own opinion?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cold fingers

Last night I charged up the lights and got all my gear together in the basement. I figured this would make it harder to bail on riding this morning. When I opened my eyes at 4:50am I wavered for a moment before nutting up & crawling out of bed. Quietly.

I grabbed my contact lenses and headed to the basement to suit up. I couldn't find my heavy duty mittens so I wore my normal winter riding gloves. No big deal I told myself. Ha!

As I rolled down the street to the trailhead I got worried. It was colder than the proverbial witch's titty on a January night in Lapland. The benefit of the cold was that the trails were frozen solid and offering super-hero traction. The downside was that my fingers started to freeze 5 minutes into the ride.

The last 15 minutes of my hour ride were miserable. I couldn't feel my fingers and I was dreading the thawing out process. I've been there before and it sucks. Despite the issue of the cold, I was still out on my mountain bike on a weekday in January. I ignored the misery and enjoyed the ride.

Back at the house I had trouble getting the key to unlock the door. Gee. Zero feeling in the digits means very little coordination. Once inside my fingers eventually thawed out in a sink of warm water. I moaned a bit, but didn't shed any tears. 8-) No fun. It's after 9am now and my fingertips are still sore. Mittens next time! And perhaps a flask of hot espresso or brown liquor! - Michael Lewis on Davos. - Juan Williams interviews our fearless leader. wtf. Is it 2008 yet? Snippet - “I’m not that good at pronouncing words.” - Chris Milliman talks to the keeper of the Dugast flame.

fatmarc - Still on hiatus. Temporary I hope.

Jonathan Page - He's earned his spot on the top tier. Time for a new website. And perhaps a big RV. - My Flemish is rusty, but it sounds like Vervecken says...Of his 3 world titles he had to work hardest for this one (nice compliment to J. Page). When Erwin crashed and took Nys down the crowd was booing him, but the same fans booing were the ones cheering him along in the last lap. Wacky (drunk) Belgies. Wellens is done for the season. boo hoo. - update: They have the Sporza feed from 'Cross Worlds and the picture quality is very good. It seems they have their own commentators from the U.S. and A. There are two links for the World Championships on the site. One of them is the Women's race. It's an on-demand streaming feed. I'm almost half-way through the Women's race and the quality is excellent! What a race! Katie is on the front of a big group pulling back Hanka. Check it out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

excellent 'cross worlds report

PezCycling News has a very nice report with some stunning photos.

Check it out here.

And you can still watch the elite Men's race at

You just have to pay $4.95 for a month-long subscription.

US 'Cross is riding the wave

Wellens, Nys, & Vervecken hit the deck.
At least Vervecken was able to come back from his uphill endo to ride back to the front and win the jersey. He is a class act and a nice guy. He's even travelled to the US and A to race & support cyclocross. I'm a fan.

- World Cup for the US in October. I hope this comes to fruition, but it doesn't sound like it's a done deal yet. It'll take a lot of money and an immense amount of work to get it done. The announcement and hype should help rally the troops to make it happen. I've been thinking about what Tom Stevens can do to the track at Roger Williams Park to make it more technical. Maybe a dumptruck load of sand? Right now it's too fast and untechnical if conditions are dry.

SSWC07 Singlespeed Worlds are on for September 1st & 2nd in Aviemore, Scotland. IMBA recently gave Scotland an "A" and named it Global Superstar in mountain biking. The Scots are known for their enjoyment of the drink as well. I won't be able to make it, but I predict a good time for those that make the journey.

I got out for a ride with Rita at Avalon on Saturday, but kept it short because we had a babysitter lined up for Sunday morning and a big ride planned. I woke up at 5am to watch the Elite Women's race at CX World's. After watching Katie take Silver I was fired up to ride. Then I poked my head out the door. 40 degrees and light rain. Not only did the trails not freeze up overnight, but the rain was making them worse. I had to settle for a very boring ride on the trainer watching Gunga Din. Ugh. The upside was that I rode during the little guy's name so we had more time to play...that's a workout too! 8-)

CitybikesMike had some cool news about the progress of the proposed skills park at Patapsco.
I'm looking forward to moving some dirt to help out with the construction.

The cold temps have returned so I might be able to get out for a 5am pre-sunrise ride in the morning.

Sunday, January 28, 2007



"Even though I had the best legs of the season I couldn't do much more than what I did. The jersey went to the wrong person, he shouldn't have won it even though he's a teammate. He deserves to be on the podium but the other guys don't," Wellens said.

To the beer tent!

Man, I'd love to be in the beer tent right now.


Last lap

Page and Vervecken have a good gap.

Page attacks!!!!!!!
He has a small gap.

My hands are shaking just typing this.

Don't look back Jonathan!

Franzoi is closing the gap to Vervecken and Page.
And the other chasers are close too.

Vervecken is back on Page but he's digging deep.
He passes Page.
Will it come down to a sprint?

Page attacks again!!!!!!!

In the sand.
Page rides it smoothly!!! Yeah!

Not much left.
It's going to be a sprint.

Page in front.
Vervecken right on his wheel.

Lapped rider in the way.
Page still in front.
Vervecken attacks up a short steep rise!

Small gap.

Page needs to dig NOW!
Slick turn.
On the road.

Vervecken wins!
Page 2nd!
Franzoi in 3rd

3 Silver medals for the Americans!

Keep it clean

Page and Vervecken riding very smoothly and working well together.
This is a good situation for both of them.

Vervecken is attacking up the climb!
Page is gapped slightly.

It's not or never. He needs to dig deep and embrace the pain..
There's just over 1 lap to go.

Page is back on Vervecken's wheel.
The chasers are splitting up and not making up much ground.
But Wellens is still moving up.

Vervecken is looking good.
Page pulls through on the road section as they get the bell.
One lap to go!

Tiny gaps

The gaps are still very small in the first 7 riders.
Vervecken closes the gaps up the stairs. He is a great runner.

2 laps to go.

Page and Vervecken
Then a group of 4, but those guys have trouble in the mud.

Wellens is still fighting and moving up. Props for not giving up.

Page lets Vervecken through to do some work. Erwin sure as shit doesn't want to be caught by 2 Dutchmen! He must figure he can drop Page on the last lap.

Damn, I'm proud of Page and all of the Americans right now.
USA 'Cross is moving up in the world.

Here comes Vervecken!

Defending champion Vervecken is pushing hard to catch Page.

He's getting close, but Page is riding well, hitting the sand cleanly.

Franzoi goes over the bars in the sand!

Vervecken is going after Page.

Page changes bikes. Damn, he is staying cool and collected.

use the force

Come on Jonathan

Stay smooth

The Americans at the race must be going nuts

The chasers are right on Franzoi, but Page still leads by a few seconds.
I think it'll come back together.

Page looks smooth. He's staying within himself.
If they catch him I hope he can respond and stay with them for the sprint.

They are slowly bringing him back.


The belgians are going to need some therapy.

Vervecken is still up there in the chase, but overall the Belgies are not having a good race.

Page leads up the road by a couple of seconds on Franzoi and a few more on the chasers.

3 laps to go.

How deep can he go?

Nervous moments

There's a lot of racing left, but if Page can stay at the front of the race the dude can spint.

My heart is racing just watching this race.

The chasing group is flying, but Franzoi and Page look smooth with a lead of about 5 seconds.

Page rides the sand smoothly and gets a little gap!

But uh oh, here come the chasers.

Jonathan looks good, but he'll need a little luck...but he's due some good luck.


Groenendal goes down in the mud!

Page and Franzoi catch and pass him as he has to get a fresh bike.

Holy shit.

Lotta racing left.

So far has been smooth. Although the picture is a bit fuzzy the audio is clear.

Nys down again!

Sven Nys joins the growing number of riders executing an uphill endo in this world championship race...all in the same spot! I think it's time to try a different line!

That's 3 crashes and counting for Nys. The guy has skills so you know this track is tough.

If J. Page can dig a little deeper right now he's going to be away with Groonendal and Franzoi with a decent gap. Holy shit.

He's up with Franzoi now, but the Belgians and Dlask are chasing.

Will Nys help Wellens chase down his Rabobank teammate?

Good stuff.


Holy shit!

This course is HARD and the pace is FAST!

Page is still up there in the lead group in about 6th.

Grooenendal has a rocket up his ass, but one of my darkhorse picks Dlask is right there on his wheel.

Another crash as Vervecken and Nys tangle and go down.

I'm waiting for the Belgian fans to start losing it. If a Dutchman wins they may riot!


What's with all the crashes???
Nys, Wellens, Vervecken
The Belgians are choking like a bunch of rookie pole smokers!

Katie rocks!

It's 5:44am and I just watched Katie Compton put in a beautiful ride to take the Silver medal at Cyclocross World's, just a second or two off of the win! The last few laps were dramatic. I hope someone posts the full race on the web because I want to watch it again. I'll post a link here if that happens.

Katie - One step higher next year!

Time for some coffee.

I'll crack a beer for the men's race.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Guide to 'Cross Worlds

The best way to experience the Cyclocross World Championships is to catch a plane to Europe and watch the races in person. If you can't swing the trip then here is a guide to enjoying the races at home.

First, you need to figure out how to actually watch the race. As far as I know the only way is to subscribe to the UCI Live channel on and tune in at 8:00am eastern. Barring the usual technical difficulties they will be broadcasting live with English commentary. I assume they'll show the elite Men's race, but I hope they'll show the others as well.

You might want to print out a map of the track so that you can follow along.

To get the full experience you need to be bundled up, standing in the cold, & drinking to stay warm. So, set up your laptop outside. You might need an umbrella to protect it from the elements and the beer. One bonus to watching outside means that you can go to the bathroom out in the open like the euros.

How cool would it be to get the live feed from Sporza and watch it on big-ass plasma?
Or, maybe you can hook up your computer to a real TV? If anyone knows about that let me know.

Now that you're set up to watch the race you need to gather Essential Supplies. Don't skimp here. Your enjoyment of the race will be predicated on your level of preparation.

You need Beer and plenty of it. Preferably Belgian. Here is one area where you have it better than the slobs actualy at the event. They'll be stuck drinking Jupiler or some other swill. You can stock up on the good stuff. Just make sure you have the correct glass for each type of beer!

To really have an authentic experience you need to get a bottle of Apple Krones (some kind of schnaaps) and heat that crap up. Time to bust out some shot glasses and hide car keys.

For any 'cross race you need a lot of calories. For Worlds you need extra. It would suck to bonk during a race of this magnitude.

Make a batch of Belgian waffles.

And then cook up a bunch of Frites
Frites in Bruges

Eat plenty. You can diet later.

In the motherland everyone shows their support for their favorites whether it's with the ubiquitous supportersclub jacket or in other creative ways.
Even though you'll be watching at home you need to find a way to show your support. The positive energy will find it's way over to Belgium and give your rider another gear.

To fully experience the mayhem you need to get a little crazy and let your freak flag fly. With the beer, shots, and food you should be primed and ready.

If you did it right you might not remember exactly what happened so check the results and then get the first-hand scoop from racer blogs & websites.
Jonathan Page
Ryan Trebon
Erik Tonkin
Barry Wicks
Tristan Schouten
Christine Vardaros
TIAA-Cref youngun's
Simon Zahner posts here

I hope this guide helps you enjoy the experience to the fullest. If you have any other ideas or know of some Belgian dive bar that is broadcasting the races live please let me know asap.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Didn't they pre-ride?

No, this is not the C race. This is a World Cup.

Yo, how 'bout some hay bales?

Cue up Richard Fries..."Oh, the humanity!"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

fun fun ride this morning

A couple of weeks ago the word spread that Fort James and some of the DE/PA crew were coming down for a tour of Avalon. Mel and I immediately lined up Grandma to babysit so that we could join in on the fun.

A big group of us met at the Rolling Rd. park-and-ride. This ride was organized by Trevor and included riders from all over, with many singlespeeders in attendance. I didn't know everyone, but there were a lot of us. Trevor, Jonathan, Dave, RickyD, Jason, Bob, Di, Bernie, Harshman, Poz, Tracy, Dominique, Melanie, Me, and a few others from the local area. Plus, we had a nice group come down from the Delaware/SE PA area: Fort James, Buddy, Ted Logic, Mike, and Randy (I think that was it). If I had all the nicknames this would sound like a fatMarc post. 8-) Needless to say, we were rolling deep.

We met up early to take advantage of the frozen trail conditions. It was cold. Actually it wasn't all that cold, maybe 29 degrees, but it was windy. Standing around in the parking lot the wind was sucking the warmth out of everybody. The upside is that we got moving pretty quickly as nobody wanted to linger and freeze their nuts off. Once we were in the woods it felt a lot warmer since we were protected from the wind. I pity the poor bastards that rode the roads today.

The ride started well and then after about 2 minutes Buddy's rear tire decided to blow off the rim. Luckily he was able to get it to seal back up with a hit of CO2 and some pumping. Stan's did the trick. Once we got rolling again we started climbing. Trevor wanted to show off some of the better downhills at Avalon so that meant hitting a lot of climbs too.

We worked our way over to Hilton/Hilltop. On the way we got to do a bunch of climbing, ride a lot of rocks, and even see Tracy take a swim in an icy creek. That was good entertainment, but unfortunately it meant that she and Poz headed home early to avoid hypothermia. Good call.

I think everyone enjoyed the riding over in the Hilton area. I know I did. Although I did chicken out on the last steep, sketchy pitch down the slope to the bike path. My mtb skills are rusty and mentally I'm seeing endos whenever I'm riding down something steep that has drops and rocks. I guess two cracked helmets in a season will do that, but I need to get over it.

After the plunge down from the Baltimore Co side we rode the path to the swinging bridge and crossed over into Howard Co. Then it was up the fire road and over to the Cascade trail. That's always a good climb and the rocky stuff above the falls is a fun challenge.

We avoided the next nasty climb and instead rolled up the gradual climb up to Landing Rd. and then to the jump trail. I hit a couple of the smaller jumps, but stayed off the bigger ones, but some of the guys were hitting them and having fun doing so.

Coming out of the jumps our group got split up a bit. Most everyone headed down toward the horse farm loop, but a few of the guys ended up bearing left and hitting part of the Ridge Trail. I was with the group on the farm loop. Aside from a couple of guys crashing on one of the downhills it was good.

We rolled back over to the 4-way and dropped down the waterbars at high speed, enjoying a bit of air on the way down. I think we would have been happy to keep riding, but everyone had things to do so we headed back to the cars for a beer.

Many of my mtb rides are solo and I enjoy them, but getting out with a big group like this is really a blast. Nobody's worried about training or any of that bullshit. We're all just out there enjoying the trails and each others company.

I can't think of a much better way to spend a Winter morning and I hope we do it again real soon!

Oh, and congratulations to Chris and Allison Eatough on the birth of their baby girl yesterday!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

24 Solo Trailer

Check this out now!

The trailer for 24 Solo is up here.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this film.

Monday, January 08, 2007

unfavorable conditions

Photo 12
Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.
This photo from our Fall 2003 trip to Fruita is an illustration of good mountain biking conditions. You've got your sun, scenery, rocks, singletrack, and a good taco stand in town. Another trip out West to do a Fruita/Moab combo is on the to-do list for sometime in the future. I don't know when, but it'll happen.

Current conditions here in central Maryland are not favorable for mountain biking. We've had rain, followed by rain, and more rain. The trails are a mess.

After 'cross season I like to get out on the mtb a lot to make up for all the primo Fall rides I missed out on during the season. That hasn't happened this year.

Instead I've been torturing my legs riding the fixie around the Ellicott City hills. Yesterday I tried to hang on a group ride on my undergeared, overweight 'cross pit bike.

~MY~ road rides usually involve a stop at the Old Mill Bakery for coffee and pastry...just the fuel for a climb out of the valley. Fun stuff, but my legs feel like they do after the first run of the year. I guess I'm using my leg muscles differently?

What's next?

No 'cross worlds for me. I'd really like to go back, but it's just not going to work out this year. I know that everyone going over will have a blast. I'll be drinking a beer as I follow the coverage online.

My adventures for the coming months will be local, hopefully getting reacquainted with the local trails (if they either dry or freeze). Since I haven't been able to ride the trails I've been doing some maintenance on the piece of singletrack that leads from my neighborhood into the trail system. It's got a couple of low spots that hold water and widen as people ride around the muck. I've made some progress, but I still need to haul in a bunch more rock and gravel to shore things up.

I'm riding a 29er SS these days...yeah, I jumped the bandwagon. She's a Bianchi Rita and I'm in love. Initially the 32x18 gearing was a bit stiff on the steepest climbs. They were doable, but I always felt like I was going to get a hernia trying to muscle my way up.

I've got a 20T cog on there now, but I haven't been able to put it to the test. I think it'll be just right and make the Hilton/Hilltop area much more enjoyable.

Until things dry out I've got to find a way to get my mtb skills back. Maybe some urban assault at the local middle school? Use it or lose it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A view with a memory

Digging through photos past I came across this shot from one of the switchbacks on Alpe d'Huez in 2004. I'm looking forward to riding in the Alps again someday.