Friday, October 29, 2010

A description of CX from Bill Strickland

Bill Strickland, editor at large for Bicycling Magazine and author of Tour de Lance had nice description of cyclocross at the end of this Podium Cafe interview:

Cross, I love. One part of the appeal, I think, is purely social. With just a few exceptions, my friends and I aren't very serious about cross at all. We try to race hard when we're out there, but before and after racing, cross is just a good old get-together in a way that road racing isn't. Someone drives down a trailer or an RV, or pitches a big revival tent at a good spectator spot right on the tape, and we gather there and drink beer (yes, often before racing) and goof around. We heckle the riders in the most dumb ways: We yell ‘beardy' at the guys with beards, and ... I know this sounds inane, but I think that's the point for us. There was one guy this year, an elite, who looked like David Lee Roth, and every lap, for minutes as he climbed toward us, went around a turn and rode away, we kept yelling the Roth whoop and screaming, ‘Might as well jump,' and doing rock-star kicks. We were ridiculing him mercilessly, just crucifying him. But somehow the good-natured, dumb fun of the whole thing rose to the top, and instead of feeling picked on he felt - I don't know what he felt, but he came over afterward and drank some with us. I guess everyone knows that we race too, poorly, so there might be an understanding that we know what it takes to go fast at a high level, and that we respect what the racers are doing.
Racing cross - it's just a mess. A glorious mess. Compared to the tension of road racing, when you're in the pack and one stupid thing can end not just someone's race but someone's season, or ripple out and ruin a lot of people's seasons, cross is like being twelve years old again. It's a very childish kind of thrill: dirty, out-of-control, laughing with your friends, some senseless heated rivalry you'll forget about in thirty minutes, and that sort of slapped-together feeling like when you were so bored in the long summer months that you and your friends combine several sports to make a new one: ‘Hey, what if we ran with our bikes?' At the same time, cross can be as intense as you want to make it - when you're out there racing, you can be flat-out racing. The few times I've happened to get to the front of a cross race, I've been amazed at how like a road race it feels - swapping pulls, working together to bust off the guy you don't want around at the finish, modulating the gap back to the pack. When you're in the middle or back of a race, when you're just learning, cross kind of feels like you just go as hard as you can the whole time and there's no strategy. Up front, you're going as hard as you can while trying to employ some strategy.
Still, for me, cross is almost not all about results and almost entirely about my friends, about goofing around, about loving bicycles.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Haunted Hustle is this Friday Night

I expect to see you there -- unless you're chicken.

That's right. October 29, 2010
The Haunted Hustle

Can you find all the checkpoints without freaking out in fear?

Friday, October 15, 2010

What are we going to do tonight?

from Velonews 
Velonews has been doing a series on CX bikes and featured the Specialized Crux Comp as a budget buy. I've had mine built up know for a couple weeks and I'm starting to love that thing. Weds nite CX was the first time I've been on it CXin' and not crashed it tho.  Takes a while to get the hang of new handling experience. I do know one thing though, if it feels unstable, the best cure is to just gun it, so we'll see how it goes tonight in Des Moines.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I think this is gonna be fun!

Hey y'all we've got invitations from the one and only Reverend Kim West to join the biggest, craziest event next to Jingle CX. Tomorrow night in Des Moines there will be CX racing under the lights, a band and a big party. I'm not gonna miss this. We've got host housing offers so we don't have to drive back till dawn. Come on! Second race is only $5. You know you want to go.
Then, pop me an email if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chris Cornetto of Rouse Bicycles in town

"If you see someone riding on the South Austin today that has a plume of diesel smoke coming out of his A$$ while going up hills at 5 mph, that would be me."
My friend, Chris Cornetto, will be in town today and tomorrow, so I'm hoping you'll all give him a welcome. I may have him ride the Crux so you can recognize him.  ;)

Chris is from Austin, TX, and fairly recently got into the bicycle biz with his company, Rouse Bicycles.

We'll be at Neighbor's Park at 6 p for Technique Tuesday (provided there's no rain), then Bread and Cup at 7:30 p.   He'll also join us for some CX action Wednesday.
Chris and his adorable boys.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventure Racing in the city

Last week, Lefler said adventure racing was "like something you might try in college, y'know, just try it out."  After the Warrior Challenge, I thought it was rather like binge drinking, something you managed to let yourself get caught up in, but of which you don't really want to make a habit. Nonetheless, yesterday found me chasing checkpoints with fellow Silly Roadie, Ian, once again.

From Racing
Seriously though, how could we resist? We were still stung from the beating we took a couple weeks ago. OK, maybe we heaped the suffering on ourselves, but all the same, we could've done better and we wanted to have another go. This was further inflamed when we saw "Road Rash" members show up. We spent the other adventure race passing them and then being passed when we made stupid decisions or couldn't find the flag thing. It was quite frustrating and we were determined to do better this time.
As we sat on the curb in the bike corral we overheard other racers talking about "just having fun."  Ian turned to me, stating, "Winning is fun, " before returning his gaze to the competition. Having been brought up on that sort of ethos, I gave my quads a bit of a rubdown and stretched the hammies while apologizing to them in advance.
Will there be a podium, do you think? Silly Roadies.

We were split at the start. Ian went to copy the checkpoints from the large map onto our small copy. I got the bikes. We determined our general route together and then set off. Zero to 60, time and time again. We got smoother. It worked best if Ian took care of the punch card and I studied the next destination. I do think the folks who use the large map holders are on to something though, because when you fold the maps, it's easy to miss marks you made.  That contributed to my failure to spy checkpoint 4, I think it was, that we missed. It was a 5-pointer and we were within a mile of it after trekking from the Jamaica up behind the the Cooper Y for the playground punch.

We finally made it back to the start/finish and completed the final team challenge - eat a twizzler no-handed out of a cup (Ian) and consume a slim jim (I got stuck with this).  Our time: 2 hours 51 minutes, if I remember correctly. 

It was a good time and thanks to Jim Craig and the Cycleworks/Moose's tooth crew who must have worked like the dickens to put this thing on. 

Friday, October 08, 2010

Worth a view, if you're not too distracted by your FB'ing

I enjoyed this presentation on SlowTV a great deal.

How the Internet is rewiring our brains
Nicholas Carr with Gideon Haigh

"Like lab rats pressing a lever," when referring to the way technology facilitates our craving for new information so much that we will disregard what we are currently concentrating (already procured) on to replace it with something new.

For those of you who can't focus on one thing for 24 minutes, here's a few points of interest -- not that you can jump to the points, b/c SlowTV insists on providing full context, so you have to watch from start to finish.

  • Throughout, Carr does a good job of basing the cases he attempts to make on how the brain functions. 
  • Video games: Part I at the  ~10 min mark.
  • 20:35 Adding links to text decreases comprehension b/c it activates decision making in the brain, reducing working memory that can be allocated to focusing on comprehending the text.
  • Pt. 2  Danger in our tendency to start thinking of the Web as a replacement to our long term memory (LTM) instead of a supplement. "I don't have to remember that because I can just remember the search string."
  • Pt. 2 a 3:10, claims Google (and other search engines) are dangerous because they serve up fragments and "return the most popular stuff instead of perhaps the best stuff" and everyone gets the same thing.  I disgree with problems on the fragments... for me, fragments are like hand-holds on a cliff, or clues. Oftentimes when doing research, especially in new areas where one doesn't have a developed understanding of the domain, one doesn't even have the language for asking questions, thus the fragments and having something like Google to help guess what I mean is of enormous help. The danger is stopping there, which I see many students do on campus. 
  • Pt. 2 at 8:40 - putting journals online has hurt scholarship. Mixed feelings about this. I am working on a lit review right now, and I am so very thankful for the electronic PDFs and ability to search databases, but Carr says having them online has narrowed the scope of research instead of broadening it as people thought it would.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Blood drawn at CX

Monsignor Tucker needs stitches, but he rode home photo: Bruce Thorson

Check out the album on Facebook. I've made it publicly accessible, I think, so let me know if you have problems checking it out.