Let’s start with this: a March (yes, MARCH!) cyclocross race near Tokyo. I have no idea what is going on, if it is a small training race series or if it is a school race. Any of my Japanese pals want to comment and let me know?
Seriously, the Keirin school style helmet covers and the whole race scene is cool to take in. I mean, the dude doing the pre-race nervous stem bolt adjustment then his expression when it breaks: “oh!”. Priceless! This is bike racing at its most pure, a bunch of people just out there doing embarrassing shit and enjoying themselves. (and cans Suntory Boss coffee from a vending machine)
The rest of 桜高競輪部 videos are pretty good too, good insight to a Japanese approach to cycling and racing.
Speaking of Japan. Check out Hikaru Kosaka’s blog. There are a handful of photos in there that will blow your mind. The dude is ripped and flaunts it. We raced cyclocross together at Nobeyama last November and I am looking forward to racing again together next fall.
I recognize a whole bunch of guys in the video below from the Nobeyama race. Daisuke is doing his thing and the whole crew I met last year are in this video. Pretty classic. This looks like a video compilation of the Kansai cyclocross series which is all over Japan. You can see a bunch of the different race venues in the video.
And, finally. Moving back to the US, check out my buddy Greg doing his thing in this video. Pretty rad to see what the Coloradans will do to help a brother out. The Oregon CX racing scene is amazing but, I’d love to see more “Wednesday night worlds” style races and more organized group rides and skills training sessions. Unless it has a Rapha stamp on it (or they are getting free stuff for showing up), I’ll be damned if an organized bunch of Portland area riders would get together to ride laps in a park while some dudes shoot videos to help a friend get cyclocross mainstream exposure. That is building cyclocross, that is cyclocross love.
That is pretty rad, your scene has heart Greg.
I did not.
But I love it. Her touchy-feely dialogues on her website echo my similar emotional sentiments without my self-aware approach. Deep down, secretly, I am a big hippie. I don’t have any crystals or anything. But, I hella feel things. And I approve of stripper heels. HELLA.
I can’t get enough of Hennie Kuiper’s Flickr page. The dude won Worlds, the Olympic road race, Flanders, Roubaix and more. Plus, he was a damn handsome man in that beautiful 70′s style. There are even race videos embedded into his photostream. Check it out.
And, you thought that cyclocross season was over? Well, it is. But, check out these photos from 2010 cyclocross nationals in Bend. Courtesy of Lincoln Barbour. You can probably spot your self in there.
Cyclocross season has just ended and all I can think about is cyclocross season. I’m staring at a BEAUTIFUL 3D CAD drawing of a yet to be released, brand new tubular mud tread design. No, I can’t share it with you yet. This one is confidential. But, I will say this… this tyre is on a hunting “safari”. If you catch my meaning.
And, reading up on all the news about PRO cyclocross team transfers: Jeremy Powers to Rapha-Focus, Ryan Trebon moving to Felt bicycles. This kind of news gets me motivated! That and having phone calls with a couple of my 2011 sponsors yesterday. They want to re-up and grow the program!
It has not stopped raining in Portland since last October and it is perfect cyclocross weather right now. Perfect.
Remember the time I was in Santa Cruz this winter and was having a good discussion over burritos with a Santa Cruz local frame builder about frame builders and I had no idea the guy was a framebuilder?!
Brilliant! Foot was not quite inserted into mouth but, looking back, it was pretty damn funny. And now this:
Nice work Todd, your booth at NAHBS was sweet, your bikes look great!
I’m sitting indoors at PBS-UEF watching Paris-Nice on Versus. Fielding phone calls and text messages about results from the early season Oregon road series this (last Sunday) morning. I’m super proud! Really genuinely proud.
Which makes me reflect on where I am at right now. I’m trying to discover the drive again myself. Trying to find the motivation to pedal the bike. The anger is not in my belly. I am spread thin and throwing a leg over a bicycle has slid incredibly low on my priority list. Three months into the year and I’ve hardly been on a bicycle.
It is an interesting position for me and a sad song to keep singing. If you were to do a google search for “tired excuses and feeling sorry for your self” my website may likely come up as the primary result!
The best laid plans get thrown to the wind when you are a small business owner. I tire of saying this. Over the last hand full of years I’ve been lumped along with a bunch of other cyclocross riders as a “working-man’s racer”. A rider with a real job trying to compete with the World’s best talent. Sure, there is something noble about being the underdog yet, I wish things came a little bit easier once in a while. Instead of generally feeling like continuous uphill battles.
It may just be my lot in life. Or more likely just my style. Bite off way more than I can chew and strive for excellence.
I remember simpler times. My first year racing on the Vanilla bicycles cyclocross team. (Thanks for the reminder picAHTBM) Everything about cyclocross was new. Fresh. Real good times, I was learning the ropes, getting clobbered in races, traveling and figuring out what to do and NOT do.
A handful of years later, I’m trying to re-discover the fire that drove me to get my teeth kicked in by doped-up Euros year after year. I still love cycling. And I initially was able to strike a balance between riding and work. Then, as my businesses grew, racing took second priority. Now, three years into Portland Bicycle Studio; the selling of the custom bicycles is taking priority and riding is taking a back seat.
This said, the balance is coming back. I can feel it.
I am recently back from the NAHBS show in Austin. Check out these pictures I took!
And here I am… at PBS working late to get this damn blog post put up.
For serious, you need to get into a pair of these Castelli nanoflex leg warmers. They are awesome. I’ve been using them since last summer (it rains a lot in Portland) and, they completely rule. The double gripper on the inside and outside of the thigh-band is a nice touch.
I strongly encourage the use of leg warmers vs. knee warmers. I’ll even accept leg warmers OVER the shorts vs. knee warmers or bib knickers any day.
You all know the rule. Keep the legs completely covered until it is over 20c/68f. Unless you are racing, then of course you slather your legs with Mad Alchemy Molly Cameron edition embrocation. Look at the pain on my face… oh the suffering!
More absurd than the video below is the pre-road season cock sizing. Well check out my watts! Just kidding, I don’t have many of those right now. Yet, I keep breaking powermeters… which means something, right? Really awesome was finally hearing about my local cycling hero tearing the legs off of a bunch of super models out on a bike ride and not telling anyone about it!
My goal for this road season is to out smart everyone else… As I am certainly not going to be out-watting anyone out there.
I really need to make some time to do some writing. I have a lot of people to thank for a lot of things in 2010.
For now, I’ll leave you with this:
I wake up suddenly on most mornings at about 4 or 5am. A couple hours before my alarm and, typically a few hours before I actually get out of bed. (And right about when the Condor gets out of bed and heads to work.)
This happens often when there is a lot on my mind. And there is a lot on my mind. I just can’t sleep. I stay up late thinking, trying to distract my mind with Sci-Fi novels. I toss and turn all night and wake up at odd hours. I would not call myself distracted and, if anything, I am focused, feeling balanced and on top of the typical-for-Molly life and workload.
There is a world of wants and needs in front of me. And, history shows, I am one to seize the moment and make it happen. But this week and, this morning is one of those… “yo!” (to myself) “whats the point of it all?” Sometimes I feel like I am banging my head against a wall trying to make amazing things materialize and become reality.
I spoke with my pal (and coach) Adam Myerson last night for the first time in months and it was like a 30 minute re-cap of my summer and autumn up to this point. After we got off the phone, I was like, whoa. It is a miracle I’ve made it this far, this year has been completely nuts! This was followed by hours of looking at flights to try and race UCI cyclocross in North Carolina this weekend. ha! I’m a glutton for suffering.
And now here I am. 10 minutes before a meeting and wondering what the hell kinda trouble I am going to get myself into in the next few days, weeks and months. There is a lot of beauty in this world. Beautiful things to create and beautiful things to experience.
I can’t stop myself from doing everything full-on.
I’m back and, I have no idea where to begin. Life has been such a whirlwind and, I am thinking about a lot of stuff. There always is a lot on my mind, work, cycling, work, racing, work. Work.
I lead a charmed life. Truly.
I really need to catch up and take a breath from Japan, Los Angeles and the whirlwind that has been my cx season so far. But here I am, late on a Friday night at Portland Bicycle Studio catching up on work and emails and procrastinating heading home.
The fog is heavy and thick in Portland right now. Which is unusual for my little town.
It is romantic. Chilly, cold. You can tell the holiday season is approaching.
I am still on Japan time and feel completely screwed up. It is like 16 hours in the future so, I already feel like it is Saturday afternoon.
I’m hitting this up tonight!! Gonna mash around on cyclocross tubulars and tons of prototype Shimano and Independent Fabrication gear, probably wear my new Castelli custom skinsuit for far too long and then try to avoid eating the $50 worth of vegan doughnuts in the fridge. (Those are for you, at the race on Saturday.)
Time : Friday, November 5 · 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Location: 4PM MEET AT ORANGE 20 BIKES 4:30PM
RIDE 2 GRIFFITH PARK – GREEK @ 5PM
Created By: Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross
More Info: PLEASE JOIN US FRIDAY FOR AN EVENING OF BIKE RIDES, HOW TO CX CLINIC, PIZZA, BEER, AND CYCLOCROSS TALK WITH KONA’S RYAN TREBON AND PORTLAND’S MOLLY CAMERON.
IN CELEBRATION OF THIS WEEKEND’S EVENTS IN GRIFFITH PARK (SOCALCROSS.ORG)
WE WILL BE HOSTING A RIDE FROM ORANGE TWENTY TO THE GREEK THEATER AND VIEWING THE COURSE FOR THIS WEEKENDS RACING. AFTERWORDS WE WILL RIDE BACK TO ORANGE 20 FOR PIZZA, SUDS AND SMALL TALK.
WHERE-MEET AT 4:00PM @ORANGE 20 BIKES
4:30PM RIDE TO GRIFFITH PARK TO VERMONT CANYON THEN,
5:00PM MEET @THE GREEK THEATRE COURSE FOR CX MINI-CLINIC
4351 MELROSE AVE.
I’m in Japan. I’ve been so busy experiencing everything and trying to stay focused. Snapping photos of everything like… well, like a Japanese tourist.
So, I’ll save a Japan post for later and share with you some other awesome culture that is getting me stoked:
Holy shit. The Indy Fab crew has completely stepped up and taken it to a new level. Turned the volume knob to 11, if you will. I don’t often get crazy lust for bikes, I appreciate the subtleties and differences in all of them. But, I’m sold. The balance of tech, innovation, toughness and a no nonsense approach that we have come to expect from Independent Fabrication; completely dialed. I want one. I want to slap full fenders on it, beat the hell out of it over the winter and then pull the fenders off and smash a full summer of road racing in prep for cyclocross on it. I want to ride that thing on every gravel road we have in the NW. damn.
Second – these 2 videos are getting me pumped. Thanks Condor for the Lando Calrissian lead out. I love Star Wars and I love, well maybe I just like R. Kelly. real talk.
Third – This from the man behind Mad Fiber wheels: SPOKE NERDS ONLY.
Fourth – Gold Lame! Yes, YES! So my style. Thanks BEllin for the lead out on that one. Not enough photos of Paolo in her WC gold lame skinsuit in the world.
Fifth – foodie stuff. I’ll never find the time to make this. Or will I? I heart delicious oil and delicious salt.
Sixth – in case you were not already convinced:
The TRP CX-9 rules. Check out any of my muddy photos from this year. I was a skeptic but, I am sold, they rock. My friend Matt is sold too and he wrote a nice article about it on Bike Hugger. Click on the photo to read it and then go to the Veloshop and buy a set already.
Ok, I am out. Another amazing home cooked meal here in Nobeyama awaits.
I figure I should chime in on this one. There is an email thread on the OBRA mailing list that I caught this morning:
I would like some suggestions on embrocation. Do you embrocate? What brand/type do you use? Where do you purchase it? What would work in Portland type weather?
I too, think using embrocation falls into the same line of questions as: “why do bike racers shave their legs?”
Part tradition, part function, part ritual, part sex appeal.
I am a critic and as practical as they come. To be honest, I loathe shaving my legs (too time consuming) and I don’t particularly like creams and oils (yo, I like my skin’s natural feel). Yet I shave. And embrocate the hell out of my legs.
Similar to shaving your bike-racer legs, there are logical reasons to embrocate: (some are quite a stretch in their justification of the fancy habits) you shave so that road rash is easier to clean, so that your massages are smoother and yes, so that you are more “aero”.
You embrocate to encourage blood flow in the leg muscles, for a warming (or cooling) effect, to protect your legs from the elements, to prevent chafing, to facilitate quicker clean up for the podium presentation (and/or post-race recreation), and to promote a generally high level of euro-ness.
If you are a curmudgeon and far, far too many in Portland are, you have already harumphed at most of the ridiculous things cyclist’s do. (except those you do yourself) And, I am right there with you, making fun of myself. (electronic shifting? plastic bicycles?!) Yet, I choose to encourage and embrace the beauty and spectacle of the culture we are a part of.
Please know I am also a leg warmer connoisseur. I love them and wear them religiously. Being a frail and weakly vegan (note: sarcasm), my body temp runs cold. Like real cold. I need to wear very warm gear when training. A training rule I gleaned from an old school, eastern bloc style, euro cycling coach: wear a warm jacket and keep your legs covered if it is colder than 70 degrees. 70 degrees! I still live by this rule on the bike. (off the bike, not so much. I’m known to wear as little clothing as possible, whenever possible)
However for racing, you don’t want to be carrying around any extra weight. Lose the leg warmers. Which will get heavy when wet. And, when clothing gets wet, it gets cold. Who wants to race with heavy wet clothes on? Use embrocation.
After an evening spent meditating on my race and well, you know, the standard cyclocross rituals; the virgin priestesses shaving my legs in a bath of imported mineral water, inflating my tubulars to 2 BAR with my own lungs and the blessing of my bicycles by a zen buddist monk (cyclocross is there is no cyclocross), I’ll wake up and have a bowl of plain pasta 4 hours before my start time.
I’ll use a light embrocation after my morning shower, applied under my leg warmers and put my warm-up kit on before traveling to the race, (you always want to arrive in kit, ready to pre-ride the course). Then, an hour before my start, I’ll apply my personal embrocation blend. (putting leg warmers back on if needed. With this said, you keep your warm up jackets and warmers on until you are in the start grid, hopping up and down for warmth with 2 minutes to start, then yank them off and toss to your team sognier) For years I was just using plain vasoline as, all I really wanted was protection from the wind and rain. I have even made some of my own embrocations but, now I just leave it to the professionals to make it for me.
I requested Mad Alchemy make my blend kinda thick with a little bit of warmth and a lot of minty freshness. I layer it on heavy and it wipes off clean with a warm cloth. You do bring two warm towels to the races right? Well, if you don’t, you must start. Nothing is better than being able to race, get covered in mud, then use warm wet towels to wipe the embrocation off your legs and then your face (with the clean towel, obviously).
Embrocation: vanity? eh, maybe. Functional, very much so. Yet another ridiculous thing cyclists do? Clearly. And come on, if you live in Portland, being a hairy legged bike racer is just about as original as… well it just is not really that different. Will not using embrocation keep you from riding satisfaction? Probably not.
But should you embrace the embrocation? Of course you should. Not to be like everyone else, or VDB, or the MC. But to create your own rituals and define your own routine for racing and riding. If you pay attention to the details, which most cyclists do, it is just another tool for you to use as needed.
ok, some home made soba curry awaits. I’m out.