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Los Angeles – San Dimas day #2

Oh man. Bad luck continues. Got taken out of the lead group early in the race when someone crashed in front of me. Argh. Chased hard but, lost so many spots getting back on the bike…

Not stoked on 14th place today. Really not.

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Looking forward to getting home and trying to get my life back together and straightened out this week!

Los Angeles – UCI race weekend!

YO check out this video:

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Quick update here. I am down in Los Angeles chasing UCI points. A couple small races, put on by Dot Wong (long time CX racer) in San Dimas. I am staying with Jeff and Cara but, they are doing the 508 over the weekend so, I have the house to myself. Aaron Schooler is here staying with me too. Really, why do I always shack up with the Canadians?!

I had a rough week, if you could not tell by my most recent blog post and I was not feeling great on Saturday. Warming up my back was killing me and, 3 laps into the race it seized up and, I pulled the plug. Lots of stretching and lots of sleep were had last night and, I’m feeling pretty good about smashing it today!

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Re-posting up this video I saw somewhere else because it is completely insane. Not safe for work, or anywhere really. Not sure if I love it or hate it, I love lady hip-hop and sex workers but, maybe this crosses the line into an offensive parody? Decide for yourself:

Cyclocross season cancelled!

Dude. Seriously. For me, yes. I am close to cracking and I can’t keep up this pace anymore.

I’ll consider it a big success if I can even find the time to show up and start more cyclocross races this fall, let alone try to have anything resembling good results this season. I’m at peace with it, sometimes real life takes priority. And, while I am usually good at balancing the multiple facets of my life and careers, this time, I am overwhelmed.

Crazy Mad Alchemy

I am spread so damn thin right now. What were well laid plans and preparation have been thrown to the wind when 2 of 3 of my friends/employees screwed me pretty good; leaving the Veloshop without notice, dumping 80 hours of wrench-time into my lap, timed precisely with the start of the insanity of cyclocross season and race travel kicking off; the renovation, move-across-town and build out of the Portland Bicycle Studio – Upper Echelon fitness training center in NW and the now time consuming interview and hiring processes of new high quality people for the Veloshop. It has been challenging times.

But, through all of the disappointment and insanity of the last month, so many shining stars.

Castelli USA has taken really good care of me this season and, before I try to start the necessary HUGE thank you list of sponsors, I wanted to point Castelli out. That’s why I’m racing in a Castelli skinsuit. I’ve not had 5 minutes to design my kit for this season! Crazy crazy busy times.

Here are some videos to get you caught up on my racing of late:

Visit cyclingdirt.org for more Videos

Visit cyclingdirt.org for more Videos

Visit cyclingdirt.org for more Videos

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I guess the biggest thing to take from the last month is…

…that I need a haircut. Badly. So if someone shows up to a race (probably the only time anyone will catch me in one place for more than 2 minutes.) with scissors and some clippers, I would appreciate a faux-hawk. thank you.

only the best shoes for MC.I know my mantra over the years is “oh, waaah, I am SOOO busy”. But, this time is very different. Back to the old-school MC days, working 10 – 12 hour days in the Veloshop cranking the bike work out and not riding a bike all week. Yet, so much good change will come from this hiccup to the cyclocross season. The Veloshop has been badly in need of some positive energy and a higher level of professionalism.

I’m canceling some of my race – travel. Still heading to Japan for Halloween weekend but, I’ve got to stay home and take care of business. I’ll be in LA this weekend and after that, home until the new Veloshop guys get up to speed and work becomes manageable again.

I’ll be turning the pedals over in fucking anger this fall, as a bunch of people deserve a good ass kicking at my hands but, in lieu of doing that, I’ll just try to tear some legs off in the bicycle races.

Loving cycling, loving my team boys. still like auto tune, sorry.

First, I’ve noticed a LOT of sick music coming from some awesome ladies. I hope the rest of Ms. Dynamite and Maya’s albums are as good as these singles!!

WTF, take me to the future!! It is like I am on Arrakis and high on Spice! And is not Katy B. a dead ringer for Sookie from True Blood?

Ok, hate on the electronic and the popiness of it all. Ms. Dynamite rocks like Major Lazer and that, I am feeling.

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I love the culture I surround myself in.

PBS RGR

I am also loving that I have a rest week and can find time to catch up on work, real life, do a bit of hanging out and enjoying of iced Americanos.

The Portland Bicycle Studio road team just participated in the Rapha Gentleman’s race yesterday. A 130 something mile gravel road heavy slog all over the coastal hills in Oregon. We had some guest muscle in the form of one Jason Riffle and the Miller Kid. I just did the driving, hauling bikes and gear to and from the event and finish. From all accounts, it was BRUTAL. Sager and Trebon schooled everyone, riding solo, dry heaving and finally collapsing at the finish, partaking on some Cobra Dogs + soda and telling me I should eat meat. jerks! (treboohoo, not Cobra dogs.)

My PBS guys were all pretty well shattered, I got to hear stories about pushing each other up hills, vomiting, passing out, cramping + close to a dozen flat tyres. Desperation. Sweat. and yes, maybe a few tears. Wives and girlfriends and babies and dogs were in attendance at the finish at Chris King co. I’m appreciative all of the things a family brings to the deal (of life!) Must feel pretty awesome to have what you love at the finish of a long day in the saddle.

The Cycling Tips blog put up an argument inciting post about the LBS (local bike shop) vs. Online retailing. Read it here. A decent read but, mostly depressing. Why the fuck would anyone want to own a small retail bike shop anymore. Almost makes no sense… yet, I still fight the good fight.

Speaking of small bike shops, one of the raddest of rads manages one. And passed this video on to me. Possibly one of my favorite videos of the year. Brilliant!!

Thanks NewAntarctica! PS: listening to the Queen discography right now. SO GOOD.

informative videos: Japan on my mind.

so busy this week. not a rider.

The last couple of weeks have been insane for me! Work, sleep, work, sleep. FML means: fuckmylife. Yeah, there are reasons I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed, holy crap I am slammed! In a beautiful yet, time consuming way. The Portland Bicycle Studio is busy, the Veloshop is jamming and cx season is ready to explode upon the world. Good times.

I found these images and sounds inspiring. If you have 30 minutes to kill, enjoy these videos, images and culture I’ve stumbled upon. I’m going to go ride my cyclocross bike after I get done working and arranging clients bicycles on this gray, sunless Saturday afternoon.

Speaking of cyclocross, Cross Junkie gives us a killer little video of our favorite socially awkward Belgian, K Pawls. Featuring a perfectly Belgian pastime: sprinting up muddy hills (on a farm) over and over and over again. With your disabled trainer in a sweet off road wheelchair, giving you the time-splits (with a stop-watch, who needs a power meter anyways?!) and a suave Belgian cyclocross legend hanging out, kicking the dirt, making small talk and observing you work. Classic.

k pawls

I don’t know Liz but, I am a huge fan of Ludo. Bald doping bastard… the video is worth making it all the way through, a mix of vlaams and english so you can’t get too lost. Liz Hatch en haar idool Ludo Dierckxsens Click on the image to check out the video.

ludo

Corvid-geoff-6

Rider’s Collective has a story on me in the July issue. Click through to download the .pdf and check it out!

rc

blorange

Independent Fabrication is rocking it hard right now!!

My dear pal Cara Gillis is so PRO. And racing over in Belgium right now with the Canadian national team. L’original! She is posting up some videos and photos for the racing and travels on her blog. Come home in one piece Cara!

It is not about unwritten gentlemanly rules.

It is about respect.

Respect for your competitors and particularly your rivals. Respecting them with your actions to say: “I know you have prepared as long and hard for this as I have, I’m not going to take this cheap advantage of you. I want to beat you fairly.” …unless you enjoy playing the role of foil. Then by all means, race dirty!

Sure, it is bike racing. There are written rules and while you can’t push your rival off their bike, you are allowed and have every right to capitalize on your competitors mistakes and errors. Which I do all the time. You ever sprinted against me? I don’t play nice. If you drop your chain in a sprint, I’m not going to sit up and ask if you are OK.

So there are plenty of haters with their opinions, being vocal on the interwebs. Even some riders I greatly respect have a different view than my own:

“learn to shift Schleck!”
“all this gentleman’s agreement talk is BS!”
“shit happens, that is bike racing!”
“if you mis-shift during a sprint, no one waits for you”

Yet, if you pay close attention, Schleck was not shifting when the chain fell off the inside of the small chain ring. (SRAM and Specialized are going to have a field day blaming each other for the mishap) He had been in a gear and applying the watts to make his attack stick. He was riding away from Contador with Vino on his wheel, they had a few bike lengths (a couple seconds time) on the Contador group. I read that Contador “had planned to attack, I was ahead before I knew what had happened to Schleck”. Which I find hard to believe, you can count 4-5 full seconds from the time Schleck’s crank locks up, he stops pedaling and looks down; to the moment Contador launches an attack. Contador clearly sees Schleck fumble, stop pedaling and launches right after. Good instincts and response time from the Pistolero but don’t kid yourself that he was not precisely aware of where Andy was at the second Andy attacked the bunch.

It becomes not a question of “why wait?” but, why attack? Should Contador have waited? No, that is not what I am advocating. But, to attack at that moment? Why was Contador not on Schleck’s wheel in the first place? If you were feeling good enough to launch a move, why wait until your opponent has a fluke problem?

Not classy. And, a potentially desperate move. I see it as a sign of weakness that Contador played his card at that moment. He is afraid of Andy and he just let Andy know it.

Some will say it is just bike racing and anything goes. But, I would not be able to live with myself if I won because I attacked when I noticed my closest competition had suffered a BS mechanical. You do not need to wait, but you do not need to attack.

I tell my riders:

“Everyone can attack when it is easy. You win races by attacking when it hurts, you attack when it is hard, when your legs are burning, when everyone else is breathing hard and you are suffering. That is when you attack.”

Contador’s only valid rival in the race had stopped pedaling his bike and was futzing with his shifter when Contador attacked. I consider that attacking when it is easy.

I want to see that skinny bastard Schleck attack tomorrow like a demon. He will drop Contador, in anger. And it will hurt. He is gonna get those 8 seconds back and then some.

Allez Luxembourg!!

the dot dot K

Cunego Bertagnolli 2003

This is a pretty sweet little story.

I’m in love with this saddle. For me, Fizik attained Chris King like “covet” status when I discovered their saddles in the late nineties. They were fresh and appeared to be doing something different than the other “selle” brands.

I’m still in love with the Arione and Antares saddles. As a matter of fact, I’ll be running these again this cyclocross season.

zerozero

Is this the year the pink and black makes a comeback? FMB has a limited edition PRO version of their Griffo and Grippo treads.


grippoxl_pro

Put in Dugast and FMB orders already. The season is truly, truly upon us. Hurry up and put your cyclocross bike together already!

Red Herring:

(been a crazy few weeks. getting back on the bike in a real way and work is keeping me too busy as usual. meant to write this weeks ago and now my coach and dozens of others have weighed in too. redundant to write this, I know. But, it was already started so, I’ll finish.)

My friend Joe Martin asked (in response to my snarky comment about a custom cyclocross bicycle being designed for mechanical disc brakes):

“What exactly is the problem with disc brakes anyway? Weight? Or is it just a conservative, purist thing? Personally I like the idea of change and development. Will lead to some awesome winter training bikes anyway.”

Not purist BS. And you won’t ever hear me hating on disc brakes. I love them.

The technology is just not there yet for me to get excited about discs for cx racing. If they could make a significantly lighter disc brake setup, World Cup XC riders would not be running v-brakes on courses where they don’t need tons of stopping power. They would use lighter and less powerful hydraulic discs. But they don’t exist. Yet.

So the market has always been there. And, it is not the top cx riders clamoring for discs. The biggest market for discs in cyclocross are age-group riders. Sure, there are a handful of top cx riders who would love them and champion them. But Sven and Stybar will still beat all of them regardless of braking design or function.

I think designing a bike for mechanical discs (which do not operate that great, don’t try to convince your self they do) have none of the great features of hydraulic brakes (superior stopping power/modulation and low maintenance) may be jumping the gun a little bit. Or, it may just be that client’s preference for braking. Not my place to tell people what to do but, certainly my place to heckle them a little bit.

red herringThis is similar to using Rockshox forks for Paris-Roubaix. Sure, they worked great and they even won a couple of cobbled classics. But, at the end of the day for top level racing, a standard road bike still wins classics like mad.

And, who needs more specialized equipment? I like that I can use my cx wheels on the road and back again. You would not be able to use a 130 disc wheel for anything other than your purpose built disc cyclocross frame. No VTT, no road use.

Maybe I should make this rant a blog post, eh?

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I LOVE these old posts about V brakes vs. Cantilever brakes:

Click here for the long version.

And here for the short version.

And we can always reference Sheldon Brown.

The lesson here is: less whining, go ride your bike. A lot. No, I mean a lot more than you are right now. Who cares about disc brakes, there will always be someone riding better than you technology aside. And learn how to adjust your brakes correctly. (or support a shop that knows how) We have virtually eliminated fork shudder on every bicycle we touch at the Veloshop and Portland Bicycle Studio regardless of fork material or cantilever model.

Or just go buy some TRP mini V brakes if you really need more stopping power.

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And, I’ll link here to the few articles I noticed that have already well covered the topic.

UCI rule changes at Cyclocross Magazine.

More UCI rule changes at Cycling Reporter.

An old one from Dirt Rag!

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Love this video:

Fitting music for this grey morning in July. Oh hey look, it is pissing rain!

I woke up this morning dreaming about Belgium.

I really want to go back over and race my bike this season. (possibly because it has been cold and raining for the last 6 months straight, reminds me of Europe.)

There is something addictive about riding against the best in the world. I know these are not races I will win. I know these are typically races I am battling to finish on the same lap as the winner.

It is a long shot and a lot of work but, it is a dream to race the Cyclocross World Championships.

Let me be a little more specific:

A: I’d love to be in condition to race Cyclocross Worlds. (keyword = race. not ride)
B: That means, I’d like to find the time, energy and money to bust my ass, find the form and earn the selection to race Cyclocross Worlds.
C: It makes no sense to head over and try to race the “X-mas week” races (Worlds un-official selection races) in December en route to Worlds if I am not even fit enough to finish on the lead lap.

All three times I’ve been back to Belgium, I’ve gotten completely destroyed. Lapped. Shattered. All three times I’ve headed over I’ve been coming off of sickness, broken bones or dealing with a bunch of business and relationship shit. “no. it is not possible.” as Paul Herijgers told me. “you cannot be a real veldrijder.” Too much on my plate.

I’ve never had a good race at US CX Nationals either. Not once. I’ve been showing up in December running on fumes. And then bouncing over to Europe for a month running on empty. And we all know you can’t do anything on empty.

I know I’m capable of some decent rides. But, I also know I’m not a huge talent. That is the easy part for me. Overcoming the ego in bike racing. I’ve got loads of ambition but, I know better than to let the cycling head game get the better part of me. And, I am a realist. I know there are a dozen faster riders all looking to race Worlds too. So all this planning and scheduling may be for naught if there are ten riders with better legs planning the same thing. I guess that is the nature of it. There is always someone faster.

I reminisce this, staring at the cold rain coming down in Portland. Dealing with a little head cold, not riding at all.

It is easy to remember those races as good times, a year later, when you are not in the midst of sucking lots of wind.

Check out this footage from Tervuren. Catch a few glimpses of me sucking pretty hard at the tail end of the race. Powers had a great ride there. I’ve said it before, he has been a consistently solid performer over in Europe.

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Now that cyclocross season is upon us. The UCI releases new rules and updates and the internets are abuzz with criticism and witty insights.

For myself, these rules change nothing. Disc brakes will never be light enough for top professionals to run. We may see the likes of Wells, Decker or Craig on something special from their sponsors but, introducing disc brakes will not be game changing. Even the barrier height and obstacle rules are irrelevant. Cyclocross is hard, really hard. No matter how many barriers, sand pits, and obstacles there are (or are not) out there, the racing will always be challenging and dynamic.

I’ve raced huge World Cups and sketchy little podunk back yard cyclocross races and they all had one thing in common. You go as hard as you can and it f’ing hurts. A good cyclocross rider will be good at racing cyclocross on any course.

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Take it to the next level. Zef style:

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I L O V E Rutger Hauer. Remember Ladyhawke? Bladerunner? And now this…

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Speaking of LadyHawke:

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