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.
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.
Is this the year the pink and black makes a comeback? FMB has a limited edition PRO version of their Griffo and Grippo treads.
Put in Dugast and FMB orders already. The season is truly, truly upon us. Hurry up and put your cyclocross bike together already!
(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.
This 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?
I LOVE these old posts about V brakes vs. Cantilever brakes:
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.
And, I’ll link here to the few articles I noticed that have already well covered the topic.
Love this video:
Fitting music for this grey morning in July. Oh hey look, it is pissing rain!
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.
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.
Take it to the next level. Zef style:
I L O V E Rutger Hauer. Remember Ladyhawke? Bladerunner? And now this…
Speaking of LadyHawke:
A: La Marzocco has a blog.
B: Crema Cycles is featured in it! Click on over to read more!
Lots of media dropping! This is old news for Portland locals:
I was in the Portland Mercury and the Willamette Week local papers last week!
And, an article where I recommended my favorite ride in Portland; in the Willamette Week! Looks like Bob Mionske and I enjoy the same rides and route. Not bad company to keep.
This write up netted me a couple of mentions on other blogs and websites. Here is one: keep an eye on me, I’m going places. The word transition is a loaded one. Can mean different things to people. I like the irony of a couple cyclocross videos being titled Transition.
There are also some amazing posters available from that article. I really love the “I can do whatever I want.” poster. Sums me up pretty well. You can check them out or purchase them by following this link! If you do get one, tell them I sent you!
Joeseph Robertson is a great photographer, take a look at his Flickr set here.
I also had some thoughts on the ever popular topic of Cyclocross frame bottom bracket height. Read a little write-up here on Chris Bagg’s blog GOING PRO. Don’t go low, says Molly Cameron. And well, yeah. I must stress how much I believe there is a difference between cycloross racing and cyclocross riding. You can certainly do either on the same bike, regardless of bottom bracket height.
Take a glance at the blog, add your voice to the discussion.
Footage of some cyclocross races I did back in 2008 in this cheesy UCI promo video. The camera can play tricks with your eyes but check out their positions about 20 seconds in!
Tiny bikes! So compact!!
A rest week turns into a busy-as-hell week.
When I started Portland Bicycle Studio, the idea was to free up time so I could train with a little more structure. It has turned into quite the opposite. I am busier than ever. And have no time to ride at all!
The best laid plans.
Dear lord, I love this video.
Hit play on this music video while you read this update!
Fell in love with this design this morning. Thank you Arch Daily blog.
DAMN YOU CASTELLI! These rain jackets are off the hook!
Look at their post here.
The folks at Castelli USA HQ have been talking about putting on their own 24 hour race. This is something that does not and, rarely happens in the USA! Take a look at their own write up of it and suggest some locations around Portland that could sustain a 24 hour circuit style road race. Total event-party style!!
Link is here for the Castelli 24 hour.
Who is painfully EURO? Jacob Rathe. The kid is a class act, take a second to read up on this Oregon Cycling Action story on him.
What else is EURO? The MFG cyclocross season schedule. Put on by friends Zac Daab and Terry Buchanan. Doing their part to keep the scene strong up in Seattle. Here is a link to their calender.
One of my favorite things about being “from” San Francisco was wearing Ben Davis jeans. And then reading about them on a new favorite blog.
<-- This is too beautiful for words. At least words I can create. The photos speak volumes. The sounds cliche, no? I am drawn to this imagery. Industry, while destructive and ugly; is also beautiful.
Holy crap I’m busy!
There is nothing more Belgie than Bart Wellens. I refer to him not as a person but, as a phenomenon. Because that is what he is.
The first year I went to race in Belgium, I picked up a DVD set of his reality TV show.
It is pure genius. And certainly helps with your Vlaams. No english subtitles. Just a straight blast of Belgie goodness.
Enjoy! I’m not kidding, I put it on while I’m making dinner and listen in on the hijinks. Kevin asks if I understand it and I laugh and say, yeah… about %50 of it. I mean, it is all just about bike racing. And being Belgian.
I want to go to Berlin and, I want to go to Prague. Great photos Lenore.
Let’s share some Desalvo love from Buylocalcycling:
And wrap this entry up with some final EURO PRO ness. The life of a spanner man.
Yes, that bed says bed.
“Bikes aren’t art to me. They are vehicles for beating the crap out of myself and others.”
“I just want to get on my mountain bike and fucking shred. I don’t want to think about branding, culture, cross marketing the whole “bro” system or any of that BS. I want to build bikes that challenge my abilities but make people want to get some aggression out and have a good time. Any time I read a builder interview and “brand” is mentioned, I shudder a little bit. I see the value, and I even try to embrace it from time to time (gotta pay the bills somehow) but cycling has always been about getting your rocks off in whatever method makes you happy, right?”
So awesome. These are two guys, who I do not think have ever met. Making sick, clean bicycles about 2000 miles away from each other.
Sorry I made your emails public, you rock.
This is a photo of Sean f’ing Kelly.
No, Indy Fab did not write either of those emails. But, I do appreciate their latest blog entry. I like photos of work spaces. Organic spaces that have evolved from years of use.
(first line in one of my favorite Gorillaz songs)
So, I am really struggling here. I need to write an “introduction” to Molly Cameron for sponsorship proposals and press releases. I loathe writing about my self. It is sooo hard. (I can already see the comments pouring in “and… you write a blog about yourself you self-important jerk!”) But, it is hard. And the kind of work I need to do but, just loathe doing. I’ve used loathe twice now. That means I am not thinking very creatively.
I’m going to go and re-read the story Josh Cohen (printed in cyclocross magazine) wrote. Yeah, now THAT is not self important. Is it PRO or EURO to reference articles about yourself to write more about yourself? I don’t know; ask your local, lovable curmudgeon! Some sarcasm here but, the point is writing about gender in my personal context. Presenting it to the public in a thoughtful and concise way. Without making it my sole cause or championing it. I’m damn proud of who I am but, I also don’t like shoving my politic down people’s throats. So, I am struggling with this one.
How do I introduce someone who has no idea who I am to myself. I am certainly a product of what I believe in. Yet without having a half hour conversation with someone who has NO concept of gender identity, a simple blurb does not suffice.
For instance, I run into Kano at a bar. We start talking; he just started riding bikes again. Has no idea who I am but catches one of my friends calling me “she”.
“Oy!” Kano says, “you a bird mate?”.
How do I respond, with out roping him into a 40 minute processing session. I need a quick 30 second blast of intelligent thought.
You would think after a decade+ I’d have this dialed…
Hey with all that said, I’ve been meaning to comment on the comments on one of my favorite web-journals. The Competitive Cyclist blog.
I LOVE the PRO haters. I was dating someone who hated that I wrote PRO in caps and used it to refer to well, almost everything. (is it wrong that my life is too PRO? That I eat PROBARS, am sponsored by PRO components and it says PRO on my license?) PRO is certainly something I aspire to yet, not something I put a lot of thought into. I’m self-aware enough to know I am making fun of MYSELF every time I mention PRO or EURO ness.
And, the comments in the CC blog are brilliant. A bunch of bitchy dudes bitching about other bitchy dudes mis-using PRO and my gender pronouns and then trying to self-promote their businesses and prove how intelligently witty they are! so pro.
I do appreciate the voices that popped in to correct the gender in my defense. Thanks!
(and yeah, I’m surprised but, not surprised at all that my gender keeps coming up over and over again. We forget that cycling is a very straight little scene. Lots of people are not exposed to gender queer and punk ideals.)
PS: I should add that I love what CC is doing. Looks like they are running a decent business, they are keeping the PRO dream alive with legit product offerings and a clean PRO as website. If I had the means, I would have a business model similar. But, I don’t so, enjoy my mediocrity as I struggle to create something awesome here in Portland!
And, I appreciate the props. CC has no obligation to tip their hat my way and mention shit about FMB and my relationship with Francois. Most businesses would never do something like that. Most never mention or even give a digital “high-five” to your competition. It seems the mindset is to bash what every one else is doing. Whether it is PRO or not PRO, EURO or not EURO, haters wait for a sign of weakness, a slip up and a moment to strike.
Well, if there is one thing that is easy to do on the internet: be a critic. Not original or very difficult.
I’m more interested in putting creative and interesting work out there. (internet or otherwise)
Ahem! Good job Compcyclist! I certainly appreciate your expensive tubular wheels and you won’t get any hate from me for bringing more FMB in to the US. Unless we make him so busy that he can’t deliver my custom built tubs for the cx season!
Then yr f’ed.