New favorite tumblr.
(via byronrice)Source: whatbikeracersshouldcallme
Dan on his way to
murder some gypsies crush the Cat 3 field.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one, is a lot of hard work.- Stephen King
Hard work. That pretty much sums up what cycling is. Work that is harder than anything else you’ll ever do; its mentally and physically exhausting. We’re ecstatic when things go well for us, and devastated when things go wrong. I’ve seen both ends and try really hard not to let one get the best of the other.
The past two weekends for me have been a real challenge. My season started off quite well, then I hurt my hip, then REALLY hurt my shoulder. I was down but was able to rest up and buck up. Eventually I was alright. Obsticals overcame, right? Wrong.
There was racing to be done.
Last year, as a category 4 cyclocross racer, racing was easy at times. My natural abilities were greater than some of the other riders. I already had the suffer factor, the ability to sprint, and the ability to go 40 minutes of toe-to-toe racing.
Category 3 is certainly different. Sure, I’m still fast; if not faster and I can put some nice gaps on people when allowed to put the power down but everyone is a step higher, a bit better at technical stuff than myself, and can suffer nearly as much as I can. Category 3 is nothing to scoff at.
So, when I have a tough day, its magnituded by the fact that rather than finishing 15th on a bad day, I’m finishing 20th. Or whatever. This past weekend, I was so upset with the fact that I finished 13th in a 31 finisher field I didn’t know what to do with myself. My frustration was visible to my teammates who said, “this is part of training, you stuck in there and that’s part of it. You need to learn what you’re successful at and what you are not.”
True - I am for sure the cyclocross/road rider rather than the cyclocross/mountain biker type. Some courses are going to be all mine, some are not. I need to live with that or buy a mountain bike (probably never going to happen).
Then, Sunday, I was able to grab a top 10 in a Cat3 race and all my frustration from a month’s worth of work was gone. Sometimes, all it takes is knowing that you still have *it*.
Though, not all of us were happy with our day. Friend of STAMPEDE! Jon was frustrated saying that he didn’t have the pop he needed to close gaps and get to where he needed. I tried to console him and say it’ll come back; it’ll be there. But I know that those words fell of deaf ears. Results are the end all be all for most of us - which is sad but true.
Personally, I’ve started to find that its how you react to your hardships that makes you a stronger rider. When we started as beginners in all types of racing, we grappled with pain and overcoming that. As we progress, we encounter others who are faster, stronger, smarter than us. And we, as the individual, need to learn to cope, and find a way around that rider one way or another.
Racing can be streaky. You might have it for a weeks, and then lose it. As someone who has started to see both sides of it all I can say is; enjoy the good times because there will be bad ones. In the end, it’ll all level out.
And we’re here. We made it. The next two days I’ll be eating PB&J sandwiches, sleeping in my truck, riding the shit out of my new Budd Bike and getting my ass handed to me in my first 1/2/3 race.
The thing is: I’m so excited! I’ve made a point to keep myself healthy and out of harm’s way while training/riding so that I could be ready to start the hard season of cyclocross in tip-top shape. My legs feel ready, my heart feels ready, and this weekend I’ll see where the rest of me lines up. I’m not looking at these races as the races for me or anything, I just need to see where I am with a larger-than-twenty group of people. That’s not to say these races don’t mean anything to me…but finishing 10th in a 1/2/3 field at Monson/Blunt means less to the New England area than a 15th in a 1/2/3 race at say…Quad. And that comes from the area’s strange hatred of “Pre-September CX” that some people find the need to hate on. Regardless…racing is fun and there will be races made this weekend.
What I’m looking forward to the most is the total suffering. The feeling of absolute crap again. The feeling you cannot replicate sitting on the trainer, doing a training race, or doing laps upon laps alone in the park. Only under race conditions, can I get the snot, the feeling of puke, the burning in my legs, and the random thoughts that come to my head for a split second.
My words can’t even explain how excited I am. The best way to explain how I’m feeling was best said by Adam Myerson; “Its just stupid bike racing, but it means everything.”
Cycling has always been a part of my life. My dad raced. I learned how to ride a bike at a young age, and would be a part of my dad’s “rest” days that consisted of 10 mile bike rides at a slow pace for him/fast for me. My favorite bike was my white and orange Huffy that I had gotten for my 7th birthday. That bike was so cool. I rode it everywhere and went through so many tires skidding 20 feet at a time after blasting down the biggest hill in town with my friends.
And then, we got mountain bikes. Holy hell those were so much more fun than a single speed Huffy. My friends and I all got our mountain bikes around the same time - the summer we were all 12. It was here that you could tell that the groundworks of my cyclocross passion was built.
I’ve been home for the last 5 days. Hanging with my mom. Seeing my cousins. Making a few bucks. The regular stuff. Thursday afternoon, I realized that I had taken a wonder 4 days off of the bike. I needed that. But it was time to get a spin in - especially if I plan on riding a bit harder Friday and very hard Saturday morning. The plan was to ride leisurely to the NY/NJ boarder and turn it around. But then I got bored. I ended up in my old neighborhood and went exploring my old street.
Turning around, I remembered the old path that connected Crescent Place (where I grew up) and Heights Road which were the only two streets we were allowed to play on without getting into too much trouble.
And then I came across the old “Mountain Bike Course” we made in the woods behind one of the houses. We spent all afternoon one summer day building a small circuit to race each other on. It had a holeshot - but we just called it the first turn. We had a pit area. We had a jump. We had a barrier too! When I think back about how we used it, it was a very small and make-for-kids-only cyclocross course.
I can only remember using it three times. Two dry times and once in the pouring rain. My friends didn’t want to play/race on it anymore because I always kicked their asses. If I knew what cyclocross was back then, I would have kicked it into high gear then rather than now. But then again, it probably wouldn’t have meant nearly as much to me as it does now as I am making up for lost time.
Ah, coming home always seems to put things into perspective.
The pit was behind the tree to the left…
We cut down so many trees with the puny-little saws…You can kind of see the course more than 10 years later.
Beyond this barrier was lots of deep roots. Even if you could bunny hop this at 12, those roots had your tires spinning most times. Pretty sure my bother took a header here more than once.
If you know me, you know that cyclocross is what I really care about. Sure, road racing is fun but its not what I really want to do with my time. I show up, hang with friends, make egregious attacks, and finish middle of the pack. To me, that’s a successful day in the road bike saddle.
But cyclocross? Get out of my way on a bad day. It means so much to me (probably because it was there for me when nothing else was at a bad time in my life). I spend every waking hour thinking about cyclocross and how I intend to meet my personal goals for the upcoming season. I’m excited. I’m ready.
After two great days with bikes and people that I care most about - 30 miler with a teammate and then dinner at his house on Friday and 90 total miles with a friend on Saturday; I was ready for cyclocross.
Sunday morning I met up with all of the cool cyclocross people and did a multiple loops of little course set up with barriers, off camber turns, and a nice/steep run-up. It wasn’t hella technical but it made me smile as the pain coursed through my legs and I put the anger-face into work.
Also, there was a 9-year old boy there named Ben. He’s more badass than you. Oh, and his mom was there too. As Flula says; Hardcores We Do It.
As if Sunday wasn’t any cooler: I saw friend of Stampede! Matt at one of the local shops that he works for. We got to talk a bit about his race at Wells Ave and how he pulled a very “Sean” move; too many laps solo, middle-of-the-pack finish. “BUT IT WAS FUN!” See?
Last but not least of the awesomeness; I SAW MATT BUDD. Yup, the Budd. The guy who is making my ultra sexy bike for me to race with his name slapped all over it. He gave me an update and told me its going to be a “baller ride.” Sadly, he could not get it to get painted last week (sad panda) so I will have to wait another few days. New Word is “early” this week. No idea what that timetable looks like but I doubt it’ll be ready for Wednesday Morning Worlds. Oh well, I was also told about something that’ll make the bike very unique to what’s out there. I’ll keep it a secret for now, but I like the idea.
And finally, today I got the last of the parts needed to make the Budd move forward and set up wheels for all conditions (dry, medium, MUUUUUD). So, as soon as I have the finished frame gimme about about 48 hours and it’ll be ready to thrash on. Oh my god I cannot wait.
Full write-up on the Budd once its completed and ridden a bit.
Not going to lie, this is a pretty sweet jersey from way back in the day. This is Euro-fluorescent before that craze took over cycling the past few seasons. In thinking about cyclocross in this area, I might have my good friend Sean just try a hi-viz version of our kit. Just to see how it would look - it would sure turn heads!
Finally! We made it down to the shop and got to talk to Seth, who is the main guy in charge of making the like of Giant to radsport. While we are still waiting on our paperwork, we are all but ready to get rolling with bikes. I’m really excited.
The best part about all this is that radsport doesn’t have to do anything it doesn’t want to. We are being supplied with a designer for our kits too! Seth told us that Giant can handle everything and all we need to do is keep the legs turning for a successful relationship.
To tell you the truth, I could not be more happy. Aside from having to purchase a bike at a deep discount and other standard costs, I feel like I’m being treated like a pro. Hopefully those involved with the team feel that way as well.
Once the logistics are completed, we’ll hold a “fit party” with Giant. We’ll get sized up together, talk with Seth, figure out other things that we will need besides bikes (new helmets, shoes from Giro, pedals, etc.), and then pick the bike(s) we want! We were told today that it should be only about 2 days to get our bikes once we place the order!
Afterwards, we’ll all head out to El Pelon for tastiness.
Below: Giant TCX 1 (top), Giant TCX 2 (bottom)
radsport has a new sponsor - El Pelón Taquería!!!
Sean and I went last night to talk ‘cross over deeeelicious burritos and quesadillas and we are pumped about this partnership. And no, not just because the food is damn good, but because the people behind El Pelon seem like our kind of people - fun, friendly, and straight-to-the-point.
I know, you’re tweaking just thinking about the burrito you could be having RIGHT NOW and you don’t know where El Pelon is. Simmer down! Here’s where they at:
2197 Commonwealth Ave.
Bright0n MA 02135
92 Peterborough Street
Boston MA 02215
Tweet them! @ElPelonTaqueria