It’s been a couple of weeks since the big USGP of Cyclocross Show came to Fort Collins and I finally got the photos back from the developer (I kid)….these are just a few of them. We had some good times with our Cyclocross family that came to town from all points around the US. The event was run smooth and our fair state is known for some of the toughest fields you can face. The course in Fort Collins is quickly becoming a favorite on the circuit.
Next up is Boulder Cup weekend this week. Could be snow …or at least some moisture on/in the ground. See you at the races!
Our solo European based GrassMoots racer Dan Seaton writes in about riding the ground as much as his bike at times during a nasty spell of Belgium Fall weather. Dan is an astrophysicist based in Brussels, Belgium, he has a passion for Cyclocross and also writes for Velonews during the field riding season. He writes…….
It’s been a tough couple of weeks of Cyclocross here in Belgium. I did back to back races in pouring rain, gusting winds, and cold weather. Of course these are the conditions that make Belgian Cyclocross truly Belgian Cyclocross, the kind of conditions where the true Belgian hard men, guys like Sven Nys, excel. So I’ve been doing my best Sven impression, suiting up and getting muddy and testing myself in fields that included both the Masters 30+ World Champion, Belgian 30+ National Champion, and a host of guys who, until a year or two ago, were racing with some success in Superprestige and the Trofee series. Needless to say, despite my best efforts, I’ve been a little bit outgunned the past couple of weekends.
Two weeks ago we went to Meerhout, which is a beautiful, rural village not too far from Antwerp. The course was mostly smooth, but twisting and undulating singletrack through what must usually be a peaceful little forest, with a few sandy stretches and a few stretches in a cow pasture thrown in for good measure. On a dry day it would have been fast and technical, but in the pouring rain it was slick, sloppy mud that I doubt anybody escaped without falling at least once. I’m without a pit bike for the moment, and after a couple of laps my front derailleur broke and my rear derailleur was so clogged with mud that I was more or less riding a single speed. I did my best, fell about 10 times, and tried to have fun.
Unfortunately, the results got messed up, presumably because everybody’s race numbers were so muddy that the officials couldn’t quite tell who was who, so I don’t have any idea of how I did.
Then last weekend we went the other direction, to Serskamp, another tiny, rural village not far from Gent. The race there was folded into a little apple orchard, and contained what seemed like about 50 turns, of which all but about four were 180 degrees. Again it was pouring rain, and I switch-backed my way around track, racing many of the same, very fast guys.
In tackier conditions, I think my pretty-good fitness would have helped me pass a lot of people, but again I spent about as much time on the ground as I did on the bike, so I did more chasing and less passing that I might have liked. But I did manage to get around a few people for a not altogether terrible result — enough that I’m not just outside the top ten in the overall season standings. That’s sure to change as the season picks up and I get busy writing about the Pros over here in my VeloNews.com column, but it feels good that perseverance and determination have paid off for the moment, even if that’s pretty much all I’ve had going for me in two miserably, muddy races.
Now I’m starting to get ready for the real heart of the season, which includes a bunch of my favorite races and a lot of tough, physical courses.
So I’m getting very exciting about the coming weeks. First, though, we head to a classic Flemish race: in a trailer park just off the beach near the North Sea.
So stay tuned for more!
GrassMoots racer Andrew Carney writes in with his end-of-season race and a look into what stokes us to ride and what he has on the map for 2013….he writes:
I ended the season with the Crested Butte Classic at the end of September. It is an event I’ve always wanted to do and a great way to end the season as for the past 5 years I’ve either ended with 24 hours of Moab Solo or 24 Hour Nationals Solo which means I always ended the year with a empty tank and a healthy limp. The CB classic was the opposite of that as I finished tired certainly so, but mentally stoked to still be on the bike. Again, it’s been a great year flying the Moots colors even though I didn’t race as much as years past. However, it’s all part of a plan to try and give the Tour Divide a go next year and hopefully a slight step back this summer will allow me to fully step up my game next spring. Here’s a brief write up from my blog about the CB classic.
Hope all is well up at the Moots mothership!
There are moments in a bike race or even in a hard effort when the world seems to close in around you and your whole world shrinks to the screaming of your legs, the burn of your lungs, and the lactic acid filling your body. For some that focused pin-hole view of the world is what they crave. Sure, it feels good to strip down to that primal level now and again, it allows for focus. However, all too often as racers we live in that small world too often. We forget to look around and really take it all in.
My last race of the season was the Crested Butte Classic this past weekend and I spent the first of the three laps trying to get my racing legs underneath me. However the hard truth was that my legs were like the engine in a Honda Civic trying to tow a trailer over Independence Pass. I would stomp on the gas, but nothing would happen. Some days you’re the statue, some days you’re the pigeon.
Leaving for the second lap was a hard choice as I knew I wasn’t really racing, but rather out riding. The ego is a tough egg to crack sometimes. At the base of Slate Du-Huez (mile 40 or so) I made a deal with myself. The scenery was stunning, the Aspen leaves were peaking, and all I could think about was how the simple experience of being in an Aspen grove can make me smile from ear to ear. It really was that simple. I quit looking at my stem, expanded my world from the ache in my legs, took a big deep breath, and looked around. The deal I made with myself is that I would ride the rest of the route with a giant smile plastered on my face. If that smile ever started to fade to a grimace I would slow down until the smile returned. Simple.
For the next ~60 miles I grinned from ear to ear and even let out whoops of joy as I carved through Aspen groves along a thin yellow ribbon. It was intoxicating.
For the past past 5 years I’ve ended the season with either 24 Hours of Moab or 24 Hour Nationals and put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well. That pressure took its toll on me, the enjoyment I took from a simple ride in the woods, and those close to me. It was a tough way to end each year. As much as I enjoy trying to ride as fast as my body and mind allows I need to take a step back and remember that I ride bikes because I love the feeling of floating along through the woods, not because I take home a paycheck. The motivation needs to come from the feeling of riding not from standing on a podium. I can’t think of a better way to end this seasons racing than to remember what it feels like to smile so hard for so long that your face is just as tired as your legs. All from the simple action of going for a ride in the woods
Chris King PF 30 installed in a Psychlo X RSL
Yes, as the title says, a Chris King PF30 built with the precision we have grown to know from the maker of the finest head sets and hubs know to man. Now, that is my opinion and mine alone, but I’d venture to say if you chatted with those that love high quality-US-made bicycle products you’d hear few grumbles if any. Like most, my first experience with Chris King products came in the form of their headsets. It was the candy that you read about in bicycle magazines before the internet was invented by Mr. Gore. It was a bicycle part of mythic proportion…press it in, forgetaboutit….simple as that. Sure, it costs some dough up front like all good quality things, but it would last, stay adjusted and they came in cool colors. Done deal. That headset, that first one Chris ever made, I’ve seen in person in the Portland facility…..kept under glass with a date stamp. Very “real” “stuff” to me. And so it goes…headsets lead to hubs, hubs lead to bottom brackets, and so on….not a single product being released without thorough testing and proven field feedback. The right way to develop products in my/our minds.
Now we find ourselves in a modern day era of cycling development; Cyclocross bikes are getting disc brakes, road bikes may follow, standards on bicycles for us handbuilt guys are some-what settling out. 44mm head tubes are the norm, tapered forks, and the Press Fit 30 BB’s….. Some items that have allowed us to push tube diameter and wall thickness to new levels that add real ride quality differences to our products, while maintaining our love of joining tubes to tubes via handcrafted tig welds.
As many have seen in the press the good folks at Chris King started showing a new bottom bracket right around Euro bike. The press was quick to pick up on it and for us we had been bursting at the seams since we had heard about this back in early August. Moots made a trip to Portland for a dealer event and it just wouldn’t be a trip to Portland without seeing our (and dropping off donuts) good friends at CK. So we dropped in and took the tour. An hour later as we are leaving the front doors, they whispered some thing about PF….our ears perked up and we said…yes please! So we stayed in touch and at Interbike they had delivered the unit you see above. Chris King quality through and through.
Now the one you see here is a prototype and may change from what we see in the final production unit. I can’t talk too much about the insides other than this….
Installation: Perfect tolerances… (just like their headsets)…the unit pressed in smooth as butter. I used a mix of waterproof grease and anti-seize between the bb shell and the cups (my personal prefered mixture)
Bearings: Chris King beauties….smooth.
Mileage: I’ve been riding it for almost 4 weeks….3 cross races, home washings and this last weekend a day of mud that was up there with the great MUD-POCALYPSE of 2011 followed by the dreaded power washer. Put away wet on Saturday night. Now, if this was a different make of PF BB on Sunday morning the crank would have been frozen (rusted bearings) in place. I am happy to report that when I made my way to the Moots Sprinter van on Sunday morning for another day of USGP Cyclocross battle, my crank spun freely without the slightest hint of resistance. An A+ performance in my book.
My next test for it was a race on Sunday morning that resulted in no creaks and extra power from the smooth bearings to take me to a podium finish on the day. Kidding on the bearing/power thing, but really it performed flawless and remains creak-free today…..(I had to ride at lunch just to make sure).
King will have the same BB with 24mm (King made) slip in adaptors as well. So if you haven’t bought into the 30mm spindle thing or you are running Shimano cranks, have no fear, solid bearings and cups are coming our way.
If you have been on the fence for one of our RSL’s that uses PF30, don’t be afraid of the bearings…we now have what looks to be a match made in heaven.
I’ll update as the season and power washings unfold.
Questions? Let me know!
GrassMoots Racer and world traveler Patrick Wilder writes in this week about sticking to your “creed” as best you can and his time bagging the toughest course in the world on a Cyclocross bike….Patrick writes…..
Years ago I came up with a “creed” to summarize my riding/ racing goals:
“To ride the toughest course in the most challenging conditions against the best competitors.” I had heard 3 Peaks was touted as the toughest course period. Little would I know my “creed” would be tested in full.
The story begins like any good adventure should, over a beer with friends. In January of this year I’m sitting Brugge with the guys from Pave Cycling Classics sipping an enormous glass of brown liquid. Each man is recapping highlights from the day (Koskidje World Championships). The conversation moves onto each man’s riding interests for the upcoming year. Alex mentions 3 Peaks Cyclocross. I come to full attention. Impulsively I say to Alex, “if you can gain me an entry into the race I’ll do it.”
Fast forward to June. A suspicious European email hits my inbox. I hit delete thinking its spam from the European cyclocross feeds I’ve streamed all winter. Later I get a message from Alex telling me we’re in and I should have received notification of the entry. I frantically dig through the trash folder of my inbox.
Over the next few months the plans come together. Over the years I’ve learned to enjoy the logistical pieces of these adventures. Travel schedule, airfare, bike preparations, rendezvous and supplies all start months before an event like this. One of the key challenges I had to manage was the rendezvous with the guys. Pave Cycling is based in Lille, France. They planned to bring Clem’s camping car across the English Channel and pick me up at Heathrow. Not wanting to hassle with the bike I arranged to have the Moots shipped weeks in advance through Bike Flights to William’s house in Lille. He’d assemble and I’d step off a plane and race the next day.
6 hours later on the wrong side of the road we arrive in Yorkshire Dales National Park in Settle England (about 100 miles from Scotland). We proceed to immediately get the camping car stuck only to be pulled out by a trusty Land Rover. Quickly we unpack and head out for a ride to spin the legs in some of the most amazing country I’ve ever seen. After a proper English meal (meat, potatoes and local ale) we’re fast asleep.
The alarm comes quickly. Excitement quickly dilutes the jet lag. (My start time is essentially 12 a.m. back in the states). Also perking my attention grey, sky and light drizzle. I smile and tell the guys, “Looks like a typical Pacific Northwest Sunday”.
The ride would be anything but typical. I finished in 4:50. My goal was simply to ride within myself and finish. To compete the 3 Peaks, that’s a whole other level. The conditions were so grueling and intense I can’t imagine turning Rob Jebb’s time of 3:09.
Weeks later I’m still contemplating what exactly makes a tough race. One thing I’m certain 3 Peaks sets the bar for my creed: toughest course, conditions and competitors.
Well done lads, well done.
Just another Thursday right? Not really, it’s a beautiful Fall morning in Steamboat, a big Cyclocross weekend staring us in the face….hopfully ALOT less doping news today from Team ”CHOAD”….and then this lands in my in-box. No mention of weight, of which I’d say it’s pretty damn light. Carbon hoops wrapped in handmade goodness from Holland, with of course an orange theme….October, Halloween? Spooky. What we have here is an Mooto X RSL with all the trickery one could dig up from the Weight Weenies catalog….never mind the cost and really who cares.
More to come on this as I gather details of the build from the owner.
Enjoy your day and remember, bikes are fun, dopers are dopers and “choads” are the good guys.