Monday, January 2, 2012


To me this was the cover shot of the race - the HILL which turned in to a greasy lump. I just want to know what they buried under this thing.

Talk about stupid- challenging, this was the HILL. Most golf courses are pretty much dead flat, but this great big lump, where they buried old golfers, presented one of those "do I ride, do I run?" propositions that make for a great course. While my results sucked, I'm glad to say that I rode the front side, and slithered down the exits, for the entire race.

I went to the Chicago Cylcocross Cup New Years Resolution UCI Race and all I got was this lousy piece of paper with numbers on it. Not really - one of the most fun races of the year.

Let me get this out of the way now: I've never been disappointed by a Chicago Cyclocross Cup Race (at least not in this millennium). The organizers have got it right - while they put on a big time event, and draw the top names in the American Cyclocross Racing, they don't forget that it's all about the amateurs and masters that spend the bucks that keep the whole thing going. Some events, and cycling organizations, unfortunately, focus on the Pros - which is great to a point - I go to events like this to watch the pros, but unless my racing experience is "fun" and by "fun" I don't mean I even have to have a good result, I want to enjoy my race, in a great vibe, and feel like my presence is appreciated. This isn't Europe, and the sport isn't drawing big gates, so we depend on the racer's to support it. The Chicago Cyclocross Cup people just get it. Hat's off to them, and thanks for a great New Year's Party!

Now on with the regular program of stupidity.

Big Mac looking like he's somewhere in deepest-darkest Belgium, not Chicago Illinois.

Big Mac, AKA Adam McIntrye, put on a great show and picked off a bunch of guys in his Cat 2/3 Race  that was stacked with great racers getting a tune-up before Nationals next week (there was a lot of that going on). He had a great race and moved well up into the top 20 (he was in the mid-30's on the grid). Before he over-cooked that engine in the last lap. Trying to kill it like Stybie from the gun will do that to you once-in-awhile kids.

 Ouch! I tried to catch this shot, but missed. Luckily somebody else was there to nail it. He recovered and went on battling - but it looked like it hurt. That hill was just a slimy grease chute - but remain pretty rideable all day long.

How Adam could run like this, at this point in the course, is beyond me. You had to ride through a mud bog on the approach, jump over 18-inch tall barriers, and then run-up hill. The course-guys told me they were taking these out on day two, but I'm not sure if they did. The original plan was that the pros were going to hop these things - sounds like an escape plan for J-Pow. He could have used it.

Cupcake killing it through the sand. With a good starting grid placement, and one of her best rides of the year Cupcake AKA Laura, came away with the best results of us all! Congratulations Laura on a great ride! That's the way to finish/start the year.

One happy Cat 2-3 Racer. Cupcake wearing a little bit of the course on her face, but happy with her ride. Until ...

... she got a look at her brand-new, pure white Mavics. And yeah, the bike was pretty much a 30-pound load of mud.

As for me, well I was happy with my ride. My race kicked off at 8 a.m.! I had to warm-up in total darkness. This shot, coming up the hill, gives you and idea of how the course looked. Fabulous! The course I mean, not me. I sucked.

Another shot of me. My ass. Here's the approach to the barriers. No need for a flying dismount here. By the end of the race I picking up my bike and putting it down like it was a walker at the old folks home.

This is the last shot of me (finally!). Looking pretty clean at the finish line. This has to be after just a lap - I know I wasn't dead last off the line - was I?

How do the fast guys look on the same course? Fast, that's what they look like. And blurry, because they're going so damn fast. Here's the winner (both Saturday and Sunday), Ryan Trebon, stepping on the gas and pulling away from J-Pow, seen just behind him in the sand pit. Ryan was super smooth and looked like he was riding on top of the mud while everybody was dragging a plow.

He may not have finished with a working bicycle, but he finished with style.

There was a lot of great racing to watch - some great riders, with great style, power and technical skills. But of course that's only part of the race. What happens on the other side, or behind the barricades (not barriers, you jump over barriers, you stand "Behind Barricades") is almost as interesting.

 Take for example the Animal Sisters from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was there when people came up asking to take their photo, and have there photo taken with them. 

Another interesting character on course was the "Podium Cat Lady" carrying a bunch of medals, I assume that she was going to award. I have to give it to her, she huckedCyclocross circuit around the country. She also had some nice tattoos, and a new movie that just came out about her life when she's not at cross races. Maybe you've seen it already, I year it's yummy.

Speaking of filming, videos and drama-comedies, on Pro-Row there was some video taping going on while we were there. Inside this hermetically sealed tent J-Pow was laying down another "Behind the Barriers Barricades" episode. Can't wait to see it and hear what he has to say about the race. I'll bet it's dirty, so dirty ...

Out on course there were scenes like this that just made you go, what the hell. I'm thinking of having a "Caption Contest" for this photo. My own caption would be, "We claim this Sand Pit for the King Crossland!" You can do better than that.

What is your caption for this photo: ________________.

It doesn't matter where you go, what state, country or planet you visit, when you go to a cyclocross race you can always count on people humiliating their dogs with silly coats and costumes. 

Big waiting lines for the washers all day long. They had huge-ass power washers in the pits and a couple of hoses for the finishers. This young racer looks like he's tired of waiting. "Hey, you don't need to detail the damn thing, just blow the crap off and let's get going, will ya?"

It wasn't just a race and New Year's Eve, it was also my birthday. The last one I'll be celebrating, or let anyone know about. From now on the age categories start lists are going to get smaller and smaller, if you get my drift. Guess who gave me this birthday present, complete with cupcake candles? And guess who washed bikes earlier in the day?

A well known Cat 3 cyclocross racer, celebrating her great race, the end of the year, and the end of the season in the Cave Bar with the rest of the cyclocross world.

No matter how good, how bad, how painful, or how much fun a late season cyclocross race is, this is how it all ends - always. In the dark of night in a damp cold car wash with a bunch of nasty, muddy bikes, wheels and shoes. Happy New Year! And goodbye to the 2011 'Cross Season.

Looks like a nice Crazy Bastard Ride tomorrow. On snow, or what? See you then! And thanks for all the Happy Birthday Wishes.


  1. SB

    Happy Birthday!


  2. I hoped you'd get another good write up in for the 2011 season! Glad to hear you had fun.

    And Happy Birthday. I especially liked the comparison of your bike to a walker...

    Great season. Now get ready for Ithaca.


  3. Just saw the HECKLER herself made it onto the photo gallery for CXM: