Monday, January 16, 2012


Last Thursday Night - the first true snow ride of the year. A quick trip to the carwash handled this nicely.

After missing last week's Tuesday Night Crazy Bastard Ride, where I heard thousands attended, I was determined not to miss another one. So, on Thursday I saddled up the Single Speed and headed out - into  an iffy forecast, but determined to to miss out on anymore fun - dammit I was going hell, high-water or winter storm advisory.

Beautiful view from the inside of the car. Waiting for the gang that never showed.

I waited until six for any number of the hundreds that showed, looking out the rain at a mixture of snow, slush and rain coming down. Nobody showed. At least, I'll be riding with someone I love.

Soon the rainy mix turned to pure snow (just in time for the Farmer's Fat Bike Race on Saturday!). It was quite beautiful, to be honest.

It wasn't long before I was floating along on a soft cushion of snow (it got a little deeper than this by the end). How was I able to ride on snow without the benefit of a Fat Bike/Snow Bike? you may well ask. Well, kids, it's easy.

Riding in the snow, alone, it got pretty quiet. Too quiet. Like Robert Frost poem quiet. Then I thought I heard something behind me. I stopped and turned around and threw a light on my tracks. From the looks of it (and I didn't have my handy Northwoods Field Guide of Animal Tracks) but I'm guessing from the looks of those prints it was either the rare Mininature Michigan Mountain Lion or the Ferocious Long Tail Pscholobabbler or the Deadly Night Bandit Strangler. Anyway, knowing I was being tracked I hightailed it for the parking lot, let me tell you.


Thought that the 'cross season was over, didn't you? Well not by a long shot, kids. There was all sorts of action, starting with a World Championship race right here in the USA. The Masters were going at it in some terrible conditions in Louisville and were dropping like flies in pursuit of UCI WC Jersey's. From deep mud, to snow, to icy ruts, racers were hit with everything in the book. While I thought maybe I should have done it, after seeing photos and hearing reports, I was glad to be home, rolling simple, quiet, solo snow rides. If you'd like to look at what the Master's World Cyclocross Championship looked like, take a look at the Cyclocross Magazine's coverage by just going here. Or as they say on Cycling Fan here or here or here.


Racing resumed after National World Championship (last weekend) in France. Loads of Americans made the trip and J-Pow showed up big for the USA, as well as Ryan Trebon, Jonathan Page, and Tim Johnson. All good races, with J-Pow heading the list with a nice ride at 14th. Katie was also back and Europe and managed a podium spot, behind Vos and Hanka, after crashing out hard mid-way through the race. The real story, however was the win in the men's race by Styby on his Pink Specialized. While I appreciated my bike on Tuesday, for bringing me home safely from sketchy, Styby love his bike fondling it, hugging and slipping his tongue between the tire and the fork crown. In Europe this is called "French Forking." I think it's a little weird, but then I'm a crude American.

I love you, I love you, I love you!

Here, I'll put on my Bridal Skinsuit and we'll ride off together and get married ...

No, matter how weird those Euro antics are, I'm really hooked on watching World Cup Cyclocross races every weekend on Cycling Fan. Check out the feeds this weekend for the last World Cup before the World Championship in two weeks. But for the babbling Dutch and Flemish (better than all the screaming at US Nats) these are really cool. Lots of cameras, lots of action, lots of drama - and lots of bike love.

I dig Euro racing so much I have started to collect Belgy pen pals. Here's my newest pen pal, from Belgium no less, that appears to be a big Vanderpoel fan, whoever he his. His name is Willem, but I like to call him Sweet Belgy Bill.

Do you have a personal pen pal in Belgium? I do. He's a crazed cyclocross fan (what Belgian isn't?) and his name is Bill. Sorry, I'm not sharing, he's all mine. I'm learning gads of Belgy-Super-Secrets from SB2 (above).


So beyond the World Championships and World Cup racing there was even more important racing going on, and I'm not talking about the Down Under Thing, where they ride their bikes upside down. No, I'm talking about the Farmer's Fat Bike Race (Snow Bike Race?), this last Saturday. Luckily there was snow for the hundred or so racers that descended on the Versluis Orchard. Not only are there now literally thousands of photos of the race on Facebook and all over the "Internets" there are also a plethora of videos now available to experience Snow Bike Racing on Fat Bikes™if you weren't there. There are so many videos, in fact, that I think there should be an Video Race contest, after the race.

This video is getting national attention right now, and is posted up on one of my favorite Cyclocross sites, Cycling Dirt.

2012 Farmer's Fat Bike Race - 1.14.12 from XXC Magazine on Vimeo.

The video below was created by our own Jack Kunnen, of Jack Kunnen Photography. If you'll like to see more great videos of people racing Fat Bikes in the snow, I suggest you visit Jack's Photography site.

While I appreciate that dark and brooding texture of the first video, I embrace the fun and joy, and suffering that Jack has captured, and I give his video the win. But place your own votes. If I was doing a video on this race I would mix the two videos, and add this soundtrack which I think is far more appropriate. It's a snappy (maybe not) tune that I often hum to myself during a race. I think it works, but you tell me.


  1. You might be a CRAZY BASTARD if you show up on a cold night when it is raining, and you are the only one to actually ride. Yes a TRUE CRAZY BASTARD goes it alone, into the night.

  2. Slow ride ... take it easy ... I think I saw Foghat ... yikes!

  3. Top of my playlist! See ya tomorrow.