The first Cross Bike to do full laps on the Flying Hoof Ranch course ever - this is it - caught as it happened by Julie McGraw. This is the close as I'll come to getting a "first" this year, that's for sure. Thanks to Julie McGraw Photography for this shot. Check out all the photos she shot of you at Julie McGraw Photography. They're awesome shots, even if you aren't.
FLYING HOOF RANCH CYCLOCROSS ENDURO RACE OCTOBER 13, 2012
The 'cross season is in full swing with races everywhere right now. I'm looking in my backyard right now, matter of fact, to see if there is a race going on this afternoon.
In your own backyard, this weekend, there's a cyclocross race (of sorts) happening at the Flying Hoof Ranch at 3230 Obrien, in Walker, near the site of the Versluis Snowcross races of years past. This course has seen a lot of mountain bike action this year, and is a pretty sweet course. If you want to pre-register, and find out more details, you can go right here Flying Hoof Ranch Race Registration.
ENDURO RACING = HOW MUCH CAN I TAKE OF THIS SHIT AND FOR HOW LONG?
The racing, which starts at noon and offers classes for Experts, Intermediates and Kids, is described as a Cyclocross-Enduro race, which is pretty interesting since I consider every cyclocross race an "endurance" event, meaning how much of this shit can I take before I quit. Anyway the idea is that Experts will see how many laps they can do in 60-minutes which is pretty much what a cross race is only the number of laps are decided after the leaders cross the line after the first ... oh well, it will end being the fastest guy or gal will win, I think, which is pretty much a bike race. I think adding the word "ENDURO" makes it sound harder, which is the image that mountain bikers are always going for, and this is pretty much a mountain biker concept of a cyclocross race - not that that makes much difference.
MOUNTAIN BIKE COURSE OR CYCLOCROSS COURSE?
This is what the Flying Hoof course designer thinks traditional cyclocross courses look like - flat parking lots covered with scrawny and whimpy-ass hipsters on converted road bikes.
On recent reconnaissance of the course with Cupcake, suggested by the Farmer, who said this was the hardest-toughest-cyclocross course he had ever ridden, we met with the host of the Flying Hoof Ranch and course designer. He told us that this course wasn't like a traditional cyclocross course, which in his words, were pretty much riding around flags in a parking lot. Next year will have to take both he and the Farmer to the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross.
Being a whimpy-ass roadie and cyclocross racer, with delusions of hipsternessishness, this is what the Flying Hoof Rank Cyclocross looked to me on the first ride.
The course is described on the Flying Hoof's micro site (goes with the micro beers mountain bikers drink I think) aptly and thusly:
"The Ranch is a private course that is both technical and challenging. It consists of hills, bridges, log piles, flat tops, and much more."The "much more" part we discovered were deep trenches that had been dug for defensive positions in World War I, to prevent Walker from being overrun by the terrible "Hun."
TAKE A RIDE, DESCENT AND CLIMB WITH CUPCAKE AND I THROUGH THE CYCLOCROSS VALLEY OF FLYING HOOF BARRIERS AND DROPS OF ENDURO CYCLOCROSS RACING!
Dismount at the barrier (in background) and then descend down this deep drop. I backed down it with the bike behind me. Cupcake's form was much better than mine.
Now Cupcake begins the climb back out of the Enduro Trench. There are two of these per lap by the way.
Still climbing, she's just about out. I'm just worried about the machine gun fire when she goes over the top.
I'm blurred with exhaustion just watching her get out of that pit, but she's smiling. So how many laps in 1 hour could you do?
SO WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR ENDURO CYCLOCROSS RACING?
This is what I always say when someone says use a mountain bike instead of a cross bike. Yeah, I'm a big baby.
I don't know who I'm asking or telling at this point. The promoter and designer hinted that you might want to use a mountain bike instead of a cyclocross bike, but I'm never inclined to go in that direction, no matter how bad of an idea it is. With all the beat-up bad-ass-rough courses we've done this year a lot of people have wished, or opted for mountain bikes over cyclocross bikes. Know how many have gotten on the podium? Freakin' Zero. While it may feel more comfortable on a mountain bike, if you can ride a cyclocross bike on the course, a cross bike will be faster - it may feel like crap, but it will be faster. And this case, a cross bike might be easier to huck out of that trench over and over again.
If I were to use specialized equipment for this race I might include these pieces of gear:
Some of this stuff might come in handy, especially at the trenches.
You also might want to work on some specialized barrier work. Now how am I going to carry that bike again?
Possible winners of the Flying Hoof Enduro Cyclocross Enduro Race? A good bet might be the Farmer, pictured at the top of one of the Flying Hoof's many climbs, still looking fresh, and years younger.
But my money is on this guy to win the Flying Hoof Stampede Cyclocross Enduro Race (I need an oxygen tank just to get the whole name out). Yeah, that's the first loser below him. Eat it bitches!, he said.
If you want to see what a good cyclocross course should like (yeah it's not a parking lot) pop your eyes at this thing. A hard race isn't just defined by a course that is hard or difficult to get around, it means racing hard - and that often depends more on who you are racing, than the course.