Monday, February 25, 2013


Merrill made these shoes Sven Nys to celebrate his second World Championship. While these shoes may be made for walking it doesn't look like His Svenness is going to walk away from Cyclocross anytime soon.

Speaking of His Svenness, In The Cross Hairs has been running a series on Nys, examing his every move in races, and coming up with a rationale and motivation for practically every pedal stroke and line that the guys takes. At first you think it's like crazy hero worship gone bad, but watch long enough and you might too become a believer. Who knows? It's pretty interesting stuff. In this installment they dissect the World Championship and put together the plan that Sven used to take the win and World Championship.

For those who may not know it yet, Sven has decided to keep on swinging for a few more years. Next year was supposed to be his last ... but he's not putting his bat or the bike down until 2015 ... or maybe not even then ...

In 2015 Sven has an option to keeping playing. Here is what that discussion will probably look like two years from now with the team management.

When Sven does decided to quit swinging for the fences, and jumping the barriers, this is what he'll probably look like in 2021, or something like that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Vander Harder, Vos, Vander Poel and more ...The Dutch like to party, apparently. This was at the Foam Party Championship Night in Looeville. The Dutch had every right to party Gold in Women's Elite, Gold U23 Men's, Gold Juniors, and Bronze in Men's Elite.

While it's been "Here Come the Belgians" if you didn't notice at this Worlds Championship, and for most of the season, the Dutch are looking like the next powerhouse in World Cyclocross. The Beglie men are still pretty stacked with talent, but when you look at the new young Dutch coming, it's only a matter of time.

Possibly the only problem with world cyclocross domination by the Dutch is this ... if you're Dutch, don't watch. And don't leave any nasty comments.

If you want to see why the Dutch are so good watch the video below, again, if you didn't see it yesterday. Make a note to watch Vos very closely. You'll notice that she's killing it from beginning to end to get  the WC Gold. At the last lap she has something like a minute gap but still looks like the hardest working racer in the entire field.

Vos and Compton the following day. All the foam from the Foam party melted, flowed down River Road and flooded the course - yeah this is the course on Sunday.

Foam Party: J-Pow doing what he does best (DJ-ing and starring in homemade videos) while Tim Johnson does what American's do best (partying hard) Sven does what he does best - rest until it's time to kick some ass on the bike again.

So yeah, the Americans can never again say that the Jet lag is what makes the difference when it comes to the big races after this one. But while the Belgians dominate, and the Dutch are the overall best, we'll just have to be satisfied with being the Party Kings of Cyclocross.

Oh and why are the Beglies so good? Click here and watch what Sven was doing the day before he took the Rainbow Jersey (well in addition to going to the Hooters next door to his hotel.)

Here's Sven on Rollers. Watch the video here. After this workout it was then it was off to Hooters and his second World Championship.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I've been waiting for this one to pop up - it's the latest from Petisreines - a video of the Women's World Championship in Looeville, that's just as good as anything he/she has ever put out. Nice stuff, good video and the usual Euorish Music track. Although it's probably not a good video if you're a Katrina Nash fan, Katrina Nash, or a Katrina Nash stalker like the Chunky Dunker is. See if you can spot yourself wandering in the crowd, or at least Marne Smiley milling around on the podium. I nice video with a decidely French Twist.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


While there are literally thousands of great photos and videos floating all over the place that cover the World Championship in Looeville this past weekend, I left my "shoot the racers" camera back at the hotel and opted for the point and shoot thingie, so I could concentrate more on enjoying the race, and less on playing Jimmy Olsen in Rubber Booties. Besides, my photos ain't that great - I'll leave it up to better shooters. It was more than an exciting race, the best bike race I've ever seen or been at, hands down, and while Nys supporters like me (sorry Lekovish about your boy Albert) were overjoyed with Sven bagging his second WC, in the final year of his career, there sure was a lot of crying going on for such a happy time. No wonder the river overflowed right after the race was finished.

Calling Belgium - Nys has won! Nys has won! Let the tears and the champagne, err, beer, flow!

Like mother like daughter, they say in Belgium, apparently. The daughter of the woman at the top was equally overcome with tears of joy hearing that Nys had won the World Championship.

Dad on the other hand was taking the win a little better ...

Pauwels supporters watch and weep in front of the course and the mini-jumbo-tron.

The Kevin Pauwels supporters were probably crying at this point. Imagine traveling across the big pond to see you're guy drop a chain and get it wedged under the keeper. Kevin looked good too - he could of won it, but the team has a problem with chain tension, apparently ...

3-time World Champ, and 2-time Belgian Champion, and confirmed Nys Hater, Mario DeClercq.

I was able to get this photo with Mario on the last lap - we had just watched Nys pulling out a gap on his man Klaas Vantormout, and I'm sure he was going to be in tears shortly. Nice of him to stop for a photo. I would have punched me at that particular moment.

No tears here! Just a little bit of the crowd cheering every racer.

You can almost see the racers in this shot.

While I certainly did have some chills (I've got the flu again) from having the opportunity to be there for this race, I tell you what would make me cry - if I hadn't been there, that's what.

Here's a well done video, and a real tear-jerker, well maybe. Grab some kleenex and enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Today was practice day.  The last practice day unfortunately. The big show, as if you didn't know, is on for tomorrow, not Sunday. But yeah you knew that. The whole world does.

It was just practice - but the whole thing is coming together. Let's just hope the pit faucets aren't frozen like there were today at the Master's race down the road.

Well I thought I'd have days, as in two, to go on about the World Championship here in Looeville, but it looks the Ohio River wants us the hell out of here sooner than later. The news this morning is that the big races, Elite Men and Women are being moved up to tomorrow morning. While this may sound like a bummer, I am frankly worried that it could be worse and that half that course could possibly be under water by tomorrow morning. Watching the river rise while during today's afternoon practice was a little scary.

See these crazy things? These are Big Boy Sand Bags, for Big Boy, Ohio River type Big Boy water.

Yeah the flooding is big news. We hear in Europe that people think the U.S.A Cycling is moving the race up a day so we can all watch the Super Bowl. The other story, the one I like is that they will be able to keep the river from flooding by stacking Cat-4 Sandbaggers along the shoreline.

Sand bag news: these are empty - just waiting to be filled with Cat-4s. Yeah that oughta keep the water from drowning the course.

While the race and the flood were big news, and seeing the best cyclocross racers in the world rolling around town like hipster on growler bikes on the West Side of Grand Rapids, the real thing I'm taking away from experience my first World Championship is meeting the Belgies. The place is swimming with them. They love their cross, and they cross the pond to be here for the big race - come hell or high water.

There are Belgies everywhere here in Looeville. Even though it's cold and the schedules are FUBAR, they seem a happy lot. I wondered why until I studied them ...

The rising water just seems to roll right off their backs because while they are waiting for a flood of Biblical proportions and a cyclocross race of Worldly proportions to happen, they drink.

And then they stop and laugh and drink.

And then they drink some more. A lot more. This was at the SRAM tent party today. It was big Belgy fun, let me tell you ...

But not all of these fine folks from Belgium drank. Some of them went out to to catch a glimpse of their guys training on the course, just like we did.  This lovely couple wasn't drinking. Well, at least for awhile. They were wonderful people - even though they refused to exchange their sweet Sven Nys hat for our nearly worthless American dollars.

Some work funny hats a milled around the course.

Lots of them wore jackets with this guys name on it.

And wore more jackets with his name on it. On the course, ...

... at the SRAM party.

And back at the hotel ...

And in the exhibitors tents there were images of Belgian heroes.

And even his bike with a certain guys name was on display. You're bike looks like this, right?

So while they were getting their jackets embroidered, fitting their hats and putting up their posters, what were we doing? That's right tracking down the real thing. We stumbled on a bike shop advertising that they were going to have the Belgium on hand, as well as a few beers. It was hard to believe ... but it was true! See in weep, Belgie fans ...

Sven Nys. Great champ and great guy. Put up with all our American bullshit, no problem.

Adam got to spend time with his hero. What did he ask him? Yeah training with power. Nys suddenly couldn't speak English anymore.

I was so excited meeting the great one, I fell into a walking coma - sort of zombie like. Nice, Nys.

Not so enthused about being man and woman handled by Americans was Neils Albert who looked like he only had a few minutes between biology classes at night school.

The always jittery and uncomfortable in his own skin Kevin Pauwels, seen here jittery and uncomfortable in his own skin, was rather a good sport about the whole thing.

Notice that when Pauwels is on the bike the jitters and discomfort are all gone. This was shot by Adam McIntyre earlier in the day.

So that's what's new in New Belgium today. Now it's time to rest up, recharge the batteries and get ready to swim with all these crazy Belgies tomorrow. The strange thing is that while this is the only time that the World Championship has been held outside of Europe in its 65-year history, everybody has forgotten about these guys ...


Yes, we're having a quiz. If you answer both of these questions right, or wrong. Or only answer one, or none, you could be a winner. What's the prize? Tickets to Sunday's World Championship race right here in good old Looeville. We've got plenty of Sunday tickets folks ...


There's been so much focus on the the Belgian team and Belgian fans the rest of the teams are all pushed back in the shadows. Remember these guys? Know who they are? Every one here has seemed to have forgotten about them - and a year ago it was going to be there year. If you don't know, here's a clue they are standing in front of the famous Looeville historic site - the Alamo.


(Bonus question - get this one right and win two tickets to Sunday's race!)

Sarah McIntyre:" have you seen this guy? He's wearing a knitted beard. Let me know if you run into him."

The man with the knitted beard. He raises it when out walking in the cold, but drops it to below chin position when drinking beer. Name his country of origin and win tickets now!