Cross and a 29r

Cross race #3 of the year in the bag. Race went well until I flatted halfway through the 2.3 mile course and got passed by nearly everyone, except an Alan Antonuk, who also flatter earlier. I managed to pass enough people to end up back in 4th by the end (out of 10). Can’t complain since I got to race my bike through what is apparently one of the most haunted sites in Michigan.

Looks pretty haunted.
I also got a chance to ride the brand spanking 5 year old 29r I just bought for Iceman coming up in two weekends.

A few things I’ve noticed about the big wheels.
-Wide handlebars are a must, or your arms and shoulders are going to be really freaking tired
-Everyone says that 29r’s roll over bumps making riding easier…this isn’t so noticeable. What is noticeable is the fact that a 29r does NOT slow down. It just keeps on going even with hydraulic disc brakes.
-Riding a 29r is like driving a big boat, through a bog, without a rudder, in a hurricane
-With a 29r you don’t really worry about micro-managing your steering inputs, just point the front wheel and let the bike do the rest, and if the bike wants to run into a tree you damn well better let it.
-29r’s are really slow to get up to speed, there’s good reason why all the skinny world cup XC guys all still ride 26 in wheel bikes
This is only after the first ride with skinny handlebars on a pretty twisty trail (Maybury), so the jury is still out.
In the meantime enjoy this obscure ridiculously catchy and weird song that I’ve successfully lodged into at least two people heads (it’s from the Nike World Cup commercial, but live)

CX this weekend

I hate cyclocross, if it were up to me, every barrier on earth would be thrown into a massive bonfire, and all the roadies and mountain bikers would sit in a circle and rejoice about never being forced to run with their bikes ever again (running in MTB races is not “forced” per say, but more something that indicates you don’t have the technical skills to shred the gnar). There would be no more rat mazes of caution tape, or needless wooden structures with steps on one side and a ramp on the other…most normal people call that a slide.

That said, every year I get sucked in. Yeah sure driving 4 hours so I can wrestle into my skin-suit to race for one whole hour, without water, will be totally awesome. In reality the reason is friendship…not that that’s where you forge new ones, but that’s where the only one’s I have exist.
Being a racer entails that, outside of the months of September – February, you do not know of the phenomenon most normal people know as the weekend. These ‘weekends’ are the times when people congregate, drink, do a variety of fun activities, but mostly hang out with friends.
In my own personal experience, when I entered college, I immediately joined the cycling team. This meant that, for the past 5 years, nearly all weekends were spent with other cyclists. The more weekends you spend cycling, the more cyclist friends you have, the more your social circle looks like a incestuous family.
Not that this is a bad thing, but it just means that in the months from October – November hanging out with friends usually means jumping over barriers.

Anyway I’ve also been willfully applying for real jobs, which hasn’t been going well. As with most recent college grads I’m also looking into graduate schools for Engineering, including:
Michigan State
and finally University of Huntsville Alabama.
If I got in there I would sell my iPod…I’d really only need one song (I think you know the one):

Joking aside, Huntsville has a sweet propulsion program as it is the home of the Redstone Arsenal which was the once home of Werhner von Braun and entire US space propulsion program (so they get a lot of gov. funding)
However after all the hating I’ve been doing on CX, there is a cool race this weekend in Detroit’s historic civil war fort (or some war…it’s just old):

Tour de Louisville

It’s been a while since my last race report, and forever since I’ve done a CX race so this is a first. As you could notice from my last blog post, I only just finished building up my CX bike a few days before this second OVCX race. The race, which took place down in Louisville, only had about 25 riders so was pretty small. It was good having a small turnout, because then less people would pass me as I gingerly crossed the barriers. I really do mean gingerly, in the first lap two guys passed me before I was even able to re-mount my bicycle. But other than the whole running around while carrying your bike, cyclocross is really just like a mountain bike short track race that is twice as long (and you’re not allowed to drink water). I’m exagerating, you are allowed to drink water, but all the cool cyclocross guys will laugh at you and say mean things behind your back.

The race was really hard, you’re pretty much red lined the entire hour of racing. I ended up eight, which I’m not terribly disappointed about. There is a UCI cyclocross race in Cinncinati this weekend that I plan on going to, though I’m not doing the UCI race, just watching.
All my creative energy is being sapped by being a staff writer for the Purdue Exponent. And by all my creative energy I mean lack there of, I’ve only written two articles in two weeks.
Anyway if you’re not familiar with cyclocross there are two distinct brands.
And American: