Ken Hurd

January 22, 2013

Cyclocross Comes of Age

According to USA Cycling, cyclocross is America’s fastest growing cycle-sport. Participation has grown from 32,000 to 72,000 in the just the last five years.

125% growth over 5 years sure ain’t bad.

Here at home, similar trends are afoot. The feeling that the start line is getting a little crowded is definitely justified. Rumour has it that a Novice category will be added to  2013 races – A definite sign that cyclocross in Alberta is maturing. I’m unsure of whether this decision was a result of an active effort to grow cyclocross, or simply a response to the burgeoning Sport class (usually easily in excess of 40 racers). I’d imagine it’s likely a bit of both.

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January 8, 2013

Gettin’ Old & Stayin’ Young

Amongst friends, co-workers and family there’s been a lot of talk lately about getting old. Arthritic hips. Aching knees. Tweaked backs. Fading eyesight… The list goes on, and it’s less than inspirational.

Now, I can’t in good conscious say that there are parts of me that haven’t been affected by the years going by, but I think there’s something about riding a bike that keeps you a little younger at heart, body and mind than everybody else.

As people get older I think they have a tendency to move past certain activities. I can’t really say why. With cycling specifically, perhaps it’s because they view it as childish, something only the young do – Without realizing that reason is precisely why they should embrace it.

As I reflected on 2012, I noted how much cycling had given me. It made me think of what cycling offers everybody and the benefits are pretty wide and deep – I pulled together a list. It’s just five things. But, to me, they’re big:
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November 21, 2012

Kitsbow Mountainbike Wear

Upon evaluation, the landscape for road bike clothing provides offerings for nearly every conceivable style, size and budget – From bargain-basement multicoloured neon discount kits, to the finery of brands like Rapha or Assos. Unfortunately a more refined offering has been long lacking for the road cyclist’s fat-tired brethren (at least to my knowledge)… Until now.

Described as “impeccable mountain bike wear for obsessives,” Kitsbow appears to be striving for the best fit and finish with little compromise. From tailoring to materials, every detail has been cared for… Or at least that’s what their marketing wants me to think ;-)

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November 7, 2012

Cycling vs. Driving

Most days I ride to work. I enjoy it. And while it’s true that I gently guide and help coworkers and friends who want to cycle more or commute, I’m by no means a ‘cycle-nazi’ – I still drive. Be it looming deadlines and late nights at the office, cross-city running around, or simple apathy, there are times I’ll trade two wheels for four.

Case in point – As my recent schedule became increasingly overwhelming I begrudgingly put the bike in the garage and grabbed the keys. However, rather than mindlessly meandering between locations I was keen to get something more out of my time behind the wheel – I decided to carefully monitor my mood, feelings and actions on my drive as well as my observations of others.

While perhaps not shocking, and definitely not scientific, here what I found:
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October 24, 2012

Tom Ritchey’s 40-Year Ride

A great snapshot looking back at the racing, frame building and innovations that Tom Ritchey has contributed over the last 40 years. Not to mention his pivotal contributions to the invention of mountain biking. And besides… Any man with a moustache like that deserves to be taken seriously.

September 26, 2012

EuroCross – The rider vs. The racer

The old adage “It’s like riding a bike” applies to many scenarios — riding an actual bicycle likely among them — unfortunately for me however, I don’t think it can be readily applied to racing your bike.

Racing is a delicate art of conservation, recovery, technique, timing and mental fortitude. Although these are all things your mind is intrinsically aware of, they are also things that an untrained body forgets. What was once instinct, now unfolds in front of you — you slowly realize what’s happening only to react much to late.

Somebody makes the jump, and suddenly the wheel you were sucking is gone. You desperately try to cover the gap but either you can’t, or you burn an ever-precious match that you were hoping to save for later. Building this innate ability to react is much akin to a sword you can only sharpen through use.

And though it was painfully evident that my ‘sword’ was dull and rusty, that didn’t stop me from having a blast at this past weekend’s Bicisport/Synergy EuroCross Weekend.

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August 29, 2012

RBC Gran Fondo

The mountain air was crisp and the air quiet. My nipples stood erect and I shivered uncontrollably as I second-guessed the merits of a late summer Fondo in the Rockies.

While members of the Polar Bear Club stood around comfortably with bare arms and legs, others cobbled together what they could – From full Goretex kit, to sweatpants and sweatshirts. I was just counting down to the start gun, so I could get my legs turning and warm up a bit ;-)

After a neutral start around Tunnel Mountain Road and a short connection across Hwy 1 we started the ride in earnest around Lake Minnewanka… Well, that is to say – most people started the ride in earnest. We had been hanging onto the back of one of the lead groups and slowly working our way up (everybody’s an eager beaver, even with 100km+ to go), when we realized that somehow Sheldon has been lost. We had just seen him prior to entering the Minnewanka loop, but now he was nowhere to be found. A little bit of backtracking and a few texts later we were all reunited… Albeit right in the mid-pack swell.

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August 15, 2012

An Olympic Retrospective

Ah the olympics…

While basking in the afterglow of London’s most recent athletic spectacle, a couple great videos (specifically: sailing and dressage) popped up that got me thinking that the number (and type) of events in today’s Olympiad has perhaps gotten a little out of control.

Just for shits & giggles, I went through all of the sports – There are approximately 150 different events (excluding duplicates for men/womens/weight classes) – And tried to cull them based on my somewhat arbitrary definition of an “Olympic sport.”

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August 8, 2012

CLIF Bar – Meet the moment

Not every ride can be classified as truly memorable. But these moments do happen, we’ve all experienced it… Rarely planned, instances that always stick with you. It’s to honour these moments in time that CLIF Bar has pulled together Meet the Moment.

The idea is shockingly simple – Share your moment and CLIF Bar will give money to some great outdoor non-profit organizations. Non-profits that we can pretty easily get behind – Like these:
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