Racing

March 6, 2013

Death of XC MTB Racing

With racer registration numbers struggling, and races seemingly dropping off the ABA XC MTB calander, are we seeing the slow death of the traditional 90 min XC MTB race here in Alberta?

When I first started racing, there was only one kind I wanted to do – cross country mountain bike. The problem was, I wasn’t really in good enough shape to do it. I was your typical ‘weekend warrior’, spending a couple hours per week bombing around on the single-track trails with my pals. After a while, we got bold and signed up for a few bike shop-led group rides. In that context I thought I was pretty good, and with some encouragement decided to go out for an actual race, only to have my ego shattered! The 90 mins of max effort riding required in a typical ABA MTB XC race was so far beyond me, I was shocked. I finished the race, but it damn near killed me. Afterwards, I thought long and hard about if I wanted to do another one…

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February 27, 2013

Fatbike: Fad or Revolution?

Is the Fatbike revolution here? I’ve been hearing the term for a few seasons now and I remember seeing one for the first time back in 2010. In a word, although I thought they were interesting with their giant clown-like tires, I also thought they were ‘ridiculous’. I wondered why anyone would want to ride a bike so cumbersome and heavy? Through my ‘racing’ lens, the bikes made about as much sense to me as a unicycle or a Penny Farthing – sure they might be unique and fun to mess around on, but really, what’s the point beyond that? I was perfectly happy to leave what I considered the Fatbike fad, to others. – Read More –

February 3, 2013

Refreshed

Sheldon and I have been filling the pages of this blog since October of 2008. In almost 5 years, we’ve written over 400 articles and have interacted with you through thousands of comments, hundreds of tweets and countless Facebook updates. Although our lives and the content of this blog continue to evolve, our passion for – Read More –

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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October 30, 2012

PUNCHEUR

Well, the fat lady has sung! Even though there are still a few more races left on the calendar, I’ve raced my last CX race of the 2012 season – work and life are playing the trump card. It was a really good run this year, though. I moved up the field, going from near the back of the pack Sport finishes in 2011, to some solid top 15 Sport finishes in 2012. I guess not having a new-born baby on hand clearly helped this year’s ‘racing campaign’.

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October 10, 2012

Grass Roots Racing

If you’re a serious racer, someone who wants to compete, diligently track your progress and continually improve, the casual nature of grass-roots racing might not be what you’re looking for, but I’d argue that’s kind of the point. For me, gross-roots races turn out to be some of the best races I go to all season, but there are lots of pros and cons to grass-roots racing, for sure. Starting with some of the cons:
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October 2, 2012

T’was a Dark Knight CX Race

For a long time, I’ve wondered what it would be like to go to one of the big USGP CX races down in Bend, Oregon, or even over in Europe – the epic courses, the big heckling crowds, the festival atmosphere with music, costumes, signs and beer! I want to experience that one day – it’s officially on my Bucket List.

So, what’s the next best thing if you’re living here in Alberta? Gotta be the Dark Knight!

Set up inside the bobsleigh/luge run up at COP in Calgary, this race has all the core aspects of a great event, not to mention a race. It’s located within the city, making it easy to get to, especially for those of us travelling there, staying in hotels, etc… There’s lots of parking right at the site, and room for big crowds of cowbell ringing spectators and you can crank the music without waking up the neighbours!

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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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September 12, 2012

Enduro Cyclocross

Enduro cyclocross racing – a contradiction of terms at first blush? The organizers behind last weekend’s Kettle X Enduro Cyclocross Race, put out the challenge, 74 km of off-road cyclocross racing through the Blackfoot trail system just east of Edmonton. Reading the tech guide, the projected finish time for the leaders was 3.5 hours, accounting for up to 6 hours for the rest of the field to complete the ‘Full Kettle’ course. Based on this info, a lot of folks signed up – in fact, 170 racers decided to give’r a go – as did I.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been riding quite a bit, at least for me, getting in some long rolls on weekends, and even tossing in an intervals session mid-week to keep me honest. I expected I’d probably be able to handle 74km of off-road trail on a CX bike – at least I hoped. The more I thought about it though, the more I became doubtful…  Things went through my mind like, the roughness of the trails, the forecasted heat for the day (26 degrees, but it actually hit +28), and the rigidness of the CX bike. If leaders were projected in at 3.5 hours, optimistically, I’d shoot for 4.5 hours… That’s a long time to rattle around on a CX rig. I fretted about my neck, wrists, shoulders, knowing full well from my harrowing experiences at the Transrockies, and my Bow 80 attempts, what that kind of ache/pain can do to you…

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