cyclocross

Velocicross
November 10, 2014

Alberta Cyclocross Finale

Well, thats a wrap! The 2014 cyclocross season is in the books, and there is nothing left now but the fond memories of the pain, the crashes, the DNFs and the suffering to keep us warm until spring. Snow fell just in time for the last races of the year at Velocicross. That’s 2 years in a row, we’ve descended into the confused and quiet neighbourhood of Capilano, bundled-up under our lycra and scoffed in the face of winter’s first volley, to race one more time with our squealy canti brakes and skinny knobby tires. To any casual onlooker, it must look astoundingly ridiculous.

But therein is the fun of it all.

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Who is Hot Sauce?!
October 20, 2014

Who is Hot Sauce?!

If you’ve been to an Alberta CX race this season, you’ve probably seen the boldly branded Shepard Fairey inspired Hot Sauce t-shirts and cycling caps around. It was the caps that I noticed first, poking out from under more and more helmets at each start-line as the season progressed. Then, at the Dark Knight I saw a booth, and I walked up and asked, ‘So… what is Hot Sauce’, to which the fellow behind the merch table replied, ‘the question is, who is Hot Sauce…?’

Meet Mark McConnell.

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October 6, 2014

Dark Knight – CX Nirvana

I’m not joking when I say that the highlight of my entire cycling season, is hands down the Dark Knight Cross Race.

This year reassured me of that fact, without question.

It wasn’t that many years ago now. Well, okay, it was probably 5-6 years ago… Dang. Anyway, I remember my focus was still on MTB, fully. To me MTB was all there was. I didn’t do road or want to, and I’d never even heard of CX really. I was out for a trail ride on my own in the valley, and I ran into Pepper. I didn’t know her, but I recognized her. I said ‘Hey…’. She said ‘Hey’. I asked if she was going to Canmore for what I think was the Iron Lung. She said ‘No. I’m already in cross mode.’ I didn’t know what that meant, but I said something like ‘Oh yeah’, and nodded knowingly. Then she added, ‘It’s all about cross’ and then smirked… I didn’t get it, but I never forgot it, and I still remember it today because I’ve caught myself saying it more and more the last few seasons. For me, when it comes to racing, it really is ‘all about cross’ for many reasons – and the Dark Knight is the Acme of cross races.

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Curtains
November 20, 2013

Facing the Off Season Void

The Alberta CX season swan song has been sung… And with that of course comes tears, followed by the sudden and vacuous void where you’re left with one thing, the unanswered question, ‘so… what now?’

Sure, like most people at the end of the race season, I’m tired and ready for a break of somekind, but I can’t say I’m excited about heading into the off season. While a few of my racing palz are headed for B.C. to continue racing, others are facing the upcoming Alberta winter bravely, by already waxing their skis, lacing up their skates for beer league, or pumping up their tires on their Fatbikes. But I’m feeling directionless… I don’t know what I’m going to do over the next 5 long months of dark, cold  winter.

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Spy vs. Spy
October 30, 2013

Dark Knight Throwdown!

Bikeridr is self-described as ‘the adventures, rants and ramblings of Ken & Sheldon, two guys who like to ride bikes.’ Truth be told though, we also really like to race bikes. Sadly we just don’t get to do this that often, especially not against each other. Being that as it may, we did manage to line up in Calgary at the 2013 Dark Knight for one all out, no holds barred, battle of the bleedin’ ages!

The Pre-Race: A lot was at stake this year. Not only was this the only chance we had to race against each other, but back at the 2012 Dark Knight we’d had a close one, resulting in Ken taking the win coming in 9th, while I rolled across the line just 2 positions back, in 11th. In reality, although we were close in standings, there wasn’t any true ‘battling’ going on. The whistle went. Ken surged off the line, and although I kept it close, he held his lead right to the end that year. It was a bitter pill for me to swallow, but he’d won handily, and all I could do was put it behind me and look to 2013, which was what I did… This year, waiting for the whistle, staged right on the front row, I was absolutely determined to beat Ken – or blow up tryin’! Some key factors were stacked in my favour. Firstly, I had been riding a bit more this year so my base fitness was better, plus I already had 5-6 2013 season CX races under my belt and felt like I was on form. Ken on the other hand, although he’d been getting his miles, only had 2 races in at that point, so I didn’t expect him to have much ‘punch’ and I assumed he’d be rusty in the turns. Secondly, I was on the much lighter bike. My bike comes in at a svelte 16lbs, while Ken’s is more like a boat anchor weighing about 21lbs. Hard to say exactly how much this impacts things, but it certainly does make a difference and I wasn’t about to ask him to trade whips for funzies.

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Dusty cross
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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Ride, Ride, Ride...
January 2, 2013

Hello 2013!

Hello 2013! And, goodbye to 2012. Looking back, as we all like to do this time of year, I thought it would be interesting to check some stats – specifically to do a comparison between 2012, and 2011. On the whole I felt like 2012 was an off year, for cycling… Life was busy. I was working longer hours at the office. At home, I was enjoying more time with the family, and what felt like less time on the bike. At least, I really thought so.

I made the decision very early in 2012 that I needed to be more pragmatic about my training. It needed to be more concerted, more purposeful. So I adapted shorter and more intense training sessions. Most of the time, I’d limit all my training rides to 1 hour. In fact, I’d even go as short as 30 minutes if I was doing really hard intervals. The thinking was that by training this way, regardless of my busier schedule, by pushing harder for less time, I could still manage to build a reasonable amount of fitness, hopefully at least similar to that achieved in 2011. Generally speaking though, I was resolved to 2012 being a ‘blah’ year on the bike.

So, looking back at 2012 now, the stats are a bit shocking!

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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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Dark Knight CX Race 2012
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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November 22, 2011

Aaron Schooler Interview Part 3

In this third and final instalment of my interview with Team H&R Block’s Aaron Schooler, I ask him who he thinks has the edge come CX season, the Roadie or the MTB’r. Personally, in general, I have to hand it to the roadies because they show up with such great fitness. At least this is – Read More –

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