November 15, 2011

Turf War

Ever gone back to a park that served as a cyclocross venue a week or so afterwards, to see if you can remember the course? If you have, then you’ll know as well as I do that more often than not, though the course marking might be down, the damage left from the tires leaves an impression you can still follow around.

As a racer, who lives near cyclocross venues, I like the fact that I can revisit a course I raced and re-ride it. But, as you can imagine, not everyone sees this the same way I do, like other park users, or the city parks department… On the one hand, I’m sure park officials are pleased to see the parks getting put to good use. I mean, why have parks if no one uses them? But, on the other hand, having to spend city park budget money to re-seed, or sod sections of the park each year due to the furious churning of knobby CX wheels, might not sit as well.

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November 3, 2011

Aaron Schooler Interview Part 2

Following up on the post from last week, here is the second instalment of my interview with Team H&R Block‘s, Aaron Schooler. In this part of the interview Aaron talks about the shift from roads to cyclocross season, and the changes he makes to his own training. For more information on Aaron, check out his – Read More –

October 27, 2011

Aaron Schooler Interview

Cyclocross has become by far, my favourite discipline of racing. Fast, furiously difficult and fun as all hell. Earlier in the season, I got to tag along with Rob from Sri Importing and Team H&R Block’s Aaron Schooler on cyclocross training ride. Aaron gave us both some first rate 1 on 2 coaching (including the – Read More –

October 25, 2011

Alberta Cyclocross Wrap Up

Well kids… There’s only two more to go on our Alberta race calendars and then ‘cross season officially comes to a teary-eyed end. So come one, come all, because there are two great races on to finish off the season!

Devil Take the Hindmost (tech guide)

“The Devil” is definitely a unique format for a cyclocross race, but it promises to be loads of fun, and is also taking $5 from every entry and donating it to Bicycles for Humanity – If pain and suffering wasn’t enough, I’m sure supporting a good cause will tip the scales :-)

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October 13, 2011

E-town CX Tuesday Nighters

Coming off a full season of mtb racing, my first cyclocross race ever was a Tuesday Nighter put on by Cory from United Cycle. It was really cold. There was some snow already, and it was getting dark fast as I rounded the corner to cross the finish line… I was in last place, and felt crushed both physically, as I’d pushed myself to exhaustion, and emotionally, disappointed in my finish. But, that didn’t really matter, because as I found out, no one cared about where they finished in these races. It was all about just getting on the bike. I didn’t quite get that then, but I managed to keep coming back for more, each time, feeling just as welcome and part of the group as anyone there… It was a nice laid back scene then. Now 2 years later, keeping the same vibe, it’s clear I’m not the only one who likes these kind of ‘low-key’ races, with more than 100 of us showing up to one of them this season. Good job, Cory! Can’t wait for next season already. CX is where it’s at!

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October 6, 2011

A well-tuned VINER

Growing up, we all know the woes/joys of an untuned bike. Bar grips that twisted freely, rusted old chains slathered in black 3 &1 oil to hide the creaking, and the worn brake pads that squack and squeal at every stop… Ah, good times… Now balance that with you most well-tuned bike you’ve ever had. You, have had a well-tuned bike before, right? Well, if you haven’t, you haven’t lived.

Riding and racing are two very different experiences. You ride for fun. If your shifting isn’t quite dialled in, or your tires aren’t pumped up to optimal levels, you don’t really care – you’re just out hammering the tails for all you’re worth, and lovin’ it! Now, when you’re racing, by comparison, the smallest thing can irk you to no end. The slightest cable stick, grit in your drive-train, brake rub or chatter in your brakes can be all it takes to take you out of the game, mentally. It’s sad, but it’s true…. Us cyclists can be that fragile, whether most of us would admit, or not. The truth be told, we like things to run, not just pretty well, but ‘perfectly’, even though, this isn’t possible most of the time. That said, last night at the United Cycle Tuesday nighter, I enjoyed such a moment, when the bike was D-I-A-L-L-E-D in!
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October 4, 2011

The Dark Knight 2011

Twas a brisk Saturday eve in October whence the Dark Knight came again.

What began with an ominous combination of dense clouds, cutting rain and stiff winds mellowed as the day progressed – and though the temperature never seemed to rise, it ended up being a beautiful night for a race.

The Dark Knight is quickly becoming an institution on Albertan’s cyclocross calendars and it’s easy to see why. The only race of it’s kind in these parts, the Dark Knight is a killer cyclocross race that kicks off at twilight and winds itself well into the darkness. Though warm clothing is recommended, the weather is generally kind. Combined with the hot drinks and food, you’re in for a great night.

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September 29, 2011

Cross season is too short

Yup, cross season is simply too short. As summer winds down, you think, ‘I can’t wait for CX to start!’ and then the next thing you know September is over and you’ve only done two races… Okay, that may not be you. but it is the case for me.

Last weekend I was out at both the ERTC School of Cross and the Hardcore Hop n’ Hurl, in either a racer or spectator role. As a racer, all I have to say is, ‘HOLY CRAP! Is cross ever hard!’ I may have actually thought I was going to die out there on the course… And although death, is an egregious embellishment, I was delirious enough to not realize the race was over, and kept riding for an additional lap. Ahhhh… Good times.

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May 26, 2011

Cyclocross Disc Brakes

Back in June of 2010 I wrote about the big changes the UCI had in store for the 2011 cyclocross season… In particular, disc brakes.

Since then, any technological progress has been pretty quiet, but now the first prototypes are starting to appear! Whilst browsing VeloNews’ coverage of the 2011 Sea Otter Classic I ran across an article detailing TRP’s hydraulic prototype disc brakes, dubbed “Parabox.”

Many of the initial rumours surrounding cyclocross disc brakes circled around the hypothesis that they were bound to be mechanical – the integration of the hydraulic cylinders into the brake/shifter levers was going to be too difficult (or take a significant amount of time). Sadness had originally filled my heart, since having felt how great a nicely modulated pair of hydraulic disc brakes can be, I had little interest in ever running mechanical discs. – Read More –

April 28, 2011

The Wildcat Roubaix

Up here in the frosty north we’ve already been seeing the fallout of our long and inhospitible winter… With the first 4 races on the calendar having been cancelled, getting into a ‘race’ mindset has been difficult. But a glimmer of hope still remains! Now that the sun has finally shown itself, we can finally – Read More –

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