Friday, February 26, 2010

Remember Me Thus

When my time comes, and I'm hoping it's a long ways off, I can only hope I'm wearing a smile like this one.

Well-written Cyclofrost coverage here. I'm in the video at about :30 and :40, but the footage is from the second race. I had already spent my nest egg by then...

(Photo courtesy of Renee Callaway, madcross dot org)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Slush and Cowbells

And They're Off!

So, I participated in the second annual Cyclofrost Race this weekend, part of Madison's Winter Fest. It was a non-sanctioned cyclocross race to benefit a local pediatric fitness program.

The festival is mostly skiing, and takes place on snow is trucked down to the capitol square, spread out on the street and groomed. It's a great surface for skiing, and even for cycling when it's cold. But today was not very cold—about 20˚F at dawn, warming to almost the freezing point by the 10:30 race time.

Pal Chuck and I entered the costume division. I was dressed as Brent Favre the Drama Viqueen (otherwise known as an old guy looking to get clobbered) and Chuck went as a pregnant nun (Nun 4U). We were joined by Pal Andy's son, one of Kid O's 5th-grade classmates; Bob Downs, national cyclocross champ and the owner of Planet Bike; and a couple of 30-somethings: a dude dressed as some sort of hipster leprechaun and a woman dressed as either an octopus or a spider, whom I promptly nicknamed Octocross.

Preriding the course, it was clear that the Black Pony with the Larry front tire was the right choice, and anything with skinny tires not so much. Even so, the nice flat hardpack we had inherited from the skate ski event quickly turned into a mushy mess as the temperature rose toward the freezing mark.

About a quarter of the way through the first lap, I pulled into the lead and stayed there until the beginning of the second, when Bob passed me right after the first barrier. I lapped all of the other racers at least once during the course of the race, but try as I might, I wasn't able to catch him. My visit to painsville became ever more fulfilling as the ruts grew bigger and bigger and my ability to hold a line—any line—got smaller and smaller. After a gruelling 30 minutes plus bell lap, I finished second about a quarter lap back. Fifth grade boy made a strong third with a killer combination of power-to-weight and weight-to-contact-patch-size ratios. He won the costume prize as a soccer playa. The field rounded out with leprechaun, pregnant nun and Octocross (I think).

For next year? Colder weather, wider rims or bigger legs. In that order.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Earth Moved

Earthquake woke me up at 03:58. Laid awake for a while trying to decide whether it was a quake or one of those new, really quiet snowplows. Turned out to be a 4.3 centered near Sycamore IL, down there bei DeKalb. The upper midwest isn't known for earthquakes, but we do have one now and then.