Sunday, October 31, 2010

a weekend in New Jersey...

A Fat Storm Trooper ?
On the way to New Jersey Saturday Morning, we stopped at Duncan Donuts, where Monkey had a Samuel L Jackson moment, while trying to pick up my bacon, egg and cheese bagel:

Monkey: Bacon, Egg, Cheese Bagel please. Standard Fare.
Dunkin' Donuts Guy:  Plain Bagel?
Monkey: No, Bacon, Egg Cheese Bagel.
Dunkin' Donuts Guy: Plain Bagel?
Monkey: No, a bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich
Dunkin' Donuts Guy: Plain Bagel?
Monkey: On what planet do they speak Plain Bagel?
Dunkin' Donuts Guy: What?
Monkey: Say Plain Bagel again motherfucker. I dare you.

Dunkin' Donuts guy: Bacon, egg and cheese bagel coming up.
benny da jewlar

Beacon is one of my favorite races. The venue is so unique, the racing so fun and fast. I always look forward to what Wade and crew have in store for me. Cheers guys.

Beacon was a fun race. I locked in on Chris Long's wheel, and frankly planned to sit on him the entire race if I could. With 3 to go, I botched the run up the Amphitheater of Pain, and he gaped me. I'd never get back. Brad Ford and Chris Samuel were dangling just in front of me, but I couldn't seem to get across. Last 1/2 lap  Fryberger came out of the pit. He's stronger than me. I told him we could get those two guys. He drilled it and I hung onto his wheel for dear life. Up the Amphitheater of Pain we drew even. At the top, Kevin bobbled getting back on the bike, I let him know I was coming around on the right. Kevin put me in the tape. I would have done the same to him. We didn't catch the two, and I rolled in following Fryberger. We laughed about him putting me in the tape later...

Monkey had probably her best ride ever at Beacon. When you 5 feet tall the 2+ feet tall steps on each level on the Amphitheater are extra challenging. She ran it the best, and had a pretty epic battle with Jill Neuman, and she actually had to make her final move on the final run, to lock up the group. She was pretty stoked.

Saturday night we had dinner with Bad Kat, Bad Andy, Auer, and Breyla-la. We had Thai and sushi. It was very good.

Highland Park.

Highland park hates me. 5 years racing at the Jamesburgh venue, and 5 years of misery. The course has more elevation change than normally suits me, but it's also technical and a good drivers course should be right up my alley right?

I got a good start today, I was riding in the top 25, in with the group of guys I want to race with.  The front of the race was largely still together. I was sitting comfortably on Auer's wheel when I laid it down hard. On one of those dirt to road transfers, I took too tight of a line and was on the ground before I knew it. The race was quickly riding away from me..
videoChris Samuels, total class act stopped to make sure I was okay, and made sure that the race behind me that was closing in, didn't run me over. I thank Chris, who sacrificed his race to check on me to get going.

I picked myself up, and started going again. There was a group of 10 or so hanging out in front of me. I couldn't get to them. Auer had some issues, and eventually came back to me with 3 to go. 

Did you ever see the Speed Racer episode when Speed gets temporarily blinded and Racer X rides shotgun and gives him instructions the entire race? Along with my good start, apparently when I went down my bike handling skills went out the window too. Auer gave me instructions as I sat on his wheel and followed to the best of my ability. "accelerate out of this corner..." " stand up and power this section..." "rail the off camber..." 

Clearly I wouldn't have had the effort I had without Racer X, I mean Auer driving me along.

Monkey struggled at the start a bit. When I cheered for her, she shook me off, and told me she just didn't have it today... Then about 2 laps into the race, something clicked, she started to move forward a bit, and drive her bike. She fought really hard the last laps. In the end she was ambivalent about her result, but was able to smile knowing she put in some good work, and that will pay dividends down the road. I was really proud of her effort, and how she fought back.

So I got a sweet raspberry on my leg and and ankle and feel a little beat up but really got off easy. thanks to Chris  and Kris for being a class acts.

Halloween Observation: Kids much more patient this year, and only taking one piece of candy. This versus last year when kids would take heaping handfuls of candy without asking...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

dog days are over...

One of the challenges of cross season is the travel and the time away from home. Going from race to race each week is exciting, but honestly I miss my dogs as we don't get as much down town with them during the season.  As a result of this a weird little tradition has developed with Riley and Layla.
The Monday night car ride. I don't know maybe a month ago, I was cleaning out the car, and the bikes and the dogs were outside with me, and well, they ran and jumped in the back of the toaster.  I yelled for them to get out of the car, but they refused. They stood on the tail gate and barked defiantly at me.

So I did what any parent who spoils their kids would do. I took the kids for a ride in a car. The dogs were totally stoked. So now, each Monday night, when I'm cleaning bikes, and cleaning out the car, the dogs jump in the back and start barking at me. And we go for a ride...

They love the ride, and frankly so do I...
everyone in said picture slapped me around sunday.
yet another weird tradition of cross that I have grown to love

my legs feel awfully heavy this morning...


Monday, October 25, 2010

my new hat

With the guidance of our teammate Arley, Diane has been able to take her knitting to the next level, with the creation of two knit hats. Monkey made me one in our team colors. When she finished she asked if I wanted a pom pom on top. I told her hell yeah, but go big or go home.

I think she accomplished the goal.

We spent the day racing in Washington DC, at the DCCX. The DCMTB team, lead by Matt Donahue and Mark Gwadz really put on a great show. The race course was super technical and tons of fun. I started in the 4th row and survived what was a chaotic start. I was on Mayhew's wheel when bodies seemed to be laying all over the place. "through the smoke Mayhew, through the smoke!" I said to him as I followed him safely through the carnage.

After two laps I found myself in a nice group with Mark Kutney, Keith Rohr, and Big Time Glenn Turner. Big Time started moving up and charging out of our little group. My brain said "go with him" my legs thought the better of it.

Through the final two laps our nice group of three would trade positions at the front. I don't think Mark, Kieth or I was really trying to dump the other two, just keep working together until the final lap. At one point I came around Mark, and he said, "and I thought those cheers were for me!" I replied, "Marc Gwadz is chasing off our group, the cheers were for him for sure"  Mark got a little gap on the final 1/2 lap, that I thought I could bring back through the barriers. I was wrong. I got a little jump on Keith up the finishing straight and rode that home. It was a good race. It was super fun racing with those two.

Monk had a good day too. She started the furthest back probably in her cross racing career. She battled through and kept moving up. We were both stoked. She was caught on her final lap by the our teammates Dee Dee and Arley. Monk knew they were coming and tried to stay out of their way. She said next thing she knew they were right there. "oh my god, guys sorry just trying to stay out of your way..." Our teammates, gave her a nice cheer and moved on through to the finish.  Aside from some gearing issues, and a possible mohito hangover burning off on the first lap, Monk was really pleased with her ride. She looked good. Then again I always think she looks good.

DCCX does a great job creating an event, and Muffy VanShagsalot knows how to pull together a hell of a tailgate. That made enjoying the remaining races, cheering for teammates even more fun than usual. Working pit with some frothy recovery drink I am reminded that I am such a two can Sam.

good weekend for sure.

cheers to DCMTB.


Friday, October 22, 2010

bathing a tauntaun

I was in Long Branch, New Jersey for a couple of days this week for a conference for work.
I headed out this morning before the sun had come up, riding south with the beach to my left.
45 minutes south into a headwind. Winding along the neighborhoods that lead to Asbury Park, wrapping past
the Stone Pony as the sun began to creep over the horizon.

It was misty, and gray and cool.

I have a pretty great job, and it was an amazing conference. But I have to be honest, this morning, this ride, was one of those it's amazing to be alive, and a little slice of zen moments for me.

that's all. Too many hours in any conference, even a great one, can wear on a man a bit.

riding bikes is awesome.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

the flow of the season

Add caption
trying to settle back into normalcy.

whatever that means during cross season is up to your own interpretation.
the flow of traffic to my email box as returned to a normal level too.

I'm happy to help, but it does take some energy.

had a really nice ride on the bike this evening. Kinda pegged the heart rate and just held it there.
it hurt, but in a good way. I know, you know what I mean.

I'm looking forward to getting back to racing this weekend.


So when are the rest of those fuckers on Papp's list going to be released?
usually I ignore the doping stuff, but cat3's and masters peaked  my morbid curiosity I must admit.
Talk about a giant tease... I rarely read the boulder cycling news, but in last
month I check looking for the list... and there's nothing... blah...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Granogued... Thanks to everyone...

Brothers and Sisters,

Thanks to the just over 1250 riders that came out to race around in the grass with us this weekend.

Thanks to the army of volunteers who pitched in and made this weekend such a success.
 2 completely different courses, cyclocross expo, beer truck... awesome...

a little hard to believe that 10 years ago we started this small race with a few guys and gals riding circles in the fields at Granogue.

From all accounts this year's race was a huge success. It's not possible without the hard work of the local and C3 community.

we are beaming with pride right now.  exhausted but beaming...

thank you all for your support.

much respect.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

stolen (but truthful) lines...

Hi All-

Since Sunday I've read over the new UCI rules and the USACycling press release about the new rules several times. I have also read over Shawn's latest TD updates regarding the 80% rule. As I read it the 80% rule is completely optional for *all* UCI races except for the World Cups and the World Championships. All other races can continue to use the "old" rule 5.1.051: Lapped riders must complete the lap during which they were lapped and leave the event via an exit located before the finishing straight or in the “80%” zone as described in article 5.1.052, if that rule applies. They will be listed in the results in the order in which they are pulled out of the race plus number of laps which have not been completed. And based on the USAC press release and Shawn's TD updates I believe that the rule is optional for all amateur/USAC categories as well.

Having now worked 7 UCI cyclo-cross races in some capacity this year I would say that given the unique participant based nature of American cyclo-cross, the 80% rule is draconian in nature and should not be applied in the US except in extreme circumstances and at the National Championships. As other have mentioned in this email discussion so far this season we have had riders pulled from competition who would in all likelihood never have been caught by their leader. In the UCI categories many times these are the newest elite riders, some of whom have just stepped up to the elite ranks this year. In the non-UCI categories we have had riders pulled who are new to the sport and who are participating in beginner level categories such as Cat 4 and Women 3/4. Specific to the situation in Providence where I was providing the results service, it is becoming clear to me that there were many riders pulled from races under the 80% rule who never had their numbers recorded and were completely omitted from the results. In my opinion this is a customer experience that reflects poorly on the promoters, on USACycling, and on my own results business. It is also my opinion that this poor customer experience is something we can and should avoid.

It seems to me, and please correct me if I am wrong here, that so far this year the officiating crews have been operating under the assumption that the 80% rule is either mandatory for Elites (Vermont,Loon & Gloucester) or that if riders are to be pulled the 80% rule is the only available choice (Providence) for both Elite and amateur categories. This not the case as I understand it, and I think it would be helpful for all concerned to issue some clarifications as to the optional nature of the 80% rule and the availability of the traditional lapped rider rules in both elite and amateur categories. I would also suggest that for 2011 the USACycling rulebook clarify the language surrounding the 3 options for handling lapped riders, or better yet 'soften' the 80% rule to allow officials to pull riders between 80 and 100% of the leaders first lap. This softening would hopefully give officials the flexibility to allow riders to race as long as possible before being pulled and still allow them to pull riders before the leader catches them.

I can only speak for the cyclo-cross races in the northeast, but I feel that between the knee-warmer and tire puncturing incidents in Vermont, and the hard implementation of the 80% rule, the officiating crews have created some serious animosity here this season. When the reigning US National Champion takes time to slow down during a race to ask the officials to stop pulling riders I think it shows something needs to change. It is always a challenge to adapt and implement rules created for the elite based European cyclo-cross races to the participant based US races. But I think we have been able to bridge that divide quite successfully in the past, and have managed to balance the 'letter of the law' with the 'spirit of the rules'. I am confident that we can do this again, but I feel that we need to be very proactive about this current situation regarding lapped riders. I feel that it possible to achieve a balance between allowing riders to compete and keeping the scoring and results situation manageable without resorting to the 80% rule, and I would urge you to ask that officiating crews only apply it under the most extreme circumstances.

JD Bilodeau
Pioneer Event Productions

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cin Sity

The Cincinnati 3 day Cross festival got my attention  two years ago, because hell if racing cross for a double weekend was fun, racing cross during a work day had to be even better. Because 3 days of hard racing is better than two anytime right?  hats off to Mitch Graham the visionary behind this event. Very well done.
I was impressed with the fun venues, sick junior programs, the folks from all over the country that come out and race, and getting to see some old friends. I was happy to get back out to Ohio for this year's three day.

Let me say this. As a promoter, I try to never say anything bad about another promoter's race course. Because I wrote that you know where I'm going. Friday's course was brutal. No flow and pretty much a slog the entire time. There was a lot of climbing, part of the venue, and the two toughest were actually good features to the course. But it was so dry, the course so rough, and just not great flow. All most everyone came of the course saying "what the fuck was that!?" First time course, unusually dry ground, conspired to make this a little ugly.
maxwell with lucky number 13
That being said, I had a ton of fun racing. Battled with a number of the dudes in the top 5-10 in the OVCX series, one of the really fun technical features, was three "steps" on a hill side, each lap I'd start to dangle off the group just a bit, but I could ride the steps and pull myself back into the group for just one more lap. that was until the last lap when I kinda started pedaling squares. I had fun racing, but hot day, lots of climbing, just didn't love the course.  Monkey and Bad Kat were kinda freaked out by the big descents on the course, both were kinda grumpy. I think Diane told Bad Andy on the line, "If I crash and die, tell fatmarc I loved him"
Both turned rage into top 10 rides. Race was super well organized, team parking ruled, beautiful park. Next year, pray for rain...
monk and bad kate and a ball of rage.
At one of the races this weekend, I think it was Bailey Siemen's mother thanked me for cheering for her daughter. Which I said, "no problem glad to do it..." She followed up to ask if I was Weston Schempf, to which I replied, "well, Wes is my teammate and friend, but he's tall, dark and handsome, and I.. well I am fatmarc!"
mr. toney and bad andy- lucky number 13 again...
Two years ago this course was burned into my mind as one of my favorites ever. I have to admit, after talking up this one for two years, I thought for sure there's no way it would be as good as I remembered. Fuck yeah, I was wrong, it was even better! Great use of space in a small park. Lots of tight twisty turns, quick ups and downs, and off camber. Without a doubt the Middletown course is my favorite cross course to race on anywhere. So fun.
Meatball shows the popular zombie look from the weekend.
My race was good. Got a good start, and after the first two laps found myself dangling off the front group, with a solid chase group of 5 guys (containing Auer and Jonathan Seibold). I rode for lap by myself which totally sucked. Reminder, sucking wheel is easier than going it alone. Auer came up to me and pointed to his wheel, where I proceeded to stay for the next lap. With 2 to go I set off after a couple of other guys dangling just in front of me. I had Seibold and another dude maybe 5 seconds off of me, but I felt confident I could hold them off. Perhaps, too confident as with 1.5 to go, I came off a corner way too fucking hot, smashed into a wooden stake, and went ass over tea cups. I lost the guy I was closing in on, and 3 other spots in the fun little altercation. After hitting the deck really fucking hard, I was able to drag my humongous carcase to the finish for another fun, hard racing finish. Special thanks to Auer who sacrificed his race to drag me around for a lap and let me get back in it for the final run.
Auer  looks great with the umbrella.
Saturday night, Holiday Inn Express West Chester, Ohio- greatest holiday inn express ever. I'm getting cleaned up, and just out of the shower. Bathroom is really steamy so I kick open the door, thinking Monkey (who sees me naked all the time) and Bad Kat and Bad Andy are around the corner. I go about my business trying to get dressed, and manscape and what not when I hear, "Fatmarc,  you know there's a big ass mirror out here?" I look up and see BA and Kat laying on the bed, as I was totally flashing them. Being naked doesn't usually embarrass me. I was a little embarrassed this day...
bad kat and bad andy scarred from being flashed by me.
Greeted at the venue by the big bopper himself, Mitch Graham. Really nice guy. Two years ago I thought the course here was pretty pedestrian. Frankly a lot of climbing and not a lot of technical features. This year the course was totally rad. Smarter about the climbing, lots of off camber, and killer twisty corners. SUPER fun course. I think it makes my list of favorite courses, not at the top, but in the conversation. You know like Old School. It's not the funniest movie ever made but always in the conversation.
Monk never goes into the drops
Race was kinda weird, got a killer start and had a super solid first lap. Second lap, the bike wouldn't go. I felt like I couldn't corner, the back wheel was sliding out in corners. I was hemorrhaging positions. It was ugly. I figured I rolled a tire or had a flat or something, so at the start of the third lap, I changed bikes thinking I had a flat. Man, like a light switch went on, I started moving forward. I was working through groups and battling through guys, I was suffering but moving up. After my disastrous 2nd lap, I just put my head down and got to suffering in a ball of rage as hard as I could. I didn't lose another position until the final 200 yards, when the last guy I slipped around came back around me. I jumped on his wheel, used him like a two dollar whore and jumped around him at the line. He was a super nice guy ( and was fun to battle the last quarter of a lap with.
Back at the car, Diane said there was nothing wrong with the rear tire on the bike. In fact it has 42lbs of pressure. (way too  much). I told her I just couldn't corner the bike, or get any power down. She smiled at me. There was only really one logical explanation:  The A bike was pretty tired after two days of racing, and the B bike was much fresher... Tired Bike. Totally makes sense to me.

As I was moving through one group, some dude yelled out, "bitch pass fatmarc!" So as I went back to my car to and the dude who I thought I passed rolled up to me, I pretty much thought I was gonna get punched in the face. Luckily he extended his hand and explained, "dude that was a great pass!" I was cheering for you, I wanted to come over and tell you that!" I replied, "sweet because I thought you were going to beat me up."

Super weekend of racing. Now I am spent.
awesome teammates.
That was a lot. Pretty damn long write up. I didn't even talk about Monkey, or how great all my teammates did or getting to hang with Judy and Dominic or Katie and Mark. Or getting kicked off of C3 for ordering Thia food with Zero Hotness.
just in case you missed the other umbrella shot
Thanks to Pittsburgh and all the cool fucking crossers that are so nice to me. I've never been to Pittsburgh proper, but I like to hope that if I ever end up there, I'd feel pretty much at home. Great people.

get to work before you boss realizes you just spend 20 minutes on my blog.

on to Granogue...


Thursday, October 7, 2010

no title.

So  I’m staging for Sunday’s race Diane is standing on the line with me.

She asks, “hon, do you want your glasses?”
I think about it, but figure they are all the way at the car, it’s not that big of a deal.
“no that’s alright, I’ll be fine…”
Diane gives me a strange look.

I don’t worry about it. I finish staging and the race starts.
On lap three of said race something slides down into my line of vision.
Oh, my glasses, they were in my helmet. I push them back.

Monkey was asking to take my glasses, not offering to get them from the car…
Now I know why she was giving me a funny look….

A funny thing happened on the way to cross season this year.

I am usually a pretty goal oriented fellow.

I set goals and strive to achieve them. Along with that can sometimes come pressure that comes with
wanting to achieve certain goals.

This year was like every other year in that in September, I wrote down 5 things I want to accomplish.

Well, after my craptastic ride at Nittany, followed up by getting sick and missing Charm City… Well my goals were pretty much out of my reach.

I felt like I had a choice… Bog down the rest of the season in my own mire striving for goals that are pretty much out of my reach or let go of the goals, focus on each race, race my hardest and leave it at that…

Let me say this, I still feel like I haven’t 100% found my race legs. I still feel like I’m a step behind the group of guys I have raced with the past two years, but I’m having the most fun I have had in years. The last 3 years, I have been in pretty tough point battles, with  Pretty tough goals for the MAC…

This year, I find myself racing for the sake of the race. Living in moment just a bit more, and fuck it having the most fun I have had in a few years….

As I said to Diane after a few drinks at dinner the other night, you know, I’m not going very fast, but I’m having a ton of fucking fun…

And so it is. The season rolls on…


Thanks to Anthony and Dennis for Pictures

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lets do the Hustle...

Good week.
Replaced the guts on a toilet.
Cut the grass in the dark.
Worked on the WHEELIE BIG problem in our garage.
And I got to do a couple of cross races.

Saturday was Town Hall Cross in Bethleham.
A good race. Course was really a tale of two courses. St.. Luke's stair case, which  was a long, switched back climb to the top of the venue where you hit the steepest pitch. Many would be forced to run this section, I was lucky to be able ride it. The rest of the course was a twisty decent, and then  the lower section of the course which was soft from the weeks rain, and really was a driver's course.(that was for you rotten). Super fun, tape to tape racing. Technical, they key was trying to find the spot that was solid, and driest.
LWeb hold the Elite Women's Championship Trophy.
I had a nice ride. I couldn't stay with the leaders on the climb. Featherman crushed me up the climbs, I felt like I'd get closer in the bottom section, but not enough to make up for the beating he was throwing me on the climb. Brad Ford and I had a nice back and forth. I got a gap and was able to hold him off when he had to run the top of St. Luke's Staircase and I could ride it. I had fun, but seriously around 1000 feet of climbing in a 45 minute race... ouch....  That hurt a lot... Good racing though...

Sunday was the Hill Billy Hustle.
I did a good job of scruming and got a good start. Chris Samuels and I slid out into each other on lap two and we hit the deck. We got going again, and Chris got a small gap that I could never close. Fred Klenk, Chris Facas and I rode the rest of the race together trading pulls at the front. On the final section, there was a section that offered riders an option: go over the natural barrier or take the ride around. Klenk and Facas  took the ride around, I hopped the log, and it gave me just enough to be able to hold on to finish up in the front of our little group.
win elite race, sign autographs, take pictures with fans- all in a days work for Bad Andy.
It was an amazing race, battling with the those guys. A good time for sure.

Monkey had a solid day taking her first hole shot of the year, and perhaps she over-started the race just a little. She'd battle in with a good group of girls before totally laying it out with 2 to go in the she battled the rest of the way in to the to the finish.

We both were pleased with our efforts on this day...

Cross is outstanding...

thanks for reading.