Race Reports are for Suckers

15 December 2011

The further I get behind on my race reports for the season, the more I come to realize there’s not always a story in a race report. People like stories. At least they’d prefer them I’d guess. So conflicted about writing race reports when my hearts not in it, or I don’t have anything interesting to say. Ah fuck it, here’s for posterity…

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‘Tis the Season

23 November 2010

Friends, enemies, frenimies,

Cyclocross is coming to Golden Gate Park on November 28th, 2010. Possibly for the last (sanctioned) time in the foreseeable future. What does this mean for you? Come enjoy the show:

If you know someone who’s racing, show up and cheer on your friends. They suck and/or are sandbaggers. Their race is probably kind of early, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink and/or provide beer/bacon hand-ups. Furthermore, the dollar grab is a great way to incentivise Cat C racers to crash. Be a philanthropist. If they’re actually sucking it up and upgrading, they’re about to get demoralized. They will need a support network. Bring a shoulder for them to cry on, or if that doesn’t work out, the least you can do is talk some shit.

How can you prepare? Well, in the spirit of cyclocross, you’ll want to do some heckling intervals. Heckle as hard as you can for 30 seconds, rest for 30, repeat. You’ll feel exhausted, but your heckling will be top notch by race time. Suggestions: why are you running?, watch out for that tree (stand near a tree), there’s no smiling in cyclocross!, just shift into your granny gear, or my personal favorite – is that a touring bike? There’s lots of options. Be creative.

Cross is hard work and it’s really about pacing your effort. Grill, drink, heckle, and celebrate in moderation, but always save something for that last push to the finish. You won’t regret it.


Happy Anniversary

22 November 2010

Last year’s Cross Crusade #5 was my first ever cyclocross race, and despite a strong desire to line up in the Clydesdale category, I rode as a Beginner. Thanks to the wonder of cyclocross, I still felt like I was about to die. So when preparing for this year’s cross season and our trip to Oregon, I was determined to race as a Clydesdale and actually put together a top half finish. If only it were that easy…

you just got faced (photo via @itsdanno)

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Bolinas Ridge Riders

11 August 2010

A couple months back, a good group of riders (mostly Mission Cycling folks) made our way to Dogtown ready for a hot day of mixed terrain riding. The second half of our intended ride up Bolinas Ridge was a well established route, but the trail for the first half of our ride was a bit more of an adventure. It took a brief bit of searching, followed by asking a local before we were onto the Olema Valley Trail. All we knew was it was “sometimes a bit overgrown”. The first section of “trail” was basically a field of chest high grass they’d attacked with an industrial lawn mower to clear a 6′ wide path. This led to interesting conditions: the tops of the grass were pretty even, but they underlying earth varied quite a bit, with all sorts of divits and ruts hidden underneath. This left me wishing I had some sort of suspension, or at least something besides the carbon fork that seems to transmit all the unexpected terrain back to my upper body.

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The Headlands Aren’t Closed

7 June 2010

A lot of cyclists think the headlands are closed. Not true – you just can’t use the road. Be creative.

Departing from a trailhead at the saddle of Hawk Hill, there’s all sorts of trails for mountain/cross riding. Since ‘cross season is only a few months away, better start getting in shape now. The trails that run through the Headlands (and beyond) connect a series of valleys. For us that means lots of climbing and descending. With @itsdanno as my guide, we headed across the bridge to do some damage off-road.

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Going Away “Party”

28 May 2010

At my friend Alex’s going away party last weekend, too far into the night, we decided that one last ride together needed to happen. Originally, this was going to be a morning ride of Mt Tam, but evolved into a ride from Stanford where he formerly worked. Without much thought (or knowledge of the rides throughout the peninsula), I agreed to his proposed loop including Page Mill and Tunitas Creek. With the simple description “it will kill us. i promise”, how could I say no? Read the rest of this entry »

Winning: The Santa Rosa Cyclocross Finale

22 March 2010

All I know about my cyclocross season finale at Santa Rosa is that I was a winner:

(photo credit to Lisa Beres via @brianLeeT) Read the rest of this entry »


18 February 2010

Overly belated and lacking pictures, but here it is, my Beer2Brakers recap.

Two weekends ago was the premiere cycling event of San Francisco’s annual beer week. A take off from the annual 12k race/street party known as Bay to Breakers, Beer2Brakers does it with a lot less costumes and a lot more bikes. The registration and initial festivities were held at the space shared by Chuey and De La Paz Coffee in the Mission. Here we enjoyed a free for all of De La Paz Coffee, tons of tasty food (breakfast tacos, chocolate donut holes somehow infused with bacon, misc cheeses, pulled pork, and cheesesteaks), and all sorts of beer pairings including Anchor Porter, Magnolia Pale Ale, Speakeasy (Big Daddy?), Trumer Pils, and a homebrewed Dunkelweiss. Read the rest of this entry »

Beer in Review

31 December 2009

Despite my deceptive cycling speed, I am but a humble beer powered machine. For that reason, my love of beer always has a prominent spot. Just in time for the end-of-the-year review season, I will put my iron in the fire. Get ready to be scalded.

I thought it fitting to recount five beers that especially blew me away this year (not to discount the consistent performers like Deschute’s Black Butte, Sierra’s Celebration, Rogue’s Dead Guy, almost anything from Ommegang, Allagash, or any Trappist Brewery). So on that note, the beers in review:

5. Deschutes Black Butte XXI

A Black Butte lover for so long, it’s natural that my first introduction to a Deschutes tribute brew was this one. Brewed with cocoa nibs, infused with tons of roasted coffee, and aged on whiskey barrels. A porter on steriods. Despite the “Best After” date of 10/2010, this beer tastes fantastic already. Just to be safe I also have a case aging right now. Did I mention they wax dip the caps. I love these guys.

4. Dogfish 120 Minute IPA

I used to be a hop-head, but at some point I over did it. Couldn’t handle the ridiculously IBUs microbrews were cranking out just for the sake of it. All I wanted was a well balanced hoppy beers with lots of great flavor and aroma. Dogfish revived my faith and took it to the next level. Somehow obtaining incomprehensible alcohol levels (18%? seriously?), the residual sweetness of this IPA desperately needs hops by the boat load for balance. Utilizing a continuous hopping device (engineering!) and generously dry hopping, this beer is feat that should not be missed. If only it was distributed in California.

3. Allagash Fluxus ’09

I found this beer in City Beer Store‘s amazing selection. Allagash’s anniversary selection described as having sweet potato and black pepper, I just had to try it. What a unique experience. Spicy, dry, all sorts of aroma and flavors I can’t even put my finger on. A very unique beer with the high quality you can always expect from Allagash. Fantastic.

2. 21st Amendment‘s Lower de Boom Barleywine

This was a tough one. 21st has produced so many great beers this year, and in fairness I shouldn’t pick more than one. What a challenge. Strong Beer Month in February and Belgian Beer Month in November did not help. With competition including their Baby Horse Quadrupel and the best canned beer ever, Monk’s Blood, it was their Barleywine that changed my beer drinking. Prior to this beer, every Barleywine completely turned me off to the point I avoided them. Well balanced, not over hopped and highly alcoholic, this stuff is delicious. It’s not just the Belgians that know what they’re doing with high alcohol brews, and 21st continues to do amazing things in San Francisco. I consider myself lucky.

1. Van der Dans California Common

Call me a sentimental sap. I am. I’m also biased. This beer was the first that I brewed with @the_danno, which has catapulted our homebrew efforts. Dubbel, Tripel, Scotch Ale, Marzen, Dunkelweiss, Bock, Belgian Wit, Porter, Kolsch all followed. Not a bad beer yet (knock on wood). With a barleywine and our 1st year anniversary brew (a quadrupel) on the horizon, things are looking as good as ever. So relax, have a homebrew.

Here’s to all the amazing beers 2010 will bring. Prost!

Enter the Beer Gazelle

23 December 2009

The origins of the Beer Gazelle are many and mysterious. Well, actually, I just needed a new name for my blog, and this was the first one I could come up with. What started as a way to record the build progress for my 1989 Guerciotti frame needed to evolve when I started including my other bikes. Once it was time to build a bike for cyclocross, the need for some rebranding was becoming a necessity. It wasn’t until my first cyclocross race that I finally had an idea. After a spectator yelled “you’re a gazelle, you’re a gazelle  in a beer drinker’s body” at me mid-race, I had a new name. Thus, the Guerciotti blog became the Beer Gazelle.

Ride Beer Gazelle, ride!