Is it Cross Season Yet?

10 May 2011

Technically I never recaped the completion of my 2010 season, so I suppose it never properly ended (aside: it turns out preparing for interviews can be time consuming — if you need a materials scientist, let me know). My 2010 CX season was the first time I properly trained for anything. No, marching band does not count. Regardless, it’s amazing what setting out a plan can do for you. It all culminated with a 10th place finish at Monkey Cross #4 at the familiar Dan Galvin Park. I was excited to culminate my season with such high a finish – a big accomplishment for me.

6 of clubs for the win (photo via @girlbike)

Can I help but get a little excited? I got my hands on a Dean CX frame in the off-season, so there’s another killer machine in my stables. A conversion of my Gary Fisher to single speed will enable my utter destruction in the SSCX category. Perfect timing for SSCXWC’s visit to SF (although I suspect my skill as a gazelle will have less impact in the qualifiers than my skill with beer). Growing interest on the Mission club has prompted our brilliant leaders put together a CX specific kit. And do I really need to point out the Kitten of Flanders? Not to mention, I’m blogging again! It’s too exciting. With next season just a glimmer in the dstance, I only have one question: is it cross season yet?


Up the hill, down the hill

26 December 2010

For those of you who listen to the Bugle, you’ll remember this basic breakdown of cycling sport: up the hill, down the hill, short bit, long bit, so on. It turns out, this is a pretty concise summation of Monkey Cross #3 at Franklin Park.

down the hill (via @girlbike)

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Mudfest ’10

12 December 2010

For some reason, the Monkey Cross cyclocross series in Santa Rosa is known for mud. Monkey cross #2 showed us all what that really means. Mudfest, or whatever you’d prefer to call it, was a little bit muddy:

Just one fine mud pit, just meant for spectating

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Dress for Success

3 December 2010

Nothing says success like a shirt and tie. Put it on a bike and it’s time for a Halloween race. My Cross Crusade Halloween ‘kit’ straddled that fine line between aggressive aerodynamics and unquestionable professionalism. When it comes down to it, you can’t argue with results, which is really what mattered on this day. One of my goals for the season – a top half Clydesdale finish – was on the line. My last chance.

Tell me – what is it going to take to get you into this vehicle? (photo via @itsdanno)

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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.

Enjoy.


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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Pilgrimaging: it’s not just for fanatics anymore

12 November 2010

Ok, so we are basically fanatics. Less focused on “God” per se, more so bikes and beer. After last year’s amazing cyclocross inspired trip up to Oregon, we’ve basically been planning this years trip for the better part of a year. Taking a full week off this year meant more racing (we’re faster), more beer (we love carb loading), and more time to soak it all in.

it’s pretty here (photo care of @itsdanno)

Oh, and soak we did, highlights include: Races (Cross Crusade #5 & #6), Cross Rides (Forest Park/Leif Erikson Dr, Hagg Lake Single Track), Shops (Sellwood, River City), Breweries/Pubs  (McMenamins RoadhouseRogue Astoria, Old MarketDeschutesOld LompocHopworksJohn’s MarketLucky Lab, Hair of the Dog, Heater Allen), and misc Portland goodness (Powell’s, Stumptown Coffee, Voodoo donut).

More to come…


Why are you running?

10 November 2010

I don’t want to be running. I’m horrible at it. Ok mystery heckler in the crowd? Sorry, I don’t have time to explain the logistics to you (it’s a race). Achy knees, side cramps, lungs that are simply cooked. I repeat: I don’t want to be running. Unfortunately that low curb wasn’t interested in my running ability and it frankly didn’t want my rear tire to be inflated (inconsiderate). Impressive in a certain way, this was the first flat in my cyclocross “career”. Occurring just before the pin-wheel of barriers on the first lap at Santa Rosa’s Monkey Cross #1, it’s simultaneous poor and excellent timing. I had felt strong and was making moves. In hindsight, a little too aggressively as I pinch flatted on the curb coming in with too much speed (or not quite enough grace). But I am lucky…

May as well shoulder it, because it’s time to run (photo care of Kristine via Daniel Hobe)

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An Open Letter to the City of Santa Rosa

26 October 2010

Dear City of Santa Rosa,

This past weekend’s Monkey Cross race was amazing. I can imagine a lot of people weren’t interested in heading outside this weekend, but for us cyclocross racers, wet and muddy conditions define the tradition of true cyclocross. I made the trip up from San Francisco without hesitation (never mind the 5am wake up call to meet up with my ride in time).

This year, myself and friends have sought out Bike Monkey’s cyclocross series because of the wonderful atmosphere and community we came to love last year. Having access to Santa Rosa’s parks has been fantastic, not only for the great courses but also the grilling, socializing, and spectating that inevitably follows our races.

In conditions like this past weekend, it is hard to miss the impact of a cyclocross race. For that reason, whatever impacts these races have on the parks, I hope they do not overshadow all the positives that we appreciate and enjoy. On that note, I would like to encourage the city to continue its support for Bike Monkey’s cyclocross series, and I look forward to many Santa Rosa based races in the future.

Sincerely,
Dan Bernards
Mission Cycling Club
San Francisco, CA


If it’s comfortable, you’re doing it wrong

17 October 2010

This was advise I gave to fellow Mission Cyclists who were contemplating their first cyclocross race. And by that criteria, I had an amazing race. The Lion of Fairfax, a one-off race the same day as Biketoberfest, was supposed to be a small field and low-key warm up (especially with a Pilarcitos Super Prestige race the next day). After a top-half finish at Folsom, a 54 of 76 finish was less than encouraging.

post race – just because you’re race number is low, doesn’t make your placing low…

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