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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Friends Back East

While 'Cross is all-encompassing, friendly and a heck of a lot of silly don't think there isn't a whole set of 'rules' that define PRO.

While the roadies have them up in lights on the internet, I'm yet to see the CX version clearly documented (perhaps for good reason).

Luckily one of the More Prominent Identities of US Cross has posted up something of a "Do's and Don'ts" to help shine a little light on how to 'look good'.

*Please note that taking any of the "rules" too seriously may affect your ability to simply enjoy cross riding and racing and if this occurs please cease to follow the directions. In fact if that happens please watch the video in this post IMMEDIATELY!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Monday, 15 November 2010

Exquisite Corpse

So you are a multiple world CX champ, have won 9 SuperPrestige titles, numerous World Cups and other big races, had UCI rule changes created because of the effect of your technical abilities... ride for a very prestigious team... purportedly turn up to races with stationwagons full of wheels.

And then this happens...

And you need a competitor's pit crew to bring you a bike.
But you are calm enough to go back out and re-establish your lead and win.
Best of all you don't have a hissyfit and blame your staff.

For some great technique check this out from the same video. Bart Wellens is a study in good form whether leaping barriers or railing turns.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Chandelier Swing

Someone remarked recently that one of the great parts of cyclocross is the imagery. So many of the shots (especially the black and white ones) carry a raw emotion that harks back to 7" record covers of my younger days. Like shots from the Spring Classics the variety of (often adverse) conditions and energy expended racing make for some brilliant shots.

But enough words... here are some images that have grabbed me recently.

Coming up soon:
- The Yoda of CX's 'Cross Fashion Do's and Don'ts'
- How to win interstate CX races and make friends

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Blazing the Crop

And so it begins... after perusing the recaps of the past weekend's racing it would look like the sky has begin to fall. By that I mean that mud is now a feature rather than a threat on many of the courses and like I mentioned in my last post with it comes a new set of skills.

Of course I might just be happy because Sven Nys is finally coming into form. And what form...

Watch the first few minutes to get a feel for the course (which is awesome).

Check out 10:25 to see how you do a run-up. Fast steps, fluid movement, skilled descending and all that... even Rob Peeters has to shake his hands after that.

Then see how the former world champ and still very quality rider Niels Albert does it at 11:05 (not so well). That will certainly be in the 'Highlights Reel' at the end of the season.

Any doubt that this was a HARD course should be erased by the sight of one of the top 4 riders in the world blundering around the course. Take a look at Tom Meeusen's face to see more evidence of how much suffering was going on. 

Of course the elephant in the room is that Stybar wasn't present, prefering to spend his time in sunny (and dry) Majorca training and taking a well-earnt break from racing (actually that should be winning).

In other news: One third of the DDCX organsiers is road-tripping up to the nation's capital with a motley crue of 'crossers for the race this Saturday. Look for the Brunswick CC jerseys and don't be afraid to say Hi!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

Some great shots and words from a longtime contributor to the sport...
Who said Bicycling had nothing to offer 'real cyclists'?

For all the MTB'ers out there this looks good.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Running Up That Hill

Seeing this reminded me that I'd been meaning to post this video of how 'cross courses apparently used to be.

(as GK says 8:32 is where you get to see the mud and pain, but there is some excellent run-up footage a couple of minutes in).

If you are a budding CX course designer (like me!) you have been watching all the p.o.v course videos that are all over the sites looking for ideas.

One thing I've noticed is that US courses often tend towards the grass crit style course and the euro races have more 'challenges' and rely on more technique/skills, mud or not.

This, in fact, has been mentioned as one reason (of a few) why the top US racers tend to struggle over the ocean from home.

Not being a former/budding/current A-grader or road demon I tend to prefer courses that entertain (and maybe challenge) the rider and try and limit the leads those riders with big engines can build on the easier terrain while also making them simple enough that beginners can still complete them. We joked about a 3 flight run-up for Round#2 but ultimately i was going to veto it as it would have been a disaster after 2 laps. Slippery, wet concrete stairs while hyperventilating and carrying a mud-laden bike?

So it should come as no surprise that I was really pumped to watch this clip. There are some tough runups and the course, while flowy looks like it has some good pinchpoints to test the riders bike handling. Add in some barriers and I'd be very happy to race it. Of course like every good cross course I know I'd be hating it by mid-race.

Check out a great post on The Service Course for some interesting history as well (and the original source of the link).