Monday, November 3, 2014

How to be Awesome at Cyclocross.

2014 has been my 3rd year of paying the UCI a handy sum of money to race cyclocross bicycles. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing. 2 seasons of getting beat on pretty badly have taught me how to have a bit more fun. Here are my ways to turn lemons into... less sour lemons.


The Bike(s): Have 2 if you can. Swapping brake pads or race wheels is for plebes. Having a bike you ride 20 hours a year is baller. Bonus points if you have 2 of the same bike. Here is the tricky part, if you have two of the same bike, how will you tell them apart? Stickers, obviously. Step 1: Name them. Mine are named #yolo and #swag. sells ridiculous stickers. Buy some. Step 2; Headtube badges. My Cannondales say Cannondale on them 35 times. Covering one logo is ok. Buy something like this: STICKER
Slap that guy on the front, watch hilarity ensue. The reactions you get are priceless. 

Tire Pressure: Prepare to be asked what pressure you are running, all of the time. Your weight is obviously a huge variable here but nobody ever asks your weight, they will just silently judge your fatness. 

You: Train a little. Life is way more fun with fitness. Ride your cx bike. Your mtb will make you forget cantis don't stop. Your road bike will make you forget how to turn. The internet has some really simple workouts that are kind of dare I say fun... go to a cross practice once weekly if you can. Take it seriously but don't take it seriously. Recover. It took me too long to learn this. Burning out sucks. 

Beer: Obvious right? Beer makes everything better. Sometimes its tough to drink DURING the race... those officials are everywhere... but make sure you have something cold for later. If the race is unsanctioned or for fun (Kuhn's Intergalactic CX Relay)... you better be drinking by the end of lap 1.

Make your significant other race too: Back in 2009 I forced cyclocross on Lauren like a hover parent forces pee wee sports on little 4 yr old Susie and Timmy. She learned to like it, I think that's called Stockholm Syndrome. Either way we race bikes together, and I get the added bonus of having somebody to work the pit for me. Thanks babe. Pro Tip: this may eventually lead to divorce (for you, not me and my lifetime ho) so look into the Pre-nup jump off. 

Signature Move: I have written about this one in the past. You need a signature move. I do x ups. Craig does blue steel. He used to roll tires... but he seems to have sorted that. Whatever it is, make sure it looks cool in photos. Then get as many pics as you can of you doing said move. 

The Race:

Things are going to go wrong, and it might not be your fault. 
There are so many variables in cross. You will have good days and bad. I typically DNF at least 1 race a year. Even when your day goes to shit, win the day. In 2012 at Town Hall race, everything went bad. I couldn't turn, I got stuck in the tape countless times... finally I bagged it. I stopped for an illegal beer handup, took a picture with a clown, waited for a teammate then just messed with him for 4 laps. The point is a bad day racing is still better than a lot of stuff you already do (work).

UCI Races: Congrats, you're relatively fast. Sorry, you're probably just waiting to turn 35 so you can race masters. 
80% Rule: Oh have I ranted about this before. I have been pulled with 1 lap to go twice now. It sucks. Ride 50 more feet and nobody will ever catch you, because they are finishing. How do you make it more bearable? #SELFIES
Borrow a friend's phone run back over to that official and snap, Also nicely let them know how dumb the rule is with 1 to go. Mimi is a good sport. 

Last but not least, don't be a jerk. Maybe you don't chop that wheel 15 minutes into the race when you are in 45th place? Maybe you don't ram into somebody riding a section while you are off your bike running it. Neither of these things are illegal, but there will be a time when you are the nail and not the hammer, and the former nail is the one swinging... you're going to see these people... a lot, remember that. 

Enjoy and see you out there. 


Fatmarc Vanderbacon said...

words to live by.

Robin Dunn said...

This is superb

Christopher Plummer said...

Wow. We might be related.

Colin R said...

Hey Mike, next time you are talking to Mimi tell her that if she read the UCI rules more closely she'd see that the 80% rule applies "until the final lap" because of the reasons you mentioned.

I get erroneously pulled at 1 to go "aka 100 meters from freedom" at least once a year. FUCK DA POLICE