I’m leaving for Austin today to attend the the 2015 cyclocross nationals and I thought that maybe I should finally put together that footage I shot LAST YEAR in Boulder. Enjoy!
Yeah You Ride-
I’m leaving for Austin today to attend the the 2015 cyclocross nationals and I thought that maybe I should finally put together that footage I shot LAST YEAR in Boulder. Enjoy!
Yeah You Ride-
From Juniors to Cat 1’s, the inaugural Harbor Master Criterium provided a full day of high-intensity crit racing. Fields filled out nicely as racers toed the line to throw down for over $2700 in cash and prizes. As temperatures rose, lap times fell and purses swelled. A little breeze and a lot of adrenaline went a long way to keep racers and spectators glued trackside, cheering for every breakaway, sprint, and prime opportunity.
The course was considerably more serpentine than typical for a criterium, demanding tight handling through back-to-back turns. While packs in the lower category races became strung out, the Cat 3 and Cat 1/2 racers were hesitant to let any break go unchallenged. With 9 turns in .6 miles, straights were short. Although sprinting remained crucial to be competitive, winners placed an emphasis on strategy and pack position. Multiple primes per category kept competition heated and treated spectators to some impressive racing.
New Orleans’ only USAC road race of the season drew out 112 competitors, including several out-of-state racers. The Womens’ field filled out nicely, by local standards. Without question, participation was incentivized by $250 in primes sponsored by peloton Magazine. The Cat 5 and Womens’ fields played host to a handful of first-time racers and newbie crit-racers. As well received as the race experience seemed to be, we are hopeful that the event may have recruited some new blood to the local cycling scene.
A substantial number of pure spectators dropped in on the criterium as well, keen to discover what all the fuss was about. Spectators and racers alike were treated to a bevy of extracurricular fun, including free massages, mouth-watering cuisine from local food trucks and free-flowing Pabst Blue Ribbon beer served by a custom-built beer bike, La Fiets. Title sponsor, Massey’s Professional Outfitters put a Marin cyclocross bike up for raffle, taking advantage of the growing local interest in ‘cross to help raise over $750 in donations for the Harbor Master’s charity beneficiaries, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and the Pablove Foundation.
After the title of 2014 Harbor Master was awarded to the best racer in each of seven race categories, crowds dispersed, just before the afternoon showers that arrive like clockwork to abate the oppressive heat of summertime New Orleans. With the entire purse and all prizes awarded, we packed it in, optimistic that the event provided a substantial amount of value to the local racing scene, and established a footing to become a regular fixture in the Louisiana/Mississippi road race schedule.
Once again, a big thanks to the many rockstar volunteers and to the generous underwriters that made this event possible: Massey’s Outfitters, Bicycle Michael’s, Pablove Foundation, Salvation Studio, Person Huff CPA Group, Medical Rehab Accident Injury Center, Peleton Magazine and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
Boedi, Rich and Townsend
You may have noticed we’ve been pretty quiet over here for the past week or so. Never at a shortage for words, there is clearly an explanation afoot. We’ve been hard at work trying to make this whole Delta States Cyclcross thing a reality, and we’re proud to say that there is significant progress. Although I could probably be more vague if I tried, I know you’re here because you want me to spill the Blue Runners. So without further ado, here’s what’s good in the world of DSGP.
For all intents, the park is ours. Permitting us underway. Like way underway. It is as underway as Wu-Tang is underground. USAC licenses have been obtained and negotiations with City Park are complete. We are literally a couple of pen strokes away from having the New Orleans race carved in stone. LAMBRA is helping out with the nuts and bolts, and we know that much of the nitty gritty is in capable and experienced hands. Which leaves our inexperienced, grubby mitts free for some heavy lifting.
Venues have been secured as well in Baton Rouge and Jackson, Mississippi. While I cannot yet testify as to what progress is being made in those sectors, I have very high hopes. I know from the time I spent in Baton Rouge that their cycling scene is healthy, enjoys a fair amount of solidarity because of how small a place BR is, and is full of great minds and strong backs. Trust, as soon as I get wind of their statuses, you will be quickly informed.
Here, in New Orleans, construction of the course is picking up. City Park recently mowed much of the area where the course is located, expanding the possibilities for exploring and developing new course sections and features. The current mission is to incorporate more of the former (soon-to-be?) golf course’s tee boxes, putting greens, bunkers, and other existing topography to make the course a little more interesting and exciting. Equipment is being amassed and tools are being stockpiled. Boedi and I just made a trip up to Baton Rouge to score a riding mower. Unfortunately it needs some work, but we are that much closer to building a top notch course.
Consider this your call to action: We need more tools; shovels, mowers, rakes, etc. If you got it, we want it. But slingblades do not themselves swing. We also need all the elbow grease we can get to make this happen. Course work days are frequently discussed and organized via the New Orleans Cyclcross group on Facebook. If you aren’t already in that loop, get plugged in.
Sponsors are actively being sought to help execute this ambitious mission of off-road racing. A beer sponsor is in the works, to ensure that the lifeblood of cyclocross flows freely for racers and spectators alike. Bayou Bikes has stepped up to the plate with some serious backing for the New Orleans race. Additionaly, several sponsors have offered up awesome prizes for podium climbers, hopefully dialing up the competition to 11. And while we are extremely grateful for gear, we are very much in need of financing. We’re talking dollars, clams, yams, duckets, bones, cheddar, wampum. Don’t forget to tell your rich uncle to cut us a check.
October 19th will be upon us before we know and we have great aspirations for this race, as well as the entire series. DSGP is going to outrageously fun, and we want you in on it. If you are at all curious, please hit us up and ask how to get involved. Working together, we will make a mark of Gorbachev proportions on the face of the region’s cycling scene. So there you have it. As of now, that’s the way things are.
Yeah You Ride
We kicked off 2 Broke 4 The Worlds with Goldsprints, everyone’s favorite way to cramp up and burn out legs before a big race. For the unacquainted, Goldsprints are stationary bike races. Two fixed gear bikes on roller stands, hooked up to a computer that tells the world who cranked out the faster time for a set distance. Geared at a 2.0 ratio (34×17, same as Rich’s singlespeed MTB!) these Goldsprint bikes were ultra-low-resistance spinning machines, designed to deliver maximum suffering, while being minimally impressive to onlookers. Imagine two goons at the gym going ham, spinning their feet beyond the speed of light, as spectators scream at and throw beer on them. Then, tell us which gym this is and sign us up for a membership. Stationary bike races may sound ridiculous, but add enough beer and – OK, beer is all you need – and the competition really heats up.
We got things rolling with open sprints matches, just for fun. We tossed up some prizes like PBR T-Shirts for prime rounds, to make things interesting. We did a few beer races, wherein both riders must drink a half-pint before finishing their race. Finally, we started a bracket and began running head-to-head matches for all the bacon. In one of the more exciting heats, Robinson Sudan and Roberto Puig actually tied, with times identical to 3 decimal places. That’s pretty much a scientific anomaly. To the delight of the crowd and the disappointment of those poor saps, a rematch was called. Rich was knocked out of the tournament pretty early on when Boedi decided to handicap him by demanding an entire PBR tallboy be pounded before even starting to pedal. Needless to say, Rich lost the match and nearly lost his lunch. For how absurd the whole shebang was, everyone seemed to have a blast, enough so that the neighbors called the bar a couple times to complain about maniacs screaming wildly in 17 second intervals. Sweetening the pot, rad prizes got handed out to top men and ladies. Thankfully, our good friend, Christine Moser was there to capture some of the action for you folks at home. Thanks for the snaps, Christine!
We got these bikes on loan from Beaux Jones and Bike Baton Rouge, who are hosting a series of Goldsprint tournaments this summer. Their next event will be August 28th, check their Facebook for more details. We will definitely be doing more of these in the future, and we highly suggest you attend. We also highly suggest you clear your schedule for several days afterwards of any activities that involve walking normally.
Yeah You Ride
CX is coming, like, for real. As the wet blanket that is NOLA summer is tucked in tightly around us, it’s not just a great escape, but a good idea to start dreaming about your favorite fall cycling activity. Skip Town put together a little skillshare/practice session yesterday at City Park using some of the path that was mowed for the recent duathalon. After giving a few pointers on some CX basics like dismounting/remounting, barrier hopping and shouldering, a few wet and muddy (YES!) laps of the course were taken by all. Because why not, a four lap “race” for cold PBRs was declared. After much rotation of position and a fantastic wipeout into the reeds by Chris Snider, the gold was brought home by #localhardman Rich. Like finding the baby in the King Cake, he gets to bring beer to the next practice.
If anyone is interested in learning about cyclocross, riding your bike in the weeds or just talking bikes, you should come out. We had CX bikes and MTB, so all are welcome. While we will be taking next Thursday off to drink lots of French wine and watch le Tour at Fauborg Wines (Join us for the Tour du Vin!) we’re hoping this will become a weekly Thursday ride. If you’ve never ridden CX before, don’t sweat; neither have we. The ride can be as intense or relaxed as you want, with plenty of cold beer and camaraderie. More info on the next one will be posted here and all over the Facebook land.
The thunder woke me around 7. Rain pelted the windows. No light came from around the curtains. In the bathroom, water dripped from a crack in the ceiling into the sink, a metronome counting out no particular time. “Shit.” I thought, “What a lovely day for bicycle racing.”
My phone lit the room like a slow bolt of lightining. A message from Robinson. “13 registered riders in the road race!” I replied, predicting the actual turnout would be exactly 0, citing the incipient fall of the sky itself as the primary cause. Boedi and Rob assured me this was nonsense and that the weather would change. So under great encouragement (which felt at the time more like great duress) from my teammates, I got my gear together and waited for Boedi to give me a lift to Rob’s place.
Now, Rob is from Texas, which means he eats Mexican food for breakfast. So, after chowing down on eggs, rice and quinoa on tortillas with lots of Cholula, my new favorite pre-ride meal, Rob handed me a mason jar of what looked like fresh goat blood. Disappointingly, it turned out to be beet juice. It did make me feel better, though, and I stopped being such a pessimistic twatwaffle. Resigned to our destiny, we waded out to the car and drove to Houma, precipitation persisting the entire way.
We met up with Stu at the Mariott and found the registration booth, which happened to be the front seat of an SUV and by this time the rain had died off. We had also received word the road race was cancelled due to massive disorganization, lack of police support, and poor course marking. The Cat 1,2,3 riders had set out, apparently taken a wrong turn, found themselves with lack of protection, off course, and had to be called back. So there would be no road race for the Cat 4,5 riders either. There would however be a criterium and a time trial, so all was not lost. At least it was not raining. At least we would ride. At least, back at home, the ceiling was just leaking into the sink.
Rob and I threw on our kits; matching Roulandrian Flag jerseys from Rouler and mismatched shorts. We got our bikes assembled and set out to warm up before the crit. We rode 50 meters along the parking lot, turned the corner of the hotel, and found all of the Cat 4,5 riders massed underneath an awning, next to finish line equipment and a race clock. The crit was about to begin. Stone cold, Rob and I took places at the back of the pack, and waited 4 seconds for the race to begin.
The crit went down like this:
Bang, zoom, straight to the corner. 20 minutes plus 10 laps. The course was a big square, with the last turn a bit tighter than the rest (ignore the geometric impossibility of that idea).
Start: From jump there was a breakaway. Rob worked with the lead pack to pull it back. The speed of the first 10 minutes felt like the highest of the whole race, as a result of chasing the break and driving home the message that nobody was going off the front solo.
Lap 3: I fell off the back early on, and fought to close a 10 meter gap from the lead pack for about 10 laps. I felt like a dweeb chasing after the pack and with such a gap, a tag-along turd. “Wait for me guys!”
Lap 20ish: Behind me, riders were getting pulled out the race as they were lapped. Ahead of me the speed of the pack began to flag a bit when it became apparent a breakaway was futile, and riders began to wait each other out. Robinson had made his way back towards the front. I was able to catch up to him and together we made our way into top positions.
6 Laps to Finish: Rob had been pulling for a while, and seemed to be getting tired. I pushed around him to take the pull before he could come unglued and let a wheelsucker slip by. For the remainder of the race he and I held the front.
Finish: Rob asks me at the very beginning “How are you doing?” “Huffing and puffing,” came my reply. Rob heard “I’m pumping.” Despite a complete communication breakdown it was tacitly agreed that changing positions was too risky and I would have to hammer it out in front until the final attack. It came just before the final turn, with Boyd, Robinson, and Breaux sprinting around me. I jumped to sprint after them. Rob and I both came into the final turn white hot, and had to feather the brakes to avoid slapping the curb. Fortunately the riders behind him were able to predict and ride the turn out safely. Unfortunately, behind me, Stanton came in too hot, maybe trying to pass in the final turn, and hit the wall behind me.
Results: Robinson Sudan takes 1st Place, Richard Carman takes 4th in the criterium. Our team wins. More detail available here.
Stu took us back to his place where we ate veggie sandwiches, drank more goat blood, and watched Le Tour on DVR. Stu confirmed my suspicion that he was a man of fine taste when he offered us La Croix in a bottle. I didn’t even know they came like that. Shortly later we headed out to the time trial.
What can really be said for a time trial?
It was muggy. Headwind out, much less tailwind back than one would have expected. Straight shot, 3.5 miles down the bayou, sharp 2 lane turnaround (literally turning around an orange traffic cone), and the same 3-and-a-half back. For some reason the finish was 200 meters before the start, which snuck up and killed my chance to sprint the finish. All in all, fairly uneventful.
Results: Robinson Sudan takes 2nd, Richard Carman takes 3rd, finish times 1 second apart. Smells like more winning to me.
Although we had come to do a road race on Saturday, being thrown headlong into my first crit was probably the best way it could have happened. Having made a pretty good showing the first day, we didn’t feel too inclined to come back for the same crit again at 930 AM. Instead we appeared at the Rouler party at Manhattanjack, still in our team kits, took advantage of the open bar and had a solid recovery meal of sausage salad and chocolate cookies with red wine.
Sparing a few minutes wandering around the parking lot, unable to find the registration-mobile, Robinson was really positive and in good spirits all day. Boedi was a champ for coming along to support, and shot some really great video and stills. Big ups to Stu for being such a great host and keeping us fueled and hydrated all day. It was a great weekend with you guys, thanks for everything. Our team wins.
Yeah You Ride
Riding new roads is great, but at the end of the day, asphalt makes for a poor companion. A major highlight of our recent trip to Austin was the opportunity to link up with local riders who were not just solid in the saddle but genuinely cool people as well.
Beat The Clock is an Austin cycling club with its roots in the messenger community. Founder and owner of Beat The Clock messenger service John Trujillo decided to form his own cycling club under the same banner. He clearly had no shortage of hard riders with good personalities to recruit from. And it showed when we went up to Austin to ride with BTC. These guys were definitely strong, but more importantly, they were really fun to ride with. No drama or yelling about the paceline, no pressure, no hammerhead douchery. Positive attitudes and healthy sense of humor all around. What puts them a cut above other cycling clubs and race teams is that they do not ride together because they’re all fast, they ride together because they are all rad doods. Being fast is just a coincidence, and a nice one at that. You can tell with certainty that even if sponsorship dissolved and the team disbanded, these guys would still be out there mashing together.
PHOTOS ABOVE YOINKED FROM BTC FACEBOOK (SOME BY JOHN WATSON)
Not being self-absorbed pricks, BTC keeps it legit in the bicycle community, hosting events from yoga-infused social rides to challenging alleycats. Let’s face it. Being the tits as an amateur bike racer might get you laid on a rare occasion (more likely its the booze) but it’s not going to make you a hometown hero anymore than winning a POGs tournament. What matters is remembering where you came from and how you got into this game. Less than a year ago, YYR was working briefly as couriers and mashing out training rides on fixed gears, the only bikes in our stables. BTC has similar roots, and that makes it easy to see why they understand the importance of engaging the bike community on every level. People aren’t going to know your race team’s record for the season, but they are going to know who is providing the entertainment, organizing events to pass on the enthusiasm.
Cycleast bike shop in East Austin is the baby of Russell Pickavance, a really rad guy and by far the tallest rider in Beat The Clock. We had the pleasure of riding with him for a bit on Saturday, and decided to check out his shop after our ride and some face-stuffing at Torchy’s Tacos. He revealed that he had lived in New Orleans for some time in the past, and regaled us with his own tales of gators in the road and shenanigans of the sort that can only exist where open container laws do not.
The shop, at 501 Perdenales Bldg 2B, is adorned on the outside with some pretty dope graffiti and artwork. Inside is a studio as well, where Russell does repairs, restoration, and custom building. While he works on all sorts of bikes, he seems to have a soft spot for building cross bikes and city-practical fat-tire commuters (again, pretty much a cross bike). Be sure to check this place out if you find yourself in the 512.
This past weekend, Yeah You Ride went on a desert retreat with good friends from Semi-Tough Cycling Club. We rolled out of New Orleans, a caravan of hatchbacks, four men, five bikes, one chihuahua, all united in a quest for answers, thirsting for knowledge, and also Topo Chico mineral water.
Saturday began earlier than any day in my recent, albeit generally hazy, memory. While I can’t say with certainty what time we woke up, I do know that around 7:15 my brain turned on and I found myself in our new friend Jennine’s kitchen, wearing a Rouler kit and eating fried eggs with rice and quinoa on tortillas. One good cup of coffee and several trips to the bathroom later, we were clipping in cruising down South Congress towards downtown Austin.
More after the jump…
Yeah You Ride went on a desert retreat to Austin, TX, last weekend (more on that to come) and was forced to miss the Parisite Skatepark Alleycat Benefit. We are stoked to see more and more people putting on DIY races and are always down to help make them happen. Big ups to Ooti, Bike Shop Freret, Siberia and Humidity for making something happen. Although we could not get a piece of the action, a good friend of ours did. Here is what she had to say:
“Even though Parisite Skatepark is anything but ordinary, we didn’t know what to expect from a bike race hosted out of a skatepark. Nonetheless, we bit the bullet & went out to support. Editorial note: Doin’ it for the kids!