‘Crossed Off The New Year In Style

There are few sports that allow, or actually encourage adults to dress up in stupid costumes and compete, cyclocross being the only one I can think of.  I’m not sure just what it is about cx that encourages this behavior, but it does and I think it’s one of the things that makes ‘cross so f*#king awesome.  Anyone who has an internet connection has seen videos of scores of idiots racing cx in drag, costume, and occasionally nothing but shoes, helmet and a whole lot of Chamois Buttr’.

I thought it was high time that the local cross community experience a bit of style. I pulled my moisture wicking, somewhat cycling friendly thrift store suit out of the closet and donning it for Series 60‘s ‘Cross Off The New Year CX Race on New Years Eve ’08.  To look at it you would never know it came from a thrift store; 100% wool, no moth holes and it doesn’t even smell funny.  I almost felt guilty racing in it, then I remembered it didn’t cost me a dime and if it got dirty I could either have it cleaned or throw it away.  I doubt any thrift shop would accept a mud covered suit with pockets full of sand.

Adding a touch of class.

Adding a touch of class.

Coincidentally several others showed up in something not made of lycra, so I wasn’t the lone idiot wearing something stupid.  I’d love to see this continue, along with more beer hand-ups, trees covered in dollar bills…  Hmmm, I wonder where my Spiderman halloween costume is?

My biggest concerns was getting the crotch of my slacks catching the back of the saddle when remounting or strangling myself with my tie.  I’ve had a few disasters trying a remount while wearing anything but cycling shorts or tights, ouch, and not a pretty sight.  Luckily the slacks are a bit tight in the waist and crotchal areas and never caught the saddle, nor did I get my tie caught in my drive train while shouldering and running the bike, a clip on tie might be a bit safer. 


Looking stylish was my only motivation, I’m afraid I would have quit the race if dressed differently, something I have never done.  I have never felt physically worse during a cx race, I was dead, nothing in the tank to keep me going.  I had one good lap in me and the following laps were something out of a bad dream.  All of which was very disappointing since I had felt so good at Boss Cross III three days earlier.

Everyone was going on and on about how hard Boss Cross III was, with the ankle deep mud and 20 minute lap times. Personally I felt that the ‘Cross Off The Year course was much more difficult, even though it was dry and nearly mud free. There was that one muddy run-up but that was nearly the extent of the mud.  

I didn’t even check the standings, I went straight to the keg of beer, Boulevard Double Wide I.P.A.  Sometimes it’s best not knowing how bad you did, I know there were many people behind me, so at least I didn’t finish last, or get beat by a junior.

Napoleon Dynamite?

Napoleon Dynamite possibly?

I was amazed by the turnout, who knew there were that many unemployed or unemployable cyclocross racers.  I had delusions of grandeur, hoping everyone would not be able to get off work to race on a Wednesday afternoon and I could manage a podium spot.  No such luck.

We now have two more cx races this season, Epic Holiday Cross Sunday and the Grote Prijs Shawnee the following Sunday.  I can’t believe it’s almost over, it seems like the first race was only a few weeks ago.  16 races to date, and 2 more to go.  

Looking good, feeling bad.

Looking good, feeling spent.


A Euro-rific Recap.

The Boulevard Cup was a “Belgian style” cyclocross race, I’m still not sure what that is supposed to mean, I paid my entry fee with dollars not euros, I didn’t see Sven Nys nor anyone selling pommes frites and waving the flag of Flanders.  All I can say is it was fun, fast and a bit muddy in spots.  The Wyandotte County Park course was long, mostly grass, grass as thick as shag carpeting from the 70’s, one paved straightaway and three sets of barriers, a marked difference from last weeks race at Clinton Lake with it’s abundance of single track sections and gravel roads.  Just yards away from last years US National Championship course where the best of the best came to fight it out for the stars and stripes jersey.

One thing that has yet to change this season is the size of the mens cat 4 race, as usual it was a large affair, a clusterf*@k if you will, with 51 racers, plus the women’s 4 and juniors.  That first left turn off the pavement at the start is a frightening place, elbow to elbow, wheel to wheel flying across that ditch at 25 + mph / 40 + kph hoping that the guy in t-shirt and flat pedals isn’t gonna freak out, loose his mind and jam on the breaks taking out half of the field. (it was a Belgium styled race after all, and those nutty Belgians dig metric system along with mayonnaise on their frites)
Black Sheep did well, but probably won’t be making the pages of the next issue of Cyclocross Magazine. BSC didn’t win and wasn’t humiliated either, finishing in the meaty part of the curve. (It’s good to have goals however modest they may be; beat Chasm, Zeke, Joshua, Paul and Marcus, not get lapped, or get beat by a junior and fall down in front of the cameras doing something stupid, and to finish as muddy as possible…)
Now I’m not one who normally points fingers, however, I’m of the opinion that 1/4 to 1/3 of the 4’s are hibitual sandbaggers who could and should easily compete with the 3’s or 3-4’s.  Congratulations you just beat a bunch of beginners, I hope that makes you feel good. I don’t want to sound like a sore looser here but, come on guys it’s like the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer dominates his karate dojo only because he is fighting children.  


I hear Belgium is beautiful, rainy and wet.  My grandfather always told stories of his time in Belgium while in the Army during WWII, the only area he ever wanted to see again, unfortunately he never made the return trip.  Hopefully I can make the trip for him, I’d love to find all the locations I heard about when I was little and see where the roots of cyclocross began.  I just wish I had the dough to do it,  any donations would be greatly appreciated.  I have some WWII era Belgium money which is probably worthless now as currency since they use the Euro now, but it’s a start.
Lets hope the Black Sheep in North Carolina had a good race, it’s their first race of the season, NCCX race #1, chick n’ Cross at Comp Park BMX Track in Garner, NC. Saturday and NCCX race #2 in Cary NC at Bond park Sunday.
See you Saturday and Sunday at Sailboat Cove on the shores of beautiful Smithville Lake in Smithville, MO.

Weekend Preview – Cups Galore

I like to keep our lone confirmed reader, hi Craig, tell your friends about us, informed of what’s coming up each weekend with course maps and other such interesting tidbits of information concerning any local cyclocross action in the Kansas City, MO and Charlotte, NC areas.  It’s now Friday morning and I’ve yet to find anything but simple details posted about either of the two Series 60 races this weekend, the Capitol Cup in Topeka at Hummer Sports Park and their “Mound of Mercy” whatever that is, Saturday and the Boulevard Cup here in Kansas City Sunday.  

In leu of hard facts I’m forced to speculate about them and perpertrate rumor and innuendo about both.  In a side note, I’m glad I slept late and didn’t take my morning ride, because the sky just opened up and started raining hard, I think that might be thunder too.  Anyway, all that I know about either race is that the Boulevard Cup which is held at Wyandotte County Park will not be using the course for last years KCCX National Championship race. Luckily for everyone involved they will not be using the weather from last years race either, sure it may be a bit wet from the rain we are getting today, but the freezing temperatures and ice and snow will not show their ugly heads this weekend.  Beer however will be avaiable thanks to the race sponsor Kansas Cities own Boulevard Brewing Company.  

Don’t freak out if you see a knights in armor riding horses, you haven’t found a hole in the space / time continuum, the KC Renaissance Festival is literally across the street from the race.  One of those giant turkey legs might taste pretty good after your race with a nice Boulevard brew.

Black Sheep teammates in Charlotte begin their cyclocross season and the North Carolina Cyclocross Series this weekend with NCCX race #1, chick n’ Cross at Comp Park BMX Track in Garner, NC, outside of Raleigh. Good luck guys, hope everything goes well for you!

And now, videos of cyclocross crashes and dogs riding skateboards.