Random Thoughts From Another Jingle Cross

Lots of strange thoughts can pass through your mind while attempting to turn yourself out during the most popular Dr Seuss/ Christmas themed cyclocross race this nation or any other has to offer.

  • There is nothing more exciting than racing under the lights at night.
  • There is nothing more terrifying than racing under the lights at night. Is that a shadow or a giant hole in the ground?
  • Fly-overs are awesome, even those with really narrow steps.
  • I finally got to knowingly race with Cory, women’s 2-3 and men’s 3 were unfairly lumped together Friday night.
Jingle Cross 2011

Kicking ass in the rain and mud!

  • Pink kits are the bomb! Do I even need to explain why?
  • Sleeping on the right side of the bed at the hotel just feels strange.
  • No matter how many gloves I bring, I never have the ones I need.
  • Why does the hotel elevator voice in the Marriott in Iowa City have an English accent?
  • Why is it that despite however many pieces of clothing I put on after a cold race I’ll never get warm?
Jingle Cross 2011

My work is done!

  • I’ve got a serious case of bike envy. (Ridley, Van Dussel, Speedvagen…)
  • Speaking of Speedvagen, my boots rock.
  • I wish I had some baller ass carbon wheels.
  • Pip knows everyone, I always run into people asking me how she is.
  • It’s cool to know the race announcer knows you by name, city, team and cat when you walk past him in the hotel bar. Super nice guy, sounds way different without the microphone and amplification. “There goes 773, Chris Thomas in pink, racing out of Kansas City, MO, riding for the Black Sheep Cartel.” I’m sure it’s the pink factor.
  • The St. Louis crew is way cool, even if one races for Big Shark.
  • I love the liberal use of the c word.
  • They are not afraid to give Bill Marshall the shit he deserves.
  • They are fine looking ladies.
  • They can ride a ‘cross bike like nobody’s business.
  • Wookie bush.
  • They are not afraid to hate on those who are in need of hating upon.
  • Looking forward to going to Chicago with them for NYE racing.
Jingle Cross 2011

Suzanne Johnson kicking ass!

  • What is the attraction for old people to hang out at Hardee’s? And why we’re the Iowa City hipsters hanging out at the McDonalds next door?
  • You can shove a room key into a door all day long but it will only open your door, I was on the wrong floor.
  • Courses marked with Christmas lights is just cool.
  • Playing Christmas music on course is oddly soothing, nothing like a little Nat King Cole playing while your turning yourself inside out.
  • The bikini / speedo race was completely ridiculous, completely different this year and took an unusual turn this year.
Jingle Cross 2011

Things got dirty!

  • My race Saturday (Men’s Masters 35+ was one of my best this season. Friday nights men’s 3 race was one of my worst, DFL!
  • The crowds were much smaller this year, Mt Krumpet wasn’t as wild as usual.
  • My car looks like a bike shop has exploded inside of it.
  • I’m glad I went, I almost stayed home, thanks Cory for talking me into going.

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.


Chris Cross International Cyclocross Race Makes You Jump





Every day is a good day for cyclocross but Sunday couldn’t have been nicer.  Warm but not hot (mid 70’s), overcast so people like me who wear a black kit don’t die from heat exhaustion.  

The overall field was a bit smaller than the Diamond Blackfan race two weeks ago, however there was a race in Topeka the night before, so I’m assuming many chose one but not two races over the weekend.  It’s a long enough drive to Lawrence and back (102 miles) but to drive back and forth to Topeka and Lawrence back to back was too much for me.  I can only take Kansas in small doses.

We interrupt this blog for a Kris Kross video. You didn’t think I’d let a Kris Kross reference slip by did you?  And now back to the blog.

It was a fast and very enjoyable course.  Lots of single track sections, much more than most courses, way too many gravel road sections though, it was a bit sketchy early before the line was formed. If you were to fall that would probably be the area where it would happen.  The two road sections were long enough for you to drop the hammer and gain some serious speed, even the grass sections which were long straight and mostly straight allowing you to keep some speed.   


Mens 4’s drew a large crowd, 60 racers plus a hand full single speeders who got added in.  It’s still early in the season and the weather is still nice which draws a ton of people who are trying cyclocross for the first time.  I guess you have to start somewhere, I know it wasn’t that long ago that I was out there with no clue what I had in front of me.  At least I knew better than to wear a sleeveless jersey and tennis shoes.

Black Sheep Cartel fielded only one racer, Chris Thomas and finished well enough, 39th of 60, nothing special, but better than last.  Small goals were reached; no wrecks, no blood, no mechanicals…  Mens Masters B 35+ drew a smaller field as to be expected, but like before they grouped in the Mens B 45+ 55+, Women’s cat 4, and Juniors to the mix to spice things up.  BSC’s Chris Thomas finished 15th despite cramping up running the barriers but still picking off 3 other riders on the paved home stretch.  Just put your head down and drop the hammer.

(I’m featured at 3:53, kicking ass at the barriers, look for the b/w checkerd jersey. The cameraman is referring to me when he says, “…there’s a pass, there’s a pass, go, go, go, sprint that out, sprint, big gear, just pound it…)

One bright spot about Lawrence, Free State Brewery, the brewery not the team with the same name.  If you’ve driven all the way there’s no good reason not to stop in and eat and drink some really good beer and watch Zeke hit on the waitresses.   It’s a long drive back to Kansas City and having a belly full of good food and beer is always nice.  Oh yeah, almost forgot, we hit the Cold Stone Creamery too, delicious!

Good times!







See you at the Boulevard Cup next Sunday at Wyandotte County Park.  You know, where they had the cyclocross national championships last December.


Diamond Blackfan Cyclocross Challenge Recap

The first race of the season could have come a day earlier. We’ve been salivating like dogs waiting since January to race again. Things went south fast, less than a minute in I somehow break the skewer in my back wheel and I’m forced to resign since I forgot to bring my pit wheels or pit scewers.  I didn’t even have time to break a sweat flushing the $20 entry fee down the toilet. It’s a nice toilet though, this park had the nicest city park bathrooms I have ever had the need to visit.  

The 4’s was a monster, 60 riders, teams from all over the midwest.  So much for the idea of padding our ego by beating a bunch of newbies on their first race.  One of our friends finished 18th (mens cat 4), it was his first race ever, and was riding a bike that is less than a few weeks old.  We’ve quit talking to him now, how dare he show us up like that.

The Mens Masters B 35+ (a new category for this series) was my saving grace.  I’d probably jump off a bridge if I couldn’t have a chance to redeem myself and race again.  It was a much smaller group but they included the women’s 4 and juniors at the back. 

Things went well enough until about the third lap when my tank went dry.  Not even enough saliva to spit, dust would more likely to come out, cotton mouth is a bitch.  I was doing well enough, and was poised for a top 10 finish only to have my chain fall off after clearing the last barrier only a hundred yards from the finish.  For some reason I decided to carry the bike instead of putting the chain back on, I’m now kicking myself I could have put it back on and ridden the rest and kept those guys me where they should be. You know, behind me.  

It was the hardest things I’ve done with a bike, I was already spent and it took every ounce of energy to run those last few yards only to see the people I had been passing to catch me running to the line. Twelfth place is alright, my best finish ever, but if the chain would have stayed on I’d be in the top ten easy.  

Oh well, the next race is in two weeks, that should give me time to work on a few things.  See you in Topeka and Lawrence the weekend of Oct 11th and 12th.

Ride it like you stole it!


Pre-riding the Diamond Blackfan CX

Ok then, I’m off to go pre-ride the Diamond Blackfan Cyclocross Challenge course with Chasm. It’s the first cyclocross race this season in Kansas City and the first race in the De Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas Series the Midwest’s premier cyclocross race series.  It looks to be fast and fun, not to be missed.

The race itself is Sunday, September 28 at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park in Lenexa. Make sure you come out and support your favorite Black Sheep Cartel cyclists.  Don’t forget to bring your cowbells and the beer.  I always like a Coke with ice after a race so if you could do that too it would make me very happy.


Video from the boys at CowTown Cycling.

The New Site For The New Black Sheep Cartel!

Welcome to the official site for the all new Black Sheep Cartel, back from the dead and ready to race again. Based out of Charlotte, NC and Kansas City, MO Black Sheep Cartel wants you get that bike out and start riding, preferably cyclocross, the sport of gods!

Oh no, now I guess I’m supposed to write witty and clever things that make people want to visit this page more than once.

I sure hope Pip has something to write about.