Hey Watch This

So, I bought myself a GoPro Hero 3 camera for myself for my birthday a month or so ago and I finally got around to recording video and actually doing something with it rather than dump it on my hard drive only to take up nearly all the free space that was available. It’s no masterpiece and may cause nausea. I’ve learned more of what not to do than anything, so hopefully things will get better in future videos. There will be more, do not worry.
In the mean time, here is the ride several of us went on last Sunday. Somehow we made it back with no flats, cuts that require medical attention or Lyme disease.

Where’d All The Trees Go?

There’s been too much great weather this winter and downright balmy weather lately that it’s becoming exceedingly difficult to find reasonable excuses not to go out and ride. That said I still have come up with a few only to regret not riding later that day.

I revisited Secret CX last week to find that it’s rightful owners have gone mad with chain-saws and a back-hoe have totally ruined large parts of my practice cx course, not cool. Granted, the course hasn’t changed all that much, but the trees and assorted underbrush gave the course a bit of character and helped define my favorite sections are history. The marsh area has been worked on but it’s still nice a squishy even when everything else is dry as a bone, but the trees and cat-tails are gone too. The willow trees near the creek that would slap your face as you ride under while avoiding taking a dip in the creek are gone as well. The back corner is littered with everything that once was, in a neet little pile like they are storing cord wood for the winter.

Please, a moment of science for the newly departed cx course vegetation.

Thank you.

But on the bright side the marsh is still marshy, the steep run ups haven’t changed any and the gravel and dirt/ mud sections still there unchanged. Let’s just hope they stay that way (fingered ‘crossed).

I need to re-plot the course anyway, doing the same lap over and over were getting old anyway. Well, I’m off to re-design, it needs it.

2012 is gonna be the year for the Cartel!!

Oh No, I Might Get Dirty!

Really, are you kidding me? I’m completely dumbfounded, the excuses people have come up with to justify skipping both Boss Cross 4 and the Missouri State Cyclocross Championships (Dec 3-4) are just amazing. People dream of having an epic ‘cross race in the rain, muck, and mud, it doesn’t happen much around here. The CX gods smiled down upon us and gave us just what we wanted, all the wet mud-filled fun we could handle. Well, most of us, I was shocked by the amount of people who bitched out of racing for no other reason than it would get their bike dirty. Oh the horrors!

DSC_0012 copy

Dirty at the moment, clean now. (Jon Peck)

Tweets and Facebook posts were awash with lame reasons why people didn’t race. For example.

“I have to admit, bypassing racing this weekend was… SMART! My bike is all in one piece, clean and it won’t cost me a penny if I want to ride it today! As for 90% of the people who raced locally this weekend, not so much!”

Many of the replies to this post reaffirmed this and added more insanity to the mix, mostly it smacked of laziness. I’d race, but I’m too lame and lazy to get dirty and cleaning a bike is just too difficult for my underdeveloped roadie mind to figure out so I’ll stay home blah blah blah…

Missouri State Cyclocross Championships 2011

Dirty yes, impossible to clean? No.

So, let me get this right, the prospect of having to clean your bike is enough for you to skip a state championship race, one that’s held in your own back yard? It’s idiotic, why are you even racing ‘cross in the first place?

Shitty weather and terrible conditions is what ‘cross is all about, battling your competitors along with the given conditions, this is why cyclocross is so unique in the all too straight laced world of competitive cycling, well that and the beer. ‘Cross can be treacherous for not just you but your fancy rig as well. Sure the chances of screwing up your bike rises in the mud and rain, but shit happens and said shit can happen anywhere. My rear dérailleur went into my spokes breaking the hanger on the first weekend of racing in September, a lovely late summer afternoon, not a cloud in the sky and not an ounce of mud anywhere near the course.

Missouri State Cyclocross Championships 2011

There will be mud!

Anyway, I had just come off a weekend of racing at Jingle Cross in Iowa City in very similar conditions, so four straight wet muddy races in less than two weeks and nothing happened to my bike. In fact it took nearly as much time to clean the interior of the Velo Sedan of all of the mud I’d collected over the last two weeks of racing as it did to clean the bike last Sunday. And yes, black cars are hard to keep clean especially if you race cross and don’t puss out when the conditions go south.

If your so worried to ride and get your bike dirty, why don’t you just hang it up, put your cx bike on Craigslist and get a recumbent and a pair of SPD sandals and join the PV Yacht Club, you fair weather, faux cx’er.

Missouri State Cyclocross Championships 2011

Eating it!

P.S. Attention cat 4 types, don’t listen to the idiots behind the tape who are yelling at you to do things during your race. We are wanting you to eat it.


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.

Kicking MTB Ass!!

The new and improved BSC are tearing it up in April.  Two days and two podium finishes, I grabed a cat 3 podium spot at the Lawrence River Trails Mountain Bike Challenge Saturday, and newly acquired member Craig Piburn kicked asses and took names sunday at the God’s Country Duathalon against the 2’s 2nd place.  Both of us brought home some new shiney medals too, always nice!!


I for one keep screwing up races at the LRT and somehow come out smelling like a rose, that is if roses smell like blood and sweat.  Last year I nearly missed the race, getting signed in and all with minutes before my start time, plus it was my first mtb race ever.  Despite my misadventure / painful encounter with a flying mtb bike I managed to finish 5th, not bad for my first mtb race.  This year I had plenty of time, but thought I could make it to the car in back before my race started to change out gloves and grab another water bottle.  I was able to get to the bike as the race began but i still had my keys and bottle in my hands, franticlly trying to get them into my jersey pockets.  It got to a point where I had to stop because I just couldn’t get them stowed away.  Duhh!!  I’ll be damned if I’m going to get beat by the guys in the baggy shorts and flat pedals who just got by me while I was stopped.

Is it still a MTB race if your on a CX bike?

This cost me a ton of time, putting me towards the back of the field.  Catching the field wasn’t as easy as it should have been.  There were multiple groups on the course at the same time; men, women, marathoners…  I had to assume everone was in my filed and pick them off one at a time regardless of their race.  This is when I think mtb racers should wear numbers on their jerseys, not just on the front of the bike, you can’t tell who is who, except for the women and juniors.

Oh, did I mention that i was doing this on a cx bike?  There were many there last year, but I was the only one saturday on a cx bike.

Craig killing at God's Country and looks good in pink!

The river trails are perfect for cx bikes, almost no rocks, just a few roots and stumps to navigate around.  There is plenty of allowing you to get some speed and fly by everyone on their heavy and undergeared mtb bikes.  Oh sure there are a few hinderances with a cx bike, but nowhere near enough to make one consideer this a bad idea.  Plus, I don’t even own a mtb bike, so I didn’t have a difficult choice.  Many looked at me with some degree of couriousity when we were lined up, but when I’m battleing for a podium spot with a few hundered meters to go and I’ve got a lighter bike that will out run your heavy ass mtb every day of the week and twice on sunday.

Craig chose wisely too, he rocked his cx bike on the God’s Country Duathalon, the next day and the same venue too.


P.S. To top the day off I won two grude matches at the KC Sprints at Buzzard Beach!

Safety first, always wear your helmet!

Some Random Thoughts About Jingle Cross

So here goes, my thoughts on three days in Iowa.

Jingle Cross Rocks

Climbing Mt Krumpet with a tandem.

  • Tandem bike with girls in bikini’s!
  • Seeing people race and not caring how well they did.
  • Racing bikes down hotel hallways, Friday Night 3rd Floor World Championships.
  • Stopping up hotel room showers with mud when you try to wash you, your kit, shoes and a bike, well not the bike it wouldn’t fit. (I feel so sorry for the housekeeping staff, we really trashed those rooms and hallways, dirt and mud everywhere.)
  • Realizing you entered a race way beyond your skill level seconds after the start.
  • Having to stop to remove mud from your bike because the wheels will no longer spin.
  • Over 1000 entries, huge fields.
  • Deliberately flaunting USA cycling and UCI rules and regulations about hand-ups and glass bottles.
  • Watching the KCCX / Verge kids school riders twice their age in the elite race.
  • Finding good Mexican food just down the street from the race venue.
  • Starting a race with an 18 lb. bike and finishing with a 30 lb. bike.

Too much mud!

  • Watching the pros make the hardest thing you have ever done look alarmingly easy.
  • ‘Cross team kits are the best looking kits in cycling.
  • Costumes.
  • Finishing a race soaked in a disgusting mix of beer, cheese, and mud.
  • Getting a standing ovation after eating it in the mud while descending Mt Krumpet.
  • Driving five hours to race for 45 minutes.
  • Christmas themed race, hell yeah!
  • It’s not so much the mud that gums up the works it’s the grass that binds the mud together.
  • Cyclocross people are the best people in cycling!
  • Sandbaggers exist everywhere.
  • Finding mud on you even after taking a shower, how the mud got in my ears I’ll never know.
  • They change the course every day, you’ll never race the same race twice.
  • Watching KU loose to Mizzou in a room full of KU fans, priceless.
  • Getting a bit of recognition by the course announcer.  “…There goes 113, Christopher Thomas of Black Sheep Cartel, racing out of Kansas City…”
  • Mud, oh god, the mud.  Thick, deep, wet, slick…

Hand-ups come in all shapes and sizes.

  • F*#@ing awesome, it’s a must if you like cyclocross.  DO IT!!
  • Iowa and Missouri are really bleak this time of year.
  • Marriott actually has a catalog in each room selling the same mattress, bedding, and shower accessories.  Just incase you want your home to look like a hotel room.
  • Always hoping that the officials will screw up and place you higher in the results, aka “pulling a Chasm” getting placed 5th after getting lapped twice.
  • Race above your level so you can experience the full experience of Mt Krumpet.  The mens and women’s 4 don’t make full use of the entire course.


  • People dig the pink kit!
  • I wish I had a pit bike, dealing with the mud is crazy.
  • It’s faster to go to a car wash in town rather than wait in line to wash your bike at the venue.