Barton Park, the last race in the Cross Crusade series, lived up to expectations and was exactly what cyclocross in Oregon is all about.
Barton is a gravel pit. Piles of gravel line the course, steep run-ups and off-camber descents make it technical and challenging and HARD. Barton is just plain hard. There are a couple of pavement sections, a few gravel straighaways and only one set of barriers, but don’t let that fool you. Barton is hard.
I don’t even know how many laps we rode; and it doesn’t matter. I rode hard and I raced. I held the lead for a while and Wendy went around me, I stuck on her wheel. I held on. SWEET. I am still here. I passed her on the asphalt and led for the next half lap. She took the lead through the mud bog; she is stronger period, but I caught her on the run-up. Together we road down the steep descent; I was still right there.
What do you think about when you are standing on the start line?
What do I think about?!?! Really, you want to know what I think about? Nothing, everything, dreams, fears, the calm before the storm, the pain that I will soon inflict upon myself, how quickly the next 60 minutes is going to pass, how slowly the next 60 minutes is going to pass, the color I painted my toenails?
What do I think about? Good Question.
Osprey Adventure Envoy Evan Stevens, who normally covers climbing and guiding for us over on the Osprey Blog, shares with us his other love, mountain biking, and reminds us that riding buddies come in all shapes and sizes.
In my life it feels as though you get pigeon holed into a social circle based on your outdoor activities. For me, guiding is my source of income, whether it’s skiing or climbing, small rocks, glades, big mountains, you name it. As a consequence it seems like the majority of my skiing and climbing partners are all guides, as we share the same love for the mountains and very flexible work schedules.
However, I have one hobby which doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest: mountain biking. Where I live in Squamish, BC, biking is just as much a way of life as climbing is, and with all sports like climbing and biking, you can choose to be a queen of one trade or a jack of a few.
I guess I might actually be a 10 of diamonds when it comes to biking, but I do love to hit the local trails here. Problem is I don’t really have a circle of friends that bike with my random riding schedule. Sure I have a few friends who ride, but there is one friend that I do 99% of my riding with exclusively, out there on every single ride I ever do.
That hurt. From the very start that hurt. My legs were burning before we even climbed the hill on lap 1.
WOW. My teeth were covered in dirt. Dust + heavy breathing + sweat = oh so nice. I hang my body over my bike as soon as I roll to a stop on the other side of the finish line.
Limp. Gasping. Elated.
Last week, after my unfortunate run-in with a stake on the Alpenrose course, my coach told me not to Spaz Out.
Are you calling me a spaz? I asked, half joking, half serious.
The truth of it is; last week, I rode like a Spaz (notice the capital S). I was all over the place, unsure, lacking confidence, inconsistent with my lines, rushing through the motions, way too jacked up on Cross Crusade fever. I needed to calm down and trust myself.
Don’t just take your bike on your next vacation – take your next vacation on your bike!
In July 2009, after getting rid of all of our stuff and saying goodbye to our friends, we left our steady lives to cycle around the US. The goal was simple: to see hidden corners of the country, meet amazing people, live as fully as possible. Almost 14 months and 9,000 miles later, we’re still pedaling – and we’re pretty much convinced that traveling on a bike is the best way to explore (and experience) the world.
The rain is falling. The sun is setting. The acid in my stomach is beginning to churn. Cross season is upon us. How did this happen? Last I checked it was July; and sunny and warm, and cross was months away. Now, on this dark, soggy, slippery evening, on shore of Lake Sammamish, Cross has arrived. And it has arrived in a big way. STARCROSSED!
Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Why am I willing sacrifice my ego to the cyclocross gods? The heckling fans? The cameramen there to take pictures of the pros, but casually click the shutter as I ride by, with the off chance they will capture an image of someone that might, one day, be great? The mud, the pain, the hours of training, the paychecks that seem to be deposited directly to the Bike Account?
I do this because I love it. Because I am half-crazy, fully-sane, and 100 percent addicted to the sport of cyclocross. I do this because, somewhere between the pain and oxygen debt and sweat and tears, comes clarity. Clarity of the mind, of the soul, of the spirit. I do this because there is nothing else I would rather do.
Today we’re honored to feature this guest post by 88 Bikes Founder Dan Austin.
While galavanting through the hinterlands of Mongolia a couple of weeks ago, my brother Jared and I spotted an idyllic ger, set on a hillside, lit up in the sun. We hiked through the stubbled grass and were met halfway up the hill by three teenage girls, a couple little kids and an old fellow who looked like he’d been squinting into the sun across these eternal fields for the better part of eighty years. I asked him the question I always ask when traveling with 88bikes, but didn’t expect an answer. I was shocked when, after our fixer translated my question, the nomad’s rutted face broke into a huge grin.
Tell me about your first bike.