It’s that time! We excited to once again be attending the Sea Otter Classic, April 10-13, 2014! In addition to having the worthy mission of “making people’s lives better through participation in sport and recreation and through celebration of an active outdoor lifestyle,” Sea Otter is known for its incredible attendance — some 65,000 fellow bike folk (including professional riders, cycling enthusiasts, and the best bike gear companies) will be out and celebrating all things cycling at this weekend’s season opener in beautiful Monterey, California.
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With the massive growth of high school cycling through the recent inception of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), we are seeing a huge boost in the amount of junior cyclists across the country. This is super exciting and promising for the sport to grow in a sustainable manner for the future.
But what happens to all these high school cyclists as they head to college? [Insert superhero music] Collegiate Cycling! Because collegiate cycling gets much less media exposure than high school cycling, many do not even know how it work or exists. The idea was founded initially as the National Collegiate Cycling Association in 1985, and is now under the governance of USA Cycling as USA Cycling Collegiate. Where as NICA currently focuses on just mountain biking, due to the benefit of safety and ease of introduction that mountain biking offers to beginner cyclists, collegiate cycling encompasses road, mountain bike, track and cyclocross — essentially all disciplines of bike racing other than BMX racing. This is really cool because all types of cyclists have a spot in the collegiate program.
Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!
We posted this on Twitter yesterday, but it was so good we decided it deserved it’s own blog post… here’s to some bike-related bingo over your holiday weekend!
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.
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.
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.