I awoke to puffy clouds at Kruger’s Kermesse

The sky was a swirl of fluffy clouds and blue when I opened my eyes. People were talking to me, their silhouettes blocking the light and I was laying in the dirt and I felt awful. I sat up, and immediately regretted it, as the feeling of nausea swept above the pain like storm surge flooding a levee. I was in a farm field, but other than that, the only thing I was sure about was that I wasn’t in Florida….well, pretty sure I wasn’t in Florida. Clattering past my bed of dust and gravel were lycra-clad cyclists and in the distance too. I thought those are bike people…I’m bike people…I think I’m here for the same reason that they are…what was that reason? postcrash.jpg The silhouettes kept a steady interrogation, and I realized that they were asking me if I was all right. After a while I was beginning to think that they might know something that I didn’t, but I told them I was ok. Still they kept asking…asking if I was sure. And I thought well, you got me there.

The clouded sky still seemed obscenely bright…probably because my prized Rudy Project Tayo glasses were broken…and my LAS helmet nearly split in two. Okay, I’ve seen this sort of thing before. This is a bike race; I do these sorts of things. My clothes are ripped, I’m covered in dirt, I’m bleeding, my head’s in a state…I’m pretty sure I crashed, and I think I’m not racing anymore today.

There was a repeated suggestion of a ride to the hospital, and I could only think,”No thank you, I’m poor!” I understood the scenario: I better not say anything freaky, or I’m gonna end up in an ambulance whether I want to or not. Any moment now they are gonna start asking questions, and I better have some answers…..quick!…what day is it?…shit!…I have no idea…I’m not working today…is it Thursday?

Concerned faces were asking me how I got here, and I had to stretch a little to come up with an answer. A snatch of memory leapt to the surface…. a car ride involving frantic GPS usage to get to the race…iPhones and Volvos and bikes on the roof…

“I came with Byron…”

“Byron who?”

“I came with Byron and his wife Pam…”

Apparently that answer was enough to allay their concerns. Later, I would contemplate the concept that a man’s entire identity can be summed up by his choice of spouse, and whether that was a good or bad thing, and for whom….but at the time I was thinking, whew…they bought it. Regardless, I would have had problems articulating other details like where the car was parked, phone numbers, blood type, etc.

As a woman walked me back to the first-aid tent, I began piecing the jigsaw puzzle together. This was Kruger’s Kermesse at Sauvie Island, just a little outside Portland. More or less, Kruger’s could be described as a cyclocross race without any need to dismount. I still believe I would have placed well, had I not crashed. I was picking riders off one by one, though I would have needed to be quite lucky to finish higher than 10th. Somehow I crashed pretty hard on the slight downhill, but I’m not sure how. Several people said I hit a divot in the gravel road, but I don’t think that would have been enough to put me down. After all, the course was full of patches, and I was feeling pretty comfortable with the roughness. Though my bike was mostly unscathed from the crash, my handlebars had rotated down quite a bit; still I cannot verify whether the rotation was cause or collateral to the crash.

Bustle in Your Hedgerow

This photo of a Joint Hedgerow Maneuver with Teammates Signaling the Achievement was found in an archive at a local library and depicts a technique we’ve had stashed in the Vault of Cross Knowledge, alongside Ocean Runups and Baryshnikov over the Barriers.

hedgerow.jpg

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now

You may have noticed the bussle of Cross posts, tweets, and statuses. We’re back racing this season after spending last Fall riding the Mobile Social Worldwide. We’re training now in our neighbors hedgerows, at local parks, and running up stadium steps.

Kruger’s Kermesse

Our Season started at Kruger’s Kermesse – a dirt crit in Portland that has no barriers or runups, but a huge turnout and fun, fast course.

Gift with Purchase

Kruger's Kermesse: Too Painful to Take the shorts off

Mark V received this complimentary gift in his race. We’re not sure how it went down. What we know is I heard the Emcee call for “friends of Mark V” to the registration tent to tend to him. He got his bell rung, ticket punched, and learned about avoiding the potholes on a hardtail with 700c wheels.

He’s ok and back at it. Said some really funny things with a concussion too. Oddly his embrocation reeks of alchohol. Will inquire about that later.

Light & Motion Vis 360 - The Perfect Light (Almost)

When Light & Motion offered to send me a prototype of the VIS 360 “commuter” headlight, I didn’t think I could possibly become so smitten with such an innocuous seeming bit of gear.

The $169 VIS 360 is a winner in almost every single way (save one, which I’ll get to in a moment) and is now a permanent resident on my helmet as fall creeps ever closer.

The VIS 360 is a rechargeable system with an unbelievably bright front light, side “markers” (lights that don’t flash) and a rear 4-lumen tail light.

My main headlight is a NightRider Pro 1400 LED, a dual-beam system that throws 1400 lumens at full power. The VIS 360 creates a beam that (thanks to the greater concentration of focus) appears brighter than the NightRider. While I wouldn’t use it as a rgular light for riding without streetlights”something I do with the Nightrider (and for the record not something the VIS is designed to do) it’s a superb light for the commuter, especially to fill in the dark patches and times when other lights fail.

As an example, I recently was doing an impromptu night ride when my NightRider, which I had been riding all week without recharging, gave up the ghost. I was able to ride home with the VIS 360 and felt comfortable the whole way. It’s also a great light for grabbing the attention of drivers. When I have a brighter light on my helmet and I turn to look at an approaching car, I often run the risk of blinding the driver. The VIS is bright enough to catch their eye but not bright enough to put that eye out of commission.

The rear flashing light isn’t the brightest light I own (that award goes to either the VIS 180, also by Light & Motion or the hellishly-bright Planet bike flashers I own) but it is more than sufficiently bright to be seen for great distances. Be aware that since the light is mounted to the helmet it shouldn’t be the only rear light”look left or right and you’ll turn the light away from cars behind you.

 

VIS360.jpg

Of course nothing’s perfect and in the case of the VIS 360 there’s one little issue that irritates me. The light is designed to be charged over USB instead of with an accessory adapter (yay!) which means that it’s possible to ride to work and plug the VIS in to one’s desktop to juice up for the ride home. The charging jack is the less-common Micro USB cable, not the standard Mini-USB found so ubiquitously on so many products. When I asked the company about this they said that the Micro USB is more common “on 2010 cell phones.” That might be the case, but anyone who uses an iPhone or an older phone won’t have this cable and anyone with one of these phones will likely be using the cable to charge their phone.

It also means that anyone who loses the Micro USB cable or forgets it at home can’t just grab one of the common Mini USB cables found on other phones, card readers, hubs, cameras, video cameras, hard drives and any of the other thousands of items with a Mini USB cable.

That aside the VIS 360 is a praise-worthy light that won’t let you down and more than lives up to the company’s claims.

Psychedelic Cargo Bike For U.S. Hipster Changes

America has a problem. Our citizens are overweight and lazy. Most of our trips, and more specifically most of our trips under five miles are made by auto.

For a variety of reasons it is either impractical or impossible to perform a number of tasks via bicycle. Some of this has to do with infrastructure, some with society and some with bicycles.

While countries like the Netherlands and Denmark have great cargo-carrying bikes, they largely have not hit our shores. Personally I think that Americans aren’t partial to the Amish-black color that these bikes come in.

Biomega and Puma’s long-term collaboration has resulted in a new approach to the U.S. cargo bike market. The new “fashionable” cargo bike reminds me a bit of the 1980’s mountain bike scene (right down to the Judy-yellow color on the fork) but it might just solve a problem–if you can get past the name..

The Mopion (sounds like a Volkswaggen moped) is an aluminum cargo bike that weighs in at a mere 50 pounds, and is available in more traditional colors like white and black as well as this eye-grabbing color scheme.

pumathang.jpg

I’m looking forward to trying this bike out, as my current cargo-carrying solutions tend to feel a bit awkward and unsteady. I’ve ridden the fietbikes that these are based on in Amsterdam and the small front pivot wheel makes them a tad bit faster to navigate than what I ride currently.

This bike might not solve the urban cargo problem, but it’s a start, and it’s a much-needed one if we’re ever going to get our cities to look more like Copenhagen than like Newark.

Polar / Look Power Pedals

Polar and Look have worked together to announce a new Power meter that measures wattage at the pedal and speaks with the Polar head unit. From what I can tell, it’s not ANT+ (sad), but they we should hear more as it’s formally announced at Eurobike. It seems that these two big companies may get to market before Metrigear that was the talk of Interbike for 2009.

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