CX Worlds: Blue, Orange, Stars and Stripes

The arrival of the Elite Men’s field at the first run up was announced by a chorus of cowbells. Cameras raised like a 21 gun salute, were dropped or misfired when photographers got stunned by the furious blur of Belgium Blue, Dutch Orange, red, white, and a splash of the Stars and Stripes.

A blur of bikes, bodies, and wheels

What cyclocross fans and the media had seen in the States until last weekend was intramural league and this was like witnessing a colorful running of the bulls, a cyclocross SuperBowl. The Belgians and Dutch appreciated the World Championship effort in Louisville, but let us know it’s their sport, bigger than soccer or golf even in their countries. In the junior category, Logan Owen had a bad hand dealt to him and US crowds have never seen him ride that angry. Their cheers would signal his arrival at spots around the course, like a sonic version of a crowd wave.

Logan in Traffic

Logan in Traffic

Logan moved up from the lower third of the pack into 4th, a step away from the podium after getting caught in a crash and dropping a chain twice. The cards dealt to Logan began with a false start. He over anticipated the start light sequence and was still repositioning when the green light flashed. He then had to fight to close the gap to the front of the pack. The mishaps kept him out of medal contention and, to the heartbreak of his fans and supporters, off the podium. Logan was America’s best male finisher with a suffering, emotive face, the crowd felt every second of his failed effort to podium.

Fans got him through it

Bicycle by Paul Fattaruso

A bicycle might hide in any tall field – say, a field of chest- high corn. Then at harvest time, it sneaks bike to its home.

The whimsey, poetry, and inventive nature of a bicycle that goes where it wants with or without the owner is explored in a book by Paul Fattaruso.

Published in 08, the single-line poems could serve a Twitter account well or a bike-themed poetry slam.

bicycle

Bicycles In Sao Paulo


CX Worlds: Strong Fanbase, Crazy Americans

Sportwereld

Know how to party and love CYCLOCROSS!

Now we get to party! There’s an extra day on the schedule, after the UCI moved all the racing to Saturday because of a rising river on the course. We’ll look for this crew at the sports bar today when football comes on, cause they know how to party, like Sportwereld fans party.

Qualified, raced, and watched world champions compete in the cold, muddy grass of Louisville. Put the camera down and cheered with the fans too when the Elite men roared by us like a colorful running of the bulls.

And a cyclocross fantasy camp. Legs are tired, SD cards full, and I’ve got stories to write about sufferfaces like this. As the Belgians observed, “Crazy Americans accounted for unique atmosphere in Louisville”

We walked a few laps around the track and watched our eyes: Dress Parties, bare bellies, vuvuzelas, megaphones, leg bathers and a lot of patriotism. One would almost spontaneously, “USA, USA, USA” from start to end.

Translation.


CX Worlds: Grinded to a Halt in Louisville

Grinded

Grinded to a halt

‘member what I was saying about the Grass-Mud Horse? After that Mens 45-49, Masters CX Worlds Championship race, could’ve knocked the frozen grass mud off the bikes, built a hut, and enshrined the winners. Never ridden or seen conditions quite like that. It was a different course around every corner with guys losing lines, derailers flinging off, and brake cables snapping.

After finishing the race, got off the bike, and it just stood there pissed. Like WTF was that. An hour later, it was frozen solid, not moving, entombed in Kentucky bluegrass, like bourbon brown carbonite.

Frozen and pissed

Stuck

Down the river from us, the organizers were building a flood dike for the Elite course, while we beat our bike with sticks to unlock them from their mud cocoons. The Masters organizers left the pressure washers outside and they froze solid. For the rule minders, they’re required to have working wash stations.

Chainstay covered

It was cold chaos in the pits and pissed mechanics in the tents. I rode until the wheels and cranks stopped turning and then ran until getting pulled at lap 2 of 4. Don Myrah won.

Perseverance, pushing yourself to the limit, and redemption are steeped in every story line in this sport. For me, after a season that wasn’t, I had a good race and moved up from a last row start to 73rd out of 87 starters. Only 30 finished on the lead lap and all of us were spent, confused, and our body temperatures dropped to dangerous levels.

The 12/13 CX season ended in that bog and another started. I’ll go into it with a more determination than ever. I know I can move up more next time and relieved I finally did.

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