Cyclocross

We're so into Cyclocross that we made this special page for it. Also publish a Tumblr about Suffer Faces.

It Was So Cold In Bend

Snotcicle

King of the Snotcicle has a Suffer Face

The conditions in Bend this weekend are best described by this photo Matt sent us of a Suffer Face Snotcicle. How cold is it at the Deschutes CX? Too cold for clever catchphrases describing how cold it is.

Pro podium finishers literally crying in tents after the finish cold. A few years ago, it was almost as cold and I was hypothermic, emotional too. That’s when

Mahan, who’s comforting Russie in the photo, pulled me off my bike. He then dragged me to the Redline tent to get warm and a few minutes later handed me a cup of Espresso. In the tent, Tim Rutledge checked on me, made sure I wasn’t hypothermic, and handed me a plastic rain cape. The propane heater steamed the cold and wet perspiration off of my kit and I felt at home.

Back to racing next weekend for us and today it’s riding in the cold with embro’d legs. When Matt gets back to Seattle and warms up, he’ll have a report; including how well Di2 worked, staying upright, and hydraulic fluid clotting.

Cyclocross Explodes in the Pacific Northwest


Written and produced by Nina Milligan with photography by DBC Photo, this video slideshow captures the best of Cyclocross racing in the Seattle area during the 2013 season. For my MFG story, see The Roulette Wheel of a Race and a why we love Cross moment on Suffer Faces.

The Roulette Wheel of a Race

Racing

Results don’t show it, but that was my ride of the season. Photo: Kevin Tamura

In a season that’s included CX Worlds and CrossVegas, I’ve written about the importance of starting the race, finishing it, and breathing. Last weekend at MFG Woodland, those topics combined with blowing up. Lap one went like, I’m in, I’m in, and then boom. That I finally have the fitness again to go that hard is great, to blow on lap one of the biggest race in Seattle well; it’s what Jacques Anquetil said, “There are no races, only lotteries.” And in that lottery, it takes lots of luck to not crash, as many did in the elite fields.

You know in a techno song, there’s always some kinda high-pitched noise like a siren? That shrill sound syncopated with my pedaling after a warp-speed start. It indicated a system failure was approaching, but I kept pushing towards the max, hanging on at the back. As the pack rode away from me, I got angry, because the space that separated us was just a gap that I couldn’t close. Damn gap.

Concentrated now on finishing, I eased up, settled into a manageable rhythm, and regrouped. When the leaders lapped me, I went into the race zone again, and a few laps later crossed the finished line with nothing left.

After the race, Anthony Dickson who recently upgraded to the elites and raced with me said

“Damn, racing with the 1/2s is hard. Why did I ever upgrade and subject myself to this pain? Cross is anticipation, exasperation and elation, all in that order. Can’t wait to do it again next week!”

Yup and later he also said, “it helps to train if you want to race cross (and do well) - learning that this year.”

I’ll add to that advice something Matt Hill would say, “In training, you push to learn where your max is, so in racing you know when to back off, lest you blow at the worst time.” On the same intense lap, Matt blacked out in the pits from an acute asthma attack. Had that randomness not happened, he would’ve likely podiumed.

Ed. note: Date night has turned into a date weekend with the Seahawks today. Mark V raced with a report to follow.

Max Crashed, Ended His Season

The plan was for Max to podium in the Cat 4s on his Davidson and in Bike Hugger kit. Then move up, race well, and get his name and new bike out there – it’s built to race cyclocross in the Pacific Northwest mud and all conditions. After building the bike up and during Max’s first ride, I got two texts one Summer afternoon. The first was a joyful photo of a climb and then a few hours later…

Wonder Max

As Max learned, the Davidson is NOT an MTB! He overcooked a turn on the descent and crashed. He’s recovering now, back to riding, and racing next season.

notched

Notched chainstays for wide tires

We’ll tell you more about the bike when it gets raced. It’s an interation of the D-Plus with room for really wide tires. See more photos about Max’s first ride that ended in a crash on the Tiniest Princess’ tumblr.

Breathe with Me

warmed up with a puffer

Warned up with a puffer for a couple laps and then didn’t race

For 20 plus years never had a bad season. Fitness came and went, into it at more times than others, but the past year has been like a series of mechanicals with my body. A nagging injury, illness, and then unusual fall asthma. I blame the wind storm on Saturday for throwing all kind of contaminates into the air, whatever it was, I was lit up like an allergy Christmas tree. On Sunday, after a few warmup laps, I wheezed and coughed. Then made the call to not start. To get back into race shape, building towards next season, I’m perfectly good with sucking at the back of the elite field, riding steady, solid, and finishing. Not good with wheezing out of a race or falling apart, unable to breathe. It sets me back for at least a week. I imagine if doctors ran a scope into my lungs, it’d look red, raw, and inflamed in there, after doing so much damage.

Exercise-induced, allergy-triggered asthma is so little talked about, I didn’t even know others that race with me had it until recently. Because asthma doesn’t manifest any outward symptoms excerpt during an acute attack, it isn’t generally recognized by the community and the promoter of the Sunday’s race mocked me for not starting. For years, before I knew what I was, I just thought I wasn’t fit. Asthma took such a toll on Rominger, he stopped racing, and Katie Compton was nearly medevaced out of a race in Cincinnati for it last week. Locally, the Northwest Allergy Center has doctors dedicated to studying the causes and it’s thought Co2 particulates embedded in our lungs from years of urban life are a factor.

Once I was diagnosed and knowing the symptoms, if they’re present, I don’t start. There’s always another race and the one I’m in isn’t worth the risk of turning ashen white and blowing a week of training or worse.

I doubt anyone wants to hear this much detail about what I’m dealing with in a season. To me though, it seems like our health and breathing is something we may want to talk about as much as wheels, power meters, and recovery drinks. The handful of us afflicted by asthma locally will continue to just deal with it and talk about it amongst ourselves.

As I wrote earlier about this season, starting the race is as important as finishing it. Anticipating I was symptomatic, I didn’t register on Sunday until after the warm up test. I know of only two reasons not to start an already registered-for race: medical reasons and then those other medical reasons, where dopers don’t start because they don’t want to pee in the cup, like at nationals.

If there’s no doping control, no promoter should ever call you out for not starting or try to embarrass you for a decision based on your health.

And today I’m breathing just fine.

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