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

Being a Starter

a Fall bike ride with the Davidson D-Plus and Novara Trenta

It was a thin liner and thick shell or thick liner and thin shell day. Daily ride decisions to make in the Pacific Northwest when the leaves are falling, the mornings are foggy, and the perma-gray sky blankets the Sound. While everyone else raced Cross at Magnuson Park including Mark V, I rode 3 hours with Gluckman on the Mercer Island Loop. The first two hours were spent waiting for my embro’d legs to feel good after racing at St. Edwards Park the day before – they were blown and so was I.

Mark V

After this race, Mark drunk texted me about tire pressure, “on a rough course I usually bottom out twice.” Photo: Woodinville Bicycles

I arrived 2 hours early for the start of the Crosstoberfest Masters Elite race. Plenty of time, ‘cept the race start had moved up 2 hours and I didn’t get that important memo. Last week’s teachable moment in Cross was finish the f’ing race. This week it’s start the f’ing race. Even if you arrive as it’s staging and your warmup consists of the promoter pinning a number on your back. Then on lap one you stop for a single track nature break cause you properly hydrated all morning. To those watching the race, yep I was off the back in the first course-tape chicane and doing that to not blow and dropout or ride off the course into the woods.

After getting caught by Russie who passed me again later to win, I started doing more than pedaling and tried to put in an effort worthy of the field. Not a moment of that felt good, but I finished intact and last.

Props to those that encouraged me on Saturday including Matt Hill who insisted I start, Russie who said, “yeah it’s go time” and Lori who added, “good to have you out here regardless of the start time.” It was good to be out there, even if it didn’t go quite according to plan. Noticing how frustrated I was post race, Russie also said, “hey say something positive.”

He’s right, so I wrote this story. Oh and Sunday’s decision was a thick merino wool liner with a Gore ActiveShell and once my legs opened up, I hit it a bit for the Mercer sprints, hoping they’ll feel good next weekend for another Cross race.

Being a Finisher


Masters Elite category racer fighting for traction on the greasy wooded section of last Sunday’s Tacchino CX race in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Race #3 of the MABRA Super 8 Series. Photo: Broken Spoke Photography

Reading Will’s Facebook status about a race, how he’s racing Masters Elite and finished last – a working man, privateer, like me out racing Cross – I asked him for the rest of the story. In Seattle, I also didn’t have a good race last weekend, but finished it ahead of 3 DNFs. Back after a two week break, to a mud-grass course I thought, “Perfect to ride my own controlled pace!”

The mud-grass bog had a different, soul-sucking plan.

As Russie who won described it, “Take the Vegas grass crit course, let it grow about 2’ long, mow it, then water it for 2 days, then race on it. That was this course, hard. If you didn’t have the umpf in the legs you were dead in the water.”

I had no umpf, but was determined to finish, with my head up, treading water in the Masters Elites. Why? For the same reasons Will writes about below and cause I love the sport, participating in it, and finishing like he did. Despite, at times, feeling like everything is working against us.

Later, as friends were uploading their “my awesome race photos” to Facebook on Monday, Matt Hill from Crossports said, “Your job was to finish the f-ing race, period. Mission accomplished.”

Right! And I’ll race again this weekend.

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Seattle CX: Tall Chief Mud Grass

Derailer Eating Bog

Derailer Eating Mud Grass

The grassy mud cemented to my CX bike could’ve been knocked off and formed into bricks to build a shame hut for me to crawl into yesterday. My drivetrain survived, others didn’t, including one that locked up and bucked the racer off like a bronco nearly into me with I think 3 to go. Hope that racer was ok, he slid left, then right, and skidded to a stop. The grassy mud at Tall Chief Golf Course took a toll. Like a kite-eating tree eats kites, it ate derailleurs.

Weave a basket with this grass and collect all the equipment

Weave a basket with this grass and collect all the derailleurs into it

Dropping the bike and weaving a mud-grass basket to puke in or gather up all the lost gear on the course maybe would’ve been more productive than finishing, but I did. It wasn’t cold or silty like Looville, but gooey and sticky. Also, so much for coming back into a race after CrossVegas where I could ride my own pace, get into a groove, and find a flow and my legs.

I wasn’t feeling the flow yesterday.

This morning, the pedals barely turned as I cleaned up the bike and I was reminded again of the Grass-Mud Horse, a mythical creature whose name in Chinese sounds like F your mother. Next weekend, who knows what to expect, but I’ll be out there. In the mud, grass, or whatever.

Grass photo by our friends at Woodinville Bicycles.

RIP Amy Dombroski

Amy at Worlds

Amy at Worlds 13

En route to London when the news of Amy’s death broke, I shared a note about a community in mourning:

Back in Seattle, I found a photo of Amy from Worlds in our archives that I took earlier this year. Didn’t know her personally, just as media, but friends of mine like Russie shared their emotions about her after finishing the race.

What will stand out the most that day is how moved she was by her family and supporters. All around that crazy race her name was cheered, chanted in harmony with fellow Americans.

And last weekend Matt captured this moment of silence for her in Portland…

RIP Amy.

Interbike 13: Lea and Electra Girl

Lea Davison

Lea on a Crux with hydro disc

That’s Lea Davison chasing Katerina Nash to take 2nd at CrossVegas. I placed 15th in the media category and 117th overall out of 150+ starters. After surviving the insane Thunderdome start, rode right into a crash on turn one, stayed upright, and continued to the finish. It felt like a dustbuster’s motor had been reversed, shoved in my mouth, and turned on full blast. Later, my throat got real sore and I lost my voice during the Mobile Social. Uploaded the first batch of photos from both events: CrossVegas and Mobile Social, including video taken with Glass.

Electra Girl

Electra Girl rides the Mobile Social with us

More on the racing, rides, and Interbike after some rest and a day off.

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