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

Starcrossed 2013


Photo: Woodinvillebicycle

Another Starcrossed CX is over. This year yet again Seattle failed to live up to its reputation as Rain City as the weather served up another velodrome dustbowl, but Starcrossed is just about the most fun race on the calendar. First of all, there’s a beer garden and a real party atmosphere alongside the taped off race course. Secondly, the races start later in the day and then run well into the evening, if you’re not really a morning person. Duke it out in the lower divisions and then stay to watch top-ranked US professionals (and the occasional Euro star) slug it out. Thirdly they have a beer garden.

Mark V hurdles the barriers

Starcrossed is the biggest cyclocross race for Washington state’s season, which I guess is a little odd since it comes so early, just the second official event in the area. On the other hand, it’s a great way to convince your family or friends that there is merit to your spending weekends riding on and running with a bike through filth. Drag them to Starcrossed for some of the best spectator values in cycling, and they might be game to hang out with you at those morning races later in the season when the weather is invariably foul. And if you haven’t done a ‘cross race yet, checking out Starcrossed is likely to start those gears turning in your head and have you googling “cx bikes” on Monday morning while you pretend to work.

I race Category 4 Open, which could be interpreted to mean that I am too slow or train too little to advance to faster categories while simultaneously too stubborn to join the masters age divisions. Cyclocross events roll off several categories at the same start time, separated into different waves at intervals of a minute or two. Within short order after the start the entire course is a long line of riders with gritty faces, and it’s a little confusing to the spectators who cannot differentiate the separate categories by their race number (hell, it’s confusing to me!). All I know is that there is always someone a little ahead of me that I want to pass. And since this year I drew the absolute last start position on the grid, in the last wave of riders in the 3PM start time…..everyone was ahead of me. With nearly 300 riders between me and the finish line, I knew I would need to be aggressive from early on to achieve a respectable placing. My woeful endurance at high output makes me loathe to reach too deep in my pocket for the first lap, but I didn’t really have a choice. At the whistle, I threw down to pass 20-30 riders before the first turn.

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Back in the Day: Cyclocross in 74

As Cyclocross races go off across the States, Europe, and Asia too, it wasn’t that long ago the sport looked like this…

Back in the day

CX in 74

It was 1974 in Portland. The bike in the center was a “Clunker” made from an old beach cruiser with motorcycle handlebars and drivetrain swapped off a road bike, crafted by the likes of Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and the names you know. Seven years later, in 81, racing in the Portland Metro Cyclo-Cross series cost $2.00 and the prizes were ribbons and bragging rights. While the sport in the US doesn’t draw as big an audience or sponsor money like Europe, it’s come a long way baby from Clunkers in the fields and two buck entry fees.


A $2.00 entry fee for ribbons

The “Rut,” as we call Tim Rutledge, shared the archival photos and dropped the knowledge on us as he always does, going into another season. He’s prouder than ever of the 14 Redlines and our demo Conquest will get ridden after Interbike and CrossVegas next week.

Last night, after Mark V drunk texted me indicating he may have lost an eye riding in a crusty dustbowl from the last position in the starting grid, he updated his status

I can smell dirt in the air I’m exhaling from my lungs and I had to dig the contact out of my right eye. A dry weather Starcrossed CX race is its own flavor of brutal. The dust, churned up by several thousand tires, permeates you in ways mud cannot.

and his race report will follow with photos from Mathowie too, one his vision is restored.

Huggacast Shorts: Catching up with Todd Wells

Yesterday posted PR from SRAM about Hydro Disc and Cyclocross on G+. That post and story reminded of riding with Todd Wells on a bike path in Colorado earlier this summer. After I caught up to him, we discussed CX, the new Crux, and Hydro Disc. The video was shot with Glass. Before Cross starts for us during Interbike next week at CrossVegas, I rode the Crux on gravel near Sun Valley.

Meanwhile, the season has started in Seattle with Starcrossed where Page and Powers are racing, as well as all the privateers from Seattle and Portland.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Runkels No More

With a hydraulic disc-brake bike in the stable this year, I realized a setup I’ve ran forever would change. No more auxiliary brakes because you can’t interrupt the hydraulic lines. The brake levers on CX bars, in addition to the ones on the hoods, have many names. They include cheater, interrupter, top mount, auxiliary, and Runkel.

Redline with Runkels

Redline with Runkels at CX Worlds earlier this year

They were invented by Dieter Runkel who rode them on courses with big drops, descents like we don’t ride anymore in the US. Soon after Dieter rode them at Worlds, manufactures like Redline made them by hand for their athletes.


Runkel photo: Werner Getzmann

The first commercially available version came from SRP. Empella made the biggest splash when they sponsored the Spar Select Cross team that is now Fidea with Wellens & Vervecken, and had most of their bikes equipped with the levers.

Redline with Runkels

Redline with Runkels back in the day

I’ve always just had them, including on the bike I raced in the Looville mud at CX Worlds. Checking with a couple go-to-guys on the history of Cross, Tim Rutledge from Redline said

After Runkel rode those, we went to Tektro and other brake makers & begged for levers, but couldn’t get them, so we handmade them for our racers.

And Matt Hill from Crosssports added

Bike positions have changed over time and people ride cross bikes with much less reach than they used to. The drops they do over in Europe at the Elite level are still every bit as hairy as they were “back in the day.”

Including the drop we used to ride at the South Park course that landed in a sand pit. I asked Matt why Runkels aren’t used much anymore

Biggest reason they went away, though? As soon as they became something you could buy, rather than something you had to make yourself, they lost cred with the folks who are more concerned with what is cool than with what works.

They still work for me. Guess if I miss them that badly when riding a hydro-equipped CX bike, I can set them up with the TRP HY/RD. That’s a brake I was very skeptical of and it works great. It’s a hydraulic brake actuated by cables, so you could run the Runkels inline with it.

Redline with TRPs

14 Redline with TRP HY/RD

See more photos of the 2014 Redline Conquest Pro with TRP HY/RD on our G+ page.

Cross Clinic with Crosssports

Uploaded video from the Cross Clinic with Crosssports yesterday. The short is added to our collection of Cross Tips on YouTube. Also see another clinic from last year where Matt taught us how to best dismount and remount. He makes it look easy… the parade wave teaches clinic attendees how to better balance themselves on their bike, a critical skill when dismounting into the barriers and then remounting after them. All the attendees did very well.

In the latest issue of our Magazine, we share more about the upcoming Cross season, including some notes on sand pits. We’ll kick off the racing this season at CrossVegas.

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