let it snow let it snow let it snow

24 11 2010

Try to remember back in September, the cross season started in sunshine and dust.  But La Niña lay in wait; after weeks of rain and mud, today she brought the first onslaught of winter, a summons to Harden TFU! and be worthy of (New) Belgium.

The trusty RCR van brought the glorious RCR setup crew down to Tacoma just in time for the first snow flurries at 8am.  The tents were put up in record time, the van wheeled into place to serve as a wind break.   Then we all stood around shivering as body heat seeped away despite multiple layers.

Early in the morning @ camp rcr

Sprinker park has now hosted a Seattle Cyclocross series event three years running, and this year’s course designers made significant improvements over previous editions, using more of the available terrain to lay out a fast and challenging course. Long stretches of pavement combined with off-road sections of slippery grass, rock-strewn dirt, and off-camber turns challenged racers to find the most suitable tires and pressure.  The single set of barriers allowed a fast approach that advantaged riders who could dismount at speed and remount on the downslope into a turn.  Fist-sized rocks proved a menace to under-inflated clinchers, and a sandy embankment trapped the unwary racers who tried to ride, but lacked the speed, power, accuracy, and commitment to bull their way up the slope and through the soft surface at the top.

Despite the inclement weather, the usual stalwart crew of hard-core Recylocrossers came out to represent the Blue and Gold.  Though we may have shivered during the eternal wait at the startline after pealing off the fleece and windbreakers, no one missed those superfluous layers once the race was off at full throttle.

With an aggressive start through the early morning snow gusts, Liam showed off his retro recycling jersey of genuine sheep-grown fabric, placing 5th on the day and claiming a 5th place in the series rankings.


Liam rocking the woolens


Tyler cruising on the RX1.0


Rip rips through the run

Rob shows his game face

The weather cleared for the elite noon race, dominated by a youthful trio led by rising star Zack McDonald; RCR’s own Carl “Smash” Hulit persevered to hang onto his third place in the series scorecard.

Carl smashes through the sand

Alex tears down the tarmac

The snowfall resumed for the afternoon races, though the ground hadn’t become cold enough for the white stuff to stick.  Eric Mamroth fought his way through the adverse weather to cross the line in 3rd place among the grizzled veterans of the cat 3 55+ field, staking a claim to a 3rd place in the current series rankings.  Your humble correspondant salvaged a rather ordinary season by winning a six-pack of New Belgium Ranger IPA in the post-race raffle.

As the wind whipped the thickening fall of snow crystals, and spectators retreated to the shelter of the team tents, caravans, or fled the scene entirely, Nick Brown defied the worsening conditions for a ninth place among the cat 3 men, a heck of a job that rewarded his consistency with a tie for first place in the series rankings.

The Raleigh RX1.0 demo bikes were put to more good use, as some novice racers were able to see what a topflight cyclocross bicycle could do for them out on the course.  Next week will be your last opportunity to test ride one of these outstanding bikes under Real Cyclocross Conditions; stop by the Recycled Cycles tent with your pedals and a driver’s licence.  And of course you can check them out any time during opening hours at Recycled Cycles, in Seattle’s University District.

A big up for the RX1.0 after the test ride

Mmmm.... burger....

His race done, Tyler – our driver, chief cook, and bottle washer – fired up the grill to serve out some more fabulous sliders provided by our stellar food sponsor Bill the Butcher, purveyor of organic meat products from local growers committed to natural and ethical operations.  Stop by for a sample next week when we’ll be at the Monroe Fairgrounds for the season closer of the Seattle Cyclocross series.  With double points on offer, RCR podium challengers will be ready to throw down!


Snowball fight on bikes? Crazy stupid or stupid fun?

22 11 2010

Thanks for the shout out Liam… I think the RCR gents had the upper hand on the Husky gents. If we have more snow tomorrow RCR might have to rally the troops again, but this time on mountain bikes…

Jumping at Woodland

17 11 2010

How many cities in North America have not one but two cyclocross series? And how many cities host an event in a major city park in a residential neighborhood? Pugetopolis cxers are lucky on both counts. The perennial Seattle Cyclocross series, a spinoff from the Marymoor Velodrome Association now in its umphteenth year, was joined last year by the MFG (your guess is as good as mine) series, whose principals include the long-time promoter of the UCI-permitted Starcrossed race. The peaceful co-existence between two series has only meant increased opportunities for mud and pain available to the local cross community.

The newcomers soon made their mark by scoring that permit from the Seattle Parks Dept, and the 700+ participants at Woodland Park were happy to be there. Your humble correspondant was happy that he could rise at a reasonable hour for a leisurely breakfast before jumping on the knobby-tired velocipede for a quick pedal over to the venue, where he arrived to find the first race of the day in full throttle, and the usual RCR tent party underway.

The MFG course designers had taken full advantage of the varied terrain available in Woodland park: straightaways along grassy meadows, slaloms in the golden leaf-carpeted woodland, bombing runs down gravelled paths, anaerobic modest rollers; a little off-camber here, a lot of thick mud there, and excellent suffering all over the place. Did I mention the mud? Not the soupy slop you can coast through, or the corrugated chop that forces one to run, but the kind that seems rideable enough yet gradually thickens and coalesces between frame and wheel until it requires manual removal to recover one’s natural velocity.

The spectator-friendly course naturally attracted a host of spectators: family&friends, members of the non-competitive cycling community, and jes’ regular citizens. We had a good turnout of Recyclers, as the hardcore crossers were joined by the dillettantes and the merely cx-curious, who showed to goad on their teammates and investigate the contents of the cooler. Race highlights include Nick Brown’s outstanding 4th place among the cat 3 men.

Rip takes off

slippin'n'slidin w/ Nick and Davis

Carl knows mud

The stalwart Raleigh RX 1.0 demo bikes got a good workout. You still have two opportunities to take one of these babies out under Real Cyclocross Conditions. Or stop by Recycled Cycles to see a pristine model.

After the race is over...

Chef Tyler at the bbq served out beef sliders to one and all, courtesy of our meat sponsor Bill the Butcher, purveyor of natural and ethically-raised animal products for the discerning locavore. Look for the Recycled Cycles tent and have a burger on us.

Today’s race concluded the MFG series. Next sunday, the SCX series resumes at Sprinker Park in South Puget Sound.