I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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Just had my original 2005 Condor Baracchi cross bike resprayed. Went wacky and chose gloss black with white logos, mental!

Rebuilding it as my training bike and keeping the Terra-X models locked away for racing and special.

What a difference 5 years makes. These days the Terra-X internal cables are way better, geometry is improved and the all alloy frame is far far lighter than bonding a carbon rear end in plus there is so much clearance on the Terra-X that you could get a bus through most of those gaps. That is where one's priority should lie, space.
Forget carbon frames & bling, when buying a new CX frame check for things like the clearance especially at the chain stay vs. chainring and internal cables.

But if you see me out on this and I beat you, well you weren't trying hard enough.

Finally, I have found a used for my 125mm Track Stem.

CX returned earlier that usual this year thanks to Sean, a local race organiser (and lad that who used to be in the same Primary school class as me).

He single handedly set up, ran, organised and promoted a six race series and offered two training days for newer riders.

I rode the final two rounds, finishing 1st in both, of course.
On Monday I took my disposable camera to the last race. I tucked it into my skinsuit pocket and attempted to snap away.

Big thanks to Sean and the summer series volunteers (www.summerseries.co.uk). Best thing I've been too and can only happen when people help for free.

I walked away with 80 euros of bike shop vouchers, 8 apples, 2 nectarines, some Ana Nichoola gloves and some sick pictures.
The girl that attended all the races and won the series overall got some sweet Hope Disc brakes (JEL).

Note: I have a hot pink pair I also wear with a clear lens...

I got bitten SO bad by a horse fly. My inner thigh is in agony.
But here are some images of a summer CX series that is kindly run by a volunteer, who happens to be a boy who was in my class at primary school, Cypress Juniors (its a small world).

I've started reading 'Racing Hard' by William Fotheringham, a collection of all the newspaper articles he wrote for the Guardian between 1994-2013.
It is a reminder of all the forgotten names and epic rides that happened over the last twenty years. As I was reading it, I started googling some of the riders names and the races to look back. Then I noticed how much warmer, hotter, tanned all the riders looked and how much more pro they seem to look despite their baggy ill-fitted leaders jerseys.
I think it has something to do with that lack of digital advancements or the fact we've all moved on so now images from the nineties seem almost unusual. Or perhaps they just bring back happy memories of when I first discovered these races and watching VHS repeats purchased from Bromley Video.

Here are my favourite cycling images from 1991 to 1999.
Fondriest at the 1994 Kellogg's Tour of Britain (by Geoff Waugh)
Why: After the 1994 Kellogg's Tour of Britain major cycling stars haven't returned to Britain to take part in a major race. In 2012 this changed when Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins signed up to ride the IG Tour of Britain.
I like Maurizo's simple green jersey and tired chiselled face.

Virenque in tears after his team was ejected from the 1998 Tour de France
Why: Cycling is clearly Richard (the cheat) Virenque's only vice and without that he's not really got much. Even after the huge Festina scandal of 1998 he remained the darling of French cycling fans, but right now in this picture his world has just collapsed. He once said "I soon realised that I didn't have the brain to be anything but a racing cyclist."

Marco Pantani sits in protest at the start of stage 12 of the 1998 Tour de France
Why: The French police seized lots of drugs from Festina team car before the start of the race. Some days later TVM's team trucks and rooms were raided and masking agent found. The riders decided to hold a protest at the way they were being treated. Some wanted to race, some didn't. Minor scuffles broke out.
This shot is great because it is the one that is always used when anyone references 'Festina Affair'. Poor little Marco Pantani looks despondent, this is supposed to be his year, but its being marred by trouble.

Miguel Indurain publicity poster
Why: Why does the weather just look so warm? His perched cap and the large Mercedes team car are sights we don't really see anymore.

Young Pedro Delgardo and Miguel Indurain before 1992 TdF
Why: Miguel looks so young and Pedro is being made to wear a mental headset. Silly sausages.

Ullrich at the 1997 Tour de France
Why: Skinny looking Ullrich with the Tour de France at this feet. Commentators said he could be the next to dominate the Tour de France for several years. But little did they know, Ullrich would seldom look like this again.

Mario and a bird - 1999
Why: Mario is/was everything that you want in a cycling star. These days there aren't enough pictures of Mark Cavendish holding a budgie.

Cipollini and smoking - 1994 or 1995
Why: Smoking isn't cool is it? Except I'm sure Mario thought he was, cycling has got too many PR people minding everyone's P&Q's these days not enough wacky, irresponsible behaviour. Thank goodness we've still got Mario smoking.

Pantani on Alpe d'Huez 1995
Why: Firstly the nineties were when neon clad sponsor drowned lycra lovies ruled the apparel available to cyclists none of this black single color simplicity we have today. It's 1995 and Pantani's team kit features a pair of lycra shorts with a denim print. Secondly Pantani riding to victory in them. This is one of the few pictures that doesn't look over saturated and I like the rest of the images from the nineties, I love it that you can only just see Marco's little dome as he rides to stage victory.

Little and Big 1998
Why: Because its funny. The winner of the yellow jersey is looking up at second place. I've never seen Jan Ullrich and Pantani look super happy, perhaps they are smug because they know an EPO test has yet to be invented?. I've never really seen a podium like this or since, everyone just looks like best friends. Ullrich and Bobby Julich look like parents about swing a yellow jersey clad toddler.

Endrio Leoni (maybe?) hitching a lift at the 1992 Vuelta
Why: The glasses, cap and whole piggy back situation just say 'hello, we are in the nineties and everything is fun'.

Sean Kelly at the Tour of Ireland 1994
Why: Goes back to the style of taking pictures in the nineties, somehow all this rain just looks so epic.

Sean Yates doesn't half look beef cake in the 1992 Paris Roubaix
Why: Clear lenses on those dashing Oakley's. Beefy legs, dirt that has stuck to his face and skinny handle bars. Behind Sean's butt a man stands wearing a tie perhaps a suit, not enough people wear ties to bike races anymore.

August 2013

I love making schedules and plans and lists.
Someone in Rouleur said 'just as lists are the unimaginative person's paragraphs, weather descriptions are the lazy writer's crutch.'

But I find them motivating. A list of things to do has ensured I wasn't in a portaloo when being called to the start grid in a National series race.

I like to make calendars too, it probably is more of a journal but I don't really write at length after a ride.

Tom Southam says that riders journals begin in the winter and provide structure of the year. "For most bike riders this is all clearly mapped, plotted and recorded for posterity, in notebooks, in journals, on wall charts and more recently in the electronic seas of the World Wide Web. 

I enjoy the quite ease of writing something down and seeing my next few weeks laid out. Rather than fussing around with a web page, ipad calendar, checking into Strava. I think it requires more of your time.

My calendar is vital if I don't plan ahead, I can't progress and I there is no way I could keep track of it all in my head, I don't think anyone can have the mental capacity to do that, we'll maybe Rain Man.

I like the feel of holding my enthusiasm for the coming months of racing in a book and carrying it around and slowly messing up the pages, accidentally staining them pages with mud or dirty prints when I've sat down after a ride to write in it.
2012 November Schedule

Just completed my plan until the end of September 2013. There aren't really many races on so its all just base work really. A reminder that on an evening CX to stop and do 8 flat out sprints for 45 seconds, replicating a start. 

I went for a small field notes set of pads last year but this year I found a ring bound Books landscape pad. Seems easier seeing as I usually have to redraw the calendar even before the month has ended because Ive scribbled all over the boxes.
Then I'll highlight in a colour code system that I'll forget what it means after a few days.

Ride Notes