Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Cross: The aftermath

Cross Crusade race #4
October 28, 2007
Astoria, Oregon
35+ A category

The weather was sunny and mild and lots of people turned out in costume. As usual, the Halloween race feature lots of craziness, wild, silly costumes, and of course beer handups. It also included a lap of silence for Brett Jarolimek at noon. I wasn't sure if I was going to ride it or watch it. I opted to jump onto the tail end to ride it and I'm glad I did. It was a great tribute to the loss of one of 'the tribe'. Bike has a nice piece on it. Check it out.

The venue was the Clatsop County Fairgrounds in Astoria, OR. Each lap had at least ten 180s, the bulk of which were contained in a section of the course that wound through four side-by-side animal barns. There were a couple of hills, some pavement, some gravel, some soft soil, some grass, lots of turns, and very little mud. The course also weaved through the a big barn a couple of times (It's fun riding through buildings). There was but a single dismount per lap and it was through the six pack barriers up a short incline that dumped onto the finishing pavement.

The start was a bit sketchy. We had 50 yards (maybe) of pavement then a wide 180 lefty on grass and into the barn. I had a good start and was with the top 10 group going in. Unfortunately, that didn't quite last as long as I had hoped... I ended up doing 8 of the 1.5 mile laps, with each lap feeling like I was losing ground. I felt like I was continuously getting passed , but I think I actually was passing and then getting passed by the same guys over and over again. The course didn't really favor my strengths - the numerous 180s mentioned above required one to slow down and speed up repetitively...Basically doing short intervals. It felt like the windsprints we used to do during my wrestling days.

I ended up in 22nd place. I wish I could say that I was placing higher than that, but I'm not. It's just a blow to my ego after placing so high last year - It's a big step up going from one category to the next, and I guess this year is a 'building' year. I'm hoping to crack the top 20 (15 maybe?) before the end of the season, but I've got some serious work to do!

PS - the look I was going for was castaway pirate. Not Genie, Fire guy or "dude, whatever you are"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Cross

I'm really looking forward to this weekends race, It's one of my favorite of the year and I am glad that I:
a) opted to do it
b) am bringing my family along.

Actually, we are all heading out on Saturday to spend (what looks to be) a beautiful fall day at the beach. The kids of course are most excited about staying at a hotel with a swimming pool...

This is a great race at a new venue. The costumes are clever, the beer flows (beer handups anyone?), the vibe is happy. I hope that the light hearted atmosphere of the race can help take the weight of this past week off of everyones shoulders.

I love to see the clever costumes - I'm dressing up as a pirate. It's always fun to see the two extremes - those that go all out on a costume and can barely even ride a bike with all their accessories, and those that cleverly create a costume that allows them to still ride (granted, we all wear 'borderline super hero costumes everyday, don't we). I always try to have a happy medium. (Hopefully) clever but not so goofy that I can't still ride ok.

So what are you dressing up as?

PS: There will apparently be a silent lap prior to the single speed race in honor/respect of Brett. I'm really glad that this is happening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Biker Down

If you didn’t hear, Brett Jarolimek, Bike Gallery employee & team rider was killed in a traffic accident on Monday 10/22/07. At the time he was riding his bike. According to, Brett and a garbage truck collided at the corner of N. Interstate and Greely. It’s truly sad to think that Brett was just racing on Sunday, taking 3rd in Singlespeed at Rainier High School and now he’s gone.

I didn't personally know Brett, nor could I pick him out of a lineup if he wasn't wearing a helmet and racing kit. That being said, this hits close to home. A fellow cyclocross racer, about the same age, doing what he loved, going for a training ride in the city at lunch. I've spoken to a few people that knew him, and he sounds like someone that I would have liked to have known. A ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. A smile and a sense of humor in any situation. The world is truly a darker place. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

God Speed Brett.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

updated Hornings Video

Scott, the rider that did the helmet cam video posted below updated his video with front cam views as well. It's pretty sweet. If you look close you get to see me crash (more than once).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never been accused of being PRO before

so I was riding home from work tonight and as I passed a guy going over the broadway bridge. Unfortunately the light was red at the first intersection so I stopped. The guy I passed went around me through the red.

the light turned green and I caught up with and passed the dude at the next light. As I passed I stated "It's super awesome how you passed me at the red, and I still was able to catch you at the next light...." I admit that it was a smart a$$ comment, but this is a pet peeve of mine. Anyway, the guy started spouting that if he had a road bike and wasn't a pro rider I would not have been able to catch him...

I was riding my fixie and riding full rain gear at the time... How unPRO is that?
What a jerk. I think that although I love the concept of bike commuters, there is a high % of them out there I don't like very much.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hornings Hideout Race Report

Cross Crusade #2
Single Speed Category
Hornings Hideout
North Plains, Oregon
October 14, 2007

Do to an active 'social calendar' (two birthdays for two kids starting at 2:30) I wasn't able to race in my regular category (35+ A). Instead I opted to break out the 29er and ride in the single speed category. It was a beautiful fall day - warm and dry. Probably the last one of these this year.

Hornings Hideout is one of my favorite courses (at least it was last year). It was the race last year that really put me in the running for the series and gave me the confidence to really push myself the rest of the crusade. It is not a mountain bike course as some declare it to be, however it definitely suits those of us with mountain bike skills. There is no pavement and all the really fast stretches are on gravel paths and roads. the rest of the course is made up of single track, dirt trails, etc.

The start climbs out of the amphitheater bowl (they do concerts there) and joined the course after a few hundred yards. My nerves had gotten the best of me as I was waiting in the lineup and I pulled a total rookie maneuver at the start by not being able to click in to my pedal. This unfortunately cost me the good starting position going up the hill that I had.

After the initial climb, the first half of the course trended down and traversed a bumpy meadow that was slick with wet grass (it was here that I crashed for thankfully the first and only time), gravel road, buffed trail, and more bumpy meadow. At the far side of the course, the hills began. First up was the “run up,” and immediately following were three short steep terraces. Then began a series of hills interspersed with brief descents through some fairly nice trails. The final bit of climbing went up a gravel road to the top of the course. The last bit went up to the finish line went though a double set of barriers and past the officials/announcers tent.

Through the bumpy meadow - note dirt (crash mark) on my left leg

As I mentioned earlier my first lap was pretty pitiful. I started badly and then slid out on on a corner. Each one of these missteps cost me places and required that I crawl and fight my way back towards the front. I never quite made it, but at least finished on the winners lap (7 laps). My final placing was 17th (though I think I actually placed a couple of places higher based on others I finished with...) out of 78 riders. Not to bad, but not nearly what I had been hoping for (I was really shooting for a top 10).

I've been racing fixed gear & single speed mountain bikes for the last couple of years. Often against the same group of guys (weirdos). This course really handed me my a$$ on a platter where I was really wishing for a few lower gears. Kudos to the guys that race single speed week after week.

On a side note, the following video (about 7 minutes long) is pretty cool. It was shot by racer Scott Barker with a reverse camera mounted on his helmet. It really gives some great perspective on the course (and a cross race in general). Best of all, I get some pretty good face time at the 3:12 time mark. You can see me get passed, fall back, speed up again approach from behind, chase for awhile and then pass. (I'm wearing a black & blue Cyclepath Jersey, black shorts with a blue stripe and a black helmet). Enjoy

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cross Crusade press release — records broken!

Like everyone else in the Cross Crusade Blogosphere, I am publishing the official Cross Crusade Press Release regarding the record breaking first race in the series.

For Immediate Release: October 10, 2007
Contact: Candi Murray
Phone: 503-706-3133

Oregon Bicycle Racing Association announces record breaking attendance at cyclocross event.

River City Bicycles Cross Crusade Event Breaks Record

Portland, Oregon- The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) announced today that 1,078 cyclocross racers descended onto Alpenrose Dairy on Sunday, October 7, 2007 for the 1st race of the Cross Crusade cyclocross racing series. Breaking last year’s record of over 750 racers, the event again established itself as the largest one-day cyclocross race in North America and solidified its designation as the largest participatory cyclocross bike racing series in the world. In 2006, the first race of the series attracted over 750 riders.

The men’s elite race climaxed with battle a between Shannon Skerritt of Vanilla Bicycles-Stumptown Coffee and Erik Tonkin of Kona/ with Shannon taking an inside line right after the last set of barriers to secure the win. On the elite women’s side, Wendy Williams of River City Bicycles took the win over Kristi Berg of Redline Bicycles.

Promoter Brad Ross said, “We are excited at the success of the race series.” Brad continued by saying, “We are also proud of that the U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross has again chosen our series as the finale for the series. We have truly become one of the hotbeds of cyclocross in the world.” Kenji Sugahara, Assistant Director of OBRA, said of the series, “Brad and Club Vivo has made cyclocross accessible to everyone in the community, and have helped take Portland’s racing onto the international stage.”

The long-running success of the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade - this is its 16th year - has firmly established the Northwest as the country’s most popular region for cyclocross. Each round of the Cross Crusade offers 16 classes of competition, from elite men and women to masters and junior categories. Races vary from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the class. The series, sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, will pay out more than $20,000 in prize money and merchandise.

Cyclocross bike racing is a specialized form of cycling competition, one that requires riders to race on a closed-loop circuit, over grass, pavement, gravel, and mud, with barriers and steep run-ups mixed in for additional challenges. The pace is frenetic, with little time to rest and less opportunity for “slipstreaming,” as in road races.

The series will continue on October 14th at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, Oregon. Racing at Horning’s Hideout starts at 9 a.m. with Beginners and Masters 50+ and continues all day, with the Category A Men and Masters Category A 35+ race at 2 p.m.

Following Horning’s Hideout, the remaining River City Cross Crusade schedule is as follows: Race 3 – October 21, Rainier High School; Race 4 - October 28, Halloween Cross Festival, Clatsop County Fairgrounds; Race 5 - November 4, Barton Park; Race 6 - November 11, World Single Speed CX Championship, Estacada Timber Park; Race 7 – November 18, Hillsboro Stadium; and United States Grand Prix on Cyclocross 5&6 – December 1-2, Portland International Raceway.

The Cross Crusade is organized and promoted by Club Vivo, 4409 SW Dosch Road, Portland, OR 97201, 503-806-6943. For complete information on the River City Cross Crusade, visit Learn more about the Cross Crusade and all types of bicycle racing in Oregon at, site of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.

The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association is the official bicycle racing organization in Oregon and is responsible for issuing permits for bicycle races. The major responsibilities of the organization are to ensure the ongoing safety and development of the sport. With a membership of over 3,000 annual members, Oregon has the highest number of racers per capita in the United States and is second only to California in the number of cycling events. In addition, Oregon was ranked 3rd in the number of amateur racers behind Colorado and California. (Velonews 2006)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fixed gear for 'cross training?

I've been riding my fixed gear alot this fall (Mainly because this fall has started out so rainy and my fixed gear is my rain bike). I typically ride it all winter and into the spring to prepare for Tabor and then hang it up for a few months during the summer and fall to prep for cyclocross. Riding it only occasionally on severe rain days. Anyway, this year I've been riding it quite a bit and the question came to mind - is this helping or hurting my 'cross? I know it has made me a strong climber and it helps me learn to suffer, but does spinning at a high cadence (downhill) and a slow cadence (up hill) help or hurt?

Only time will tell I guess.

About time

Just read on the Soma website that 2008 will bring disc brakes to the 'Soma Double Cross' cyclocross bike.

Looks like I might have a new bike on my wish list for 2008...

Cross Crusade #1: Alpenrose Dairy

Cross Crusade #1
Alpenrose Dairy
October 7, 2007

The 2007 Cross Crusade kicked off yesterday at Alpenrose Dairy. Apparently 1078 people raced , reportedly the largest single gathering of cross racers anywhere in world (this is total unsubstantiated rumor that I read on the internets, but I'm going with it)

After a morning of race prep that consisted of: Making pancakes, picking up groceries at the local market and playing "dragon" and "pirate" at the local playground with the kids, I was ready to race! I left the house at 12:15 for the 2:00 race and got to the venue with just enough time to register and ride around the neighborhood for a warm up.

The course was a challenging mix of bumpy downhills, tight turns, staircases, runups and other obstacles. It was also quite a bit drier than last week at Barlow which made the course waaay faster. As an example, last week in 60 minutes I clocked 8 miles on the cyclometer. This week I hit 14.

My field consisted of 67 guys - I did 7 laps and ended up in 21st place. Although not as impressive sounding of a result as last week, it was actually a better one. The field was much tougher and larger than last week, so my placing was actually higher as a % of total racers.

Interestingly enough, I placed 21st last year at Alpenrose in the Bs. I feel much better about this placing as opposed to how I felt about my result last year.

Next week is Hornings - one of my favorite courses. I'll be riding the single speed category on my Soma Juice 29er vs Master As.

A note on equipment - The Stans Notubes system saved my wheels again at least a couple of times, though I was running way to low of pressure for as fast of a course.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Get some fenders already

It's October, the rains have started (alas earlier than most years). It will now rain until May. Please put some freaking fenders on your bike, and while you are at it. Add a courtesy flap!

I'm tired of riding behind you with your rooster tail.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Battle at Barlow

'Battle at Barlow'

Sunday September 30, 2007

Sam Barlow High School

Gresham Oregon

Sunday was my first cross race of the season as well as my first “A” race (35 plus class). I was pretty anxious as this was an important race to see how I would do in this step up. Let me just say that conditions were epic. Portland got an inch or so of rain on Friday. It started raining again late on Saturday evening and continued at a steady pace all day on Sunday. By the 2:00 race after a couple hundred riders had gone through, things were sloppy and rutted. It’s over 24 hours after I completed the race and I am still picking dirt out of my eyes. It was a definite slog, and I never thought that I could actually put the pedal down and stoke the old engine up.

In typical Dan style I got a pretty poor start. At the start line, I was mid way back, wet to the core, cold and not very warmed up. That being said, at the starting gun I took off as fast as I could and managed to catch up and hang off the back end of the top 10-15 riders for the first lap. After this, it was pure survival. The mud was so deep and runny that there were times where it was almost axle deep in some of the ruts. This race was less about speed and skill and more about picking a good line. I managed to stay up right for the race – This is as much a testament to the tubeless NoTubes Michelin Muds system that I’ve been running since last season as it was to my bike handling skills. I was running about 38 PSI. I probably should have dropped it down to 30, but lesson learned I guess.

Back to the race. Each lap was a challenge – the grassy field, the river of mud flowing down and around the corners of the single track, the rutted out trail that changed with each lap, the rail road tie climb, the blackberry brambles and the mud. The ooey, gooey, sloppy mud. This race was a battle between me the course and less about me and any of the other guys I was racing against. That being said, I completed 6 laps in the hour giving me a 14th place finish out of a field of 35 guys. My placing surprised me a bit, gives me some confidence and let’s me know that I am ‘in the game’.

We forgot the camera, so if you want to see me in the mud, you’ll have to look here.

See you next week at Alpenrose!