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excellent cross article over on DirtRag(21 posts)

excellent cross article over on DirtRagdaveIT
Dec 18, 2003 12:11 PM
Then again...triangleforge
Dec 18, 2003 2:37 PM
I show up at races in a 30-year old Toyota Land Cruiser (with lots o' rust) and race a dirty, chipped up, 2nd-hand 'cross bike that's too small for me.

Heaven knows it hasn't made ME any faster!

Maybe I oughta give that Lexus thing a try.

Dec 18, 2003 3:14 PM
Actually, the article seems pretty unfair. Maybe it is meant to be somewhat offhand humor, but it doesn't come across that way.

First, my guess is that the race was canceled due to the concern of people driving to the course on snowy/icy roads, not to avoid racing in the snow. For a ride amongst pals, sure it's ok to ride to the course and race anyway. It's simply not realistic to expect entrants in an organized race to ride to the course, as participants could be traveling from miles away. The organizers no doubt did the intelligent thing.

More unfortunate for cross, this guy wants to discourage new people from discovering cross just because their motiviations, goals (and level of education and/or income) are not this guy's definition of "real cross."

Cross has grown as a competitive sport, and folks who depend on racing to eat are gonna run the best equipment. Folks who don't depend on racing to eat because they have a lot of money may also lay down the dough for high-end stuff.

If people show up and and ride in a local cx race on a tricked-up colnago, I think it's great. If someone shows up on their converted Trek Antelope single speed, I think that's great, too. Anyone who shows up and rides in a cross race, IMO, is pretty great.

I understand (and personally really enjoy) the type of race and riding group this guy prefers, but I think it's pretty uncool for him to dismiss anyone who doesn't approach cross in exactly the same manner. More cross riders = equal more races = more opporutnities for all of us to suffer immensely.

Don't know about you, but the more crosser's the better in my book - doesn't matter what they are driving, what their cycling budget is, or whether they are there to race or just "enjoy" the ride.
Dec 18, 2003 4:30 PM
They should'a ran it, what a bunch of wimps. Ha!!!
well, ya knowTNSquared
Dec 18, 2003 6:39 PM
There was nothing to stop the author of the article, and anyone else who wanted, from riding even though the official race was canceled. I mean, isn't that the type of hardcore, grass roots approach he is espousing anyway?

From the organizer's point of view, I still bet it was an issue of whether or not it was safe for people to drive to the race location, rather than whether the race itself should be run. I don't know how bad the roads were, but had someone been hurt or killed in a car accident trying to get to the race it would have been a very hard thing for the race organizers. Hopefully, they rescheduled the race so everyone would have a chance to get there safely and enjoy it.

Now, if the race is held and someone opts not to ride just because it's wet or cold or whatever -then yeah, you gotta wimp on your hands. But don't give the race organizers a hard time for making what was probably a prudent decision in this case - that doesn't make them wimps.
Come on out Tomorrow & See!!triangleforge
Dec 19, 2003 12:08 PM
As a promoter of one of the races that was felled by the recent East Coast snow storm, I can say that the main things that nixed us were: A) the park pulled our permit, and B) our officials were looking at 2+ hours on the road before the snowplows got after it, so were not likely to show. I went out that morning with another promoter, and we agreed we could have put on an incredible race -- hard beyond comprehension, but incredible. You think a 20-yard sand pit is hard? Think of what a 45-minute long one would be like! ;-) But with no OK from the venue, and no officials, it was no race.

But if you want a taste of what it would have been like, we rescheduled from Dec. 6 & 7 to this weekend, Dec. 20 & 21 at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, VA. I helped the guys start laying out the course this morning, and there's still snow on the ground, and plenty of ice that will come back tonight. Until noon, expect the ground to be frozen -- wicked fast AND rough!

Check out the thread below on "Last Chance for Virgina 'Cross" (in deference to the Froze Toes race at Poor Farm, I should have said "... In 2003") for links & directions.

You, sir, rock!TNSquared
Dec 19, 2003 5:10 PM
D@mn that sounds cool! 45-minute sand pit, LOL and bring it on! I so wish that I lived on the other end of TN, 'cuz I'd make the drive for sure. Next year I hope to ride some out of state races, and I got some kinfolk in your neck of the woods so hopefully I'll make it over then!

I just re-read the article and actually most of it is pretty d@mn funny, epsecially the parts about Gunnar Shogren and the beauty of mullets.

It just got under my skin that Mr. Verstain started the article by calling the race promoters and organizers wimps for cancelling the race, and I knew there was no way that happened unless it was absolutely necessary.

But I'm confused now. I drive up to cross races in a yuppie vehicle and climb on my old, battered and nicked bianchi. So where does that put me in Verstain's class warfare? :)
Satirically funny!haystack
Dec 18, 2003 11:01 PM
I loved this piece even though I don't have a problem with people with money spending it on bike stuff.

I can eat brie and drink champagne with the best yuppies, but I'll ride my old, heavy steel, converted early 90's hybrid Schwinn Crisscross with Ultegra/XT/Open Pro parts forever. That's what's great about cross, ride what you have. That includes a Colnago Dream Cross. At least the guy with the Dream Cross is racing.

This has been my first season racing cross. It's been fun and educational in a full-throttle anaerobic threshold sort of way. I've placed near the bottom of the C class pretty regularly, even beaten several times by a guy wearing jeans and riding a mountain bike with a rack and a seat pouch. Hell, the he left his taillight on one race and it got launched only to become part of the course. Good times.
Satirically funny!atpjunkie
Dec 19, 2003 1:35 AM
but he's a serious Luddite. He has a point in the fact that the roadbike yuppie-esque gear snobbery may creep into cx. He feels the sport is losing it's roots appeal much akin to MTBing circa 1983. But this is a Nationalistic thing, America is the only 'land of Retrogrouch cxers' (amongst others in cycling). I'm sure those cats in Belgium aren't riding in jeans and old clunkers. In the land of technology it's just a matter of time before the weenies take over.
just ride and be glad that you can.
Yeah, I wonder why...Dwayne Barry
Dec 19, 2003 5:27 AM
in America cross has much more of the "mountain bike dude" feel than is apparent in Europe, where it's pretty much a roadie thing? I guess just because it was the mountain bike crowd who has or in the past mainly got into cross here, whereas in Europe it's always been a roadie thing.

FWIW, the cross races down by DC before nationals were cancelled because of snow because the park officials wouldn't let them hold the race. Yet another reason this guy doesn't consider.
Canceling races...TNSquared
Dec 19, 2003 5:53 AM
Generally speaking, anyone who has ever been involved in organizing a race will tell you there is no way a race would be canceled due to weather if there is any way to avoid it. There is way too much hard work that goes into putting on a race, too many commitments and too much at stake at that point, to cancel unless there is just no other option.

I'm sure the organizers of the DC races were sick to their stomach over this.
Dec 19, 2003 6:27 AM
Both Groups in VA were forced to cancel because of the park authority and they have made arrangements for an alternate course in the future. I think a race in PA was cancelled because it was a fairly rural location and there wasn't anyplace to park because of all the snow. Like TNSquared said - its hard work to put something like that together and you know the organizers were the last ones that wanted to cancel.
I'm just very thankful that people put races together and that people come. I don't care who they are, what they ride, what they drive, what type clothes etc. Just come and try to get to the finish before me because most of you will get there first but I'll keep trying to go faster.
Oh yeah - buying Tufos doesn't make you a bad person - they are the real deal!
Amen, bro...TNSquared
Dec 19, 2003 5:41 AM
"just ride and be glad that you can." In a nutshell, that is exactly what I'm saying.

I don't care for snobbery of any kind, and yes, when the rich kids come to play there will always be some. But as a relative newcomer to cx, this article sounds like "reverse snobbery" to me.

My take on the article maybe somewhat slanted, since I find myself firmly mired in what most would consider yuppie-dom. You'd never know it on the race course, though. I ride a beat-up, second hand steel bike with very run of the mill wheels and components.

I like to consider myself a fairly tough, geniune rider, and I wouldn't be any different a rider on a Dream Cross. Sure the top of the line gear attracts some folks more interested in appearance than performance, but not everyone who invests in technologyy is a weenie.

Frankly, once the race starts, it doesn't matter to me what I'm riding or what anyone else is riding. Anything that moves is a target. :)
re: excellent cross article over on DirtRagarctic hawk
Dec 19, 2003 7:05 AM
I'm still using the good old platform pedals!!! I actually removed the clipless pedals as I am using my great old running shoes. No spandex yet either :)

$3,000?!?!? For us poor Canadians, we are talking US$ ! Cough! Sputter!! I got lucky & found a super deal on a used bike on ebay, US$ 540.00. My last road bike made it 16 years & I hope this one will go just as long. Gave up quite a bit to fund the bike, cost of race participation, & replacing broken parts (front wheel). Will give up a few more things in 2004 to get a new/used set of Bontrager X-Lites, ebay shopping for late Christmas/early b-day :)

I have seen plenty of riders with all kinds of gear, some really high end & low end stuff out there. Like many others, I am truly fascinated with technology, of which, most is unaffordable to me. This is my do-it-all bike, commuter & racer, both CX & duathlon. Note to oneself, 65 psi in CX tires don't work in duathlons!

seems to be a couple issues hereJS Haiku Shop
Dec 19, 2003 8:43 AM
1) safety en route to course
2) more money than legs
3) fancy bikes
4) americanization of 'cross

here are my answers:

1) there are two instances in which i would cancel a race:

a. lightning directly overhead or an "act of god" (earthquake, flood, fire & brimstone, four horsemen)

b. under direct instruction from the venue administrator

why? because it's my job as a race director to make sure the course is setup and running, regardless of 1 or 100 participants. people are not irresistably compelled to drive or ride to the course just because it's open. if the roads are passable enough for me to get the equipment to the course, it's my respnosibility to racers, sponsors, and cycling community, to make certain what i've contracted and promised is delivered.

naturally i would feel beyond horrible, and question my own future in any form or fashion of cycling, if someone were hurt because of the road conditions between their home and my course. but, honestly, that's life. things could happen in rain, snow, sleet, or dry roads on a saturday morning in zero traffic. even if it would hold any weight and i was inclined to do so, i would not call everone racing on that day and ask them to be careful, or not show. it's the participant's decision.

finally, if weather kept 90%+ of the expected racers at home or away, it is very likely that i would (the next business day) immediately contact the venue administrator and reserve a "rain date". this is the same--no different whatsoever--from leading club rides. if it's scheduled, the ride leader must show in rain, cold, sleet, 110* weather, whatever--or the ride will have a short lifespan. consistency, reliability, and responsibility are key. weather and road conditions (to the **extreme** degree of personal safety) are irrelevant.

2) i don't care if you ride 10 miles a week and have only been riding 2 weeks and are on a $6000 Empella. if you are racing, you are--in my eyes--the equivalent of the man or woman on either side of you at the line. i don't care how many laps you ride, how you finish, or what kinds of hell you are going through on the course. if you are THERE, paid you entry fee, and have an open mind, you get the same amount of respect from me as everyone else: complete and absolute.

3) fancy bikes. i will likely park my 'cross bike after 'cross season. but, it's a $1200 bike that has been beat to sh!t and not very well-maintained. am i considering replacing it with a dream cross or a sweet orbea frame? no. am i considering the merckx cross bike? yes. will i buy it? no. (ok i'm a merckx junkie.) but...i will replace the worn parts on this bike, and ride it into the ground. a 'cross bike is a tool. they all look the same covered in mud and blood and dirt and snow and drool, and vomit (on a good day).

4) those who can, do. those who can't, criticize. i don't know the author personally, but i can say, for my part, "who gives a f@#$."

quit b!tching and be glad you have a place to race. want to change it, fix it, make it better, do it right? get off the couch and do something about it.


ham and egg salad on white bread
keeps me company on nights like this
Well saidoutofthesaddle
Dec 19, 2003 4:32 PM
I agree - the point of the article (that if you don't ride and appreciate 'cross the way that the author does you aren't doing it "right" or worse yet there's something wrong with you) is a load of crap. Ride what makes you happy and race what you got - but just show up and race. Do it all in a way so that you enjoy YOURSELF. I think it's great that the sport is growing.
re: excellent cross article over on DirtRagDerf
Dec 19, 2003 11:57 AM
I thought the article was funny. I am partly yuppie per the author but that's ok. I am also comfortable with myself.

There was supposed to be a race that day in Rhode Island that was postponed until this Sat. The organizer cancelled it due to the snow, stating the safety of driving to the race. So, I drove from Boston to my friend's house (1/2 mile from the race venue) and we went snow shoing. But, I can see why it was canceled.
re: excellent cross article over on DirtRaglexington476
Dec 20, 2003 6:29 AM
Oh man, I guess I am in trouble again. I used my $1,000 MTB for CX racing, and drove to the races in my $15,000 Chevy Caviler (god forbid an American car) and not the Lexus... :) See you at the races :)!

PS I do not have a Lexus :)
re: excellent cross article over on DirtRagmore mud
Dec 20, 2003 10:45 AM
the article is funny for sure, but i think the author only represents a small portion of the cross racing community. cross is about racing. it evolved for racing. the bikes are designed to go fast around a cyclo-cross course. the author has an alternative view of cross that evolves from the crude early days of cross in the united states (which is when it was hard to convince people to try it....). but in alot of ways that is the beauty of it. you get all types out there, from the guy with matching euro bikes that is using every tech advantage he can find to the guy who's claim to fame is riding at the back of the c race on some crazy "frankenbike" that makes people smile..... either way, the sport rules and although i race road and mountian and enjoy them too, cross is my favorite. and the people who race cross are the guys i hang out with at the road and mt bike races too.....
class war? rant !!!dpb
Dec 21, 2003 1:42 PM

This guy is making some terrible claims when you think about it. How is the enjoyment of a sport dependant on income, level of education, profession, or anything else for that matter?

People are allowed to make good money. A university prof can ride just as hard as an assembly line worker. And this guy assumes that everyone who rides an expensive bike is rich, and that everyone who rides a frankenbike is the 'average joe'. What about the hard working joe or jane who saves and saves, giving up booze and cigarettes so they can afford the bike of their dreams? Should they be judged? What about the CEO who makes 250k a year and bikes to work on some old school modified road bike from back in the day?

Talk about judgemental. You want to know the problem with "America the Bootiful" (and the rest of the world)? It's people who draw lines in the sand pit of life. You draw enough lines and you box yourself in. Its segregation, and it goes both ways.

I wonder if he is judgemental or just jealous. If someone handed him an Acura and a 'Dream, he'd drive to the race, ride that bike, and change his name so he wouldn't be associated with that article. And if he were to say otherwise, I would call him a liar.

To each his or her own my friends. I've got a nice crank, but crappy wheels. I work my ass off, but make a decent wage, so I aint rich, but I'm not poor either. I'm in university, but I didn't "bunnyhop algebra and honours english." I failed algebra once, took it again, and passed. But I go home every day after work and ride my cross bike. Personally, I'm inbetween these two "categories" of his. In regards to biking, I would be offended to be grouped into ANY category, and that's why 'cross is the best sport in existance. NO BOUNDARIES. Freedom. The freedom to ride plated or mud coated, and ride anywhere, from rock gardens to velodromes.

A few years ago I used to have the most tricked out MTB...then I sold it for a couple of grand and got a $250 road bike from 1986. I've never looked back. I've given up my "materialistic bike component" days, and I'd like to remind people that it isn't the bike that makes the woman / man. But it's a flawed argument to state that nice bikes are an evil of the world, a burden to society, and the cause of a "class war".

Maybe he's trying to be clever, and this article doesn't represent his true feelings on the matter, and my rant is unnecessary.

Trix are for wabbits and kids. Get used to it.

re: excellent cross article over on DirtRagsinglecawg
Jan 4, 2004 1:28 PM
At first glance I really enjoyed this article but I can see the point others have been making. A point that I'd like to make is that money can become too big an issue in amateur cycling. I'm definitely guilty of getting too wrapped up in the commercial aspect of cycling and forgetting what's important, cycling my damn legs off! later