Monday, November 24, 2008

May I direct your attention...

... to the WOMBATS towel at the left. Yes... over there.

Now, one maybe not be eligible for WOMBATS membership or even drink tea, but these towels are massively useful. Just ask any Hitchhiker.

Partly it has great practical value - combined with a few zip-ties/toe-straps/course marking tape you can fashion a loincloth out of it to protect your modesty as you change out of gloopy muddy kit after a cyclocross race; you can sit upon it at the sidelines of the course and ring your cowbell for the poor bastards still slogging it out in the soupy muck; you can soak the corners in various flavors of carb gels to sustain you in emergencies; use it as a non-functional mini-cape (remember it's 8"x19") during the Halloween CX race at Astoria; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat or to heckle racers from the sidelines; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious beer fumes emanating from certain segments of the spectators or avoid the gaze of the OBRA officials glaring at you for accepting a beer hand-up; you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. Although this is highly unlikely at a cyclocross venue.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a fellow racer (fellow racer: one of those other poor bastards out there with you) discovers that you have your towel with you, he will automatically assume that you are also in possession of a toothbrush, Hammer Gel, soap, patch kit, flask of non-OBRA-compliant booze, compass, map, ball of string, pit wheels, wet weather gear, pit bike etc, etc. Furthermore, the fellow racer will then happily lend you any of these or a dozen other items that you might accidentally have "lost". What the fellow racer will think is that any man or woman who can navigate the length and breadth of the race course, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where their towel is is clearly a cyclocrosser to be reckoned with.

With a WOMBATS towel, one will always know where one's towel is.

WOMBATS founder Jacquie Phelan has a stash of these fabulous towels for sale. Head on over to her site and drop her a line to get your bad self one (or two or three) of these fabulous, 8"x19, purple and pink, jacquard loomed beauties.

So go do it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It finally happened to me...

I schnoobled myself.

I was pulling up my arm warmers. Just a little more. A final tug and then POW.

I laughed my butt off. Only the cats were around to wonder what the human was going on about.

What's a "schnooble" you might ask? The Ironclad cycling team crazies have the answer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Noted with raised eyebrows...


The "crotchless bib short" from Selle SMP. No, it's not actually crotchless-- it's got a zipper that goes from the front allll the way to the back. Looking at their site, the short appears to be designed to be compatible with their own split saddles. Is it a solution in search of a problem? Tying shorts to the use of a particular saddle doesn't seem like such a hot idea.

And the idea of having a zipper so close to one's crotchal region? The folks at Selle SMP have obviously never seen "There's Something About Mary". Just imagine: you hang for as long as you can because you don't want to kill the pace... you're with the front. But finally your back teeth are floating and you just have to pull over. Whipping over to the side of the road you pull a CX step-through dismount and hit the nearest bushes. Every rider that passes is one that you're going to have to chase down and pass again. You take care of business at lightening speed and -- bzzzzz-ip! -- You black out only to come to moments later as a concerned team-mate is asking you "Oh man! How'd you get the beans above the frank??"

Go check out Lennard Zinn's report from the Milan Bike Show for more. No horror stories, though.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flying my freak flag...

Cut me and I bleed orange and green, take off my socks...

I love cyclocross and I love the Cross Crusade series especially. Over the summer my toenails were dark blue and light blue-- something to match my MTB. Much more subtle and I don't think many people really noticed. Or perhaps they thought that I had managed to catch all my toes in a door jamb or something.

I switch to Cross Crusade orange and green, but with the colder weather I hardly get a chance to air them out.

Still, dyed-in-the-wool, painted toenails cross fanatic.

Update: For fun I posted this pic in the Cross Crusade forums. Jeesh! What a bunch of dorks! Much gasping and freaking out ensued. Apparently I threatened too many male egos. Pfft. Chill out, guys. It's just paint. Toenails are kinda ugly anyway-- paint 'em up!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barton Park aftermath.

Bear looks on as the last of my soil sample from Barton Park washes down the drain.

We finally had some real real real cyclocross weather. Last year the race at Barton Park was sunny and dry. Temps in the mid-60's. This year the weather decided to come back from vacation and let us have it. The temps were in the 50's and it was raining-- perfect. The course was classic Barton-- goopy mud, concrete barriers of doom, dooooooom! Rain and big puddles. Lycra does a gread job of filtering all the mud out of the water and keeping it on the inside. Upon extricating myself from a mucky pair of bibs, I laughed to discover gobs and gobs of mud in my crotch!

I raced my singlespeed and got schooled again. If I didn't like cyclocross so much I'd take this as a sign that I need to pack up a go home. Maybe take up something like bowling or golf. Or maybe watching football on TV.

I feel like I still need to fiddle with the gearing a little-- on flat sections I felt like I was maybe spinning out or at least at a point where I wasn't able to really accelerate any more.

I really see the appeal of singlespeeds now. There's no wondering if you have another gear left or whether or not you're in the optimum gear. You have one and you go. If you can't, you get off and run. Or you soft-pedal or just coast.

Over the past few months my singlespeed "klunker" has been evolving. First it was just a klunker-- re-fitted with just the parts to get its rusty, neglected hulk rolling. Then it was tarted up a bit to use as a errand bike and to tow the trailer-bike. Then I switched to a drop bar as some sort of lark. ("Johnny T" my foot! Conventional drops are horrible off-road!) When I got another Midge handlebar and mounted it up, this bike really changed from the ugly duckling into the swan. (Well, maybe not quite yet...) Now I want to get it powder-coated. A nice red I think, sometime this winter or early next spring. I'm already having a hard time deciding on which bike to take to the races.

The weather continues to be rainy rainy rainy which bodes well for next week's race at the Washington Co. fairgrounds. That's a new venue and I'm excited to see that the Cross Crusaders have in store for us.