Thursday, October 30, 2014
MOMENTUM. A bike should retain it naturally, but the mud robs it from you. The sand steals it. You squirm and crunch to put constant power onto your pedals to replenish the inertia. When that's not enough, you dismount and start running. That's cyclocross. It's what makes cyclocross hard to understand for the general public yet so addictive to those rare individuals that thrive on overcoming a challenge and seeing what they're made of.
This is especially true in the tough courses & conditions that Cascade Cross cooks up. We want to see you out there pushing yourself. We don't have an easy course and we don't have any easy races. When you get tired, look up and hear "3 laps to go!" we expect to hear you say “What!? No way!” then put your head down and keep going. We expect you to keep going until the friendly (yet cruel) man at the finish line flips the last board on the lap counter and shouts "You're done!"
And so it was at Bellingham BMX #2 last weekend. Once the rain really got under the hard summer skin of our permacourse venue, the infamous peanut butter mud emerged from the depths of that wicked clay soil. The season shifted quickly from all dry, bumpy, and fast courses to something more like a winter epic, and the hardness quotient was raised very quickly. We got what we were looking for out of Bellingham BMX this season, so I'm glad we went back after some “normal” fall weather! We're cooking up some new programs to keep the gates open at the venue this winter, so stay tuned on that front. We want to use the facility to its maximum potential, and we're open to suggestions!
If you missed the mud bath, I'M SORRY for you, but here's a close-up look at some of the action. Chris Stevens, who raced in the Master Men B field, has a photo set on Flickr as he prepares an article on the series for the upcoming Bicycle Paper issue. Going even deeper, we have a fantastic writeup and photo collection from Brett Whitehead at The Holeshot.ca. This was Brett's first race back with Cascade Cross after setting up his custom Donkelope Bike he won for finishing every race last season. What a nice surprise for him - all this mud! He has some real kind things to say about the Series and the Bellingham BMX permacourse that made my heart sing a bit. Thanks, Brett! It looks like that free bike frame is paying back some nice dividends to us.
Now recall that notion of keeping your momentum. The secret, in an individual 'cross race as well as your whole 'cross season, is getting that inertia up and keeping it! To keep momentum in this sport, when the weather & darkness tries to snuff out your enthusiasm for outdoor sport, when the couch begs you to keep it warm, the screen clamoring for your eyeballs - it takes immense drive. If you're just brushing off the bike this fall, here's a prime chance to light the fire under your ass, as we still have 5 races to go! If you've been rolling with us so far, I hope your kits, shoes, & bike are washed & dried, parts replaced, gears tuned, chains tightened & lubed... because we're moving straight onto the Border Clash!
This has become another classic PNW venue in our toolbag, and we're looking forward to re-igniting our friendly rivalry with the lads & lasses up north. The Jack's Bicycle Center/Homegrown Racing team was out at Transition's super-secret winter training lair last Sunday mowing & staking, lining out a cool race configuration for this Saturday, and we'll be wrapping up the taping on the afternoon of Halloween. Just one day of racing this year, so you can go race the MFG SCCA/Starbucks Gran Prix in WA, or Pumpkin Cross up in BC, or whatever floats your bike on Sunday, and NO FLYOVER!. Another surprise gift from Greg at Donkelope, that steep & vicious beast has seen its day of traveling all around Whatcom County. Just the usual sand, dirt berms, grass, singletrack, gravel, and asphalt! And now with chip-timing that we've come to trust, so you can look forward to a proper, full-speed finish line on the asphalt this year. I for one am looking forward to those all-out sprints! You can also expect an orderly call up procedure with YANKS vs. CANUCKS based on our newly posted Overall Series Points. And if you're not bumping, it's not racing!
See you out there,