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But before I get on with the recaps from Sunday, I’d like to draw your attention to a new blog in town – Team Sexypants, authored by none other than Big Grin himself, joEL! His header image is a picture I took of him one of the nights we were camping out during our weekend out of town for last year’s Ouachita Challenge.

So. Nationals on Sunday. We had what could be considered classic Cyclocross weather, which is to say godawful. It had snowed on and off all day on Saturday, and laid down an obliging ice-shower on Thursday and Friday, and was frostbite-inducingly cold the entire time. Joel was racing early on Sunday morning (singlespeed, the first race of the day, at 8:00 a.m.) so we got out on the road plenty early. We were at Wyandotte County Park, the scene of all the action, before 7:00 a.m. The ground was frozen solid, and ruts from the previous three days’ racing had become vicious wheel-grabbing trenches. When the racers lined up for the start, I noted that several men with beards or moustaches sported frost in their facial hair.

The dude with the bare arms was wearing a “Hooters” tank-top, and he was wearing orange hotpants over his cycling shorts. I’m pretty sure he DNFed that race. The guy on the pink trek with the iced-over moustache is Travis Brown of considerable mountain-biking fame.

Joel entered the race with a 3-crash limit in his mind, and decided after the second crash in the first lap that it was not meant to be and pulled out of the race. He has since declared “no more ice races” which I would say is a sensible decision.

At the point when Joel disappeared from the Singlespeed race, it was about 8:30 a.m. and brain-freezingly cold. My brain was frozen. It was stuck on the thought, “brrr, this is cold, this sucks, brrr.”I was seriously wondering if I would be able to hang all day. I was wearing two sweaters and a coat, a pair of heavy-duty wind-front tights under heavy corduroy pants, wool socks, insulated boots, my heaviest gloves, an earband, and a stocking cap. I was cold, even under all that. My nipples, I swear to you, felt like they were freezing off. Joel had some extra-extra clothes in the truck, and I added yet another sweater. That was apparently what I needed to push me over the comfort threshhold, because after the addition of sweater #3, I was fine and dandy.

After that, it was a day of cheering on riders I knew or liked the look of, chatting with folks, and taking pictures. The course could only be described as treacherous, and there were certain places that were total “wreck alleys.” There was a spot right in front of the pit area where a wallow of frozen ruts and divots tended to channel riders straight into the barrier fence – so much so that by noon, the fence was bowed in about four feet. I had to stop watching from the pits, because some of the wrecks just looked so painful and awful. One guy went over the bars and basically clotheslined himself on the fence, and another girl got stuck when her bars wedged into the fence and she was pinned to the ground by her trapped bicycle. I found the viewing over by the big mudpit near the refreshment tent to be less cringeworthy, though significantly messier. Riders would hit the mudpit at speed, sending up fans of slushy mud easily five feet into the air. Jonesy, RyanE, Grant, and Tiny were hanging out over there, so Joel and I exchanged rude pleasantries with them. Ryan and Jones had brought their newest ski-bikes and posed with their creations.

Ryan Elrod and Ryan Jones, w/ skibikes. Grant and Ryan, being degenerates.

Mudpit, Ice-rutted crash-alley

Elite racer dressed as a Christmas elf.

Joel, in his pink HSP beanie and Alex’s fuschia feather boa. A mechanic for the Tough Girl cycling team. There were two of these guys in their hot-pink coveralls, and you could spot them across a crowded field.

More Cowbell. C/X Chicken (courtesy of Ben McCall)

I loved the shot of the VeloBella bike rack, because the bikes look so tiny and uniform! Most of the VeloBella racers are fairly average-sized women 5’4″-5’6″ and so they ride similar-sized bikes to what I do…50-52cm. It should be a really common size, since this is pretty average height for American women, but I had the devil’s time finding a bike in that range back when I was shopping. It made me smile to see NOTHING but bikes of that size all in once place.

Camp VeloBella

The warming station of Camp VeloBella, serving hot tea and hot spiced cider.

One of the Velo-Belles. She wore this extra-fuzzy stocking cap over her helmet. It made it easy to spot her in the race. She’d steadily been picking her way up through the pack when she got a flat at the far end of the course, as far from the pits as possible, which ended the race for her. Such a bummer.

There are some cases in which a picture is worth a thousand words. There are other cases in which video is worth a million. Here are two of those cases:

Cowbell man in action. He went around all day wearing about 30 cowbells hanging from all over his coveralls.


Joel, carried away by the driving beats of the ever-present dance music, wearing Alex’s glittery feather boa and shakin’ his groove thang.

Anyway, I can’t seem to get very coherent, so I’ll leave you with some other folks’ photosets (as well as my entire bumper-crop of pictures from the event.

Ben McCall
Sara Gibson


I’m sure there are more, and more will trickle on to Flickr. Search around – there are some GREAT shots out there.

4 Responses to “Last day of Cyclocross Nationals-impressions and photos”

  1. kju says:

    Jason Sager found some good shots, with this my favourite one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigdaddyrosa/2118746596/

  2. meetzorp says:

    Ouch! That’s one of those seriously rutted spots.

  3. Ron says:

    Hello! i was wondering where you got that pink mechanics jumpsuit?

  4. Meetzorp says:

    I don’t have provenance information, I’m afraid. I just took a photo of a random guy at a cyclocross race. I suspect it began as a plain white painters’ overall and they dyed it.

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