Where do I eat? What’s the weather going to be like? Where can I ride? Where’s a good bar? What shop can I ship my bike to?
See the full spread below.
Trust me, this post is out of absolute necessity. The number of emails I have received over the past few weeks regarding ‘Cross Nationals is insane. Everyone wants to know what the locals know and you know what? That’s really rad. Austin is a great town!
Fear not. The crew at the Radavist has prepared an extensive list to help you prepare and enjoy the 2015 Cyclocross Nationals in Austin, Texas, beginning with your gear list…
Before we start, I should clarify a few things. First, the weather is unpredictable. Things can change overnight and without the proper equipment and gear, your vacation to race your bike could quickly become a nightmare. One day, you’re swimming in Barton Springs Pool or the Greenbelt and the next, you’re in lobster claw gloves smearing embrocation on your legs and freezing your ass off. Pack accordingly. Oh and if it’s warm out, there’s a high probability that cedar allergies will obliterate you. Be warned!
Some gear we’d recommend:
-Jacket (rain, hardshell and softshell)
-Gloves (trail riding, rain and cold weather)
-Two pairs of shoes (if you plan on riding trails, you’re going to get wet)
-Winter cycling cap
-Extra set of tires. Something big, in the 35mm – 40mm range for trail riding. 33mm is fine for racing.
-Trail lamps, for riding at night.
Next up, which is one of the most frequently asked questions: shops! The following shops have a presence in the local ‘cross scene and are worth checking out. Please bear in mind, these are the shops the Radavist enjoys to visit, not necessarily the end all, be all list of bike shops in Austin. These are, however all close to downtown.
Shops to check out:
-Mellow Johnny’s – good coffee, showers, lockers, exceptional mechanics.
-Austin Bikes – brand new facilities, smiling staff, close to downtown.
-Bicycle Sport Shop – title sponsor of the CX Nats. HUGE selection of gear, right over the river.
-D1 – boutique shop with just about anything you’d need to survive Nats.
-Cycleast – relaxed vibes on the East Side, bring a six pack!
-East Side Pedal Pushers – the chillest of chill shops on the East Side of Austin.
If you’re planning on shipping your bike to Austin, I’d chose Mellow Johnny’s because of their location. You can literally take an airport shuttle bus downtown, assemble your bike there and pedal off to your lodging.
Speaking of lodging…
Hotels aren’t cheap until you spread out at least 4 miles from downtown. Look up Air BnB for rooms or rent a house with your friends. Hotel San Jose is on the high end and the Days Inn is on the opposite end.
So, you’ve got your gear packed, your bike is in your hands and you’ve found a place to stay. Time for food! Here’s where the list gets juicy…
-Vera Cruz All Natural (best Migas breakfast tacos in town)
-East Side King (multiple locations)
-La BBQ (get ready for a queue)
-Micklethwait Craft Meats
-Torchy’s (multiple locations)
-Clark’s Oyster Bar (go here for happy hour, best burger in town!)
-Licha’s Cantina ($5 happy hour margaritas and snacks)
-Takoba (gringo mexican food)
-Sway (pricey but great thai)
-Bouldin Creek (vegan / veggie food)
-Live Oak BBQ (cheap, quick, but good!)
-Lambert’s (decent BBQ)
-Koriente (great japanese/asian health food)
-Juan in a Million (Austin legend, cheap mexican food)
-Texas Chili Parlor (oh my god)
-Polvos (tex mex and Everclear margaritas)
-Yellow Jacket Social Club (best bar, also good eats)
-Frank (gourmet sausages)
-24 Diner (yep, 24 hours)
Oh yeah, if you’re like me, coffee is essential!
-Flat Track (love, love, love that shop!)
-Brew & Brew
-Juan Pelota (Mellow Johnny’s)
-Yellow Jacket Social Club (the official Crash Nationals afterparty spot)
-Brew and Brew (craft beers galore)
-The White Horse (two-steppin’)
-Enjoy a cold beer at any of the Royal Blue locations
-Avoid “dirty 6th” at all costs, save for the Jackalope
Maybe you want to do a scenic “road ride” on your cross bike? I’d recommend this easy loop. Is that enough to get you rolling? Now that we’ve discussed what to see while you’re in town, how about the main event?
Zilker Park isn’t exactly “epic”, but there are a few features that make it interesting. All of which I want to be a surprise, so you’ll have to just take my word for it. There will be thorns and lots of sharp limestone, so I would recommend a tubeless setup to avoid punctures and pinch flats.
For the most part though, it’s grass, so expect fast lap times. To familiarize yourself with the terrain, various groups will be doing rides throughout the week to Walnut Creek, McKinney Falls and the Greenbelt, all local trails.
-Rock Lobster SSCX Post-race Party at the Speakeasy 8pm
-Crash Nationals – Thursday (meet at the Radavist HQ – details TBA)
-Chris King Breakfast at Bicycle Sport Shop Friday, 8:30 – 10:30am
-Rapha/Chris King party Friday at Mellow Johnny’s 6 pm.
-For the Love of Mud Premiere Friday at Stateside Theater 7pm.
-Saila Bicycles Cross Nat’s Open House
-Real Ale Brewing and Bicycle Sport Shop Parking Lot Party Saturday (post-race)
-Crank Brothers & Fizik Happy Hour with Jeremy Powers at Mellow Johnny’s, Saturday 5:30 pm.
-T$A’s Post-Nats Blowout at The ABGB – Sunday (post-race)
Oh and there’s that Nationals crossie race thingy, too…
Got any questions or other thoughts? Drop them in the comments!