We’re rolling up to the rapidly approaching World Championships of cyclocross with one fast race course in Flandriencross. Thanks for keeping us on our toes, CX Hairs!
Even with all of the letdown on Sunday morning at the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships, it was still a damn successful event up until that point. Wednesday through Saturday, races went off without a hitch and everyone was having a hell of a time riding the muddy and technical course. With adverse weather, comes adverse conditions and one group of individuals helped cope with the super sticky Texas mud moreso than your average pit crew.
The team at WD40 had a well-lubed process running just adjacent to the limestone runups. Outside of their heated tent, was a pressure-washing station, then inside their – yes, heated tent – a team of highly capable mechanics were on hand to give your bike a dry down, lube and even a quick tune up. All while you toasted your toes on their heater. Not bad huh?
Amanda Schaper is one of the women who hammered it during the Industry and Master’s races. An employee at Giro Cycling, she likes to support the local Santa Cruz framebuilding industry by racing for Caletti Cycles. Her titanium, Di2 machine is what many would consider a dream machine, yet she thrashes it, crashes it and in general, uses it to its full potential.
A potential that was a lot easier to photograph once WD40’s crews had cleaned off all the Dillo Dirt™…
Photos by Jeff Curtes
Over at the Speedbloggen, photographer Jeff Curtes wrote an essay on the 2015 ‘Cross Nats, including a great little write-up on Crash Nationals. Head on over to the Speedbloggen for more great photos!
Sunday morning came faster than I had anticipated this week. With all of the Cross Nats madness engulfing my town of Austin, I found myself chasing my friends around bars, drinking until 2am, or at least staying up until then, catching up and watching movies at our now AirBnB home for wayward cyclists.
Anyway, I awoke Sunday, to Jeremy Dunn – who wrote a recount at the Athletic – rapping on my door, saying, “dude, you’re missing the biggest news of the year!” “nats is cancelled!”, with emphasis on that word, ‘cancelled’…
“I’m heading to the pits now, do you want me to clean it off?”
The way I look at it, a perfectly-assembled, brand new bike always looks a bit weird being shot outside of a studio. While I prefer to document bicycles outside, using mostly natural light, there’s something eerie about a pristine example of a velocipede not at least a little dusty.
At ‘Cross Nats, it wasn’t hard to find dirty bikes, but once the races were postponed, the sea of custom steel bikes dwindled to a handful, the most recognizable being Dan Timmerman’s Team Richard Sachs cross bike.
As Dan exited the course during a pre-ride, I went over and asked if I could shoot some photos of it, caked with our particularly sticky, clay-ridden, Texas mud. Once I was done shooting photos, even the pit crew shouted “we haven’t had mud like this before” over the loud pressure washers…
The fact that Dan still cleans people’s clocks on a 20lb steel bike, while they’re on 16lb race bikes is a testament to the rider’s fitness, yet, you have to consider the mojo boost from a handmade bike, right? At any rate, this one’s not to be missed…
Got a MTB you want to convert to a dirt drop machine? Genenalle’s new GX Shifters are a new component setup option for that. They’re compatible with Shimano’s 10 speed Dyna-sis and Shadow Plus MTB derailleurs, so you can now get cassette coverage up to 36T.
I’m seriously considering these for my Indy Fab. See more at Gevenalle.
There’s a lot to be said about the events that occurred on Sunday morning here in Austin, all of which have been stomped to death elsewhere, so what I’ll say is, for a race that was almost killed off, this was one of most beautiful and challenging courses I’ve ever witnessed. That’s coming from someone who has never traveled overseas, of course, but still.
Look, Austin is a growing city, trying to keep things “weird” and maintain its small town vibe, while it’s bursting at the seams with new construction and lots of new, self-important money. Events like SxSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest have been destroying the same parks over and over again, so when people see their beautiful Zilker and its hillsides being “destroyed”, they tend to overreact. Especially when they’re not briefed as to what “cyclocross” is.
I can say, It upsets me that this is what the ‘cross world will forever remember us by, not for the ripping course and supportive local scene. We all love cross and it kills us just as much as it kills you. Anyway, onto the story…
For the past week, I’ve been figuring out how to document this event and let me tell you, it was a lot easier before the organizers changed the course up. I had spots for each lap and ideas about how to tie in the women’s and men’s races, all of which was out the window when Sunday’s race was cancelled and the course underwent major work, eliminating many of the vignettes I had planned.
Shooting ‘cross isn’t easy, but it sure is challenging and as a photographer, I learn something new each time. Having raced on Wednesday, I felt like I had a good understanding of where to go and when. Throughout the entire day on Monday, unridable mud slowly transformed into 100% hero dirt. The lines were worn in and even the most technical section – a ribbon of off-camber mud-gutter with a 10″ drop off into one of the old course’s lines – was ridable. For most anyway.
At the end of the day, I experimented, caught some moments and pulled together one of my favorite galleries to date. I hope you enjoy… and remember, Austin loves ‘cross, let’s try to forgive and forget.
There have been a lot of awesome cross bikes in town and I’ve tried my best to document them when I could, which unfortunately hasn’t been that often. This one, however was a must!
Nobuhiko Tanabe’s internet handle is NB_Log. He’s an employee at Blue Lug in Japan, races for Geekhouse and in general, is stoked out on bikes. His 2014 team Mudville cross bike has one of my favorite color combinations to ever leave the Boston framebuilder’s shop.
NB found himself in Austin for the 2015 ‘Cross Nats, going to the parties, races and events of this past week’s schedule, as well as pedaling around a few of our local trail systems.
At Wednesday’s events, I caught up with Nobuhiko to shoot some quick photos of his bike as he enjoyed the races… See more in the Gallery!
Face Plants and Frito Pies at the Crash Nationals Night Race
Photos by Gideon Tsang, Kevin Sparrow, Chris Lee and John Watson
Words by John Watson
When the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships (R.I.P.) were announced here in Austin, our local club, Beat the Clock Cycling and I decided to throw a bandit race out in the woods on the far East side of town, away from all the sanctioned races on Thursday night. We wanted it to be technical and tough, and best of all, at night.
… well, not because of mud, but because of damage to Zilker park and its trees.
Straight out of an Onion article, the irony here is that music festivals like ACL and SxSW cause more damage to the parks here in Austin, expedite erosion and in general, thrash the town, yet a bike race in a small part of a park that no one uses gets shut down by Parks and Rec.
… or we can just say it’s cancelled because of mud. Check out a BTB TV report going live in a few.
Stay tuned on Twitter for news, because I’m going riding.