Racin’ Bikes in a Junkyard: the Bilenky Junkyard Cross Race
Photos and interview by Chris Lee
For many of the cyclocross racers in the Northeast, December means its finally time to hang up the ‘cross bike and start putting down base miles for road season. Another group however gets geared up for what they consider the most fun on a bike they’ll have all year. Yes, its time for the infamous Bilenky Junkyard Cross race.
I should preface this gallery by saying, as an isolated selection of images, it’s ok. But after I post all the content I got from this weekend, it’ll be more complete. That includes, reviews, portraits and yeah, my new cross bike. For now, however, it does encapsulate our race conditions and a rather fun way to end the season.
We’ve had a fairly wet fall here in Austin, resulting in some grueling races with a lot of mud. The problem is, we don’t get normal mud here, since the base is limestone. Instead, we get iron-rich clay and clay, well, clay doesn’t like bikes. At all. Unless it’s in the drying process, when suddenly it becomes rails of brown pow.
Saturday’s race was more of a Tough Mudder course than a race course, with the day starting off as a 2 mile track, with around 1.25 miles of running. It sucked. Sucked the energy from your legs, sucked your derailleur off your hanger and sucked all the space it could find within your stays, cranks and fork. The officials shortened the course, resulting in faster times, but still, a lot of running. I’ve never had to shoulder a bike in a race before. Usually, everything was ridable, for some of us, anyway.
When Sunday came around and I could barely walk, I wasn’t looking forward to the course.
Alas, there’s that magical moment where mud transforms to fast lines of singletrack through the woods and mudpits become tacky enough to form a rut. Those are the moments where cross racing takes hold of your skills and sharpens them like a battle ax. Sunday was amazing and fast!
After doing my thing, there was talk of a chili eat-off between one of the older teams in town and the newer teams. Yacht Club vs Super Awesome. I had my money on the later, since Yacht Club prides themselves on their fine dining and boyish physiques. Boy was I wrong…
Here’s that full length video from Team Cinelli Chrome, featuring clips from Red Hook Crit, a factory tour and interviews with the riders.
Photos by Verdict Digital
On December 14th, a bunch of contenders turned up for the Cadence Dope League 002 Gentlemen’s Race. This year’s course included a good amount of dirt and scenic byways. You know, the kind of ingredients to make the rest of us extremely jealous! See more at Cadence’s Flickr.
Top 5 finishers:
1: Riley Marmesh
2: Nat Futterman
3: Andrew Goessling
4: Dan Russell
5: Jake Teitelbaum
With less than a month to go, I wanted to remind you all of this race on Thursday, January 8th during ‘Cross Nationals in Austin.
“Mark your calendars – get ready – Beat the Clock Cycling and The Radavist will be throwing one hell of an unsanctioned cross race Thursday night before Cross Nationals in Austin. There will be an afterparty, booze and fun times. More information to come.”
If you’re planning on coming to Nationals in Austin, make it a week-long event. I’d bring a beefy set of tires with you for trail riding and night lamps, not blink lights. LAMPS.
I always love seeing footage from this race in Italy.
This video proses the staging of the Red Hook Crit Milano, prior to the start.
The 2014 Surf City Cyclocross Finals
Words and photos by Brian Vernor
My own history of racing cyclocross with the Surf City Cyclocross Series is too long to recount in a short article. In brief, Surf City Cyclocross is why I made my first film, Pure Sweet Hell (which premiered ten years ago this month), and why I have kept cyclocross near to my heart since my first race as a junior in 1993.
There are many heartlands of cyclocross. I’ve been to Belgium, Spain, Holland, Japan, and all over the United States, searching for the best action, beautiful courses, and the cult-like communities which make up the cross scene in each of those unique cyclocross heartlands. I appreciate all of them, but I appreciate none of them more than my own scene. That’s how it should be. People here in Santa Cruz have doggedly stuck to the core of what is cyclocross in America. Cyclocross is a contradiction; it sucks to do, and it’s glorious to have done it. Cyclocross will never have the audience and participation of football, basketball, or baseball, though we involved are always trying to grow it while keeping it true. Truth comes first and growth comes second.
You’ll have to excuse the excess in this photo gallery. There are a lot of shots in here.
Now that I stated the obvious, here’s even more… In Texas, we don’t get much rain, nor do we get many rainy cross races. So when the sky opens and the mud builds up, don’t be surprised to see file tread tires and Red cassettes in the staging areas.
Like house cats, having escaped for the weekend, a lot of people got quite the shock when every corner was suddenly slick and every descent, a myriad of dark brown ruts, with no grass to grip for traction.
Saturday’s race has been called the best of the season. A lotta climbing, as much descending. All in glorious mud. As the afternoon went on, it got worse and by the time the B’s raced – which is what I was in – it was pouring on us. Things didn’t go so well and I didn’t shoot many photos of Saturday’s race, but Sunday. Sunday was a blast.
New course, still just as muddy, with a run up that some of us rode and yes, plenty of pain…
Read along in the captions and enjoy the Gallery!
If you’re going to the races tomorrow in LA, do a few things for me: say hi to Tenspeed Hero, High Five any and all Mudfoot racers, check out Cadence’s pop-up at the Greek theater and swing by Golden Saddle afterwards!