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Vos is Boss-Pidcock of the Walk at the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships

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Vos is Boss-Pidcock of the Walk at the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships

A strange sensation grips the mind when a long drive begins in the darkness of predawn. The city remains still, holding onto its final few hours of sleep, and the highway remains virtually empty. There is a promise in the loneliness of the opening hours of long highway travel. Exits flutter by in the darkness; distant lights of tractor-trailers and roadside oasis’ are the only possible signs of life beyond the confines of my car. The falling snow has narrowed my concentration to the reflecting lines on the asphalt as I navigate south and west on my way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for this year’s Cyclocross World Championships.

My Name is Windy: The Scene at the 2021 CX Nats

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My Name is Windy: The Scene at the 2021 CX Nats

Act One: We Can’t Stop Here, This is Nats Country!

In which our anti-hero-TeamLifeLOL-genderwhatever sets the stage with cold takes on Chicago-lite.

What a December it was for The Cyclocross in Chicago. I’ve seen a few different versions of this: rain and sleet off Lake Michigan for Montrose; 60 degrees (and a hot tub at both!), bitter cold and wind at Afterglow; and for USAC CX Nationals in Wheaton, IL, there was a complete fall-to-winter seasonal transition.

2021 Philly Bike Expo: Pachyderm Bikes Custom Cyclocross

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: Pachyderm Bikes Custom Cyclocross

Since 2014, Dan Schaumann has been a full-time professor at University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design and runs a R+D lab within the Department of Ophthalmology. In addition to his teaching duties, various design-related past times, and riding/racing bikes, Dan has been building frames as Pachyderm Bikes out of the Chicago-based Bubbly Dynamics co-op workshop and now from his own garage shop space. Through peer and self-teaching at Bubbly, Dan honed his craft and has built race bikes for himself, teammates, and friends. He’s even started teaching others the art of framebuilding. Continue reading below for Dan’s description of the cyclocross bike he built for his friend Sam Scipio and displayed at the 2021 Philly Bike Expo, as documented by Jarrod Bunk‘s imagery.

Smells Like ‘Cross: The 2021 Cyclocross National Championships

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Smells Like ‘Cross: The 2021 Cyclocross National Championships

As I sit here looking through the rolls of film shot at this year’s Cyclocross Nationals in Chicago, IL, the feeling is bittersweet. Traditionally, Nationals marks the end of the domestic racing season, but as I wandered through the parking lot catching up with old friends, it felt more like the beginning of something. After two years of canceled events, postponements, and isolation, gathering in Chicago for this year’s race almost felt ‘normal.’

Ben Frederick’s “Love your Brain” Fundraiser and Jersey Pre-Order

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Ben Frederick’s “Love your Brain” Fundraiser and Jersey Pre-Order

Earlier this fall we featured Fergus Tanaka’s touching story about Ben Frederick‘s fundraiser with Love your Brain, a non-profit organization that advocates for traumatic brain injury relief and recovery. Ben is also raffling off one of his custom Ritchey Swiss Cross frames. We’re bumping this today in hopes of elevating Ben’s raffle and getting more eyes on this project. The raffle runs through the end of this year and tickets for the frame and other prizes can be purchased from Ben’s website. Check out some more photos below!

2021 Philly Bike Expo: Jubilee Manufacturing Cyclocross Bike

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: Jubilee Manufacturing Cyclocross Bike

The Philly Bike Expo often has a good mix of seasoned builders and others that are beginning to hone their craft. Sam Scipio just started building frames earlier this year under the moniker Jubilee Manufacturing and already had a beautiful cyclocross bike (her second build) ready to show off at the Expo. Today, accompanying Jarrod Bunk‘s detailed photos, Sam talks about her bike and why she’s inspired to be building frames.

All-City’s New Nature Cross Single Speed

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All-City’s New Nature Cross Single Speed

Built from All-City’s proprietary A.C.E. steel tubing, the Nature Cross Single Speed is an option for a light, fast, and to be honest, good lookin’ SSCX bike for this season. These complete bikes ($2,299) and framesets ($1,499) come with an eccentric bottom bracket for easy gear swaps and for 2022 the Nature Cross comes in an ombré fade “Pink Lemonade” paint scheme. Check out all the details at All-City.

Ben Frederick’s Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc and Love Your Brain

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Ben Frederick’s Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc and Love Your Brain

I was introduced to Ben Frederick by my predecessor at Ritchey, Sean Coffey, in the summer of 2015. “Get a load of this kid,” he said while showing me what appeared to be someone not only racing the pro/UCI cross field on a cantilevered steel bike but easily on the podium of these races as well. The iconic red of the Ritchey Swiss Cross sticking out amongst the sea of carbon contenders dressed in every color but that made it easy to spot him moving up through the field. “We’re sponsoring him now,” Sean said, and possibly the easiest introduction to a  soon-to-be friend as I’ve ever had.

Speedvagen Ready Made CX Team Edition Framesets

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Speedvagen Ready Made CX Team Edition Framesets

After a year off from racing, everyone is more stoked than ever to say #crossiscoming. Over at Speedvagen, they’re so excited that for the first time they are offering Ready Made Cyclocross Team Editions as Frame-sets only. This is in part due to the supply shortages plaguing the industry.

Cyclocross was the beginning of Speedvagen and cross bikes are still among their favorite bikes. Light and nimble, ready to get rowdy. Not over-built like most “gravel” bikes today. A pure cross bike is something magical. Sacha has always said if he had to pick a bike for the apocalypse it would be a single-speed cyclocross bike.

THE RMCXTED Frameset Specs:
-Two Super Sparkly Paint Schemes, New for 2021 Team Blue or our traditional Team White
-Stock sizing 50-58cm
-Enve CX Fork
-Enve Post Head
-Enve Stem
-PF30 or T47 shell (single speed or geared)
-Turn around time 5-6 mo
-Deposit $1000 (deducted from the total price)

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Ripping Ruts and Cyclocross Poetry

A project in which a poem is disguised as a bicycle video, that you read with your ears…

I love to ride my bike. I also love to write poetry. The only problem is, people pay more attention to the riding than the writing.

Maybe that’s because folks are perplexed by a sweaty, 32-year-old man in tights grunting around in circles on the beach. Maybe it’s because I only write limericks that will get me in trouble if anyone sees them besides my dog…

Regardless, in an attempt to bring some joy to these most topsy turvey of times, and to bring some purpose to my own disrupted life, I wanted to share my love of sandy cyclocross rides and poetry.

The sandy cyclocross ride is inspired by the hallowed dunes of the Koksijde World Cup in Belgium. Even though the event was canceled this year, I can still chase a similar feeling closer to home. And those rides close to home inspire the words you are about to absorb. And hopefully, those words inspire you to go find your own bicycle happy place wherever that may be. And from there, we can all enjoy what we have right in front of us. And be inspired for something anew. And so the cycle will roll, on and on and on…..

Or for a more traditional poetry consumptive experience, the full text is below:

Tides

Dream.
I, Dream.
Of distant lands,
Where lore dug deep
‘Cross windswept dunes

A Digital Preview – Of Crank & Chain: Cyclocross

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A Digital Preview – Of Crank & Chain: Cyclocross

Of Crank & Chain: Cyclocross is a 240 page photographic and written expression of domestic cyclocross in 2019. Both black and white and color images captured locally in the Pacific Northwest as well as at UCI events around the nation, the book is not organized by the events themselves, but rather by parts of a race day from the events spanning the season, blended together and presented as one continuous event. None of the images contain captions of the who and the where, because, in a way, a season is a singular event and also features images of amateurs and professionals and doesn’t draw a distinction between them. In the U.S., we are all just ‘cross racers suffering on the same track. In that respect, American cyclocross paints amateurs and pros with essentially the same brush. More than anything the book is about what it is to race cyclocross and what goes into it, as opposed to a year in review.

Dancing on Fascism’s Grave: Beyond Bike Racing in Euskadi 

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Dancing on Fascism’s Grave: Beyond Bike Racing in Euskadi 

More than a year later, I’m still captivated by the memory, the scene, the moment.

It was a hot autumn day, one of the last of the year before the seasonal chill poured from the Bay of Biscay into the Spanish Basque Country. A young man stepped into the middle of the road. He wore a flapping outfit of white with a red handkerchief and belt. It was the kind of attire that flails down the narrow streets of Basque cities during the annual running of the bulls in Northern Spain.

Haute Neanderthal: Inside Rock Lobster Cycles

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Haute Neanderthal: Inside Rock Lobster Cycles

Just before Covid hit the US and races were canceled indefinitely, I had a conversation on a ride with good friend Brendan Lehman (who is sometimes, more often than not, known as the official unofficial mis-manager of the Rock Lobster race team) about joining the risk of Lobsters and racing on a custom frame built by Paul Sadoff himself. I’d been riding with the Rock Lobster crew here in Santa Cruz for several years and we all seemed to share a common bond in doing remarkably stupid endurance rides, putting mental and physical limits to the test for fun and adventure. Since I first laid eyes on one, there has always been something alluring to me about a classic, team issue, seafoam green Rock Lobster. Not only will I get to ride and race on this custom bike built for my body dimensions, but I also get the pleasure to ride it with the builder himself. As a photographer, I figured it would be great to capture the build of my custom frame from start to finish and get to know Paul a little better in the process.

Flowers for Rita: The Positive Power of Persistence

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Flowers for Rita: The Positive Power of Persistence

Dearest Readers,

If you’ve followed the reporting for the last three years on this Cyclocross Pilgrimage to the Motherland, you will have read plenty of tales of struggling, suffering, and the general beat downs of European race life. I’m not here to make excuses or polish turds. I’m here to tell it to you like it is. To keep it real. Thus I’ve written more than 30 articles bringing you along for my weekly whoopings in all their self-deprecating glory because that’s the truth. That’s the reality. That’s the story. 

And now, dearest readers, I finally have a happy tale to tell. Though it feels an odd one to write, and I cringe at potentially walking the fine line of self-aggrandizing douche. But I try to consider the context. This is the first time in over 30 deadlines that I’ve managed a meaningful achievement. This too is just part of the ride. The reality. The story. And it’s the kind I might not get to write again for another three years, or for that matter, ever again…

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A CX Nats Video

Here’s a fun recap video from USA Cycling’s Cyclocross National Championships at Fort Steilacoom Park…

Start Where You Are: Fundraising Through Fun Racing with Leave It On The Road

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Start Where You Are: Fundraising Through Fun Racing with Leave It On The Road

My friend Rebecca Gates once told me, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” She quickly admitted that this piece of wisdom came from tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Since then it has been at the top of my mind. There is power in this expression “Start where you are” eliminates steps to action. “Use what you have” wrests back agency– doing this engages oneself in action while giving oneself to taking action, or “do what you can.”

Action, especially towards a greater good, is the most salient way to combat the various tentacles of existential dread, whether they are cancer, capitalism, or climate change. No matter where we turn, dread appears. Unavoidable but not unconquerable, we succumb only through inaction. Taking the first step towards action can be difficult, especially in our culture, which seems to perpetually discovering new heights of apathy. The world and our culture can feel like an incredibly heavyweight.