Monday, October 5, 2009

Mix Mash: Brittania Madison, Sneak Peak and more

Sunday marked my first race in the Eastern Ontario series this year. It was certainly one not to be missed; the Madison format is quite exciting. While Will, Thom and Brad were all out of town for Will's wedding, and others from the team indisposed for various reasons, Tall Tree representation came down to Jamie, Pascal, Martin, Mike and myself.

Last year Jamie and I tackled the race together and came out well, 16th place. It was his first 'cross race. This time round Jamie had some practice under his belt and was flying. I managed to get us into a pretty good position by the end of the first lap, around 6th or 7th, and Jamie held it through his lap. After that, a few of the other teams clawed their way forward and we dropped back a bit. Nonetheless, we wound up in 10th, which we are both really happy with. Our improvement came down to Jamie's increased speed for sure, as I'm pretty sure I was slower than last year, in the late stages of a strong cold.

Pascal teamed up with Martin (aka, Wolverine), for his first ever cross race. That's the beauty of the Madison format, it really pulls people in. On Steve's lent Cross Check (thanks Steve!), Pascal underwent a quick primer on dismounting technique and then he was off. He took to the discipline really well, evidence of the kinesthetic intelligence he has developed over his years on mtb and road bikes. He remarked on really getting in to a groove on the run-ups, which are probably one of the most challenging obstacles for most. I find them pretty hard to do well. So Pascal ended up having an awesome time, and is keen to take a crack at another race in the series. Sweet, another buddy to share the cross experience with; the more the merrier.

Speaking of this sentiment, I just read an interview with Jacquie Phelan in the latest Bicycle Quarterly, where she mentions she found roadies in her racing experience tended to prefer smaller fields - the fewer the riders, the better the opportunity to podium. In contrast, she found mtb events she did were the opposite; people were always happy to have more involved - the more the merrier. Our crew tends to be of the latter mindset, the more the merrier. Is this an mtb thing or a love to ride bikes with other people thing?

Also in this issue of BQ is some excellent analysis of tire and fork suspension on road bikes. This deserves more 'ink' here, I'll post again soon on this. Also, Jan Heine interviews both Phelan and Charlie Cunningham. Both interviews are illuminating. Cunningham's ruminations on the planned obsolescence of bicycle technology is well timed. Again, this is a topic to elaborate in another post, and since I am a nerd for philosophy of technology type stuff, I'll revisit this. Let me just echo Todd Fairhead, proud owner of a Kirk custom steel road bike and wearer of Tall Tree colours, 'steel keeps me from lusting after then newest greatest carbon stuff.' That is, if you get yourself set up on a classic steel bike, all the 'progress' in materials becomes irrelevant. That's kind of liberating. This is the thesis anyhow. I can't say I am all the way onboard in this regard.

On the topic of classic steel bikes, here is a sneak peak of mine. Well, nothing really sneaky about it, its a peak. The setup in this photo is not all the way realized as planned. For example, the green housing will become white (magically). I also have hammered Honjos on is now. This is close. I'll post on its details soon. I'd like to have opportunity to take it for a proper ride before really speaking about its ride quality. A loop of the parkway would be a good start, then a full 150kplus day on the backroads. It'll happen before winter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We really otta have a race in the hills here soon. Once that gate closes? And, the ground bone hard with ice with no humans in sight.
Start at Gamelin to 5 to 15 to 1 to 6 to 32 to 14 to 8 then pop out and climb up blacks (stairs) road to 1 up to 3 to road to 32 (off parkway to camp fortune) then up 4 down 1 to 15 to 5 to Gamelin.
When everything is bone hard...