Cyclo-cross Nationals Day 4

As stated in my previous post I had to miss out on Day 3 of the cross nationals action, but today made up for it. Most of my day was spent at the Saris shanty eating brats, drinking beer, and taking pictures.

It was a lot of fun! We encouraged friends and strangers alike to stop by and enjoy some traditional Wisconsin treats. People couldn’t believe we were offering up food and beer for free, but hey…we wanted to have some northern hospitality!

The weather started out 32 and windy. Course conditions were pretty sloppy and got really tough for riders to navigate as the day went on. The temperature continued to drop and the warm up zone (I did spend a good chunk of time there as well) was pretty much packed, up until they ended the last race.

The expo was super packed. I got a chance to see the Knog guy again as he moved his tent next to the shanty, course side. The guys from Gore were also partying it up with him and the Great Dane/Team Magnus folks.

At the Skratch Labs truck I finally got to meet Allen Lim. He’s a super nice guy and has worked with Cycle Ops for a long time on the development side and with training education. The whole Skratch crew is pretty great.

Glacier Glove have a rep at the races. I’m sure they were selling gloves like hot cakes! I myself had burned Keri’s gloves I borrowed from putting them too close to the fire pit outside the shanty (Oops. I’ll get you some new ones!)

I wandered over to the food tent where I grabbed a free brew from Sierra Nevada. I invited them over to the shanty, so hopefully they will get a chance to check it out. They were all really friendly. After that I grabbed some veggie chili at the Underground Food Collective booth. I needed SOMETHING with veggies in it to make up for the brats and beer I had been scarfing earlier. The chili was really good. It hit the spot for sure!

Overall it was a really fun day. Even when I got home it was tough shaking the chill from my bones. I guess that comes with bike racing in January, outside in Wisconsin.

Check out the photo gallery below to check out the races and the atmosphere!

-Cass

Cyclo-cross Nationals- Days 1 & 2

One of the many reasons I love working in the bike industry is that I get paid to hangout at events like Cyclo-cross Nationals. This is Madison’s second year hosting the USA Cycling/UCI event and it’s much colder and snowier than it was last year!

Day 1 included non championship races for men and women as well as my personal favorite, the single speed races. While most of my day included watching over the Cycle Ops sponsored warm up tent, I did have time to escape and shoot some photos.

The men’s 30-39 race was a must see as one of my co-workers was competing. He didn’t quite podium, but still had a good place in the standings.

Day 2 was the masters series. These are the folks who have been racing for a LOOONG time. Well, most of them at least. It’s always inspiring to see someone 60+ get out there and rage. Especially on an icy death trap of a cross course!

Today I spent a little more time visiting some of the other exhibitors. I chatted with the guys over at Trek. They have some swag they are giving away like cycling hats and cowbells, so be sure to stop by and say hi to them! Trek also has a sweet corn-hole game set up (aka beanbag toss). Oh, you can also enter to win a Cross Rip. It’s their entry level cross bike.

Later in the day I wandered over to the Skratch Labs food truck. They are dishing up some tasty, yet healthy meals for everyone. If you get a chance, stop by and try a sample of their hydration mix. It’s made with all natural ingredients and tastes AMAZING! I trained with it all summer long and LOVE the stuff. It also doubles as a great hangover remedy 😉

Shortly after, I stopped by the Knog tent. I can’t remember the gentleman’s name who was working it, but he’s pretty much their only US employee. Knog is based in Australia and has done so well that the company doesn’t need a giant team of reps to travel around, so it’s just one guy and a tent. He gets to travel all over to cool events and showcase the latest Knog gear. If you see him, stop and chat with him. He’s a very friendly dude.

Some other spots I checked out were the Felt tent and the Stan’s No Tubes tent. Felt didn’t have much going on except for a few cross bikes. I was hoping they would have showcased a little more product, but they were probably more focused on supporting their riders. Stan’s had a sweet set up with repair stands, bike parking, a nice product display, some trainers. Pretty legit stuff.

Inside of the main food tent was Twin Six. They have some limited edition swag for sale and some product catalogs showcasing their 2013 line up. I had wondered by there two days in a row, but unfortunately they were a little standoffish so I just ended up walking away. Bummer as I really like their gear. I seem to think that if someone is showing interest in what you have going on, you should drum up conversation. It’s just good business practice, rather than being standoffish or complaining loudly about how you dislike your most recent job performance review. Sorry, but it’s true.

The overall selection of food is pretty decent. There’s the Fine Italian Beef stand (Chicago dogs, Italian dips, etc.) , the Wisconsin food stand (cheese curds, brats, etc.), a (must have) Southwestern/Mexican food stand, a coffee stand (great chai latte), and the Skratch Labs truck. Nearby is also Pasqual’s and the Draft House. All are great options for the hungry spectator!

I have to say that this year’s set up is much better than last year’s for the event as a whole. The flow of everything makes more sense and the expo is more visible. I’ll be sad to see Cross Nationals leave Madison. Hopefully we can bring it back again in a few years.

Check out  photos below of Day 1 & Day 2. I sadly won’t be able to make it out tomorrow, which really sucks because I want to watch the women’s races. I have a lot of in office work to catch up on though, but I’ll be back out on Saturday!

One last thing to note is that the Saris/Cycle Ops shanty is now in the expo. It got dropped off this afternoon and it looks KICK ASS! Go find a photo of it on the Cycle Ops Facebook page. It has a beer pong table and everything!

Enjoy!

-Cass

Cross Nationals Jan 9th-13th!

Check out the poster below for all of the awesome ‘Cross related events coming up next week! The actual races start on Wednesday of next week. We’ll be there, camera’s in tow to check out the action. There will be of course some of the best of the best cyclocross racing, shanties, a full on expo center, coffee, great food, a sweet Saris/Cycle Ops sponsored warm up tent, music, and a hell of a lot of fun!

We strongly encourage everyone to come out and see what ‘Cross is all about. Even if you could care less about bicycle racing, it’s the atmosphere that makes the experience fun for both spectators and racers.

bicicle-festivities-poster_web

Talking About Winter Commuting- Video

Here’s a short video of myself talking about riding in snowy/icy conditions. My regular commute one way is 5miles. My Surly has Vittoria Randonneur Hyper (700x38c I believe) tires on it currently, which have a really smooth tread. They were fine getting me through the conditions we had today for the most part, but I had to ride pretty slow. I also had to get off my bike and walk it over one of the commuter bridges that passes over the freeway.

I’m hopping once the holidays are over I can score a set of studded tires to try out and have some cheapish fenders from PDW on the way. I actually loath full length fenders. They weigh too much and I have toe overlap as it is, so I like the clip on route all the way. Maybe you feel differently…that’s just my opinion.

I’ve been continually experimenting with wearing different types of clothing for riding. Today I chose regular skinny jeans, a t-shirt with a tank top under, a Mountain Hardwear Butter hoodie/pullover thing, wool socks, DZR shoes (there will definitely be a write up on those), a Patagonia down jacket, wool hat, and actual winter ski gloves. The outfit worked alright. I still find it hard to ride in jeans in general rather than tights or athletic pants.

The trend is that I’m much warmer up top, sometimes too warm, than I am below. My legs have definitely suffered from the lack of insulation. I need to try some different things out on that front.

I’ll probably experiment with wearing Ski goggles as my Sunglasses are too dark most mornings and evenings on my way home. I actually wore a pair of safety glasses from work for the beginning of my ride, but they fogged up and froze over after a bit.

The lighting on my bike was pretty good, but I feel since I wore regular clothes my actual body didn’t have much reflective gear on it and I like to be seen, so I’ll probably include my riding vest back into my clothing choices in the future.

Overall the past couple days of riding has been awesome. I’m practically alone in the morning on the bike path which makes me both happy and sad at the same time. More people should ride when it’s cold! It’s FUN!

Like I said in the video, I’m going to try and keep them coming. I really enjoy watching vlogs and think they are more interesting than reading a bunch of articles. I’m hoping to do some coverage on Cross Nationals and some other fun bike events coming up here in the next few months.

I’m in desperate need of a video quality SD card for my DSLR as I’ve been just rocking the iPhone as a camera. It’s alright, but I want to produce some better footage. I have access to a Contour and Go Pro through work that I may play around with. Maybe we can write up a couple reviews on those if anyone is interested.

Stay tuned and please e-mail, comment on our Facebook (facebook.com/spokehaven), and LIKE US on Facebook. We usually update it with more stuff throughout the day as it’s easy to do with a phone and an internet connection.

Thanks guys!

-Cassandra