Thursday, November 21

I have the beef

This is just a morning organization of thoughts I've had for a long time jumbled into one blog post. (Late Edit: Too many things on the cutting room floor. Have to revisit tomorrow)

Here's the problem with cyclocross...

Before I get into it, let me point out two things.  First off, I actually enjoy cyclocross.  I've talked about it before.  If it weren't for the fact that the majority of the nearby races are USAC sanctioned, I'd do one event... maybe even two or three.  I wouldn't do too many just because a whole lotta of driving and whatnot just to do a 45 minute race eats up an entire day that could be spent (you guessed it) riding a mountain bike.

Secondly, I get that the sport has deep roots in the world of roadies.  That said, its very history is a problem.

This whole multiple bike/pits/pressure washers/crew thing.  They're doing it wrong... but then again, coming from a roadie background?  It's a natural progression.   Support is part of the sport, like it or not.

Silliness.  Coddling.  Panty wastes.

How could it be better?

Mountain bikers shoulda manhandled the sport, taken over the reigns with mucho gusto.  Not the new age USA Cycling brand of mountain bikers, the ones that allowed pit areas in XC races, but the originators.  The "fix your own shit without help from anyone" NORBA OG racers. Had this been their sport, in woulda turned out differently.

"But what about the mud, the torn off derailleurs, the clogged brakes, the fouled shifting, the... blah, blah, blah."

I don't really want to hear it.

Had this been a sport derived from the self-supported spirit of mountain biking, the bikes would have evolved differently thus negating the silly arguments.


Bikes woulda been built with clearance in mind.  Mad clearance.  Think 35c tires on... I don't know... a mountain bike frame.

Brakes.  Cantis suck.  Mountain bikers figured that out awhile ago.  Then there were V-brakes.  Disc brakes came along... dissenters said, "They're too heavy and ineffective."  Then they got better.  Now we use them. All of us.

Sure as of right now discs for cross have multiple issues.  Since the sport is so steeped in tradition (held back by the UCI... whatever), progress has been slow.  Using old school cable actuated designs with one non self-adjusting pad caused issues.  Well, that's because that was modern technology, oh, I don't know... thirteen years ago?   Then there's the awkward progress of hydraulic with the leaders in awkward products getting the leap... SRAM.

So they had a recall. You expected something better.  Shimano is in.  Maybe there is hope.

Well, you could always run flat bars, but that wouldn't be very crossy of you.  Is that against UCI rules?  Dunno.  Too many google results when I looked for "dumb things in the UCI rule book."

Drivetrains.  Mud.  Bad thing.

I get it.  The horror.  Take away the pressure washers, support crews, bike changes on every lap?  The sport woulda had to evolve.

Internal gears.  Heavy, heavy, heavy, but oh so reliable.  Just think how much money woulda been sunk into R&D if top cross racers were running them and every chut that needed to be like every top cross racer wanted them.  They'd be tits by now... but they're not.  Because they didn't have to be.  Because... pits.

Why bitch about a sport that I've participated in once in the last decade (somewhere around that)?

I am, for lack of a better term, an endurance mountain biker.  I leave the start line, and aside from a possible tube/lube at an aid station, I'm pretty much on my own.  My brake pads have to last for hours and hours no matter what the conditions are like.  If it looks like rain, I'd better toss in some new pads BEFORE the race.  I have to balance my part selection between what's light but still durable enough to make great bike race.  I'm on my own, and that's the grand equalizer.  It's not about how nice my spare bike is, how many friends I can gather to be my pit bitches, if I can throw down for a power washer...

I know not all races are muddy, so this isn't always that important.

But wanna pin your dreams on a race like the 2013 World's in Louisville?

There are so many things to like about cyclocross...

Beer hand ups.

Dollar bill hand ups.

The spectators in their crazy costumes.

Just enough to keep a mountain biker's interest for a few hours.

What?  I'm outta time?


Anyways... I think I had a point.  Maybe you got it, maybe not.  Who cares?

Tomorrow, I'll reveal the builder of my 2014 Frame of Mass Construction and begin the endless talking about said frame.


Andrea said...

How about you start your very own series of "Dicky Rules Cyclocross for MTB Nutsacks Who want to Whine About USAC Races"

Seriously, though... how can you bitch so much about something you don't even really do?

Anonymous said...

What a pussy

dicky said...

"... how can you bitch so much about something you don't even really do?"

Ummmm... cause I have a blog... and I'm a pussy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is very pussy-ish.

dicky said...

... but anonymous pussy is a truck stop tradition.

Riding with dogs said...

Good post! I'm all for making fun of cyclocross, maybe it wouldn't be so easy to do if the cyclocross people didn't obsess so much on FB all of the time, even in the off season. Cyclocross is a waste of time for me personally. I don't understand paying for a license plus race fees just to ride circles around a grassy field when I could be riding my mountain bike in the woods for free.

BIGWORM said...

@Riding with dogs,

That's like saying I don't know why people would pay good money to eat shrimp. As we all know, Shrimp sucks! Cockroaches of the sea!!

Tim Smith said...
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Tim Smith said...
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John Miles said...

Agreed. UCI/USA Cycling kills fun.

Last year there was an argument in a local series about the height of barriers. Rulers were whipped out. Books were consulted. Fun died.

Later, the proportion of single track to grass to Idunnowhatthefuck was discussed. Arguments ensued. Arguments took to the interwebs. Fun rolled over and died again.

Is there any way we can vote the guys from Bilenky onto the USA Cycling rules board for cross? Those boys know what's up.

Lonnie James Dio said...

I dunno. People pay to race MTB's on the same trails they could ride for free too. I love cross. And most of the people saying that it's easy would never actually win a race so I don't get that either. And it's funny that a lot of MTBer's make fun of a sport that predates mountain biking. It's not like we just created it. Can't we all just get along and make fun of triathletes?

Anonymous said...

wow this blog really sucks.

really sucks

John Parker said...

Unless u r a elite racer cyclocross is easy and more about everthing else around the race but not the racing itself(at least the US flavor of the sport) which is too bad because the sport is awesome but no it's not mnt biking and frankly it should be diffrent.

Truck stops.....sweet

Katherine said...

Make cross more fun by not allowing people to "train." You're only allowed to show up to race with whatever bike you have (road, mountain, klunker, etc.) and with whatever other riding you've been doing (road, mountain, klunker) in your legs.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. Love this post. I do feel compelled to jump in as the grammar police... it should be pantywaists, not panty wastes. I know I hate to waste a good pair of panties.

dicky said...

I was thinking more along the lines of the waste found in panties. Running short on time, I decided I was correct and moved along.

cupcake said...

Cyclocross, it's like Tough Mudder but not as tough.

Jethro said...

I agree with Katherine on this. It's beginning to seem so over-regulated that I wonder why people who don't use performance-enhancing drugs even bother...

...did I just contradict myself?

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? I thought the point was not that cross is bad, but that the ruling bodies have stymied the progression of technology that would have benefitted us all (like light cheap internally geared hubs with no drag. Sweet).

Anyhow. Lots of comments. And commenting on blogs is sooo 2008.