King Me

I might not be the king of cross, but I am a King of Shaves. Got a nice call up at today's race, I stayed in the center of the runway wide width starting grid, put it into a good sprint start gear, and with a quick whistle I was off in a 100 yard dash to a hard left corner. I race elite masters 35+, 45+, I've worked hard on getting faster, umh... I've still got some work to do. I'm not quite sure why, but I can get going quick, I hold back a bit, and go into the first turn sitting a pretty 5th. Didn't last long, ah drifted back, drifted forward, so on. I went into the race with some good leg hair stubble. I think it really slowed me down, too much wind resistance, and the hair picked up the added weight of mud, so my legs were heavy. So in my post race shower, I got a shave on. Seriously, the King of Shaves is the best, smooth, gel, ahh, the razor cuts the hair close. Nothing feels like a fresh shave. I'm gonna e-mail this to corporate at K of S and see if I can't get me some, who knows maybe you'll see 'em on the jersey right next to Pabst Blue Ribbon. cheers all, from your PBR drinking, legs shaving cyclocross racer. dlowe


Finding Balance

Did the opening MAC weekend of racing. Day 1, I don't think Joe Pa likes me, being a Buckeye and all. The Nittany Lion kicked my ass, slow and sluggish and sloppy and, oh well. I did the Neti pot, I went to sleep, and awoke with a better attitude. I was Fast at Charm City, Fast like a house fly, I was still sloppy, riding through the tape, missing a bike remount, baby steps through the sand pit. But in the End I felt aggressive and hammered around the course. Neti pot YEAH! My online cyborg coach does not throw too much fun into my training so I do. Got out on my mountain bike and went for a ride, found another photo op, on a new cut through trail to the park.
A real cool short trail that takes me under 76. Then got a nap in and made it to Wednesday night cross at Belmont Plateau. Nice vibe this year, good fun, and good ridin'. Looks like Rain, mounted up another set of tubeless wheels and gonna try' em out in the mud. See you at Phelps. Be there ya fools, its gonna be cool. Cheers. dlowe


Cross Bike Build Part 2: There's no minute like the last minute.

After a week of dealing with financial turmoil and running back and forth to the shop to pick up various odds and ends I forgot I didn't have, it was time to finish my cross bike. With a vodka tonic in hand, I went down to the basement to assess the situation. Earlier in the week, I made use of the shop's tools to press in the BB30 bearings (incorrectly at first - thanks for the help, Ant) and cut down the fork. So here is what I was starting with:

My first problem came with the fork. Apparently, Easton feels that a front brake is an optional feature for cross bikes and thus did not install the brake posts.

They were included with the frameset of course, but since I was given the opportunity to lose them, I lost them - probably when I carelessly threw the parts bag into the back of my car a few months ago. After tearing my trunk apart, I found them underneath my spare tire.

Time to move on and make some important component decisions. I had decided on the TRP Eurox brakeset. They are light, relatively cheap and use a proven design. They also use a standard road cartridge pad. For the brake yolk, they have a very well designed piece of aluminum with some nice centering adjustments.

These were quickly set aside in favor of some gimicky hard to use skull and cross bones brake yolks circa 1994 - back when mountain biking was cool and V-brakes weren't yet invented.

Lot's of nice Bontrager bits on the front end:

Velocity Veloplugs make for a light and rot free alternative to Velox tape:

I went with Rival for the rear derailleur. Although a few grams heavier, it's way cheaper than Force or Red and works just as well.

This thing will hopefully keep my chain from coming off:
Now for the brake set up. Geometry is important with these kind of cantilevers. A long straddle cable will give you a snappy feel at the lever and lots of mud clearance. A short straddle cable won't feel as good when you pull the lever but will stop you more effectively. Go with a happy medium. I usually go longer in the front since it is more powerful anyway and this lets me change out the front wheel without releasing the straddle cable.

I'm going to reserve judgement on the brakes until I actually ride them. The rear one has big time reverse toe-in. Since it uses a smooth canti post and cartridge pad, there is nothing I can do about this. There's a chance that it'll work just fine but you'll probably hear me as I squeal loudly around the Charm City course tomorrow.

Check out the cool barrel adjuster for the rear brake:

Nothing left but cosmetics at this point:

And there you have it. All with 12 hours to spare. There's nothing like showing up to the start line on a bike you've never ridden.

MAC Race #1 Nittany Lion Cross

Fast, hot, got passed some, well quite a bit. Held on, and got it under my belt. Here's what I got for you. The Neti Pot, When I got home I gave my sinus cavity a nice warm bath. Do you think it will make me faster at Charm City?
I can only hope.


How to Ride Your Bike Into a Lake (A Man Has Got to Know His Limitations)

During the Bear Creek Cyclocross race, there was a very large lake that the course looped around. There was a significant amount of mud in this area.

The race was 4 laps. On the first 2 laps, I rode through the mud. On the 3rd lap, I ran through the mud. (Being a fairly good runner this actually feel more efficient for me.) On the 4th lap, I must have been deliriously tired.

Coming up to the mud, I swore I saw a dry line right next to the lake. Maybe it was a mirage. I decided I'm taking it. As soon as I did I realized this line ends in the lake. Before I could dismount and start running, my bike wheels were in the lake. First I tried pedaling out of the lake. Not happening. I then thought I could do a dismount and run out of the lake. That would look somewhat PRO. All I needed was half a pedal stroke to dismount. Sure enough that stroke sent me into even deeper water and I fell right over right into the lake.

You can see the line I followed in the picture provided. The giant blue circle is the lake. The green is non-muddy course. The brown is the muddy course. The two black lines represent barriers and the red line represents the line I took on the fourth lap.

As Dirty Harry says, "A man has got to know his limitations." Perhaps, the last lap of the first cycloscross race of the season is not a good time to test them.

For my efforts the race promoter rewarded me with a Surly Flask. That was unexpected, but much appreciated.


Bear Creek Cyclocross Photos

You looking to see yourself in all your cross racing agony and glory? Check out our fellow cross racer and photographers pics at

Kelly's keeping it cool at Bear Creek.

Photography by: dennis smith

Cross Nats Reg is open

Registration for nats opened up today. If you have any inkling of going you better register now as when you reg determines your start position. which actually alot of promoters are doing so it's a good idea to prereg for everything. Just to give an idea of how fast it fills up. I just signed up and I was 58. So after call ups, I'm hopefully looking at a 7th row start. Get on it!


Cross Bike Build Part 1: Voiding Warranties

Judging from recent posts, it seems that people are racing their cross bikes already. 93 degree weather notwithstanding, I figured I should probably get my bike together if I plan on joinging the rest of you. To make sure that this actually happens, I went ahead and preregistered for Charm City and shipped my old bike off to some guy in Germany. And, since I am the self appointed "tech editor" of this blog, I thought I might as well share with you the process of the build.

The first step, as always, is to grind off some "Nader tabs." This is generally a straight forward modification. Most of the generic Asian made carbon forks have pretty flimsy tabs that grind off in a few seconds. Easton, however, with their EC 90 X, decided to design the safety tabs from hell. After 15 min on the grinder and an uncomfortably hot fork leg, I began to wish I had left well enough alone. In the end, I was able to get most of it ground down.

I'll be running a single ring up front this year so I needed to make a few other modifications. The obvious one is the crank. If anyone needs some 53 / 39 130BCD chainrings, let me know.

At this point, I needed to 'rob Peter to pay Paul.' Peter, in this case is my road bike and Paul needed his brake/shift levers.

Don't worry too much about him, he was paid back with some brand new Red shifters.

At this point I had a problem, I only really needed the front lever / shifter to act as brake lever. Since gutting Campy levers is one of my favorite past times, I figured that the SRAM levers would be a breeze. Sure enough, after consulting some instructions, it was quick and painless. It is also reversible in case I decide I need a double ring up front later on.



Not only does this result in much better aesthetics, but I also save a total of 36 grams!

The final job for today was to build some wheels. This year, I'm going with a set of 50mm carbon tubulars that were designed specifically for cross and weigh in at just under 1400g and a set of 22mm alloy clinchers that that weigh just under 1300 grams. I market the latter set as a lightweight climbing specific road wheelset but I want to see how well they do under seriously inappropriate usage.

Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do and actually having time to ride the bike before racing it this Sunday is probably out of the question but I'll keep you posted on the progress.

On the Mountain. Bear Creek Cross

The first weekend of cross. Early, wet, and hot. Mud too. Nice podium, with Kristin and Nikki on top 1st and 2nd Elite women. Chad jumped in the masters and grabbed a 3rd. Ken got his mojo going and got a 2nd Master B. The seasons off to a fun fast start.

first race with the new life

Had an experience that i am not sure will ever happen again to me in a cross race.  Masters 35 plus at Bear Creek.  They lined the collegate men first then the c men, then us, then the b-women. Was pretty nervous about today. Very diffrent season for me, with a three month old at home, rode less, barely raced, but tried to train smarter, less time on the bike but lots of hard efforts.  I had ridden a few laps of a very tough course, getting winded going slow, sliding all over the place in the turns, thinking, "perhaps i should have taken the year off".  Was way in the back in the start by the way we were lined up, and they let everyone go at the same time, so lots of traffic.  I found a little daylight, and like ricky bobby says........rubbin is racin'.  Shot through a hole and was on 4th wheel into the first turns on the ski slope.  By the time i got to the last set of barriers, i was sitting in...first.  Right after the barriers was asphalt, and all i remember was thinking....

1.  It is really quiet up here
2.  You are stupid, you went out to hard, and you are going to get caught
3.  I like the view
4.  Shake and Bake!
5.  Is that Eric on the microphone as i come through the start finish? Is that Talking Heads they are playing?  Are they going to set the lap times on me?  Cool!!!!
6.  Where is everybody.....I am NOT supposed to be here

Turns out at least #2 was caught halfway through the second lap, could not stay with the first two racers, but managed to hold it together and got on other racer to finish second in my group, and i think thirds overall in that race.

Just proves that the sun will shine on a dogs ass every now and then.


Tip of the day.

To dry your shoes fast, from a wet cross race, stuff them full of newspaper.


Tall Socks

I’m sure all of you have seen Brad’s cooool modified socks.

I had to get some more info on the subject so here it is:

Name: Brad Fergoson Status with the ladies: Married
Age: 34 Years Riding: 27
Height: 5’11 Favorite Pro: Jon Hamblen
Weight: 175-190

Anthony: What is your earliest memory of socks?
Brad: When I was 5 I got my first pair of knee high soccer socks… the kind you put your shin guards under. My Mom recently reminded me I used to sit down and pick flowers during my soccer games.

A: Where did your hatred of short socks come from?
B: I would have to say Michael Cooper of the Lakers, Alejendco Valverde, and E.J. Klocle McKook . E.J. rides in those tennis socks with the little pom-poms.

A: What was your first sock cutting experience?
B: I cut a pair of my old Bikes ByKle socks. All thighs considered it went pretty well despite some minimal fraying.

A: If you could be a sock on anyone’s foot who would it be?
B: I’d have to say Christy Brinkley during the pool scene in vacation or maybe Getty Lee of Rush.

A: What music do you typically listen to while cutting socks?
B: Fair Warning for white socks and Raining Blood for everything else.

A: What is your take on socks and sandals?

A: What aspects of riding benefits most from your cut socks?
B: They make me look so pro that when I get dropped people actually think I’m off the front of the race behind or in the case of a crit, lapping the field.

A: Any words of inspiration for future sock cutters?
B: Don’t give into the pressure to perform. There are plenty of cyclists cutting socks dope free. If we are going to save this sport, we need complete transparency to include sock cutting.

A: Are there any disadvantages to tall socks?
B: Not really unless you have a “Born to Lose” tattoo you don’t want covered.

A: How do the ladies feel about tall socks?B: Not really sure, being married and follicle challenged, I don’t often converse with the fairer sex.

Long custom and the short original.

1. Fold sock inside-out

2. Cut along the seem.

3. Continue cutting.

4. Flip the inside back out

5. Stretch to new length
6. Admire work
7. Show off styling new "Tall Socks"

Interview by Anthony, photos. d lowe



The First Cheyney Challenge Road Race was a huge success. This race established a much needed road race in the southeastern PA area. It was a multi-team effort by Human Zoom Pabts Blue Ribbon and Iron Hill/Chester County Velo. The support from each club was awesome, selfless and a real show to the Pennsylvania bike racing community what road racing 'could be' when clubs work together for the betterment of PA racing altogether. It was a SAFE, fun day with a challenging but not brutal course, a well-done feed zone, KOM competition, kids racing, and nearly full fields in several categories. The Cheyney Challenge has establiched itself as a PCA cornerstone for future local Philadelphia road races.
A Special Hats off to our own John Lenart for all his hard work and time. Thanks John!


Philadelphia Cyclocross practice

Philly Cross practice @ Belmont Plateau Wednesday 6:00 Sharp!

Ah, you can take it for granted, but we all drink out of the same river. I made it to Kelly Clines cyclocross practice at Belmont Plateau. I spun my dreary legs with a hide cadence on the short ride to the beautiful Plateau, knowing no matter how tired my legs were that I would still put in my strongest efforts in this fun, but competitive cross practice. Kelly had the barriers up and a rough course laid out. A good number of cross riders lined up, and we were off on some laps. How nice is it to feel the blood flow? To pinch the corner, hitting it too hot, pushing to hold your line, gasping again for air. My pain has returned. Its cross pre-season. Gathering borrowed parts, new improved bits and upgrades, the ointments, skin suits, and determining the all important wheel/tire selection. To futured shared beers after racing, to the silence before the surprising start. To wanting to quit. I hold my beer high tonight, cheers cyclocross.


Running Sucks!!!!!

I am a cyclist, not a runner. I enjoy riding a bicycle, not running around in circles. But with cross around the corner I know I need to run a little bit to get those muscles acclimated. The one year I didn't run I pulled a hamstring and it sucked more then if I had ran a little. So here are some helpful hints to get you started.

1) You only have to do short runs. Start off by doing a walk/run/walk. Total time only has to be 15 mins. Each week add a little time to the run. Within two weeks you should be comfortable running for the whole 15 mins. The slow build will keep soreness to a minium.

2)Buy your shoes from a running store. You don't have to spend a fortune, but by going to a running store they will set you up with a pair of shoes that fit your feet. You didn't buy your bike at Wal-mart right?

3) Stay away from treadmills. Treadmills are to runners as trainers are to bike riders. Go run on your favorite trail. Go run on the beach during your end of summer beach trip. Run anywhere but a treadmill. Running on varied terrain will help strengthen the muscles in the ankle too.

4)Last but not least try to enjoy being active outside. Keep your eyes open as you might see things that you miss flying by on a bike!