New Socks

Its strange not to have a race this weekend.  This last week I put the "emo" thoughts, the prep mind-set, and all the pre-race routines to rest.  I trained, and rode, on my mtbike,  the road bike, the SScx.
I closed the window on last weekends racing tight.  Shut it out, and pulled the blind down, the curtains closed.

                                  photo: Jude Vilain

I don't race mtbike, haven't in a couple of years.  I try to keep my chops up on it.  I always want to be competent enough on it, to hang on a good group ride.   Seems that around here, whatever type of cyclist you are, pro to joe, you dig out your mtbike and ride it with a bunch of hacks on Thanksgiving.  I did the local, just 9 minutes from our house.  Bombed down the Plateau hill,  right dab into the waiting group.  Ha!  Like opening the door to a locals bar, all the heads turned, ...a couple of faces I knew, here I was, the outsider.  Nice!

I don't have a current mountain biker button.  Not sure I ever had one.

On the  ride I stayed on the back, sweeping a bit, quietly, at the route suggestion stops, I kept my mouth shut.  I didn't push the pace, or rile it up,  just enjoyed it......  well coming back on Bowfinger I did hammer it....

At the end of the ride, the hang out time,  I poached a beer from Jude,  I cracked the can, and tried to tap each rider in toast,  to greet with respect, to thank them,, being,  the new-ish guy.  The CXer, the roadie, the whatever I am...

one ride doesn't earn me anything, I try, to think, to earn it, every ride,  Around here, the community is deep, experienced, giving.   I had a great time on the ride.

This week, I have eaten a ton, enjoyed the days off work, a few beers, movies, pal-ing around with the wife, hanging with our 6 cats, reading the paper, and a bit of yard work.

Today I pulled on my new socks, hopped on the cx bike,  the race bike.  To train.
Into the mind, again, of a cyclocross racer.

I love 'em,  and wear them proud! 

I can't wait to get back at,  racing, all the usual suspects.  Again I say "More CX Please!"                                      


Get your socks here:



                                   photos: Cassie Fetzer

I called in for a favor, got replaced on a job, and made my way out to Pittsburgh to see family, and to race.  The Pro Bike Cyclo-Cross Festival.
Its been a long while since I've been on a podium, and even then, ago, it was not so often.  I was able to crush myself both days, really able to go hard, and smart.  I felt I  finished where I should,  having some nice good laps both days.  Day two, I came home with a 2nd place 50+ PA  medal.  Day one, I won a sprint on my throw at the line, for pride, and I was 3rd in my group.

                                    photo: M. DiLauro

The course was a tad on the short side,  all the better for me,  I found a good rhythm, in the laps and between the gnarly sections and the lung busters.   A real good one.  I'd do again for sure.

I stayed about 30 minutes from the course, at my Mom and stepfather Michael's place.  Perfect. Good home cooked meals, reading the paper, gossiping, a few beers, catching up,  A nice four nights of sleeping  in my great-grand parents old cast iron bed.  The train came by late every night,  pretty far from the house, but it made some rattles, and dense, deep, good sleep tones.

On Monday,  my mom and I made the trip over to Cleveland, to see my step-grandfather,  he is a strong man, a true character, hard, sweet, tough,  and at the dawning days.  Its hard, this old age stuff, for me, and new to me,  but my mom was great, and she pushed his wheel  chair out for a long tour of the building.   I gave him a good handshake, and a we went on our way.

To my father-in-laws.  He took us out to a small place, close by, and after a long chat, some hugs, my mom and I were on our way back to Pittsburgh.  I left for home this morning, the drive was easy, the traffic light.  

Thursday, Thanksgiving its just my wife and I,  and that's ok, I think I learned a long time ago, take it when I get it, and when I get it, cherish it.

one fine weekend.
Cheers, dlowe.



If you pulled the Fair Hill rolling landscape tight,  a clean taught blanket, making the bed, you'd have the Kutztown course.  
Made with as much love, ...quilts are like that, old scrapes of fabric, coming from whatever saved used-up items, worn out things, that can be put back to use again.   Thrifty.  Memories put to good re-use.

I've never put together my strongest rides at Kutztown,  so I've got that goal in the future, to have a kick ass ride there.

Its cold,  windy, and sets the tone, for preparing for racing and staying warm.

The course, a good balance of suffern' straights, handling corners, whoops too.

Improvements?   The line around the whoops,  with the big poles to hop over, that sharp corner,  put that out somewhere on the course.   That'd make 3 on and off the bike sections.

Socially,  I liked the small fire pit,  some of us master racers sat around it, drank beer, ate some grub, and bullshitted.   A nice addition would be to incorporate a social gathering area, some fire, Warmth to share.   Smores for the kids.

Driving home in my car, I had the sweet smell of smoke on me,
so many good things, Derek's voice on the PA carrying in the wind, I could hear it, as I rode down to the farms across from the course....

Cheers!  Well done! 
thanks Kutztown


Tin types

Today I got punched in the stomach.   Kicked in the shins, and slapped about.
That's good, very good.
Everything was a bit off, I worked a long 14 hours yesterday, and tried my best to lie to myself that I could make this a good 1st day.
and about the end of the 1st lap, I was on the back of the group.

didn't matter.

the last two laps I lifted my chin,  I encourage my foes,  I attacked out of corners,  I tried to pick it up, to ride my hardest. 

In the starting grid, my mouth ran a bit too much,
I was staged in the back,
and was connecting the dots
Who was fast off the line, who was a bull in the china shop,
and No Marc.

I'm not dower about my results.  It was just , Not, an epic battle day.

I did a bit of strolling in the flea market by the course,  chatting it up a bit.
I bought some tin types,  picked 4 out of a box of 100's.
I love photography,

my wife said... "oh, how nice.  these were special to someone at one time".
that's this season,  It's just us old guys racing,  and no one knows our names, and the results, will disappear, won't have any factor in the day to day of this world.

At work yesterday,  I saw some tired folk, and the drain of the day,  and I thought, this ain't nothing,
you've never been a deluxx sandwich. The battles I've been in this year have been good.

Cross makes us bad mofo's. 

Cheers,  Dlowe.

A speedy recovery to you Marc,  heal up right, and bring back the battles strong.   A big thanks to you,  for making the racing grand, and the memories deep.


Sly Fox

my trainer is set up, upstairs, facing out, I look out a wall of windows, like a tree house, the branches of the birch tree my wife had planted close to the house, years ago, many of the leaves rub up against the second floor window screens.
Its dark often when I get on the trainer, and I listen to music, earbuds,  illumination starts, very monotone, till its all lit up.  and its day.  A shower, to work.

after sly fox I talked with Diane, about our races.  she lead me to make a conclusion about myself second days are my better days,  my first often seemed I can never catch my breath, I never get deep into that groove, of going hard.

My second day, Sly Fox, I had a grand race,  I slapped an ass again, my second of the season,  as I rode down the backside behind the brewery, a course marshal was on the course side of the tape,  he saw me coming and turned to exit,  I got a nice ass slap to send him on his way.

I dug deep, up the long start straight,  real hard with I think with two to go,  f'n this chum was alive today, and not going to get caught.

I battled my foe, I'm not sure who he was, the bike line rider,  I put screws to him, and cajoled him, pressured him,

We sprint up the road to the line, I on his wheel, and I don't think he sprints road much, he tried to shift in the full force of standing and pedaling, and me on his wheel in his draft.
His chain didn't like that, the bike bucked him, the back wheel coming up, and we both were quite startled.   I said hold on, you got it.  It wouldn't of been good if he went down for ether of us.

He got going again, and I never came around him,  after that.

It was a grand day.  A very good course.  good beer.

I like those memories, the single ones that define,

                          there are thousands of leaves down in our yard, ...and this one.

Cheers,   dlowe


tough love

This is my favorite course, Fair Hill.

                                                                   good corners

Its one that makes me a better cross racer.  This race,  it is  what I love to do.   Be pushed to my limits,  having to think, to bike handle, and to dig deep on my pedal strokes.  I did not have my best race, fumbling for the first lap, gapped between the group pulling away and the group seeing me as chum.

I raced hard, I found good lines, I held it up when it was braking loose.

It came down to a group of 4,  me sitting 3rd wheel into the final turns, and I had a need to be at the front.  I took a clean wider line and stole the corner.    And had the three on my wheel,  we hit the gravel road to the line and I died,  as the first on my wheel came around, and I gave up a bit more, and the 3rd blew by, and then at the line the 4th, easily got me.

You know, at this time, I've got to self coach here,  ...with a red face texas high school football coach scream,  I need to yell at myself,  "what the F' were you doing out there?, gave it up,  you let me down, you let them down,  now live with it".   

In all earnest,  I loved the race,  and mostly gave it my all,  
its a great course,  and Fair Hill taught me an important lesson.  

Cheers, dlowe.

     photo Bill White:  The Sprint.



behind the Stoudt's brewery,   the kegs are piled high.  Further back, the bowl of land,
that is right up to the property line.  That's where we raced.   This is the mid-point to my season. I took off racing yesterday, and did not ride much during the week.   and I'll take it easy this week also.
November is 3 double weekends,  some good December races,  and Nationals.

"what's in the keg?"

This one, Stoudts, its an ok one, ...but... if you make a corner 10' different it'd be a better one.  It's one where once they get it perfect, don't ever change it.

I like being an old man racer.   and its a good year to be one around here.  Good battles, deep.  I don't see any of us old fucks, pulling the plug cause its getting cold, or we're ridden out.

Nope I've gotta a feeling, it'll be like this till the end.

Yo, where's the next kegger?

today, a flat and 17th.
Cheers!  dlowe