One More Time: USGP Bend. Videos. Pics. Hijinks. End of story.

January 22, 2012

A funny thing happened on the way to a bike race.

Mark had requested some pump up tunes for his last USGP (and race) of the season. I thought quickly and came up with some Daft Punk. Good beat. Energizing. I queued up the track and hit play just as we hit a round-a-bout on the drive down. Mark was feeling inspired and we ‘One more timed!’ the round-a-bout approximately six more times.

 


Kabush: The Suffer Face

January 22, 2012

 


Better Late than Never Ever: USGP Bend, Day 2

January 22, 2012

It was a couple of degrees colder on the Sunday and there was some frost on the ground. I think it was about -4 Celsius when I left the condo. I did a bit of riding around to stay warm and started to notice that, yeah, I wasn’t as fresh as the day before. I still felt good, but I wasn’t all that eager to take any big digs during my warm-up.

 

Hockey fight at the CX race? Well, ok, then.

One thing pissed me off. As much as I appreciate guys that are similarly invested and ready to go hard at these things, I don’t like any bullshit. I’ll bump shoulders with a guy if we’re fighting for a line and have an equal chance of getting it. If I’m behind, he’s got it, and I’m only going to play games by moving up on him, then I don’t. I’ll wait till there’s a spot I can come even to duke it out or attack to get around outright. I’m saying this ’cause this yahoo starts to come up on my inside going into a right hand corner. I look up and basically its going to work out that if I don’t move off my line and let him take it he’s going to ride into the stake. As much as I don’t want a complete stranger to impale himself on a metal pole, I’m not going to just give him my line out of courtesy. So I point that out. And he drops back, all good. Until the next corner. This clown pulls even and starts to lean in on me, pushing his arm into mine and trying to ride me into the tape. I guess he thought I was being a dick earlier or something but I didn’t appreciate his little reindeer games. I probably weighed 40 pounds more than him, and, if I wanted to, could’ve shoved him back to Nevada or California or wherever the fuck he had rode up from. But I didn’t. I briefly considered punching him, but I didn’t do that either.

The Great Wall of Thermal.

The announcers made some jokes when I came across the start-finish line on some lap:

“And here’s Kevin Rosmanitz from Calgary, Canada, and Synergy Racing. He’s wearing his regulation Canadian thermal wear out here folks.”

“That’s right, those Canadians know their thermal gear.”

“It’s the Great Wall of Thermal.”

So I spent a quarter lap laughing. And then I spent the last quarter lap suffering abjectly to stay ahead of a train of four that was coming on way faster than I could stay away. I came out of the singletrack area, bombed down a hill next to the beer gardens, and came into the barriers the last time trying to ride fast enough to not get caught but conservatively enough to not blow up.

I think I was happier with holding tenth on Sunday than I was with getting seventh on Saturday. My whole body felt like jello but it was a nice way to end it.

 


Better Late than Never: USGP Bend, Day 1

January 21, 2012

My heart rate was an average of 177 for the 60 minutes. Not bad for an old guy. At least I knew that I couldn’t have pushed it any more. This is what I looked like at the final lap.

PRO.

Pepper and Mark raced in the afternoon so I rode back up to the condo to shower and eat something. Pepper was right in the thick of it in her race, amongst women that are paid to ride a bike. She came in 9th, ahead of a few of those women that are 24/7 CX professionals. Cannondale Cyclocross World’s Nicole Duke (hawt!) had a mechanical right at the pavement and ran her bike across the line to preserve a top ten finish – that was cool and cooler still was that she was 2nd on day two. Katerina Nash of the Czech Republic won both days (Also hawt!).

PROtein.

These nachos cost $9 and had BBQ pork and all kinds of other amazing stuff on them.

 


Kabush Tells Mark Where to Go. For Coffee.

January 13, 2012

On the USGP pre-ride day, Friday before the weekend’s races, Canadian mountain bike and ‘cross ace Geoff Kabush was wandering around with a coffee in hand and Mark approached him to ask where he got it. It’s a funny photo. McConnell with this look of concentration on his face and the multi discipline national champion, World Cup winner, and Olympian gesturing to over yonder to where the Thump crew was set up.

“Take yer mustache and git outta here, kid. There’s only room for one Canadian with expressive facial hair in this town.”


USGP Bend, Arrival

January 12, 2012

Planes, Trains Bikes, and Automobiles. And Ponderosa Pine.

A month ago I did some bike races in the U S of A and had a good time doing that. Here’s my update. Hey, better late than never. After having what I felt was a great race in Washington I had one day to hang out in Portland with the guys before I had to fly off to LA for a two day work thing. The work thing was something I didn’t want to say no to as it was a project I had helped get up and off the ground and it was finally coming true – we were going to race two cars at an old Air Force base in San Bernadino County. And I can’t really say more about it until the ad comes out! But it was cool to do and fun to see it all come together.

I flew out of Portland for LA and arrived at around 7:00pm, rented a car, and drove the 2 hours to San Bernadino, had a quick meeting with our team, and went to bed without being able to eat as everything was shut down. We were then up at 5:00am to get on set for sunrise and a 12 hour day. I did the same thing the next day and then immediately drove back to LAX and flew to Redmond where Mark picked me up at the airport, just outside of Bend. I had arrived – pretty tired, but pretty elated. I had two nights to get as much good sleep as I could before the 8:00am CAT4 start on both Saturday and Sunday, which would require getting up at, again, 5:30 so I could eat something, ride down to the course, dress for the conditions, and warm up.

I was a bit nervous. In the preceding five days I had spent 15 hours in a car on the drive south, 4 hours in airports, 5 hours in the air, and 5 hours driving a rental to and from an airport. With two 5:00am wake up calls to 12 hour work days thrown in the mix. Not really the type of week you want leading into your goal events of the year, but the dice were thrown and that was that, no choice but to suck it up, get positive, and try to have as much fun as I could.

 

There’s Pros Everywhere.

And it was fun. On my flight from LA I was psyched to see Tim Johnson the multiple US national champion; Chris Jones, a Rapha-Focus pro, and a few other skinny people wearing Cannondale Cyclocross World hoodies and stuff. I sat next to a guy named Chris that commutes from Bend to San Fran to do SEO work for AKQA, while his wife works for Ogilvy in Bend. Nice guy and we chatted work stuff for the whole flight. When I got to the airport arrivals terminal in Bend Geoff Kabush was renting a car. He’s a multiple Canadian CX and mountain bike champion, an Olympian, and a World Cup mountain bike winner. So, no big deal. These are the guys that Mark would be racing against – doesn’t get more elite in NA than that.

Speaking of pros, we were shacking up with the Harltons for our time in Bend. Pepper and her mom, Judy, were racing, and Pep’s dad, Kelly, was shooting video, while running around and keeping his girls uber well supported, getting some riding in during the down time. Pepper was racing the same elite category as Mark and had already regularly cracked the top ten this year, racing against women who, for the most part, have a pro team behind them with mechanics and people to help organize and orchestrate for success. I thought a bit about this after the first day, when Pepper was outside cleaning her bike off at 9:00pm after a 9th place finish. I’m sure she’s not the only one that is full on DIY like this but I bet a number of her competitors had some help with stuff like that. She is strong and committed –  pretty rad.

Morning came fast but I had the luxury of not needing to be anywhere bright and early this day so I forced myself to stay in bed and try to get more sleep after waking up at the normal time. I zonked till about 10:00 and woke up feeling significantly refreshed after the previous week’s early wake ups and 4-5 hours a night of sleep. We kitted up and rolled down the hill towards the Old Mill District, where the Deschutes Brewery is. Man, I LOVE Bend! The air carried the smell of Ponderosa pine and sage with some juniper thrown in. If you closed your eyes and waited you could get a wiff of one, then another, then all at once, drifting around on the high desert wind.

The course looked to be awesome. I love the races I’ve been able to do in Alberta, and I think our courses are brilliant and make the absolute best of the geography that we’re permitted to use, but seeing what was going on in Bend, one of the Meccas of CX in North America, I was really impressed…and inspired to see if I can help grow the scene in AB once I got back there.

The weather was bone dry so the course was more dusty than anything, with one windy singletrack section bombing through the forest. Rocks were hidden underneath the fine, loose dirt and I made a mental note to make sure I remembered where the big ones were. Hitting one at speed, unexpectedly, would end things pretty quickly.

As we reconnoitered the course, with Mark and Pep both in full on focus mode, there were all sorts of fully kitted up pro team athletes zipping around, just flying through the course incredibly smoothly. I could hear Tim Johnson tell his support team that he wanted to go out for one more ‘hot one’. Er…ok. His warm up pace was twice the speed I’d be racing at, but hey, I was a participator here for a good time.

Pics From the Carnival, When I Remembered to Take Some.