Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter Riding: Time to Buckle Down and Saddle Up

For the last couple of months, we've been able to do a little dance with the weather and ride in the comfort of mild, sometimes quite warm, fall temperatures. Though we still have zinnias and marigolds blooming in our front yard here at the JBar bunker, there is a chance of snow flurries in our current weather forecast, and ride conditions Sunday could only be described as harsh, with wet roads, gray skies, and a cold wind making the 40's feel plenty cold enough. It's not quite "now or never" for winter riding, but it's time to get on the bike and break the ice, so to speak. Many of us ride year 'round, but like many others, I put off taking the first really cold ride of the season as long as I can. It's easy to just take a day off the bike when the weather is crappy, so long as there is some sunshine around the corner, but when the "no ride" days stretch on, we have to adjust our sensibilities to our current reality. After a few days of fishing, tempered by turkey and dressing, chocolate pie, apple pie, cherry pie, and chocolate pie (that's not a duplication; I made two!), I needed some time on the bike, so I bundled up and rode to Allsopp park to check out the Turkey Burn 'cross races.
I escaped the dinner table enough to spend quite a few hours over the holiday wading the shoal behind our cabin.

The results were favorable, as I was able to make the temporary acquaintence of several dozen nice browns and rainbows; however, wading in the fast water was not enough to compensate for this action:
I won't bore you with false modesty; I make a badass chocolate pie and Diane rolled out the perfect crusts!

I try to tell myself that it's OK to relax, eat and chill out this time of year, but even a minor expansion of the waistline is cause for alarm and some anxiety. I'm not going to skip dessert, so time on the bike is a must.

Turkey Burn Cyclocross Race
When conditions suck, it helps to have a destination, and my Sunday destination was the Turkey Burn Cyclocross Race. The fact that it was damp, cold and muddy made it a perfect day for 'cross and the course at Allsopp looked plenty challenging to me.
Iconic photos of 'cross races always include plenty of mud.
Wes cleared the mudhole, but not the adjacent tree. The result is a bent down tube and pedals overlapping the front wheel. The good news: It was a short ride home and a borrowed frame.

CARVE, Team Spokes, and Arkansas Cycling and Fitness were all well represented. It is great to see the competing local  bike shop guys work together to put on events, wear each other out on the course, then often ride home together. That's community.
This doesn't have to make sense. It's cyclocross racing!

You can find a lot of great photos here, compliments of AC&F, and at Arkansas Cyclocross blogspot, along with results. There are still a couple of races in Little rock, including the Jingle Bell Cyclocross Race this Sunday, December 4 at Boyle Park. Grab you family and head on over to race or just check it out. Cyclocross is some fun stuff for riders and for spectators. A race culture in which beer hand-ups are commonplace says a lot about why it is increasingly popular.


1 comment:

Mike C said...

See you still have that "roach clip" from 1975!!