Cyclocross Weekend

Last weekend was the Richmond Festival of the Cross and while I should have announced it in advance so more people could attend, race, spectate, whatever, I didn’t. I did this specifically because I was racing and even though I made all attempts possible to have as few people see my in lycra as I could somehow pictures still made their way onto facebook of my hopping barriers with my bo-bo socks on. Yes, I wore them and in fact one group of spectators yelled “socks!” every lap I took. I had never raced cross before but I must admit it was decidedly not sucky. The whole thing is way out of my comfort zone for the most part but quite a bit less so than a road race or criterium for example. I found the experience to be pretty thrilling as my group (Cat 4 men) was the largest race I beleive and the first turn was a trial in not hooking someone with my massive bar-end shifters. After the race a friend who works at Carytown Bicycles asked me what I thought as he was a surprised as I was to be involved and I replied with was a good time after which he told me a story of how another firend of his was pissed to “get passed by some dude with a rack on his bike”….of course that was me! LOL! So funny. Ultimately though, the best part was after the race (not immediately after,,,that was the part where I was losing a lung and the stiches in my sides were only beginning to recede) but when I broke out the camping stove, popped the tops on a couple Legend Pale Ales and enjoyed watching some serious racers lay down….those dudes are fast for sure. All in all a great weekend so I encourage everyone to come out and at least spectate next year, and I may even post about it in advance, if your not frightened by lycra.



7 thoughts on “Cyclocross Weekend

  1. Hey, Socks! Thanks for coming out, man! Good to see you out there (and confirm my suspicions on your TRUE IDENTITY!!! Bwahahahaha…)

    Nice bike, too. Really glad you had a good time. Meant to catch up with you somewhere along the way but after the racing was over I couldn’t find you. I’m sure we’ll be in the same place at the same time again soon. I’ll introduce myself.

    1. Thanks Sean….yeah in true form I went back in the woods for a bit and grilled some veggie sausages, made hoagies, and drank Legend Beers while watching the real bike racers do their thing. The bike was pretty good overall as well (thanks for the compliment) but that’s my randonneuring bike which pretty much has touring geometry for those all day rides. It’s was kinda a beast to maneuver around the course on that thing and I think I have an idea of what I’m going to do with my regular commuting bike (which is also a touring frame but has more traditional “road” geometry) now that I enjoyed myself so much.

      Also, I am planning on additional sock action….thinking better, more colorful, combinations. Maybe I can get a superlative for sock style one year……….

  2. Oh… don’t think I didn’t see you hanging out back there. Was suffering a bit too much to say “SOCKS!” at the time (and a bit jealous you were done with racing and enjoying the atmosphere more than I was.) But it’s good to know I was noticed while out there yelling at you. Always good to have someone throw the fun factor in. And ride something not meant for the sport.

    We have another race in Richmond on Nov 5th at City Stadium that VCU is putting on and will have senior categories. You should have another go, on another bike. And with a different pair of socks.

  3. Glad it was as much fun to race as it was to watch. I live a block away and stumbled upon the race and had a great time watching. In fact I felt a bit inspired to give it a try. I have a road bike but without friends to ride with here I’ve not kept up with it. Now I’m thinking about building some sort of a cyclocross/tri bike so I can try some new sports and make some new friends that bike. Of course I have no idea where to start, so let me know if there’s a local shop guy that knows this stuff.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! My advice would be to find some people to ride with or simply go out on your own. RABA holds rides every week and would be a good start if your looking for some local stuff but from Bryan Park I’d say get that road bike out and head to Ashland! It’s one of my favorite out and back rides in town and is my favorite distance for a ride from my house as well (about 44 miles). Also, the entire bike route 1 to Ashland is marked so you don’t even need to have a map or the internet to figure out the route. Buying a new bike won’t make any difference if you aren’t using the one you have but (and I know how it is to have the itch!) if you really want to support some local shops I’ve got a list of my favorites on the blogroll and any one of them could help you out.

      To put it in perspective, I was racing what is essentially a touring bike set up for randdoneuring in a cyclocross race. I realized the most important thing about getting better at cycling as they say is “riding up grades, not buying upgrades”. To that end, check out some local groups, tune that puppy up, and throw down!

      1. Haha, definitely not just thinking about “upgrading”. Thanks for the feedback though. My wife rides a Globe Live and cannot keep up on open road rides. And I’ve bent wheels and broken spokes from abusing this road bike on the cobblestones, potholes, curbs, gravel, etc. urban life. So really I was thinking functionality first and having a bike I wouldn’t worry about hopping curbs with or going off road a bit for fun. Secondly, watching the race I thought how much more fun it looked than an out-and-back ride to Ashland. But yeah I used to road bike in college and just don’t know anyone here who’s dedicated to it. Maybe I’ll check out these groups you’ve linked from here. Came across this blog randomly so thanks for a bit of bike life in RVA!

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