Archive for April, 2009

28
Apr
09

Apparently God is a Local Cycling Fan

pain-on-jefferson

Okay, okay — I’m a big enough man to admit when I was wrong, and my pessimistic declaration that Sunday’s Old Capitol Criterium in downtown Iowa City was as good as washed out was flat wrong. The clouds behaved over Southern Iowa (even as Cedar Rapids and Waterloo to the north were getting shit hammered with hail and 2-3 inches of rain), and although it was a little windier than many riders may have liked, Sunday turned out to be a great day of racing. The fairly compact 1-km loop in downtown Iowa City provided spectators plenty of opportunities to see the race from every conceivable angle, and gave you plenty of room to escape the insufferable announcers stationed at the finish line (if you’re reading this, DO NOT PICK OUT RIDERS TO CHEER ON DURING A RACE, EVEN IF THEY’RE YOUR BEST FRIENDS. See also: objective reportage).

A few photos and results after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Apparently God is a Local Cycling Fan’

26
Apr
09

So I Take It…

thanks for nothing, mother nature

thanks for nothing, mother nature

the Old Capitol Criterium is off? Looks like I’ll be watching Belgian race recaps on Versus this afternoon.

[Epic Cycle – Versus]

26
Apr
09

Sleep Tight, Little Ivan Basso

Ivan Basso's senior photo

Ivan Basso's senior photo

Tomorrow’s a big day, little Ivan, a real big one. You’ll be flying the Liquigas flag in this year’s running of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a 117-year old institution that cycling writers are still tripping all over themselves to call the Grand Maid or Dame or Whatever. It’s a long day in the saddle — 261 km — and you need your rest to notch a big win that could give you a lot of momentum heading into summer (nothing personal, Giro del Trentino).

Thanks for hitting the hay early, buddy, and letting us know via Twitter:

ivanbasso Im in liegi.. I go to sleep tomorrow LBL.

If only you were Belgian, you might actually have a shot at winning this thing.

[NOTE: since cycling is still a second-class sport in America, we’re limited to a half-hour recap of the race on Versus. 3:30 EST]

[Liège wraps up classics season – VeloNews]

22
Apr
09

Racing Weekend in IC (which means rain)!

Old Capitol Crit course

Old Capitol Crit course

This weekend should promise to be a fun one if you’re anywhere near Iowa City. The annual Iowa City Road Race and Old Capital Criterium will be held this weekend — road race on Saturday; a full day of crit racing on Sunday — which of course means scattered thunderstorms and wind forecast. But if the clouds can keep their shit together, another crop of cyclists will take their shot at (continually) sumitting the brutal Jefferson St. hill on Sunday, which, according to the elevation charts for the race, tops out at a inappropriate leg-searing 69 feet of climb.

Seriously though, the Criterium is based around a fairly challenging 1-km loop, with riders dropping down a steep Washington Street, and making a fast turn past the Iowa Memorial Union on Madison before flying back up a short but equally-steep Jefferson.  If you’re in the mood to see lots of Cat 4 and 5 riders on the ground, you’ll want to position yourself right at the bottom of Washington first thing in the morning (have the meat wagon handy). If you can stick around for a bit, the Chris Lillig Memorial Cup feature race is at 3:30 and should be damn tasty.

Speaking of tasty, weather willing, I’ll either be in front of the Union or hiding inside Zmerick’s Noodle Cafe stuffing my face carb loading. You should say hi.

[Old Capitol Crit]

22
Apr
09

Are You There, God? It’s Us, Bikers.

Between the idiotic vitrol directed toward cyclists and a rapidly growing body count (Green Bay, Echo Park), it’s becoming obvious that could use a little help down here. Perhaps that’s why a recent NYC morning found over 100  cyclists waiting for some help from the man upstairs during a bike blessing ceremony at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

[God on a bike after the jump!]

Continue reading ‘Are You There, God? It’s Us, Bikers.’

14
Apr
09

Sticky Fingers (not the Stones album)

my sad Gary Fisher

my sad Gary Fisher

You would think that living in the heartland we would be somewhat insulated from bike theft. I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. During my four years at the relatively small University of Northern Iowa, I had two bikes stolen, including my first Gary Fisher mountain bike which was U-locked to a stout railing outside, in what I believed to be a safe place (bikes were not allowed inside the building). I came back to school from a weekend home only to find a mangled Kyrptonite lock in the bushes and an empty spot where my bike had stood. It was my first encounter with property crime, and it hurt something terrible. I had lost my hot new ride — I spent the next few weeks wandering the campus aimlessly, scoping out every bike rack, every rider flying past, hoping to catch a final, parting glimpse of the machine I had spent all of my graduation cash on.

It was only a matter of time before they struck in Iowa City, as well. The bike shown above was a fairly new Gary Fisher Marlin that I had converted into something of a street cruiser after deciding that I was tired of eating dirt ever time I hit the singletrack at Sugar Bottom. It was a sweet, customized hardtail, and I had entrusted it to my brother who needed a reliable ride. And it worked great until he hauled the remainder of the frame home one day — it seems he forgot to lock up the front end of the bike, and an enterprising thief decided to take the wheel and the front fork. The bike has been sitting forlornly in my shed, waiting for another fork (maybe even something rigid?) or the even grimmer task of parting it out to the highest bidder (the cost-benefit analysis continues).

And this is why we can’t have nice things. Learn how to stop it, plus meet Hal Ruzal below.

Continue reading ‘Sticky Fingers (not the Stones album)’

13
Apr
09

Bike Dreams: The Square Trike

The Square Trike in a commie disguise

The Square Trike in a commie disguise

One perfect summer evening, buzzed off of Miller High Life and dangling our feet carelessly over the porch’s edge, we decided to get out of the rat race — to take on that American sense of invention and make our own fortune. After some light debate, and the sobering realization that we lacked any salable skills, it was decided that we would sell hot dogs, ballpark style and dirt cheap, to drunken revelers ambling between house parties.

Continue reading ‘Bike Dreams: The Square Trike’