Thursday, November 3, 2011

My History of Cross, 22 years in the making

So today I got to thinking about how cyclocross has progressed over the years. My love for this crazy sport goes back to the days when I first began riding and racing as a junior back in the mid '80's. Back then, racing cross was a dream. The equipment was virtually impossible to get. I remember gazing in awe at Clement CX tubulars and Diadora shoes. Alan made Guerciotti and Pinerello cyclocross frames. It was big deal if you actually got to see one in person.

As a junior we used to ride our road bikes, tubulars and all, through Wilderness Park pretending to be racing cross. My first go at a cross bike was a pieced together old Trek 420 or something like that. It had 27" wheels, enough tire clearance you could squeeze Specialized Tri-Cross hybrid/cross tire into it. I outfitted the back with Moots Mounts for cantilever brakes but had to settle with the stock center-pull Weinmann front brake.

If cross back then was what it is today I don't know if I ever would have done as much road and mountain bike racing as I have. I love cross just that much more.

So here's my pictorial history of cross racing...Nebraska style

1989: Racing on the Cross Country course at Pioneers Park. Nobody had cross bikes in those days so we were all racing mountain bikes (if you had one). Barriers were made out of downed tree limbs

1995: Still on mountain bikes but the racing was moved out to Branched Oak Lake. This was probably the first year we had an actual barrier but we still had a few log barriers too.
2000: My first REAL cross bike cobbed together with old MTB parts. Triple crank, XTR rear derailuer, etc. Racing in California at the SoCal cross series when it was in it's infancy. They had a solid for race series, each at a different venue. It had fewer racers than we have racing today.

2004: Things are really taking off. The KC scene is rocking and John Lefler put together the Midwest Cyclocross Series with races in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri

2005: Nebraska is catching up. Holligan Hill begins to become legend. Beer hand-ups have started. Pretty much everybody  has a dedicated cross bike, tubulars, titanium, and carbon.
2006: Jingle Cross

Holligan Hill and beer from the misses

2006: It was all about racing SS for me. Huge scene in KC and growing in leaps and bounds in Nebraska

2007: Still doing it SS style
2008: Still SS only this time with more facial hair

2009: Transitioning from clown singlespeeder to serious cross racer. To quote Dave Chappelle "Shits about to get real"

2010: Real deal cross racing. Race bikes and pit bikes. More carbon than you know what to do with. USGPs. And the legendary Holligan Hill with live music. This one goes to ELEVEN.


mw said...

was in awe and laughing at the same time that day. so fantastic

Josh said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing!!

Mark Studnicki said...

Very cool. You have many years left in those legs.

sda said...

that race at bo was classic. you 1st, darin 2nd, me third. a couple of those barriers were so tall i had to scissor step over them.

i thought that was mw sitting there cheering you on ;).