Q&A: Cyclocross Cliques, XTerra Dares, Favorite Bikes

John says:

What’s your favorite bike and favorite type of riding?

Ouch! Favorite bike! That’s a tough one.

To be honest, my favorite bike is a figment of my memory. It was a vintage Pogliaghi that Sal gave to me to use when I met him. A “friend” of ours took it and never returned it. It’s a long story.

Back to reality. Here’s my favorite bike: Veloforma F1R Road Bike

It’s the nicest bike I’ve ever had, more bike than I probably deserve, and on the first day I rode it I felt like I could climb.

If that ain’t magic, then I don’t know what is.

As for my favorite riding, it’s a tie between cyclocross and touring. The touring thing might come as a surprise since I haven’t done a lot of it but I absolutely love the idea of the bike as Journey Machine. I’m smitten with actually covering significant ground with my bike, instead of just riding in big 80 mile circles around town. I have done a lot of ultralight backpacking in the past and I like the feeling of self-sufficiency and simplicity.


Dartanyon says:

When you first got into cross, did you find that there was a bit of a “clique” mentality that you had to get passed, or was the community more open. -OR- How did you find the attitudes of the people when you first got into cross?

You know. This is a really interesting question.

I routinely write about how inclusive and fun cyclocross is. About how easy it is to get into and how welcoming the community is. And I really think all those things are true – compared to road racing, cyclocross is a kumbaya campfire of cycling love.

But because the community is so tight knit, you definitely know when you’re not in it.

The first year Sal and I raced we put an umbrella in a bike workstand and warmed up underneath it alone. Our friend Sherry came to all of our races and often talked me into racing when I tried to back out at the last minute because I was scared out of my mind.

We didn’t really feel specifically isolated, but we definitely didn’t feel like part of the club. It wasn’t personal – it was just a matter of hanging out and racing and talking to people and meeting people. It took time.  I felt like people were extremely friendly and welcoming when we did get to interact with them.

And – then – BAM! After the first year, people recognize you from the year before. They recognize you on training rides. They wave. You talk to them on the start line. They offer you a burger. They offer you a beer.

The rest is history.

I’d say, like all good relationships, it took time because because it was substantive and meaningful.


I dare, no DOUBLE DOG DARE, you to race XTERRA Portland on August 14, 2010 at Hagg Lake.

(I know someone who will teach you how not to drowned)

I’m scaring even myself with this response but. I’m actually a little tempted.


Lindsay says:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Good question. I’m making it up as I go along. To be honest, it probably has something to do with a house in the country with a small farm, a lot less social stuff, and a lot more writing and reading.
In general I’d like the trajectory of my future life to trend toward more “quiet”. Hence the Tucson mental checkout this winter.
Kristin says:

Why bikes?

I never really had a choice. They came with the Sicilian.

I joke about this, but it’s true. I would have never been inclined to become a competitive cyclist otherwise.

It’s an expensive sport requiring obnoxious amounts of time. I find the demographics troubling. There’s a lot about cycling that I struggle with, actually.

But after many years, bike-love finally overcame me.



Lindsay says:

Why Sal?

Sal is funny and calm and happy.

He is kind of like human valium for me. :)

What I’m saying is, we complement each other. He keeps me sane, I keep him motivated.

Also, Sal doesn’t want kids and that’s a hard quality to find in a good man, I tell you.


Caroline says:

Where is Tyler Brady?


I really wish I knew but I hope he’s safe and sound.


Paul L. Kordus says:

It seems like you ride all year long, from someone like myself who has a winter to xc ski I sometimes get burned out trying to get as much riding as possible in from March to November or December depending on the weather how do you keep from burnout?????

Ah ha! A common misconception. I actually do not ride my bike all the time.

I hate riding in the summer and prefer to ride in the colder winter months. Last year I did not touch my bike once during the month of July and only rode twice in August (for a total of 85 miles). During ‘cross season from September to December I averaged 20 miles a week, which included races (which basically accounts for one hour training a week with a race on Sunday). FYI: I do not recommend this training plan.

I’m a big fan of taking breaks from the bike. I burn out mentally very easily – mostly because I get bored out of my mind with cycling after a while.

When that happens I usually start running again. I’m also an unapologetic gym rat with a penchant for weight lifting. And I love brushing up on my line-drive mashing capabilities at the batting cages.

So, basically, when you feel burned out – do something else! The day you feel obligated to be on the bike is absolutely the day you should stay away from it. (Unless you’re working toward some really lofty goal that requires some intense training and a different level of commitment, if that’s the case – then remind yourself what you’re working toward and go pedal.)

Jen says:

What kind of camera do you use on your rides?

I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 or my iPhone. The Lumix is a little bigger than I’d like, but it does the trick. I just set it to “Sports Mode” and let ‘er rip.

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  1. Paul L. Kordus

    I know what you mean about summer and heat,,,,, I prefer the colder weather also ….. Thanks

  2. Perhaps because none of my racing buddies expected me to try cyclocross, when I entered my first race last fall they damned near threw me a party just for showing up.

    Still, I know what you mean. The ‘cross scene is *the* friendliest place ever.

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