Friday, January 31, 2020

Wins For Wisconsin!

Huge news today! The UCI Cyclocross World Cup will return to Wisconsin for the 2020-21 season, with the race at Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo surviving as the only stop in North America. Iowa’s Jingle Cross has been dropped from the World Cup calendar but will continue as a UCI C1/C2 event. We knew big changes were coming and there was considerable speculation that the World Cup would once again become a strictly European series, so let’s be thankful for Trek’s ongoing commitment to American cyclocross.

Today brought another piece of good news for Wisconsin: the USA Cycling Pro XCT mountain bike series will stop in Fall River on May 2. Yes, the same Fall River that hosts the Englewood Open in the Wisconsin Off-Road Series! Right now the Englewood Open is showing up as a June 27 event on a WORS calendar that has been dramatically revised, so watch for more changes.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Hugh Jass Fun At Regner Park

This morning the Hugh Jass Fat Bike Series—now in its 5th season—made its West Bend debut, and Team Pedal Moraine was there in force: in the race and in the big crowd of spectators. The team met at Pedal Moraine for breakfast before descending on Regner Park. I was the breakfast maker and the photo taker. These were the racers:

Matt Grady

Brad Heckert

Samantha Heckert

Scott Palmersheim

Bob Zimmermann

In a series that places fun first and competition second (see “Beer Shortcut” above), good times were had by one and all! Not a bad way to spend a snowy Saturday.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

I’m Down With It

Don’t you just hate it when the road race from Australia is over at 3 a.m. and you have to kill almost 4 hours before the start of the cyclocross race from France? That was my unhappy lot today between the Tour Down Under Classic Criterium and the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Nommay. But I made it, and I was treated to terrific duels in both the women’s and men’s World Cup races. Can’t usually say that, but Mathieu van der Poel wasn’t in today’s race, so the outcome wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

As for the criterium … well, crits are crits, all over the world. Whether you’re watching your buddies fly around a local office park or you’re watching UCI World Tour professionals on the streets of Adelaide, it’s the same minimally satisfying fan experience. There’s the early breakaway, the late catch, and the inevitable bunch sprint. You could set your watch to it. As bike racing goes, a criterium is better than nothing. In a larger sense, the same is true of the entire Tour Down Under.

The Tour Down Under is the first proper stage race since the Vuelta a EspaƱa way back in September. (If you think I’m going to count China’s Tour of Guangxi, held October 17-22, then you are sadly mistaken.) Everyone is hungry to start the new season, so they don’t mind that the race itself isn’t that great. The Tour Down Under is mostly flat. It favors the sprinters, and I am no fan of sprint stages. Still, I look forward to it every year. Why? Because January in Wisconsin sucks, but January in Australia is the height of summer. Every day for the next week, the Tour Down Under will give me a couple of hours of escapism. And I won’t be the only one being entertained: the Tour Down Under enjoys enthusiastic fan support in the communities through which it passes. In that respect it contrasts dramatically with the stage races in the Middle East that really serve only as warmups for the Spring Classics. For whatever reason, that makes a difference to me. Watching a race from Oman or Qatar is like watching a training ride: nobody cares, so why should I? That won’t be a problem next weekend when the Tour Down Under concludes atop Willunga Hill. It’s just too bad South Australia doesn’t have five more hills like that one.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Presenting The 2020 Cheesehead Roubaix

The 11th Annual Cheesehead Roubaix will begin at Newburg Fireman’s Park on Sunday, April 26, at 9 a.m.  Inspired by Spring Classics like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, Cheesehead Roubaix is a 63-mile ride that features almost 10 miles of dirt and gravel. The ride will test your fitness with rough road conditions and about 2,000 feet of climbing.

Cheesehead Roubaix is free of charge, but please consider making a voluntary contribution to the Newburg Fire Department to show your appreciation for the use of its facility. There will be a donations jar at the concessions stand before and after the ride. NFD is a small, all-volunteer department. Your generosity will make a big difference!

There will be a free, mid-ride rest stop courtesy of our friends from BELGIANWERKX. Please let us know you plan to attend so that we can ensure there’s enough food & drink at the rest stop. Join the fun at the Facebook event page, send me email, or leave a comment below.

Cheesehead Roubaix is designed for self-sufficient cyclists. The rest stop will be your only support. The ride uses only open public roads and park paths. You are responsible for your own safety and conduct, and you are expressly not exempt from Wisconsin traffic laws. Represent the sport well. Please visit the Cheesehead Roubaix website and print out your own copy of the cuesheet and map. The website also offers data files for GPS devices.

See you on April 26!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020’s First 20 Miles

A 46° afternoon with brilliant sunshine and only light winds on January 2? I’ll take that! It’s always a great feeling to chalk up the first miles of a new season. I wasn’t too ambitious today—there’s still snow, ice, and wet roads out there—and I’m not going to be too ambitious all winter. Today’s ride was slow going at 1 hour, 25 minutes, but it was way more fun than spinning in place down in the home gym.