Cycle-Smart Blog

First day of summer means cyclo-cross is coming!

Cycle-Smart is happy to celebrate the opening days of summer with two big announcements: details for the 11th annual cyclo-cross camp, and revised cyclo-cross season coaching packages.

The Cycle-Smart Cyclo-Cross camp is arguably the original, most popular, and most emulated 'cross camp in North America. The camp's unique attraction lies in its beautiful setting, fun atmosphere, mix of ability levels and personalities, and the opportunity to learn and practice skills with some of America's best and most experienced 'cross racers and coaches.

Camp dates are August 19-21st, and more info is available here:

http://www.cycle-smart.com/coaching/training-camps/cyclo-cross-camp

While 'cross camp is an opportunity to focus on skills, we know more and more, our clients are focusing on 'cross as their primary discipline, and ready to start specific training for season earlier each year. To that end, we've modified our coaching packages this year to accommodate an earlier start, and carry through to the new January nationals date.

More info here:

http://www.cycle-smart.com/coaching/cyclo-cross/cyclo-cross-packages

For questions on either item, contact us at coaching@cycle-smart.com.

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Attention P/1/2 teams in the Southeast - High Point Crit

If your team is going to be in the area for the High Point criterium this Friday night, May 27th, the organizers are working hard to get a strong pro/1/2 men's turnout. Here are the details for teams:
1-Free entry. Team managers can contact Jim Martin at 336-266-9927 or better at theomnium@gmail.com to register.
2-Lodging. Host housing and limited hotels are available on a first come first serve basis.
3-Food and drinks Friday pm in sponsor area. Free. After race music and party.
4-Primes that will double race pot.
Team Mountain Khakis will have a presence, so if you're not racing, come down and watch!

TMK 2011, the mixtape

Been workin' on a mix CD for the team. I think it's almost done.

So I got with a sick-ass clique and went all out...

  1. Do ItRollins Band
  2. LionsDoomriders
  3. These Are My Dress ClothesBison B.C.
  4. HighwayTree
  5. Step On ItSlapshot
  6. As OneWarzone
  7. Now or NeverBold
  8. Never AloneDropkick Murphys
  9. The Warrior's CodeDropkick Murphys
  10. SuffererKingstonians
  11. StriveOmeil
  12. C.R.E.A.M.Wu-Tang Clan
  13. Teeth of a CogwheelBaroness
  14. Looking for the Perfect BeatAfrika Bambaataa
  15. SupertouchBad Brains
  16. Straight EdgeMinor Threat
  17. Start TodayGorilla Biscuits
  18. A Time We'll RememberYouth of Today
  19. BirthdaysToken Entry

Krabbé

Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from the sidewalk cafés. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.

-The Rider, by Tim Krabbé

Every day, the news is the same.

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Archipelagos of Satisfaction

Via Cyclingnews, in turn via the web site of Pasquale Muto, a rider I'd never heard of before, who recently tested positive for EPO:

“An athlete’s career is an archipelago of satisfaction, scattered in a sea of fatigue and sacrifice. You should never let the difficulties get you down and you should never celebrate the victories too much. Staying humble and motivated is and always will be my challenge in sport.”

Sometimes the guy who dopes just to do his job, just to get to race bikes for a living in the middle of the pack, is both the biggest victim and the worst villain. This quote from Muto, included in the Cyclingnews article, could not sum up for me better the things I often tell myself in order to be able to emotionally cope with the nature of bike racing, where the ratio of suffering to success is so, so skewed. You suffer so much, and you win so rarely. I've had the feeling many times after winning though; that feeling of emptiness that reminds you that the winning was not the point, that very little changes, that you're the same person still and you shouldn't prop yourself up too much. You'll be back down at the bottom again soon enough. And you find it easier to deal with the bottom when you're there next, because you recognize there is essentially no difference. It's all bike racing.

There are wins that do matter emotionally. Wins that are milestones and feel like rewards for hard work done. Winning at Downeast this year was certainly that way for me, as was winning the last stage of the Ras in my first year as a pro, my comeback year, at age 30. I celebrated my wins and then tried to catch myself and come back down to earth, because for most of them, and for most of the time, it feels like Muto describes; occasional moments of satisfaction - not even joy, just satisfaction - poking their heads above the surface of an ocean in which you spend the rest of the time just treading water, choking regularly, trying not to drown.

It's easy, then, in that context, to sometimes have some sympathy for the guy in the middle, the guy out at sea, who dopes just to keep from drowning. It's condemnable, certainly, and it contributes to the problem we're trying to fix. Joe Papp, for instance, "is a hero to most but he never meant shit to me," if I may borrow from Chuck D. And so maybe I'm falling for something here in Muto's case when the news of the positive test is coupled with this vulnerable, poignant, and eloquent quote that captures a spirit of the sport many never experience outside of the gutter. Maybe I'm being suckered. But it speaks to me about the motivation to dope that comes not just from a desire for success where the culprit is trying to get ahead, but from the anonymous rider under pressure, whose desire is to ease suffering, just to be able to cope with the job itself.

I can snap myself out of it and say "go get a normal job, you asshole. You stole a spot on your team from a rider who might have been able to do it clean." That's the real truth, and of course I know this. But I'm having a hard time here taking the hard line with a character who can speak such a beautiful lyric on such a terribly beautiful sport.

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