Monday, August 31, 2009


After a few phone calls to the Cook County Forest Preserves we finally got our voice heard by the superintendant of recreation. Seeing that he never even heard what cx is, we hit him with as much info as we could. He and his assistant, who turned us flat down earlier, were impressed with how well put together Chicross Cup and USA Cycling are. We answered their two main concerns which were saftey and environmental preservation to their satisfaction.
Now we have a race to organize. Permitting is underway and course planning is still being tweeked. So save the date and look back here often for updates. Tony

Sunday, August 23, 2009


A healthy dose of penance was served today by all of those who attended Church in Western Springs. The parcours offering was nothing less than spectacular and brutal at the same time with every element typical of 'cross thrown in. Each lengthy lap included gravel pathways, singletrack, off-camber grassy hills, barriers, asphalt, a 50 degree run-up, mud, sand and lots of pain. With no real extended power sections, there was hardly any chance to recover before coming upon the next element. Laps were completed in about 10 minutes with a total of 5 laps for over 50 minutes of racing. And while they may not be sanctioned events, the pace is nothing less than all out.

Between 25 and 30 zealots took part in this mornings service, and at times I found myself praying out loud to God in an effort to make the pain stop. Truthfully after settling in once the initial sorting out of the first lap and half, things starting coming together. My breathing became rythmic and the legs found a comfortable cadence. I attacked the course, sprinting out of each corner and mustered as much power as I could on the flats. I have to admit that I was rather demoralized when Ted rode up the run-up that some were having trouble with on their feet.

I look forward to the next assembly of parishioners in a few weeks, although I do propose that a tithe be collected and some catering ordered of waffles, frites and mayo! What good is a church service without the Sunday brunch afterwards?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Damon didn't mention that we train at Dan Ryan Woods. It is unbelievably safe on the weekday's. Outside of us there is usually a handful of other people there. We meet up on 87th street at the base of the hill east of Western in the parking lot. Our hours are very flexable, but as of now, half our team rides on Thurs around 5:30. We don't discriminate. This is open to whomever wants to enjoy riding cx, beginner or better. If anybody needs more info, feel free to call me. Tony 772 238 3923

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cross Training

Friday was a good day for the team and me. Damon was able to talk to local Pro Ben Popper, and get him to Come on down to the Southside. We wanted to get his help in setting up our cross training course. We knew that we had a hidden jewel that was just sitting there waiting to be revealed, but I never expected to get what Ben set up for us. The only thing we don’t have is the sand, thank goodness. We now have it all. We have a nice run-up, pave, and long flat sections of grass. Then we get to the Hill, it’s not small nor is it to big, but it will get your attention. You start out twisting and turning your way up to the top, and then you come back down a third of the way to turn hard back to the top to only come the gut check. It’s a strait shot down a off cambered section that we saw Ben unclipping for the descent. I imagine there will be a lot of crashing at first, all over the hill. That’s ok, because if we can master the techniques to conquer Muggers Hill. (Ref to the unjust reputation of the Southside, and the fact that you will feel like you have been mugged after going down a few times for us mere mortals. Ben made it looked easy.) I this will cure my three crashes a race problem.

I know I have said this before, but the people in our sport are the best. Where else can you get a local pro’s to take time out of there day to help out other riders. I know we are no pros nor will we probably be. But most of the guys that have made it to upper level of our sport never forget where they started and always seam to give back what they can. That says a lot about them and our sport.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mountain Biking?

First off I have to address a previous post about me getting elbowed. Somebody wrote in a comment that it is actually safer for the rider to use an elbow than to take their hand off their bars. Point taken.
I haven't riden in a week and wasn't able to go to Mattesen last night. I wanted to go on the road, but Damon invited me to the trails in Palos. All I have is my cross bike but he goes out there all the time with his so I went. I asked him if a pair of 700 by 30 tires would be fine. He said they would but I soon found out I would have appreciated something a whole lot beefer under me. We met up with a friend of his who had a mountain bike. As soon as we got into the parking lot there was a guy sitting in his car with the door open with blood trailing down from his knee. Not a good omen.
All I could say is that is probably my last time on those trails. For me it is hard enough to stay upright on the street without obstacles. Now throw in roots and rocks. Needless to say my forearms got a workout trying to keep my hands on the hoods while breaking.
I would say we were not even 100 yards into the trails and I fell. I slid off of something that looked like concrete at a 45 degree angle but was actually made of packed dirt. Hurray for me! I have another hour and a half of this. The good thing is I didn't fall again. Not for a lack of trying mind you. Just the sheer will of God looking down on me kept me upright some of the times.
So what did I learn? Don't go to Palos with anything less than a mountain bike if you don't have any skills. The only good thing about having a cross bike out there was I was able to ride home from the forest preserves at a good pace.