Wednesday, September 27, 2006

1st race

So you know when you're racing, there's always a couple people that you judge yourself against. You're always duking it out with each other, sometimes you'll win, sometimes they'll win, kind of like Ping Pong and the second to last place finisher. Well, last winter I showed that I was faster than every male aged 35-39 in the US. But for me, I can never quite catch up to Seattle.

I've duked it out with Seattle many times now, and Seattle always comes out on top. That's right, I've never won a Seattle race. I thought this past Sunday would be my chance, but excuses excuses excuses, yada yada yada, I couldn't pull off the W. Seriously though, it's a bummer when you pull a cat. 5 move and can't clip into your pedal after a remount, and it sucks even more when you get outsprinted because of it. Oh well.

This weekend is Star crossed and then Alpenrose. I think the racing will be good because word on the street is there are new fast guys in town. I hope they bring their A game. I think I'll use my B bike. C ya there. That was lame. The other word on the street is that Tonkin busted out his fixed gear road bike and did the single speed race. Maybe I should do that, and see if I can win a Vanilla frame for the single speed series.

Peace out.


Friday, September 22, 2006


Wicknasty wrote:
how you you last so long in the sack?

Get yourself a spellchecker. And I hope you're not referring to the times that we had to share a bed. I think I was so traumatized by the experiences that I just passed out and woke up 10 hours later. Is that what you mean?

Chigger Mcnuggets wrote:
What about cross bike #4?
It's for sale at sellwood cycle.

Will it have carbon fiber derailleur pulley bearings? What about sparkle bar tape wrap?
No. No.

And what's with grifo 32's being 470 grams while tufo flexus 32's are only 310 grams. Why go grifo then? Shit, the grifo's are heavier than stans'ed up michi muds!
That's why you offset the extra weight with the second set of carbon wheels.

Also, where the heck is Hulick???
I don't know. I wonder what Hulick's doing now?

g wrote:

no mention of Kozy Shack?


ain't that the secret to being fast?

is it supposed to be eaten the night before or the day of?

go over that again...

Ok, so Kozy Shack is good, and I eat a lot of it, but let's be serious. It's pretty much empty calories, and it's so addicting that you really have to limit your intake. I try to only eat one tub at a time. 22 ounces of goodness. Ping Pong thought it would be good race food so he tried it once a couple hours before a race. It turns out that he's slightly lactose intolerant, so be careful.

and so what? you too sissy to try out Providence this year again? Ya think Kansas City will be a warmer venue in the middle of December?

Nah, I'll be going out to the east coast twice this year. Once for Gloucester, then again for nationals. I might do a couple races in RI before nationals, so that trip might be a little longer.

The other third of team Vanilla is out at the Michigan UCI races this weekend chasing the UCI points. I'll be chasing Slaven around Hood River this weekend, or maybe just my cats around the house because I've got a bad head cold.

Peace out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

cross clinic questions

So I've been teaching these cross clinics out at Alpenrose for a few years now. There's a lot of beginners out there, a lot of them have never raced cross or raced bikes at all. I thought I'd post some of the more common questions that I get and some of the answers. Hopefully this will be helpful even to the more experienced riders out there. If anybody has anymore questions feel free to ask them in the comments section, and I'll do my best to answer them.

1. How do you dismount?
Swing your right leg over your rear wheel. Some people like to put their right leg between the frame and their left leg, then unclip their left leg. This allows you to start off with a full running step. I just swing my right leg over the wheel and kind of use the momentum to unclip my left foot. This means you start out with a "half step" be careful. Practice it so you get your timing down so you don't have to slow too much going into a barrier.

2. How do you remount?
The best way to practice is to start slow. Take long, walking strides next to the bike, then swing your right leg over and "walk" onto the bike seat. You shouldn't have any stutter step when you're walking, and as you get faster and faster make sure the stutter step doesn't make an appearance. Otherwise, go back to practicing slowly. You don't so much jump onto the bike (this can be dangerous, for obvious reasons). Instead, when you're going fast, imagine how it feels when you're practicing slowly. There's not a violent impact between you and the seat. That's how it should feel when you're going fast, too.

3. What's a good training plan?
Well, there's a few schools of thought. You can do like Tonkin does and ride your bike as much as humanly possible. I'm talking every waking hour when you're not at work. This works well if you work 60 hrs/week like he does, but plan on giving up a social life. It does help if you eat butter.

I try to ride less, but skip the butter. My goal is to ride as little as possible but still be able to win races. You'll have to experiment a little, because that amount of riding varies from person to person. I've pretty much settled in on commuting to and from work.

4. What should I eat before/during/after a race?
Well, cross races are so short, especially for the beginner categories, that there's not much use taking food or drink with you. That's why prerace nutrition is so important. Here's what I do: warmup well, and during the 30 minutes up to the race I like to have a quad-espresso, a coke, and 2 or 3 gels. After the race, I like to have a nice burger from burgerville. I might have a burrito and a snickers bar after that. On non race-days, I like to eat anything that gets in my way. Don't forget to drink water!

5. How can I/how did you get on Team Vanilla?
It helps if you need a couple bikes. Plan on looking good in baby blue. Do you have a long sleeve skinsuit? I didn't have one, and Sacha had some, so I think that's why I got on the team.

6. Are tubies really worth the hassle?
Well, I'd say that for some courses absolutely, and dry fast courses not as much, but keep in mind that you can get the most performance advantage out of a set of carbon wheels AND tubulars. Make sure you get a set for you backup bike, too. Last year I only had one set, then a set of clinchers on my B bike, but it looks like this year both my A and B bikes will have carbon tubies, and the clinchers will be relegated to my C bike.

7. How do I get really fast? I mean REALLY fast?
I can't give away all my secrets, but it does help to have prior experience at the elite level in other sports. Try this: get really good at snowboarding, then really fast at mtn. biking, then really fast at road racing, then try your first cross race. If you're like me, that will lead to a 7th place finish at your first cross crusade in the A category. From there, once you improve your skills a little and get comfortable in the races, the wins are right around the corner!

Ok, hope this helped.

Peace out.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Shannon responds to reader's question...

...and decides to refer to himself in the third person in the title.

Dirt Doll posted:

dear shammy,
let's talk about this other social phenomenon called,
"women competitors getting less prize money than men competitors who race the same course for the same amount of time, paying the same entry fee". More pressing than global warming, I swear......

Interesting...Shannon hasn't thought about it too much (I mean, I haven't thought about it too much), because even though I have a woman's name, I am not a woman. No, I am the MEN'S 2005 35-39 US National Cyclocross Champion, not the WOMEN'S 2005 35-39 US National Cyclocross Champion. And you know what I got for winning that race? A jersey and a medal. Not much payout there.

But seriously, who here has ever promoted a race? I haven't, so what I'm about to say is mostly speculation. I think that for the most part, promoters are not making much money on races. After all the fees for closing/using public roads and parks, paying for repairs to parks after the race, paying for equipment, getting people to direct traffic, making sure there's enough beer for Dean, etc, I bet that many times promoters are paying money out of their pocket to cover some of the costs of putting on a race. I think that a lot of times the prize money is coming from entrance fees. That's why a lot of times you'll see on a race flyer "100% payout" or something like that, meaning if 100 racers show up at $20 each, the purse will be $2000.

Following that logic, it would make sense for Women's categories to have smaller purses than men's categories. There's no doubt that there are fewer women racing than men. But it's the whole chicken and the egg thing: are there fewer women because the purses are small? Or are the purses small because there are fewer women?

Let's not forget that it's often true that one purse is subsidized by another category's entry fees. Meaning the A category always has the largest purse but is rarely the largest category. And also let's keep in mind that at the races we do (especially cross races), few people are actually doing the races to win money. Look at Ping Pong. What are his chances of ever winning money in a race? Less than zero. I don't think I've even seen him finish a race before. But week after week, he keeps skipping every race, complaining about his sore throat or that the purse isn't big enough or...wait, bad example. But the majority of people racing have no chance of ever winning, so why are they going out there?

To be continued, after I think about this some more...

Friday, September 01, 2006

you know it

Buy my bikes.

I've got my Waterford cross bike for sale, check it out at, and I've also got my Fisher 29er for sale. I'll throw in an autographed (empty) tub of Kozy Shack for anybody that buys a bike.

In other news, for you conspiracy theorists out there, did you hear about the youtube video that parodied Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Truth"? Yeah, apparently a couple dudes out there made a video making fun of Al Gore, and when they traced it to the original posters, it turned out that Exxon Mobil actually put out the video. Now it's been pulled and the video is nowhere to be found.

Seriously, buy my bikes. That will help me fund my cross season, and for those of you that asked, I'll probably make it back out to the east coast this season, but only for the Gloucester races. Other than that, I plan on rocking my Vanillas on the Friday morning Saltzman sprint series. I'll have Ping Pong pit for me halfway up the climb in case I need my spare bike.

Here's my pre-preseason cross picks:
Todd Wells will ride fast.
So will Treboner.
And that other tall guy, Wicknasty.
And that hairy guy, with the brown cut-off skinsuit. He'll really be Tonking this year.
Watch for Matthew "AC 'Broken legs' Slater" Slaven riding gears in the A's this year.
Watch for Ping Pong to attack out of the back of the single speeds.
I'll be trying to drink as much coffee as possible.

Peace out.

(buy my bikes)

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