Thursday, October 14, 2010

Six of seven

Lust: One of the B-school marketing basics is STP—segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Apparently the Scottsdale travel council has done a bit of this and determined that tourism revenue will be maximized by positioning their town as a luxury destination for attractive rich people who like candles and very small islands in their swimming pools, and this attractive rich people segment can best be reached through targeted advertising in the New York Times.


I would have been more enticed to make another visit had they shown a picture of some buff singletrack or maybe the mountain bikers with a backpack full of booze who kindly offered me Tecate and shots of tequila* at the top of a lung-busting climb.

*Which, had I accepted, I was certain I would have promptly thrown back up from the effort I had just made. Nevertheless, it was a nice gesture, especially considering the challenging, technical descent I had before me that required every bit of skill and coordination I could muster.

But then again, they’re trying to maximize revenue, and all I bought in Scottsdale proper was a bottle of coke. I drove to the trails from my (less-expensive) hotel in Phoenix.

Gluttony: After Lotoja, I ate pretty much everything that wasn’t bolted down. I put on two kilos in as many days. Since then, I’ve made a half-baked effort to watch what I eat, an effort that in the spring probably would have been enough to take the weight off. It hasn’t. Wonder if that has anything to do with my weekly training volume going from 12-15 hours per week to 2-5?

Envy: Daren told me not long ago that he was a bit envious of the success I had racing on the road this season. Well the tables have been turned, my friend. I have suffered more than I thought possible on the bike for mid-pack finishes in cross races, while Daren has two wins in two races. He has been bagging those wins in an open category, while I’m struggling to find the front of the race in the B flight. But instead of smiling and asking “how do you like them apples?”, he shares training, racing, and technique tips and endless encouragement to try and bring me along as quickly as possible.

Sloth: I sent Steve a link to this photo of him from UTCX#2 in Ogden. His response: “The beauty of still photos is that nobody can tell how slow* you are going.” Wise words from a man wearing a skinsuit that epitomizes my mantra “if you can’t be fast, you should at least look good.

*Which is not to say he was going slow, just slower than he would have liked for someone accustomed to being at the front of the race.

Pride: A comment I made on twitter seems to have struck a chord with a number of others.


One of those was Jonathan Lozon, to whom I gave a shoutout in my wrapup of UTCX#2. What I didn’t know at the time was that in addition to his top 10 at Weber, Lozy went on to win the C race in the Raleigh Cross series. It was his first win ever. How can you not be proud of him for that?

Greed: I’ve mentioned before that Utah is a great place to live if you like to race bicycles. If you include MTB, there are as many as six options for mid-week races during the summer, a full calendar of weekend MTB and road races, and now two series of cross races, conveniently scheduled so as not to conflict with one another.

Which is not to say our races aren’t quirky. USAC rules state cyclocross courses are to be a minimum of three meters wide throughout, yet the Draper course is at least 60% singletrack*. Perhaps even more quirky and annoying than the singletrack is that we have handlebar-mounted number plates. And the Raleigh Cross series even chose to follow the UTCX lead in this regard. Seriously? Is this a MTB race or a cross race? Jonathan from Revolution Wheelworks summed it up nicely:


*Singletrack apparently composed of equal parts dirt and goatheads.

Strange and fascinating indeed. Still, I’m happy to have the opportunities to race, whether the courses include singletrack or we have turns in the final 200 meters or not.


  1. Annoying singletrack? Blasphemous oxymoron!

  2. luckily UTCX is NOT USAC sanctioned, for reasons other than singletrack on CX courses (which is awesome btw)

  3. Brad & Bob: Don't get me wrong, I love riding singletrack, but getting caught behind lapped traffic when you're trying to race on it isn't so fun.

  4. I was thinking about the h-bar numbers, and the only explanation I can come up with is that it aids the in-race live commentary. But it does make for a little nickel and diming if you have a pit bike that you want a 2nd number for.

  5. Grizzly: I think we have H-bar numbers for two reasons. First, Matt comes from a MTB background where that's the standard. Second, they're easily reusable whereas pin-on numbers are easily lost. But yes, the nickel and diming aspect of it is annoying. Plus they just look dorky, almost as dorky as the five different numbers you have to wear at Leadville or a magic marker number on your calf at a tri.

    I don't think commentators would be any less able to see pin-on numbers, especially since Bruce and Art mostly talk about the people they know and recognize, and probably don't use the numbers much anyway.

  6. What?! No wrath? Where's the wrath? I want wrath!

  7. Rabid: I figure you get enough of wrath in my other posts. But if you insist on feeling some wrath, go read this.

    Daren: That makes me feel better. Thanks.

  8. so you are worried about being dorky on the bike, really? Cause shit, we all look just amazing if it weren't for those damned number plates. Right (rolls eyes)

    And you are using lapped traffic as an excuse?????


    (don't mind me, i'm in expense report hell)

  9. Oh, look Rabid, Bob came back to give you some wrath.

    Actually, the problem with the plates, aside from the dorkiness, is that they're hard to mount with my SRM in the way (ha!). Sure we look like dorks, it's just that when we play dress up and try to act like bike racers, we want to look like pro dorks, not dork dorks. And that means pin-on numbers.

    And no, I wasn't using lapped traffic as an excuse for anything. Like I said before, if I was already out of contention, it wouldn't take me out of contention. It's just annoying to get stuck behind them on singletrack when there's not supposed to be singletrack. That's all.

  10. the numbers are all about proper, cheap, effective scoring. and they work, SRM, hah. Stupid-Roadie-Moron.


    i love you people.

  11. That's more like it! Thanks Bob. Wrath is my favorite of all the sins because that's the sin that birthed my inner PMS Avenger. Speaking of witch (har har), she's been on vacation for quite some time. I wonder why....

  12. That's not single track. You can rally a 4-wheeler on any of it. Check out some euro cross videos and scope all the wide trails they use. Some seriously crazy fun stuff.
    In general UTCX courses are super mellow and less technical and hilly then any courses outside of Utah. For whatever reason everyone here cries to the promoter if there is any challenge to a course. Now we even have a "cross crit." How does anyone expect to build skill on flat wide open roads?
    Just let the lappers know your coming and they should move over.

    See you at the fairpark.

  13. BG: Maybe you could rally a four wheeler on it, but it sure isn't three meters wide. Either way, too bad people complain if Matt makes a hard course. Cross is supposed to be hard. I've watched a number of the Euro races--those courses are hard after hard layered upon hard followed by a mud pit and maybe a runup if the organizers are feeling particularly sadistic. When the pros are only going 22-24kph, you know the course is opening a big can o' whoop ass every single lap. I say bring it on. The whoop ass is what I came for (which is not to say I won't complain about how hard it is, I just won't complain in a "Matt please change it" kind of way).

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  15. To fail reasonably well in cross also requires unusual suffering. I was dizzy toward the end of last week's race, probably finishing in the 70 range out of maybe 105 starters. My vision was fogged. How bad was it? When I went to clean the bike on Weds I found chunks on the top tube. Seems I threw up and didn't remember it. And I *suck*. I have no idea how bad some of the really fast guys are willing to suffer.

    Of course it only just now occurred to me that it might have been somebody else's vomit, in which case I'm even more oblivious and a bigger pussy than first thought...