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To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Back to the Cross We Know and Love: Charm City CX 2017

After a somewhat controversial race weekend in Connecticut, Charm City Cross in Baltimore felt like a return to the cyclocross scene that we know and love.

A scene filled with spectators and cheering and warmth (literally and figuratively). A scene that this year featured a giant scaffold monstrosity that added to the memories that keep bringing us back to Baltimore year after year. We will have a full race report and video from Charm City soon but until then we’re going Lettermen style with our top ten from Charm City Cross 2017:

10. Hyde Gets unintentionally Roasted

Winning a national championship garners a lot of street cred. Except with young children apparently: after a hot day of racing Saturday where Stephen Hyde finished third he was subjected to one of the most unintentionally brutal post-race interviews in recent memory:

Hopefully these kids came back out on Sunday to see Hyde show why he's wearing "that jersey".

9. The Pros Come Out to Play

Since Nittany stepped down from the UCI ranks and the majority of the squad skipped KMC, Charm City was our first C1/C2 weekend of the year. As such it was our first chance to see the likes of Katie Keough, Ellen Noble, Stephen Hyde, and Tobin Ortenblad in action this season. Seeing the best and brightest of US cyclocross is always a rare treat and both the Women’s and Men’s races were quite the spectacle to watch:

8. Bringing Out the Hops

If there was a fan favorite on the back side of the Charm City CX course it was undoubtedly Ryan Alex (Mock Orange Bikes) who was the only rider in the Men’s Elite field to consistently ride the horse jump: 

There was plenty of impressive riding in the heat at #charmcitycx but for our money this was pretty fun to watch.... #itsmagic

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7. The Heat. The Heat. The Heat. 

It may be October but Saturday’s races featured a dry and unrelenting heat. It was painful to race in but as is often the case it led to some great images during and after the races:

6. Dogs of Cyclocross

When we think about the races that “we know and love” - the Gloucesters, the Nohos and the Charm City’s of the calendar - the food trucks, beer tents and friendly heckling all all part of the equation. However just as important are the dogs of cyclocross who are there for post-race cuddles and hangs. Thankfully they were out in full force at Charm City, including TBD’s official mascot: Winnie the Bulldog

#notabike #charmcitycx

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5. Going Traditional for our Team Dinner

While it is rarely captured in photographs there is a communal element to any big cyclocross weekend that lingers in our memories. At Charm City CX this included piling ten people into an AirBNB with 1.5 baths and spending our afternoons in the team tent cheering on our fellow racers. However it’s the team dinner on Saturday night that stands out as we went full on Maryland-style with a feast of steamed crabs and half-gallon cocktails in fish bowls for two of our injured compatriots: 

4. Crab Handups

The corrallary to item number six on our Charm City CX top ten came at Sunday’s races where we did the only thing we could think of with our leftover crab from Saturday night’s feast (remember kids: #handupsarenotacrime): 

Clay Jones  didn't let an injury on Saturday stop him from offering crab handups on Sunday (Photo Credit: Clyde Vandivort)

Clay Jones didn't let an injury on Saturday stop him from offering crab handups on Sunday (Photo Credit: Clyde Vandivort)

Top and bottom photos above by To Be Determined's photographer extraordinaire, Daghan Perker (@dperker)

3. Cheering For Friends

At big UCI races like Charm City for better or worse the focus is on the front of the race. And the level of talent at Charm City was undoubtedly top notch (see #9 above). But far more enjoyable than seeing the latest round of Hyde v Powers is seeing friends enjoy success at the highest level of the sport. With that in mind a huge congrats to our favorite Philly cyclocrosser:

2. Stairway to Heaven 

All it took was a single picture and suddenly the NYC Cyclocross Facebook group was alight on Friday with a lengthy thread spanning nearly 100 comments. The picture in question? The beginnings of the scaffold monster at Charm City that was impossible to miss and that, while racing, grew more painful with each ascent. We have no clue whether it will be back next year but it sure was a terrific addition to an already memorable venue:

The front end of Saturday's Elite Women's race on their way up the massive flyover at Charm City CX.

The front end of Saturday's Elite Women's race on their way up the massive flyover at Charm City CX.

1. A Thousand Thank Yous

This goes without saying but deserves to be said - a huge thank you to everyone involved who made Charm City CX 2017 possible. We may have our fair share of race directing experience on TBD but even so it’s nearly unimaginable to consider the amount of work that goes into making this past weekend possible each and every year. So the number 1 spot on our top ten list goes to the organizers, staff and volunteers that made this past weekend so memorable. See you in 2018.