2018 in Review: Our Top 10 Journal Entries
Christmas is over, which means “year-in-review” season is in full swing. We follow our review of the cyclocross season with our top 10 journal entries of the year, ranked based on a mix of Google Analytics, Slack anecdotes, incessant year-long lobbying and my personal sense of TBD zeitgeist, which may or may not be accurate whatsoever.
Favorite spring ride: Rasputitsa
The event continues to grow while raising thousands of dollars for charity. Yet Rasputitsa is about so much more than a few hours of Vermont hills, dirt roads and, for this year at least, very deep snow. It is a memorable weekend away from the chaos of New York City with friends and teammates. It is a good excuse to drink some very good Vermont beers. It is a unique cross section of the cycling community coming together in a manner that is completely distinct to traditional USAC racing. It is something special.
See more here.
Our favorite piece of 2018 gear: Garneau Course Air Lite II shoes
Garneau’s lead shoe designer, Rene Plourde, clued us into the genesis of the design: direct, critical feedback from racers in the field. In the run-up to the Rio Olympics, he crafted special-edition uppers for Garneau-equipped athletes. And to Plourde’s dismay, he noticed that on TV that they'd cut small holes in the sides of the shoe to relieve the pressure created by feet swollen by 100° heat. And to top it off, when a Garneau employee-racer returned from completing the Trans-Continental Race in the original Course Air-Lite, he needed to take 4 weeks off the bike to let his feet recover.
That feedback set the the wheels in motion for the creation of X-Comfort and the new Course shoes. We don’t put this lightly: these are the best shoes we’ve ever ridden.
Least favorite spring ride: The Bonk Home from Bear Mountain
An epic group ride in April took us to the Orchards of Conklin and then around the Bear Mountain Classic course at Harriman State Park. It was all going well until, on the way home, Cullen MacDonald bonked like he’d never bonked before and had to lay down on a bench at a bus stop on 9W. He took a bus home that day, and ever since then we’ve called it the Cullen MacDonald Memorial Ride.
Favorite summer podium: Giro del Cielo
"YOU!" Erwin shouted, pointing at me from the officials' tent a few hundred feet away. "You got it!" Erwin exclaimed. Bounding down a small grassy rise that served as the parking lot, I wasn't quite sure I believed what he had said. As recounted by several witnesses, my run down the hill should best be remembered in slow-motion, as if from some romantic comedy. We high-fived and embraced as Ted and Travis joined the party, collectively realizing that we had secured 1st, 3rd, and 6th on the GC and swept the team GC.
Our favorite bike race of 2018: The Intelligentsia Cup
The Intelligentsia Cup experience was at its core a weird, exciting, and exhausting family road-trip. Alongside teammates and a few friends we traveled halfway across the country, stayed in somewhat questionable lodging and spent each day getting to play professional bike racer with and against some of the toughest competition in the country. Against that backdrop these images form a family album of sorts, capturing memories on and off the bike that are far too numerous to re-tell in text form.
Favorite atmosphere: The Elmhurst Cycling Classic at the Intelligentsia Cup
If Intelligentsia Cup is the Series that we wish we could transport to the East Coast then Elmhurst would be the centerpiece of that Series. By the time the pros roll off under the lights there is a full blown block party underway throughout the suburban Chicago course. For New York City racers it is an almost otherworldly experience that is unavailable locally (RHC is as close as we get).
Our favorite vacation: Mountain Biking New Zealand
Our itinerary was pretty ambitious, taking us to a new region of the South Island nearly every day of our trip, and allowing us to explore the immensely diverse terrain. We whooped and yipped on some flowy berms in Lake Wanaka and got some air on the downhill trails in Queenstown (but only after riding up Skyline Drive, the steepest dirt road ever). Every person had a chance to shine, and lots of chances to SUFFER.
Our favorite custom bike: 2018 Garneau Steeple in Baby Blue
Competition was fierce. Matthew Vandivort and Steven Rousseau’s Garneau A1s in cream were beautiful bikes, for example. But I’m the one writing this post so, you know what, I’m in charge here. And goddamn if my baby blue wasn’t at least my favorite colorway of the year.
Favorite fall ride: Gravel and fall foliage atop Storm King and Bear Mountain
Climbing Storm King, our newest rider Scott gave us the realization that Autumn in New England is unlike anywhere in the world. Scott, a recent transplant from Melbourne, had never experienced a proper fall - let alone a truly epic fall ride. At the top, the wide vistas of the Hudson gave us even more appreciation for the beauty so close to our little bubble. Our concrete covered island, just 50 miles down-river, seemed entirely foreign in that moment.
Our favorite CX race: As if we could only pick one.
A running joke of our cross coverage this year was the phrase, “_______ is our favorite cyclocross race,” which appeared no less than four times this season. Maybe it’s because it’s impossible to pick between perfect, wonderful things. A few did rise to the top, however, so we honor those races (and journal entries) here.
Our favorite interview: Lucia Deng, incoming president of the CRCA
We should reflect on how we were made to feel welcome or unwelcome when we first entered the sport, and how we can each be better ambassadors for the sport and our community. NYCC requires each SIG graduate to commit to leading at least one group ride for the club as a way to give back. Each CRCA member should also commit to being a mentor to a new racer, or at the very least, saying hello and being kind to new faces who show up to the start line or to spectators who may be future bike racers.