There is a little known provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 requiring the Treasury Department to reimburse to all qualifying applicants up to $2000 of allowable costs for cycling-related improvements. Got that? The government will give you $2000 to help you be a better cyclist. Now this is stimulus spending you can believe in. Or, it would be if it were true. It’s not. I made it up. But let’s pretend the provision exists and you are given $2000 to make yourself a better cyclocross racer. How would you spend the cash?
It is a hypothetical not exclusive to the cycling community. In a recent article on his Web site, byThom, Nikon guru Thom Hogan analyzed the same question. What should an aspiring photographer do with $2000? Although his article dealt more with lenses and camera bodies than wheelsets and carbon frames, the bottom-line advice Hogan gives translates the same to both worlds. For instance, look at the three sentences below taken from his article and replace “images” and “photographer” with “results” and “bike racer.”
“There’s a real difference between wanting the latest equipment and wanting to create better images,” Hogan writes. “If you just want the latest gear, you fall into the Photographer Wannabe category. If you want to improve your images, congratulations, you probably are a Real Photographer.”
New carbon frame, deep-dish tubular wheelset, maybe a top-secret embrocation from a Belgian alchemist. There is no guarantee that any of these “upgrades” will make you faster, although they definitely will make your wallet a whole lot lighter. But what if I told you that for $125 you could shave up to 30 seconds off your finishing time, and you wouldn’t have to swap out anything on your race rig? You would do that in a heartbeat, right? Of course you would. And to get this advantage you don’t need to take some sketchy new supplement or apply space-age polymers to your skinsuit. What you do need to do is make a commitment. More specifically, a two-part commitment. Continue reading “Got Skillz?”
You can’t shake a stick at your local CX series without hitting somebody that has decided to concentrate on cyclocross because training and racing on the road meant too much time away from the family. Want to hear something crazy? Jonathan Page feels the same way. Granted for him being a pro roadie meant spending weeks, not a day or hours, away from his family, but it’s the same idea.
This is not to say that your decision to hang up the road shoes for a focused pursuit of cyclocross means you will soon be standing on the podium of the Elite World Cyclocross Championship like Jonathan did in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium in January 2007. But it does make it that much easier to justify your CX obsession knowing that the United States’ most successful male racer is on the same wavelength.
Jonathan is a three-time U.S. Elite Cyclocross champion and the silver medalist at the 2007 World Elite Cyclocross Championship. Despite his dedication to ‘cross, in the off-season he is no slouch on the road, either. A fact illustrated perfectly by his podium finish, while riding for Maryland-based Battley Harley—behind fellow CXer Adam Myerson—at the June 30 Exeter Criterium in New Hampshire. Continue reading “Family Matters: A Conversation With Jonathan Page”