Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Time to Get Pumped About the Classics

This past weekend saw the kick-off of 2013’s spring classics campaign with the running of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.  The longstanding kickoff of the cobbled classics is usually the first half of a weekend double with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but the later was cancelled due to an overnight snowstorm.  The right call without a doubt, but it points to the extremely unpredictable nature of racing in the north of Europe in spring.  That specifically makes the spring classics such a special time of year.  There is no telling what can happen—due to weather or simply bad luck—in these monuments of the cycling calendar.

A race like the Omloop is a semi-classic and won’t make or break a career, but it is surely a gauge of early season fitness and a stage for up-and-comers to make their mark on the cobbled calendar. The biggest thing for me, though, is simply that it means the classics are upon us. That gets me going.  So today I put together a veritable smorgasbord of images to get you psyched for the classics that are coming.  Some classic, some recent, these images should get your blood pumping for the races that are just around the corner.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mark D'Avino at Cross-Worlds

This blog, believe or not, doesn't really have a large travel budget.  By not large, I mean that it doesn't have one at all.  I lucked out though.  Cadence's newest killer mechanic, Mark D'Avino, decided to head to cross worlds on his own dime to take in the event as a rabid fan and amateur cross racer.  I asked Mark to pretend Off the Rivet was his post race psychiatrist and lie down and talk about his feelings about what he saw on that snowy day in Louisville.  This is what he gave me, stellar stuff:

"Deciding to travel to Louisville, Kentucky for the first UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships ever held in the U.S. is one of the best decisions I will ever make as a cycling fan. The streets of this seemingly quiet mid-western city came alive with cycling’s global culture. For those of you unfamiliar with cyclo-cross, quite simply, the Belgians rule the sport. Both on the track and off, they came to Louisville in full force. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Hardest Month

February is the hardest month.  It is about survival.  The brittle cold wind whips against the faces of cyclists as they suffer to turn over the pedals.  There is a still warm bed they left, for what?  They left for the coming spring and summer, but certainly not for February. 

February is the hardest month, so it was shortened.  No one could stand the extra days, so they did away with them, leaving the bare minimum.  Four weeks of windswept rain and freezing fingers is all anyone could stand, so that calendar was truncated—the extra days would be slipped in elsewhere.  Every four years February is even harder.  The suffering gloom and gray stays for a day further.  March is denied to us for an additional 24 hours.