Unicorn Barf


Well, folks, here it is. Our 20th Anniversary Kit. This is a one-shot deal to pre-order a party suit that you can wear on road, trail, or cx parcours and celebrate the fact that we are still here. Here’s some copy:

Getting old is a bitch, but it can also be really fun. You don’t have to give in to the ravages of time, you can go down swinging. This kit is for those of you who have been around with the X-Men over the years. It’s a celebration that we are still here. Like a Timex, we take a licking and keep on ticking. Most of you are probably too young to remember that slogan, but whatevs. The 20th Anniversary X-Men & Squadra kit features colors from all of our years, and a small tribute to a few of our members that we have lost over the years: Bill Corliss, Terry McGinnis (T-Mac), Asher Lesyshen-Kirlan, and Peter Barquin (Big Pete). It’s made by Squadra Team Apparel, come on you know that, featuring their classic Team Gear jersey, and Team Gear Premier Bib shorts. Also available in Youth sizing, because our kids are all starting to throw down out there on the trails. Get on it, because once they are gone, they are gone!

We are trying to keep the cost down, so Jerseys are based on Squadra’s “Team Gear” pattern, not quite as snug as the “Pro Issue” of the past few years. Bibs are “Team Gear Premier,” and they should fit pretty much the same as what we have done in the past. Also available in Women’s specific bibs for the ladies, and Youth sizing on the jerseys.

Here are the pics:

X-Men 20th Jersey

X-Men 20th Bibs


Here’s the link:



20 Years of The X-Men

Holy Crap, has it really been that long? After counting back the years to when we founded the X-Men cycling club, I realized that 2015 will be our 20th Anniversary. That also means 20 years of ordering kits from Squadra Team Apparel, in Carlsbad, California. Stay tuned for some plans we have to celebrate our 20th year. We are working on a commemorative jersey and a few other things.

T-Mac at the Elko Crit circa 2002


Buy Squadra Flying Tigers Kits

Check out the photo of the Squadra Flying Tigers kits below. Don’t those Man-nequins look so lifelike? With real sweat, and everything? This photo, taken by Ali Flis, was from Party Cross in Ogden a few months ago, and sort of kicked our season off, in an unofficial, Miller High Life sort of way. Folks have asked us, “where can I get that kit?” There are a few ways. Stop in to your local Bingham Cyclery location if you are in Utah. Or BUY THEM ONLINE FROM SQUADRA. Party on.

Squadra Flying Tigers kits

T$, Johnny Mac, and Big Daddy Flis. Photo by Ali Flis.


Have You Seen The Flying Tigers?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding the new Squadra Flying Tigers cyclocross team. Let me set the record straight. For many years, the X-Men club has been a registered USAC club with “unsponsored” status. What does this mean, really? Unsponsored means you can’t have sponsor logos on your kit, unless you put on a race. This is a silly rule. We have always been a relatively small club, and it takes resources and money to put on even a small race. That’s not to say we have never put on races. We promoted USAC (or more accurately, USCF)-sanctioned cyclocross state championships three years straight. We also promoted the UCI-sanctioned Redline Cup of Cross at Soldier Hollow back in 2002. Basically, the old race promotion required by USAC is antiquated and we believe it should be done away with. Some clubs are really good at putting on races, some are not.

The Squadra Flying Tigers kit has sponsor logos on it, all over it, in fact. Thanks to all of our generous sponsors who have helped get us in the air, mainly Squadra, Jamis, Spy, and Vittoria. There are a few others. We are working on making the Flying Tigers a sponsored team designation of the X-Men, whatever that means, so we are all legit in the eyes of USAC, but cyclocross is still very much the wild wild west, out here in the west. Actually, just in Utah. We’ll probably have to put on a race. We’re working on that, so stay tuned, because we will likely need all the help we can get.

The X-Men is still a club. Open to anyone brave enough to don the stripes. We’re not changing that part of it. The Squadra Flying Tigers is something else, but all part of the same family. Check out the Squadra Flying Tigers site: www.flyingtigerscx.com

Squadra Flying Tigers Logo

Squadra Flying Tigers Cyclocross Team


Cattle Call for 2013 Clothing

We’ve been doing this drill long enough, but let me explain how clothing works. You order it. Squadra makes it. They ship it to me. You pick it up from me, or I ship it to you. We are keeping the club clothing the same; powder blue and brown stripes, iconic lightning bolts, top shelf quality at an affordable price. Mosey on over to the store and place your orders!

X-Men Store


Open Letter to Steve Johnson at USA Cycling

Dear Steve,

We go way back, you and me. Back to the days of racing parking lot criteriums in Utah in the early 90’s, 1993 to be exact. You were a Professor at the University of Utah, and many young and impressionable students (among those, my best friend, and also my wife) fawned over your every word, because you were a great teacher, but also an embodiment of what you taught. The proof was in the pudding so to speak. You could back up the science with the bike racing, and anybody who raced bikes against you back then and referred to you as “Old Man,” the joke was on us. You didn’t have to be enrolled at the U in one of your classes to get schooled on a weekly basis. You just had to show up and race. This was also the time a young teenager and former ski racer burst on the cycling scene by the name of Levi Leipheimer.

I am writing this letter to you in the public and open forum of my club’s website, because I need to get something off my chest. You are in charge of the sport I have loved since toe clips and hair nets, and man what a mess you have on your hands. I urge you to take control of the things you can, and think about the members out there who pay their license fees and club fees every year, whether we knew all along that Lance and others doped, or not. We’re not some Johnny Come Lately fans who all went out and bought yellow Trek Madones after Lance started racking up the Tours. We’re the same guys that were cross-eyed, in the gutter, trying to stay on your wheel at the Thursday Night World Championships. Trying to compete, as is the fashion to say these days. And now we have kids who may or may not be getting into cycling. Times have changed, but we still love the sport.

Again, I urge you to think about your members. You have a written mantra on the USA Cycling website about why cyclists should hire a USA Cycling-certified coach. I quote a lengthy and relevant passage here:

“USA Cycling recognizes that there are elements of coaching that go beyond knowledge of cycling techniques and rules, and that participants and parents alike strive to find coaches who are worthy of their confidence and trust in many other respects. For that reason, USA Cycling subjects each coaching applicant to a background check conducted by the National Child Safety Initiatives to identify coaches whose trouble with the law may have produced a criminal record. In light of the constitutional rights of the accused in this nation, of course, not every brush with the law is documented and recorded and there are significant reporting delays in some cases, but this database is at least a starting point. Riders, parents, and local association officials have other resources to ensure that they are comfortable with their coaching choices, including references from prior coaching appointments and the recommendations of athletes. In addition, insurance carriers are often a surprisingly good source to minimize risk on a variety of fronts.

USA Cycling understands that no screening process is absolutely perfect, and encourages anyone involved in the sport to report potentially criminal behavior to local law enforcement agencies immediately. We support clear “zero opportunity/zero tolerance” policies when it comes to inappropriate behavior by coaches, and we believe that the development of communication, training and response protocols goes a long way toward minimizing problems.”

I believe whole heartedly that Rick Crawford’s admission of doping Levi and Kirk O’Bee may not be considered the type of crime your stance refers to above, but it certainly is morally corrupt and unethical, not to mention unhealthy, and amounts to inappropriate behavior, regardless of when it happened, and I urge you to put your money where your mouth is. Scratch that. It’s our money, every license and club fee. I demand that you enforce the aforementioned “zero opportunity/zero tolerance” policy and remove Rick Crawford’s name from your coaching database. I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter.

Your friend,

Thomas Cooke


Cycling Utah Club Guide

Cycling Utah recently contacted me and asked us to provide a new description for their annual club guide. Do you think I nailed it?

Founded in 1995, The X-Men is a Park City-based road, mountain bike, and cyclocross club, with individual members and pockets of resistance all over the country. We’re open to riders of all ages and abilities who are brave enough to don our iconic stripes and lightning bolt kits, and make a statement. There is a problem with non-conformity, though. Pretty soon people want to join and be part of your movement. You start something new, because you are sick of riding for the man, then you wake up and realize you are the man. Because of this, we’ve been deliberate about making ourselves hard to understand, and even harder to get in touch with. And another thing. We’re not super organized. We all mostly have real lives outside of the make-believe world of modern cycling. It would be a mistake to call us retro, despite the fact that we often tell stories on rides from the old days. We are proud to say that not a single current member rides with an SRM. At least not in public. Power is in the heart, folks. Bike races are won with willpower, not a spreadsheet.


Do We Have Any Crushers In The House?

Just a word to the X-Men faithful, the 2nd annual Crusher In The Tushar race is getting close to full. As of a Facebook post today, they are 80 spots away from selling out. I highly recommend this event to anyone who wants a good reason to ride their cyclocross bike in July. It would be great to see a whole swarm of Super Heroes at this year’s event, although the commitment should not be taken lightly.

Sign up for the Crusher in the Tushar

Sign up for the Crusher in the Tushar



What’s New For 2012 Team Clothing

It’s that time of year when the X-Men get their team order together to submit to Squadra for the 2012 season. I thought I would take a few minutes to explain how and why we do things the way we do. I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

1. Why Squadra? We’ve been with Squadra non-stop since I did the first blue and black striped kit in 1996 (I think). Dan and his colleagues are good friends, and have always gone above and beyond their standard pricing to help a small team out. I think their quality is top shelf, we’ve never had any complaints. What they do for us right now is give us pricing based on much higher quantity orders, which is good for everyone, because it keeps the price down.

2. Why a pre-order? In past years, I have just guessed and placed orders knowing there would be a certain amount of people who would come knocking in the spring looking for a team kit. There have been some years when I have guessed wrong, and spent a lot of money out of pocket to buy a bunch of clothing. In some cases, I didn’t get enough of one size, and too much of another. The truth is, I can’t afford to do that, and have lost out in years past. We don’t make any money off of the clothing, just enough to cover shipping, paypal fees, etc.

3. Why such a rush to get the pre-order in? Squadra’s production schedule is first come, first served. Keep in mind that many teams place their orders before the first of the year, so there are a lot of clubs ahead of us. We’re just trying to get our order in so we get our stuff right about when the snow melts.

4. Is the design going to change? Nope. We have never liked the idea of making last year’s kit obsolete by changing designs or swapping sponsor logos. So if you have team kit from last year, you are good, just order what you need for this year, and it will more or less match.

5. What’s new for 2012? Even though our basic design is the same, Squadra is always making small improvements and enhancements to their products. For example, this year’s PRO ISSUE bibs have a fabric POWER BAND closure on the bottoms of the legs, rather than silicon gripper on the insides. This is a progressive improvement that you see more and more high end manufacturers moving towards.

New Squadra POWER BAND grippers on shorts.

New Squadra POWER BAND grippers on shorts.

I hope this helps explain how we do our clothing orders this way. I guess if we had a big sponsor, we could just hedge our bets and buy a whole bunch of team clothing to have on hand when the season starts. If anyone knows where we could find such a sponsor, let me know!

Place your Pre-Order for 2012 now!


UTCX#3: Fort Jesse Ventura

It’s funny how a race that is only 1 hour long can have such an effect on you. I’m talking about how long you prep for it, especially when glueing tires is part of the mix. I’m also talking about the time that goes into cleaning your bikes or bikes if you are lucky enough to have a spare, just so you can get on the gas in training and do it all over again. That’s why we love cyclocross, I suppose. The Rev (aka Art O’Connor) has dubbed one of Ogden’s cross venues, Fort Buenaventura, as Fort Jesse Ventura. From this day forward, that’s what I’ll call it. Below is a video put together by Grizzly Adam (Adam Lisonbee) that I think captures the spirit of the day. Plus, if I don’t mind saying so, I rather enjoy the way it ends.



UTCX3 – Fort Buenaventura from Grizzly Adam on Vimeo.

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