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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Years ago, the X-Men put on the first cyclocross state championship race Utah had seen in a long time up in Park City. Some old time racers said it was the first state championship cx race since the 1970s. Last year, Matt Ohran (promoter of UTCX series) and I were trying to figure out the timelines, because he started his series a couple years after that first race, and he was trying to remember how long he had been doing the series. I think it was around 1994 when we did that first race. There were not many of us, maybe 15 racers total. Cris Fox did cross on his titanium Nuke Proof mountain bike. Pro racer Max Lawson who was racing for Jamis at the time, had some sort of touring bike cobbled together into a cross rig. There was a guy from Park City named Ron, who we all called the Happy Crosser, because we’d see him riding a vintage Alan cross bike all season long on the mountain bike trails.
There weren’t many places to ride cross bikes that weren’t mountain bike trails, so every once in awhile, we used to gather at Sugarhouse Park for “cross practice” which involved riding as hard as we could around the outside of the park and dismounting and running up the steepest hill we could find. Me, Max, Glen Adams, Craig Thomas.
Keep in mind, my memories of these early days of cyclocross in Utah are spotty.
Dr. Cross, (Darrell Davis) has taken that idea of cross practice at Sugarhouse Park, and turned it into a really valuable clinic for first timers, as well as seasoned crossers who need to get out and brush off the cobwebs. He sets up barriers, does some basic instruction and tips, and takes groups of all abilities around the park. It’s important to note, that back when there were only 4 or 5 of us meeting down there, we were riding rogue. Darrell has done a lot to work with the powers that be at this park to ensure a good relationship between us weird bikers and the other users of the park. It’s worth signing up for this season long clinic, even if you only drop in a few times. Check it out:
It’s time again for the Contender Cyclocross Clinic at Sugarhouse park.
Notice that as was the case last year, it’s pre-reg only and the price is unchanged.
Cross it up,