Sunday, December 29, 2013

#WWtBD: What Would the Beard Do?

I am convinced there is magic in the beard.

Some of you may have picked up that every year traveling to Cyclocross Nationals gets a little more complex. We keep adding pieces, parts, equipment, and people to the mix. This year, thanks to the generosity of a friend and the cycling community, we are taking it yet another notch higher - a 24 foot RV with a trailer waggling along behind.

While we were driving to Denver from Cincinnati I was amazed at the response to the RV. There were thumbs ups and acknowledgements from fellow RV drivers as we drove along, similar to what you will see when two motorcyclists see each other driving opposite ways on the road.

What amazed me was the number of acknowledgements that were from men with beards. Not all of them, I honestly can't remember how many, had beards, but a good percentage certainly were wearing a beard. One in particular was boisterous, waving, thumbs up, and almost more excited than I was about the RV as he passed. He was driving a mini-van and wearing a red sweater and had a long white...beard.  Wait a second.  We were particularly close to Santa Claus, IN when he waved at us.

The past couple days I have been pondering the power of the beard. Everyone has seen the Bike Knowledge to Beard Ratio, of which Cincinnati local Tom Swallow ranks highly, but I am now convinced this applies to RV travel as well. Whether the beard is a result of RV living or personal choice, there seems to be a certain wizardry that travels with the beard.

I am now in full awe of pro cyclocross racer Robert Marion.

Travel to Denver in an RV has made me realize Robert has reached wizard status on two separate, yet important, aspects of CX racing. Some may remember Robert from his attendance at Cincy3 and Derby City, or from the tour of his land yacht and accompanying fully stocked trailer that was featured on Behind The Barriers this past fall. No matter how you remember him, this RV driver is starting to channel his inner Robert Marion.

Planning an RV trip is harder than I expected. There are way more things to think about that I was expecting.

Where do they sell bulk propane? You can't exchange a cylinder out of an RV...What Would the Beard Do?

Where will we park over night if we need some sleep? I have a house with me, I don't need a hotel...What Would the Beard Do?

Diesel fuel it...where is the best place to buy it? What Would the Beard Do?

Suddenly I have the urge to grow my beard - if I can't immediately have knowledge, maybe I can grow it? #WWtBD

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Headed West #cxnats2014

Great mooglie booglies another year has passed. Sitting at my computer two days before Christmas madly packing an RV and a trailer for CX Nats 2014 in Boulder, CO and wondering how we got to this point. This will be our fifth straight trip to USA Cycling's cyclocross nationals and our fifth straight year providing stories, pics, and other CX goodness from the event for The Best Bike Blog Ever.

When we look back at 2009 in Bend, OR I remember very little, literally. But, what I do remember is a rag tag group of a few kids from Lionhearts heading out to Bend. We bummed space on the Red Zone trailer for our bikes, we flew out and stayed in a Best Western. None of them had B bikes, tubular wheels, appropriate clothing for the cold, or really any idea what they were about to witness. I also know that I for one had no idea how much that trip would change me personally.

Even an RV has to stop at Chipotle
As we saddle up for a trip to Boulder we are laser focused on gear - B bikes, extra sets of tubular wheels, summer, winter, spring and fall riding gear, rain suits, winter suits, wet suits, snow boots, rain boots, tents, sides, heaters, battery operated-triggered air pumps, trailers for bikes, tow vehicles, RVs, travel companions, time for altitude adjustment, hotel rooms with kitchens paid for by Marriott points, coaches, extra mechanics, tool bags, pit bags, and I could keep going, but I am out of breath.

What hasn't changed is the passion for the sport - the passion for cycling. The four Lionhearts that will be making their fifth straight start at CX Nats love this sport. They dream about it at night. They ride 6 out of every 7 days. They read magazines and books about cycling. They talk with other kids their age that also ride all across the country. They text about their bike rides, how hard they were, and how they have to do a four hour trainer ride the next day (no, I didn't make that up).

Snug in their bed
Most importantly is the fact that no one makes them do it. Everything you see, hear, or read about them doing is voluntary. Sure there are days where they drag themselves out of bed early to get those openers in before traveling or before school, but they do it all on their own.

Whenever I feel at odds with what I am doing or feel like everything we embark to do is some crazy hair brained idea I take a look at M1 in the picture at the top racing at Bend in 2009 in sub-freezing temps in a freshly fallen snow. A smile comes to my face while a tear hits the corner of my eye. It isn't about me any more, she has made it her own.

These are the best days of our lives.

Meanwhile, look for me on a curb near you. Someone's got to keep the RV rolling while the kids get their sleep and keep their legs in compression tights in a vertical position.