Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feel the Love - Mountain and 'Cross

Okay, this seems silly, but I've brought it on myself for sure. 

Let's get one thing straight -  

We love mountain bikes and 
Mountain Bikes are 
Welcome at Iron Cross!!

In the past couple days three people have asked me just that.  I'm sure it stems from my very tongue-in-cheek "mountain bikes are okay if you're weak and lame" post last year and from my 10+ year commitment to making IC what it is today.

Mountain bikes have never been banned from the event and we probably won't ever go that far even if dream of 1000 'cross bikes on the start line.

When we first rode the course it was laid out from the saddle of a 'cross bike.  The idea was (and is) that its supposed to be sorta stupid in sections on a 'cross bike but that the 'cross bike is the "right" way to experience the stupidity.  And of course, anything they can do in England we can do better.
Look, the 'cross bike wouldn't be anyone's first choice for some of these trails -- and maybe some of these trails wouldn't be anyone's first choice for riding for that matter.  That right there is the essence of Iron Cross.  The point is to be outlandish and nutball and fun in a, "that was one of the dumbest things I've done" way "and I'm better, smarter, faster and more gooder looking for riding it - and I'm sure as heck tougher than you are."

Using a mountain bike sort of takes away some of that quality of the event.  The mtb will make it smoother and reduce the likelihood of a flat and give you a little more confidence in the rough stuff - which are not bad things mind you.  It is just that the 'cross bike offers a different sort of experience that is a little more crazy and done right is a perfect tool for the job.  We don't want anyone to miss out on what it is that makes this thing Iron Cross.

Of course, maybe that craziness isn't what you're after and that's cool.  We know too that not everyone has an mtb.  And no, we don't think you should run out and buy a new bike for this one race.  We don't think that you're really truly lame for riding a mountain bike either (lame is what I am these days).   In fact, some of you should not do this on a 'cross bike if you're new-ish to cycling in general or haven't spent time getting to know your 'cross bike on some singletrack - which you very much must do.

Will I still make fun of you?  There might be some good natured ribbing and I'm not going to let you forget that this is Iron Cross, but in general if you have a sense of humor you'll come out relatively unscathed.   Mostly I'll limit the worst of it to guys and gals who are overall contenders and choose an mtb for a "competitive advantage" - which maybe translates to taking yourself too seriously, (but even they get a pass if they don't have a 'cross bike).
Lucky for Freeze Thaw/NoTubes V she had a 'cross bike.  Otherwise...
Maybe we're missing out.  Maybe I should get off the soap box.  Maybe we should just change this to a mountain bike race that is possible on a 'cross bike.  Eddy Merckx knows that there are a heck of a lot of cycling competitions that exist these days that bill themselves as mountain bike races that are a far cry from mountain biking.  Truth be told, Iron Cross is more technical than some of the most prolific "mountain bike" races and qualifiers going - don't get me started...

But, that wouldn't be our style now would it.  Maybe by learning to ride in central Pennsylvania my sense of technical and fun are just way way out of whack.  Maybe we're just ahead of our time. (A post on the growth of Endurance 'Cross Racing is coming - get yourself to Three Peaks and plan a trip to Southern Cross!)  Maybe I'm just dumb.  Probably I should take the 'maybe' out of that last one.

Here's the take home.  If you come out to Iron Cross on an mtb and even if you think that you would only ever ride an mtb here that's okay.  That's your prerogative and honestly we'd rather have you here than not because this whole event is just a freakin' blast and we have lots of love to spread around.

But if that is the case, just one time, grab a 'cross bike and experience Iron Cross the way we envisioned it originally because you deserve that experience as a cyclist.  In the meantime, bring out the mtb and join us for some good times.

You want that experience and don't have your own 'cross rig?  Find one of those guys with a couple pit bikes for the serious 'cross racing every other weekend of the year and ask to borrow one.

Just don't tell him what you're about to do with it.