Sunday, September 30, 2012

It is IC X Week!!

Thought a little visualization might be nice today.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Doubling Up

I posted this over on MTBR and MTBNJ.  So I guess this is trippling up.  Yep, I'm that lazy.  At least we're putting posts on the blog for one.  Jeez, what do want from us?

Drink the Kool-aid.

Or the beers.

Iron Cross!! 10th Anniversary. Oct 7. 100K/50K. All Bikes Welcome.

We're celebrating the 10th Anniversary of America's Original Ultra Cross Race!! Or Monster Cross if you're so inclined. Or just a dang good freakin' time doing things with a 'cross bike that probably void a warranty but make you feel like a bad ass mo fo. And the final stop of the US Ultra Cross Series!

Looking back, had 29ers been invented we might have called this thing "Iron Fully Rigid 29er with 1.8 Semi-Slicks Unless You Have A Penchant for Punishment and then You'll Choose a Cross" but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

And besides, I hear that the Belgians have been doing this sort of thing for 700 years or so. You know, opening the back door with bike in hand. Choosing "Point B." And riding there with as much fun as possible along the way. Fun defined as "white knuckled, what the f*** kind of stuff is this?!?!" of course. What? You say it makes me tough like a Belgian? I'm in.

How'd did Belgians get to be considered so tough? Well, enough damn good beer (or drugs, not that anyone in the peleton was on anything stronger than a nice warm cup of tea) and any jackass will drag himself across cobles and dirt and all sorts of things at high speed on a bike not made for that it in crap weather that were you not so tough you'd otherwise curl up in ball in front of the fire place and wait for June. So, its not so much that they're tough as they just like beer and that takes care of the rest of it.

We got plenty of all of that at Iron Cross. You like it rough? We got that. You prefer smooth hard and fast? We got that too. Full of rocks? Its here. Climbing until you want to punch someone in the face? Oh yea. Dropping dirt roads at 40 and realizing that next off camber corner you can't see the exit on is coming up fast? A few of those too. Some vomit in the back of your throat? Probably. And plenty of beer? Hell yea. Larry's Tavern is open for buiness (though admitedly its not Belgian, but 90K into this thing you won't care what it is).

If you have a 'cross bike, bring it. That's the whole the point. Yes, kinda dumb. We know. But fun in a whole different way. If you don't have a 'cross bike (or if you're just like, "Hell, there is no way I'm riding Lippencote on a 'cross bike you idiot"), bring what you got, grin, grip it and rip it.

Join us for the party after with plenty of Toasted Head to go around. NoTubes Iron Cross (yea boyeee!!) Wheelset up for grabs. Other good stuff going out from Hammer and Cannondale and Mosholu. Everyone goes home with some sweet swag including the special edition 10th Anniversary pint glass. The woods are freakin' beautiful this time of year in Michaux. Camping and beds at the Ironmasters Hostel available on the site. Food available for friends and family. Very sweet Iron Cross 10th Year Anniversary Kits available from Lone Wolf Cycling. C'mon out.

Good, clean, hard, fun*

*You might need to put "mostly" in front or one or all of these. I'm just sayin'

Find us on Facebook for the latest and greatest: Iron Cross Race

Reg at BikeReg for NoTubes Iron Cross

What Bike Can/Should I Ride for Iron Cross?

We've been getting some questions like, "Can I ride a mountain bike?" and "What sort of gearing should I use?"

And while we've a little primer on some of that on the site aleady a post seems useful since new people discover the fun of ultracross every year.

First, you can use any bike you like.  Cross, 29er, 26er, 650ber, fatbike, unicycle, frankenbike - they're all welcome, just make sure they're working well before you put them through this wringer.

You'll absolutely hear us heckle mountain bikers about needing the fat tires since we designed this thing for 'cross bikes 10 years back (and they've been doing something similar over in England for 50 years at the 3 Peaks Cyclocross and they outlawed mtbs a long time ago).  But we get it.  Not everyone has a 'cross bike in their stable.  Bring what you got you'll have a great time regardless of the bike you're on.

Though to be honest we absolutely think that doing Iron Cross in the seat of a 'cross bike brings something special to the experince.

Riding the cross bike in places you probably wouldn't normally brings something like the feeling the 14 year old kid had in 1959 when he set out to conquor what had to that point only been thought of as a hiking and running contest, the Three Peaks Challenge through the Yorkshire hills.

And of course we have fond memories of sorting out the original Iron Cross course by cross bike.  That course was rougher than today's (and included an early run-up we keep trying to figure out how to re-integrate) but totally cross-able.  The course was just a little too mtb friendly at that time and cyclocross racing was just starting to capture the cycling world in the states.

"I think you guys have a course that is better suited to a cyclocross bike now.  If I had one I'd have used it instead of my mountain bike." 2011's third place men's open finisher Mike Keefer, a multi-time podium finisher at Iron Cross and one of only two riders in the top 10 overall on mtb.

"Yea right, a 'cross bike," about 1/3 of the field.

It has a lot to do with your comfort level on a 'cross bike in technical sections.  If you can ride those sections well on a 'cross bike then that's the best choice.  If you're feeling a little intimidated on a 'cross bike then a mountain bike might be better.  (Unless you want that "core" experience of course...see, there we go again!)
While we love and promote the 'cross bike, let's face it, 29ers barely existed when we set out Iron Cross and a rigid 29er with a slightly narrower tire certainly gives up little to a 'cross bike on the fast surfaces of the course while being more suited to the technical bits.  So again, grab what is hanging in the garage, maybe modify a little to make it a little better ultracrosser if you want, and then get ready for a wicked fun day on the bike.

And then there is this:  "I'm more comfortable on my mountain bike, but I'll run 'cross because you'd make fun of me if I didn't," multi-time Iron Cross finisher Rob Lichtenwalner.

Whatever it takes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


One little thing I've been working on for this years race is getting some vendors! There will be a few on site for sundays big race, and I'd like to let you know who will be there.

Wicked Wash
These guys make a bike wash like what has been used in motocross. It's a very simple, spray-on/rinse-off bike cleaner. I've seen this stuff in action and I'm hoping they bring plenty along for us all, because I want a bottle or two for myself! It's one of those really good ideas that just seems to not be common in the bicycle industry. They'll be set up at the race, ready and willing to wash all of your bikes for you after you cross the finish line!! That's pro treatment right there. They'll also have some discounts for everyone on bottles.

Lone Wolf Cycling
I've been talking about these guys a lot....that's because I like them. It's two guys from Philly that like to ride hard and dirty.  They will be set up with clothing to try on, so that you get the perfect fit for the 10th Anniversary Iron Cross Kit that they designed for us! You can pre-order on their website, or order right then and there at the race.

Nuts About Granola
Sarah actually used to be on the promotion team for this race, and now she is a successful small business owner and spreading the granola love all around central PA and beyond. Try a sample, (in your race bag) then you'll be hooked, and will have to stop at her stand to pick more up!

Judy's Homemade Ice Cream
Judy herself will be on hand to put her delectable ice cream in your hands. I'm lactose intolerant and I still can't keep my hands off the stuff. You may remember her from other races this year, or even know her as Kaitlyn's (Team CF) mom!! I heard that if it's colder out, she's got a super top-secret strategy for teasing your taste buds.

See you all this weekend!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Everyone loves maps!

Got us the new start - prologue - finish map together.  We start from the camping/parking area and do a loop through some nice roads right at Pine Grove Furnace SP and then a 4 mile "prologue loop" down the valley and back along the hiker-biker trail.  A quick jaunt back through the park and a left hander on to Bendersville Road takes you out on the big loop.  Also take note of the finish coming down 233 from the top of the ridge and then a quick right - left to finish in front of the Iron Masters Mansion for the big Toasted Head sponsored party!

Time to celebrate!  See you soon!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Special What??

One year I remember when Mark wanted to put together a kit order for Iron Cross. The "Ask me about Iron Cross" Kit. I still have a kit or two from that. It was pretty cool, but that was until we started working with THESE guys. They put together a kit design that has blown my mind. It's our tenth anniversary and this kit makes it feel like it. Lone Wolf Cycling is putting together some great, simple designs with really comfortable and smooth product to make some of the best kits I've gotten to wear (I was lucky enough to score a jersey this year). It's a couple really cool guys that like long rides, good trails, and shenanigans on bikes. My kinda guys. They've been all over the mountain biking scene this year, so if you haven't seen them yet, you should check them out. PLUS, they put together a camo kit....I need one of those. 

Without any further adieu, the 2012 Iron Cross 10th Anniversary Kit:

They are taking pre-orders for the kit on their website. Definitely go check it out and get one for yourself!