Sunday, May 23, 2010

The NUE series ruined my social life!

Well fan, I have always been a bit of a mile whore but the last few years things have gotten ridiculous. Way back in the early nineties when I put the BMX bike aside and I started riding and racing MTBs and road I was always about doing big days in the saddle. My philosophy was why do 50 if you can do 70 before dark, why do 3 hours when 5 hours sounds so much better. It might be a chicken or egg argument but I seemed better equipped for the long days. I am not sure if it is because I trained for long days or whether I was physiologically built for the long days. If the event went over 2 hours my podium hopes were and are always greater. So the marathon/100miler off road format has always captivated my attention. As a young buck punk teenager I did the original Wilderness 101 in 91-93 and I loved it while most other MTBers at that time thought that was down right silly—“MTB races should be 20 miles” I would hear.

Getting Rad after 7 hours:

So a few years back Bunny and I started half jokingly talking about doing the NUE series much too old mans grumbles about that idea. That year Bunny and I did set out to compete in the series dragging the old man along with us for his always rosie disposition on things. Bunny ended up 2nd Pro Purty Ladies and I got 3rd SS is the series. Gunnar joined in the travel but because of sickness and being a grump he did qualify for the series but we were all hooked on the 100 mile crack, yes even the old man. And this is how the NUE Series ruined my social life. Ok, rather it made an already horrible social life worse. Like I said, I was always a mile whore but since the team has decided to focus on the 100 mile/marathon format our saddle time has gotten ridiculous. For anyone, a “oh so pro” or a sprouting novice a 5 hour day in the saddle is a good day, right? Oh no, I stayed home from the races this weekend so I could get some good training in and when I found myself heading home with only 5 hours in I turned around to keep going until I had close to 7 in, ugh!!! And I am not the only one afflicted by this mile addiction on the team. Betsy and Gunnar stayed home last weekend only to do a 7+ and 10+ day. Now I have been training with Gunnar since the mid-nineties and had I said back then lets do a 7+ hour day he would have balked and slapped me in the back of the head but now if I crap out at 7 hours he balks and slaps in back of the head. And Bunny is not just an enabler to this silliness but she is an advocate for it, no longer the voice of reason. Now anytime the three of us have a training weekend together it goes from a 6 hour day, to a 8 hour day to a “wow it has been dark for an hour and we left the house 10am maybe we should head home” sort of day. Such is the lyfe or maybe we need a short track intervention--Mom, this is why I do not have a girlfriend. At any rate just get out there and ride.

As always "May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face" and may your wheels always find it safely back to the ground.

PEACE Chrissy

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Robbie!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Happy birthday to our teammate Robbie Loehr!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gunnar Shogren interview Part 1

Gunnar Shogren interview Part 1
by Steven Cummings
May 6th, 2010
Interview Originally posted by our friends at

Last year a group of people were sitting around a campfire at a mountain bike race. Somebody mentioned about when Gunnar Shogren (who was sitting within earshot) was PRO. One of the younger people in the group responded “Gunnar was PRO?”…. How quickly we forget.

We here at Pittsburgh Racing are bringing you a snippet of Gunnar through some questions. The man has been living bike racing for decades. He could, and probably should, publish a book of his stories.

Gunnar and his wife Betsy

Why is Pittsburgh Racing interviewing you if you are from West Virginia?
I was born in Pittsburgh. Allegheny County General. Mom
and Dad were both at the Pittsburgh Seminary School, and yes,
apparently I met Mr. Rogers when I was very young, he and my dad were acquaintances of sorts.

In my early days the Zoo Crits were a *huge* part of gaining very
valuable racing experience.

From making the leap from winning a few B races to “getting” to do the
A race (I was actually late for the race and Mark (Powder, ACA club founder) begrudgingly let me race A, even though I was just a “decent” sprinter (ed: This is from a time when officials told you what race you were eligible for, not the other way around) .

To really contesting the overall series a few years, I was 2nd to Jay (Wolkoff) and pre-druggy Joe (Papp), in 1987 and 1998 respectively.

If you include the BMX days, I had been going up to Pittsburgh on
Wednesday from 1984-2004! Pretty religiously too.

Racing and traveling with Danny (Chew) and Hal (Chew, his late father), and all the other racers from “back in the day”. Very valuable and memorable times indeed.
And then all the West Deer races, the Spring Training races up North,
the various and sunday races around the Pittsburgh area, blah, blah,

Sigh… where have they all gone?

And in the pre-CX (cyclocross) days (yes kids, there actually was a time when there weren’t hardly any CX races within driving distance) Gary Bywaters put on the end-of-the-road-season Month of Mud races that the Motown posse would come up for. Pre-race a lap, race, post-race a lap, clean up in the puddles and streams, eat at Kings and then go home to nap.
And then when CX was starting to gain traction but I was no longer
living in New England for the season, old Gary B. kept the torch lit for us.
Good races between me and Paul Martin.

From 1992?-2000 or so, there was this little thing called Dirt Rag. Allowed me an opportunity to rant, rave, and write ridiculously about whatever. Boy that was all pretty neat. (ed: Gunnar had a column those years titled “wassupwidat”)

And of course if it wouldn’t have been for Pittsburgh and it’s cycling
community I would have never met Betsy. Yay Pittsburgh!!

And post DBR, who came to my aid? Gregg Dion. and Fort! What a time that was as well, being involved w/ the whole beginning of that
business, working w/ Czechs, the CX Wonder-Team years, feeling like I
was Pro again… more sigh…
Also Denny Dansak. and the whole GPOA thing, returning to those road roots, racing w/ the crazy kids all over the place and *still* racing mtb and CX. More good years.

Gunnar racing cyclocross for Fort/GPOA

Did you know that Joe Parkin describes you as a legend in your area in his new book?
In just *my* area?
Darn. I thought I was larger than that.

What did it take for Joe to talk about you so much in his new book?

I raced. A lot.
Oh and I did well enough too. Must not have been very many others in
it then or something. (ed: There are lots of people mentioned, all of whom are “famous” in the cycling world. Gunnar gets a lot of recognition.)
And the timing. Back then road racers didn’t do much mtbing and
mtbers didn’t do much road racing. I did as much racing as I could.
It helped that I enjoyed both types of racing as well.
I’d love to race track if you guys would build me a velo!

When did you start racing?

I always wanted to race bikes, just didn’t get the chance to until
later in my life.
In 1984, in college here at WVU, I found out that there was a BMX
track in Hopwood, PA and a whole PA Series. I used my granny’s PA
address and raced the PA Series for two years. And of course the Wed.
South Park summer races too. 1984-85.
Got my first mtb then, a Ross Mt. Rainier and built up my first road
bike from used parts while working at Pathfinder.
1986 I was working at Mountaineer Schwinn, got a Schwinn Circuit,
built up another mtb (out of used parts of course) and was able to
race both that year, though not very much. I also finished school,
lined up a job as a Research Technician at Animal and Vet Sciences,
running a mass spec., and knew that in ‘87 I was going to get a USCF
license and start racing road.
In 1987 went from a Cat. 4 to a 2.
*Poof*, hook line and sinker.

In a season you were a 2? When did you become PRO?

We had a little road and mtb team in 1990, Team Tuffy Muffler, out of
Richmond, VA but riders from all over. In 1991 the mtb part of it
decided to go big, we got Cannondale as a sponsor but we all had to
have Pro licenses.
So in 1991 I started racing Pro. In our first Norba Nat Pro race, we
went out to Durango, CO, and really got our butts handed to us. What
an experience! Back then the women started a little after the men. I
think all but two of us got caught by at least Julie F(Furtado).
In 1992 I changed to Diamondback cause Whitetail Bikes didn’t sell
Cannondale. The DB rep asked me if I’d race for them, the timing was
right and I raced for Diamondback from 1992-1999.

Team Tuffy Muffler battles itself

Could you tell us about the mountain biking glory days some?

You haven’t got the time for that.
Things were different, times were different.
We all raced everything on pretty much the same bikes. Those crazy
Stage races, the fun of being part of something pretty new and
everyone wanting to get in on it.
Brings a tear to me eye.

Gunnar on a prototype headshock

What was your best result ever? World cup points apparently?
3rd at the Sea Otter MTB Road Race, 1995.
Me, Joe (Parkin), Steve (Tilford), and Don Myrah got in a break and stayed away. Ahead of all the Euro boys and USA kids. It was awesome and even more cool was actually racing on the Leguna Seca race course, actually hitting 50mph on the Cork Screw and of course climbing the hill up to it and seeing how crazy it would be in a car, to go up that hill and having to initiate the corner before you even see it.
Oh the race…
Steve (Tilford) won, Joe (Parkin) was 2nd.
I fell apart for the Short Track race later.

A few top 10 USA guy in a couple World Cup races, on the days when
most of the big guns would fall apart.

Gunnar coming up on a Euro dude at the Mt. Snow World Cup

I won the Hedgehog Hustle in ‘96 (I think it was ‘96). Big race in AZ
held the week before the Cactus Cup, back when the Cactus Cup was
really something else. That was pretty exciting. Course I had been
in TX for a month or so prior to that, doing the once grand Tour of

A couple of the National Championships have been pretty remarkable.
Probably the highlights being the first CX one in 1998 (late in the
last lap I got all disoriented, the courses weren’t ribboned off and
all of a sudden I wasn’t certain whether I was actually going the
right way, it was a very strange feeling) and then this last one, the
Tandumb Nats w/ Betsy. That was very exciting and special for me.

1996 Naked Crit, Mt. Snow, VT
Wasn’t feeling all that great for the weekend and I knew it. So me, Willy (Geoghegan) and a few others decide to see what the whole Naked Crit thing was about (this was when they still allowed and encouraged campers at the main venue).
Crowds were big, things getting frenzied, old friends James B., Roger
(Bird), and GinO had already stripped and just somehow I got caught up in it. Going ’round and ’round before the race even got started. Then we all stop, decide that we’d better start the race before the buzz wears off, they draw a line in the gravel and we are off!
Afterward I went back to our condo, Joe was kind of asleep, he asked
if I raced, I replied “yeah”, he asked if I won, I said “yeah”, he
said, “that’s f__!*ing cool” and went to sleep. That night I lay in
bed wondering if I had somehow really messed up and would find myself
without a team in the morning.
I didn’t get anything for winning, but oh the press the next day…
It was pretty sweet.
Those posters are still out there…

This poster?

Part II coming soon… stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dynamic Cycling Team Saves Galaxy!

Episode IV - A New Haircut

Episode V - The Empire Is Pissed Cause We Blow Up Their Death Star!

Episode VI - Return of the Cheeto

Bet you had no clue we ride bikes by day and save the galaxy by night!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

So it has begun....

Welp fan, yes we have been racn’. Sorry, for the delay in up dates. That second job I have as a teacher has been keeping me busy. But the “Oh-so pro” lyfe will be starting here in earnest in a little over a month. Then bikes and blogging will be all I do.

2010 started with us getting our skinny tyre racn’ on. We all have been mixing it up with those sometimes mean Type-A roadies. For me it has just been training so pack fill is all I concerned myself with. Bunny and Gunny got themselves “W” up in Mingo I do believe. Always the over achievers pack fill just won’t do for them. JR put on one hell of a mean RR in Motown. All sorts of heavy hitters showed. I guess the days have changed for RR in WV when it was just us hack MTBers and a few Pittsburgh guys to keep us honest. I used feel fast back then. Getting a 5th in a ½ race always sounded good even if there was only 4 guys in the race. Right?

So on to the dirt…

April 8th WVMBA #1: Big Bear Lake in West “by god”: I slapped together a geared bike this year so I decided to ride that in the Vet Expert class for the opener. I am unable to commit to the WVMBA series this year because of NUE conflicts and its late end so I hope to bounce between the Vet, SS and Pro classes. Mark S. put together a SWEET course. It had everything I love about Big Bear but not so much to make you cry. Gunny and I duked it out with our old pal Mark Glass and new pal Don Powers. Those two have some killer early season form ( I hope it does not last J). In the end they bested us. Bunny had a bad day out there with some crashing that caused some mechanical. Luckily, that mischievous Chris P. helped her out. By days end Robbie L got 3rd SS, Gunny 6th Vet Ex, Bunny 3rd Pro Purty ladies and me Chrissy got 3rd Vet Ex. I am always happy with a podium and cash.

April 25th: Greenbrier Marathon AMBC in Maryland: This was a test to see how my “diesel” form ( yes, on a geared bike..weird) was as we are about a month away from 100 miler season. Pittsburgh friend and WVMBA regular Robert Spreng and I got away from the rest pretty quickly. Sadly, after about a 1/2 a lap Robert did the same to me. His pace was just a tad harder than I thought I could handle for 4+ hours. I settled in at my pace and kept on trucking and I guess I kind of thought I had second all wrapped up…until a super fast excitable SS kid caught me. Ack, back to racing. We swapped turns leading and luckily I finally got away from him. About three hours in I was told that Robert was 15+ minutes ahead and that I was 15+ minutes ahead of third. I kept trucking along but admittedly I got a little complacent. The only carrot I had left was to get in before 1pm so I could go out for another lap. 1:06pm, no more laps and the record books will go down with Mr. Spreng a lap up on me. Oh well, he rode like a champ and 2nd aint so bad.

May 2nd: Escape from Granogue MASS series in Delaware: I started this weekend out with a 72 mile road race in Poolesville, MD. This strategy has helped me in the past but on this weekend I am afraid it failed me. It was the first super hot day and I did not have a feed so I nursed the water I had and I was pretty darn dehydrated by the end of the 72 miles. I felt this in my legs first thing when I finally threw my leg over my trusty SS Cannondale Sunday morning. Yikes, this aint good my legs were 2by4’s. Off we went. I hit the first climb in the led but quickly retreated backwards. The first lap was down right horrible. My breathing was labored not in the good way and my legs sucked. I had thoughts of pulling out but my tenacious spirit would not allow such a thing. If you aint hurt, sick or your bike is not completely broke you should never DNF fan. Ifn' you do it once you will do it again and it will just get easier and easier there after. I digress, the second lap I felt even worse, ugh!! Then as if I flipped a switch every thing came together in the latter half of the second lap. Bam, my race body had arrived from Poolseville, dang it an hour late!! Oh well, I had a stellar last lap. Buried myself to catch the leaders and went from wwwaaayy back to a lower podium spot. See fan, never quit unless you are hurt or sick. The course was a hoot- wet roots, slippery rocks, twisty this way and that and a whole lot of elevation change. It was a hard but fun weekend. And the new Cannondale and Lefty is sweet!!

…this just in Gunny and Bunny won in their respective class over in Ohioland.

Welp fan, thanks for reading. Things are full on until they are no longer sometime in December when cross is over.

As always "May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face" and may your wheels always find it safely back to the ground.

PEACE Chrissy