Friday, November 13, 2015

Detroit Invitational Cyclocross 2015 - November 28th

We are doing it again!  For the sixth consecutive year we are putting on the most diabolically fun cyclocross (and this year running!) race around.  Totally free! Thanks to the collaboration of the Racing Greyhounds Cycling team, The Velvet Elvis Cycling team and the hard work of dozens of volunteers.  Including prize donations from Liberty Street Brewing, Motorless City Bicycles, Cycle to Fitness and race promotors from around the state.

This year the race schedule is as follows:

9am Running race, Mens open, Ladies open - 2 laps
10 am Racing Greyhound Team Points Series - 30 Min
11 am Gentlemen Racer - 30 minutes
11:45 Youth & Kids Race
12:00 Lady Racer - 45 min
12:01 Overcompetitive Prick Class - 45 min

All times estimated, all fees nonexistent

The "Tequila shot shortcut" will be active for all races, with the exception of the youth and kids race, where an age acceptable substitute will be available. (most likely a kale smoothie) 

To register email: cxczar at

Visit & share our facebook event page:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DICX is ten days away - Register Now!

We are ten days away and things are really shaping up.  I was at the park this weekend, to evaluate what had to be done and to start potting the course.   When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the park was largely clear of litter, and that the tired, broken playground had all been replaced with new equipment.  All graffiti free.

This echos a thought that I have had throughout this year.  That Detroit is turning the corner.  For the first time in my 47 years, I believe things are better today, then they were yesterday... and tomorrow will probably be better as well.  Hope vs Hopelessness

That's not to say that everything has been resolved.  Detroit still has a long way to go.  But anyone who's worked themselves out of a seemingly insurmountable situation knows that the first moment that you can see improvement is incredibly energizing.   If you want to help us prep the park (mow, sweep & hang out) we will be at the park Saturday 22nd at 10 am,


We are currently down a bit on Pre-Registrations.  For those who may not be aware, It is infinetly easier to preregister, that to do it day-of. (seriously, it's a hassle)  All you have to do is email and say: "I want to race" and tell me if you are a man or a woman, and if you are fast or slow.  (Or don't... and i'll draw my own conclusions.)

 For the first time, we will have two distinct classes for the men:

  1. Gentlemen Racer Class - 45 min - 12 Noon start (for Cat 4,5 & Beginners)
  2. Over-competitive Prick Class - 1 hour - 11am start  (Cat 1,2,3 & people who still look sinewy after Thanksgiving) 
We wanted to give the fast guys an opportunity to be fast.  And don't worry, we have a plan so the bantam weights don't poison themselves (to death) at the Tequila Shot Shortcut.

The prizes are the same for all classes:  A growler beer from Liberty Street Brewing Co, A DICX T Shirt from Ducky Detroit, A Road ID Gift certificate, and a special set of custom brass knuckles made by Motorless City Bicycles.  (2nd and 3rd in each class will get an assortment of the above prizes)  Pretty baddass!

But I know what you are thinking, "Jeffro, even with the addition of the Gentlemen Racer heavyweight-subnovice class I have no chance in hell of finishing on the same lap as the top three...I'll be happy to leave the park under my own power"   It's OK.  if you preregister (by emailing we've received a ton of swag & some free race entries from Tailwind and Kisscross.  We'll be raffling it off to preregister racers.

The key is to pre-register:

The CX Czar

Ps: I'll be posting every day as the race approaches, so keep coming back, and bring your friends

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fifth Annual Detroit Invitational Cyclocross - November 29th, 2014

"You've turned something that we did for a lark into a monumental waste of time" 

~ William Shatner

Five years... That's how long I've been putting on this race.  Five years... That's longer than the typical life-cycle of a bottom bracket standard.  Five effing years!  Not that I've ever gotten laid as a result of this race, but if i did, I'd be enrolling the little bastard in kindergarten.
I'm not quite sure where the time went.  

What started out modestly as a stupid, drunk, high gesture on someone's part to meet the growing wave of unjustified resentment toward USA cycling and the UCI; has grown into a slightly larger stupid drunk, high, gesture with adequate restroom facilities!  Granted, I get several emails a year encouraging me to grow the Detroit Invitational Cyclocross to be bigger than Iceman.

That's not the point.

Not that there is much of a point.  The objective has always been simply to have fun, especially if that involves mocking ourselves a bit in the process.  As a result, it's kind of evolved into our own twisted inside joke. The mutant child of a group hug, bachelorette party and self-inflicted fraternity hazing.  If Five years from now the race resembles something more along the lines of of a bee gees reunion tour/ Jai alai tournament with Morressey & Nikki Minaj standing in for Robin and Maurice, then so be it!

I put the race on for purely selfish reasons, namely because if causes me an incredible amount of Joy.  Judging by the feedback and assistance I get throughout the year, I'm not alone.    

Today I got an email explaining the viability of a flaming barrier by utilizing off the shelf grilling equipment and a standard propane tank. - Joy

Yesterday I got an email from a friend with a Liquor store connection, who claimed that he could get me a deal on the several half gallons of low grade brake cleaner that is used in the tequila shot shortcut. - Joy!

Sunday, I had someone come up to me and thank me.  He mentioned Last year's race was his first cyclocross race and he had the best time.  That is the most rewarding of all.

It's all silly fun, It doesn't have to be the biggest, craziest, most epic race of the year.  But somehow it turns out to be.  Anyway on to the announcements:

The Fifth running of the Detroit Invitational will be held:
Saturday, November 29th 2014
Races start at 10am
Saturday after Thanksgiving

This year marks the first year we will have multiple classes.  Each classes will have their own start wave and prizes.  Prizes will be of generally equal value for all classes, with exceptions leaning toward the ladies class, because they tend to class up the joint.

The classes are as follows:
  • Ladies
  • Gentlemen Racer (Cat4 & slower) 
  • Over-competitive Prick (Cat3 & faster) 

Please Specify what class in which you would like to compete.  We will use the honor system, and I am under the belief that this will be incredibly self explanatory.   Given that it is more of an state of mind than an ability.  Now, say if Jeremy Powers emails me and tells me that he wants to wear his "Katy Perry Farrell" costume  and race the gentlemen's race while singing a medley of "Firework" and "Been caught stealing" Who am I to stop him?  Grantes, I will expect him to act like a 'gentleman' and sandbagging is not very gentlemanly... get my drift?  I reserve the right to reassign people as I see fit.  So if you are a Cat5 with carbon rims barking at a guy in a hot dog costume, reaching for a hand-up  to "hold his line", prepare to get downgraded/ upgraded whatever.

I promised to "Incentivize" costumes and custom skinsuits.  So this year, if you wear a costume, you will get a voucher for one (1) free pass through the tequila shot Shortcut without actually having to ingest whatever god-awful fluid we put in front of you.   Custom skinsuits get two (2) free passes.  Skinsuits should be hand made, modified or something no one has ever seen before, but not part of a regular team kit.  For example, last years "Bikini" skinsuit would qualify, but the "Velvet Elvis flying chicken" skinsuit would not.  I have final say, and my opinion on appeals can be influenced positively with gifts of malt beverages.

I'll be posting more messages as the day approaches.


The CX Czar.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bar bike build party... Coming the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

One Sunday morning this past summer, I got an interesting voicemail from my friend Gareth.  The voicemail, in a breathless voices started with :
"I'm.... I'm just not good with bikes"

The previous day, I had loaned him my bar bike.  An older On One Inbred steel 29er with a rigid fork, fixed gear, and road crank.  The bike had been replaced on the trail several years before by an Air nine that was several metric tons lighter.  Still the On One was enjoying its retirement by being my bicycle of choice for local errands and watering holes around royal oak.

Last night was Arts Beats and eats.  A fantastic event, where the entire RO downtown area is blocked off to showcase local bands and past their prime national acts.  There is also a convoluted ticket based beer distribution system implemented designed to confuse drunks with a seventh grade algebra story problem.  I love AB&E... I love it because I ride my bike, leave it with KLMs bike Valet and avoid the outrageous parking fees.  

Back to my buddy Gareth, what he was trying to explain was that he had managed to crack the frame of my On One, and was looking to make it right.

My response was straight from Anchorman:
" I'm not even mad, I just want to know how you did it!"

This was a bike with about ten thousand trail miles with a Clydesdale.all full rigid.  When I got it, I was blown away at the number of greasy fingerprints that were on the bike...this was collaborated by similar hand prints on the side door of the location where he stayed the night.  Piecing together the physical evidence & expert testimony we concluded that the cause of frame breakage happened somewhere between fat burger and Campbell... Evidence of being over served, was not conclusive, but highly probable. 

As far as the bike, fear not.  I am working with Chris at motor less city to have the bike converted into a fat tire cargo bike.  : )

This got me thinking of the virtues of a "bar bike".  Essentially a bike that has outlived it's usefulness on the trail, but still has value as an alternative transportation for short errands.  It is every bet an important addition to your stable of bikes as a cross bike, or single speed, or fatbike or wherever you are on the N+1 bike requirement scale.  

A good bar bike, should have a low perceived value.  It may be a living breathing example of the best cycling technologies that the late 80's had to offer, but to the bike thief, it pales in comparison to a shiny new Next full suspension rig.  I should be functional, reliable and low (if not zero) maintenance.  It should have a blikey light. For visibility and safety and either fenders or a rack to prevent the 'skunk tail' when you are surprised by a summer shower.  

It should have personality, in a Frankensteinian kind of way.  As it will have more value as a whole than the sum of it's parts.  

I've had a few friends approach me about assisting them in building a suitable bar bike.   If you are like me, the actor wrenching bikes are enhanced with a tasty malt beverage.  I bounced the idea off Ryan at Apto, and he was excited about the idea of a bar bike build party.  So we decided that the Saturday before the superbowl would be the perfect time for a thinly veiled excuse to wrench bikes and drink beer.  We'll get Liberty Street Brewing Co & Rochester Brewing Co. involved somehow.  

So what is a bar bike build party?  If you have an old frame that needs to repurposed, bring it.  If you have an old tub of functional, but unsalable parts,(as we all do) bring them.  Have an under appreciated knowledge of bicycle mechanics that increases exponentially with each stout consumed?bring it.   Have a growler of beer so good that it has to be shared?  Bring that too.  Ryan and Apto will have bulk cables and a few stands available.   Who knows if anything rideable will actually come out of this event, but it should be a good time.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Some photos from the trip

Because I've been a bit busy on the trip, I haven't had much of a chance to post on the blog, here are a couple photos, which are worth a thousand words.
Navajo Arch.  

Luxury accommodations in Arches National Park, Moab Utah.  Coffee tastes the best at 6,000 feet

The Dude, doing what the Dude does.

17 degrees outside... Good thing I brought my own St. Bernard.

Another day, another night in a national park.  Zion, UT

Always good to have a vigilant watchdog on the road.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The big drive

The first full official day of the road trip was the one I was most worried about.  I was planning on crossing both Iowa and Nebraska.  About 12 hours of driving...solo.  Well, not really solo, I did have "The Dude" with me.  Who I will defend as a critical part of this road trip for several reasons that I will get into later.

As a fall back position, I didn't book a hotel at my destination.  I planned a couple of alternatives.  Pet friendly hotels, campgrounds along the way, truck stops and finally parking on the side of the road.  Thankfully there were a couple of diversions along the way that I hadn't planned for.

The first of which, a few hours into Iowa is the I-80 Truck stop.  The self proclaimed "World's Largest truck stop".   I could not dispute it, and in fact I fully endorse it as THE place to visit when traveling through Iowa.

I don't have an estimate of the actual size of the I-80 Truck stop, but it is huge.  The photo to the left is only about a third of the place.  It contains a wendy's, a Caribu coffee, a buffett that rivals anythig I have seen in Vegas or Atlantic city, a truck accessory shop, a larger DVD selection than netflix and a gift / apparel shop that will leave you slack jawed at the selection of unique merchandize that needs to be experienced to be believed.

 Most impressive was the selection of "Lone Wolf" Tshirts.  As cyclists, we are all familiar with the NYC Bike snob's meme of the importance of te Lone wolf.  If you are not familiar, these are tshirts, usually of an Acid washed* variety, with a image of an animal on the front that has been lovingly rendered with a nod to native american mythology and an air of classyness that can only be rivaled by a custom work by an accomplished airbrush artist.  From the photo, you can see that there is a solid 70 feet of display area dedicated to this uniquely american art form.  As you can imagine, the variety is unparralled! and the quality?  well, just take a gander of this next photo:   As you can see, the artist has taken the interpretation of this genre to the next level.  I dare not even touch this piece as i feared that it might burn my skin if I was deemed "Unworthy".   It perfectly encapsulates the free spirit of the wild that female cyclocross phenom and fellow Velvet Elvis: Amy "The Wolf" Meldrum, lives every moment of her life.  I wanted to purchase it for her, but unfortunately it was only available in men's sizes north of 3XL.  (Not the 'Ladies cut bare midriff w/ fringe as I was hoping)   I will add that there was at least another half dozen free standing displays of "Lone Wolf" shirts that were not included in the photo.

In addition the I-80 has a Truck accessory shop that contained no less than three full size semi trucks... One with a trailer.  (The trailer is painted with a mural that is evry bit as important to the logistics industry as the Diego Rivera mural in the Detroit Institute of arts is to the industrial revolution.  
Again, the variety of 'roo bars, cow catchers, accessories lights, mud flaps, custom wheels and chrome everything led me to believe that I had stumbled upon the valhalla of transportation personalization. 

I pondered getting the element fitted with some 5" chrome exhaust tips. (you know, for improved performance) but thought that the increased noise from open headers would draw the wrong type of attention from local law enforcement.  

What about gifts?  Surely the man on the move has difficulty finding that unique gifts for their loved ones.  Again, the World's largest truck stop did not disappoint.

Besides a complete selection of everything Hummel ever created, the git shop has an expansive selection of anything deemed collectable with an emphasis on the absolutely tasteless.  Need a broadswoard?  Need a spiked mace?  Need a Klingon Bat Leth of authentic proportions? (had to google that one)  no problem.  They have them in stock (and presumably available on lay-a-way) 

Satisfied that I have seen everything that needed to be seen, I hit the road, with a renewed sense of adventure, and a suvineer magnet, memorializing the 50th anniversary that I will proudly display on my fridge next to the wedding "Save the date" postcards from friends and my famous Crepe recipe.

I did a curory lap around the parking lot, just to see if I could see any "Lot Lizzards" (aka: truck stop prostitutes) .  They proved elusive, especially considering that it was about 8am.

Further down the road, I discovered another Iowas Institution dedicated to the transportation industry,  Specifically the "Kum & Go"  chain of gas stations.  (I'm not making this up) 
After refueling at a couple of these establishements, I am convinced that the owner purposely named the business with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.  It was the variety of logo T-shirts, hats, cups, etc.. that convinced me.  For the record, I couldn't resist and picked up a t-shirt for under $10 (buying me an additional day before I have to do laundry).

I found Iowa to be very pleasant.  the drivers are courteous and respect the left lane. (unlike the asshats that have infected the Southfield Freeway) The roads are pristine and the tiered farms located on the west of the state were quite picturesque. 

In Nebraska, I had planned a stop at a truly sacred place.  Just as Catholics will visit the Vatican when visiting Rome, or Muslims making a pilgrimage to Mecca.  It seemed only appropriate that as an american who came of age in the 80's that I visit a location of equal or greater spiritual magnatude.

The University of Nebraska, Memorial Football Stadium.

Lincoln Nebraska was exactly at the halfway point of the day's planned travels.  So Lebowski took an hour or so to walk the campus, visit the gift shop to pick up some Merch from their national powerhouse volleyball program (for a very special girl in California) and seek out the inevetable shrine to College football deity: Tom Osborne.

 The UofN campus is littered with bad art... embarrassingly bad art from the Miami Vice era of bad 80's art.  I submit to you the example to the left.  Unlike the "Lone Wolf" art of Iowa truck stop t-shirts, the bad art of the UofN campus lacks soul (which I guess encapsulates the cocaine fueled lack of creativity of the 1980s... especially the music... more on that in a separate post) 

I could go into a full critique of the scrap metal sculptural pile of feces, but Lebowski and I were on a spiritual mission.  

We were not disappointed, there is a spot adjacent to the football stadium, memorializing the greatness of Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne.   The plaque is surrounded by pillars, as you would expect if in a temple dedicated to an deity as significant as Zeus or Odin.  I am sure that during that during the construction, gas lines were pre-run for the inevetable eternal flame that will be installed when Coach Osborne decides to leave this world for the great gridiron in the sky.  
Lebowski proudly posed for a photo, before attending to a group of affectionate fans of coeds outside the UofN bookstore.  

Back on the road, we stumbled upon an unusual museum that spans both directions of the highway.  This confused me as it stuck out of the ladscape like a monolith.

More significant, was the obscured view of a cold front that was pushing aside the front that caused Ice storms and havoc in my home state.  Blue skies were ahead.  We had avoided the bad weather unscathed.

At exactly mile 1000, we were greeted by a breathtaking sunset.  This brought a tears to my eyes as it provided further validation for the journey.

Eventually, we made it to our goal.  Eastern Colorado.  We booked a lovely room at the Days Inn, located downwind of a Paper processing plant.  The hotel was tired at best.  Once we arrived, Lebowski hopped into bed next to me, following his breed instincts as a St. Bernard to comfort and warm weary travelers as they passed the treacherous Swiss alps in the 1600's.  He sighed a heavy sigh, and snuggled up closer, making me feel as cozy as I've ever felt not sleeping in my own bed.

Tomorrow, I'll write about venturing into the Rockies, navigating 7% slopes in a snowstorm and our first day of recreation in the beautiful town of Breckenridge.  We'll leave in the morning for southern Utah, Moab and our first night of camping.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

1200 miles In

 Lebowski and I embarked on our trip.  Over the last two days we covered over 1200 miles through Michigan, Indiana,  Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.  We are currently just outside of Denver.  Tomorrow we'll travel to Breckenridge, where Lebowski will spend the afternoon at Doggy Daycare, and I will spend the day skiing.

We started our journey by traveling through to western Illinois, stopping in the "Hometown" of Ronald Regan. ... Only to be trumped by the "Birthplace" of Ronald Regan, 15 miles down the road... To be honest, I was expecting to see a landmark in some field signifying the location where the Gipper got to second base.

Lebowski was nice enough to stay up with me though nearly the entire drive, sitting on the back seat, head looking out the passenger window.  Three hours into the drive, he discovered that he had enough room to sprawl out and relax in the back of the element.  No small trick considering he had to share the back with an XL Moonlander (to preserve the slippery aerodynamic of the Honda Element)

As I got out of the Car after 5+ hours of driving, I promptly fell on my ass, as a result of the black ice.  Lebowski fared a bit better, as quadrupeds have a bit better stability on the slippery stuff.   ("Illinois Black Ice" is a perfect NHL Expansion team name) Once we got inside, I took a hard look at the weather, and decided that it would be important to get an early start, to avoide the pending Ice storm to the south west.

The hotel, a Days Inn, was certainly dated.  The staff, was friendly and made no issues that Lebowski clearly exceeded the 'pet policy' by a solid 90lbs.

The guests, that was another matter. I met a few people exiting from the 'Lounge'... blind drunk, from the conversation shouted to the bartender, this appeared to be a regular occurrence.    The following morning, while walking Lebowski, I met a man who was in town for training at the hardware distribution center.  He polished off two cigarettes during our short conversation.  He was a few years older than I, but looked a few decades older.

Leaving Western Illinois before dawn, I was stuck in with the impression that this was a place that either prompted you to leave to seek the your potential of Hollywood or Washington, or stay...  I realize that it's not fair to judge an entire region based on a few encounters.  

We hit the road west, venturing into Iowa.