Fair Park Nighters

When: Races start Thursday, March 10 (and continue every Thursday after that through summer)

Where: Gexa Energy Pavilion @ Fair Park

Time: “C” Race 5:30 p.m., “B” Race 6:05 p.m. and “A” Race 6:55 p.m.

 

So it’s that magic time of year again — crit time. More specifically, time for the King Racing Group Fair Park Thursday Night Criterium Races. The Thursday Niters.

I haven’t pinned a number on since Cross Nats so I am curious as to how far off my fitness is going to be. (No matter how much Zwifting I've done, I'm not going to be ready for the fast and furious that comes with these races.) More importantly, I am looking forward to see some faces that I haven’t seen in months. The Fair Park crits have slowly turned into much more than racing, they have turned into a weekly event to say hello and catch up with fellow cyclists. While I don’t think there are many casual observers on hand that are just there to watch a bike race – most spectators have friends or perhaps family members in the race, it is great to see the number of people on hand to watch.

Just a few of the characters that line up every Thursday night. Photo by  Lee McDaniel

Just a few of the characters that line up every Thursday night. Photo by Lee McDaniel

Now to the racing. The Fair Park races can be every bit as intense as any of the big weekend races. Not more technical than say a Matrix Challenge or Bike the Bricks, but for the guys and gals with families and jobs that don’t allow for them to play “bike racer” on the weekend, this is it. For some individuals in the Dallas area, Thursday nights are a chance to show off form and fitness and go up against the local big guns. For guys like me, it is trying to hold on for dear life and have a beer and a few laughs afterwards. Again, the hashtag applies: #willraceforbeer

Sometimes, that's really the only way to cool down after a Thursday night crit race. Photo by   Chris McGathey for     D Magazine's   gallery of images on the races.

Sometimes, that's really the only way to cool down after a Thursday night crit race. Photo by Chris McGathey for D Magazine's gallery of images on the races.

If you have never done a crit before and have wanted to give it a go this is a perfect course to do just that. Quite simple actually, 4 turns and 4 straights with a few slight elevation changes. If anything, it is usually the wind that will wreak havoc on a field. Go to the USAC website, get that one-day license and give it a try.

The one, the only Ginny King. National Champion and Mama Bear of Dallas cycling. Photo by Chris McGathey for D Magazine's gallery of images on the Fair Park races.  Click here to check out the gallery.

The one, the only Ginny King. National Champion and Mama Bear of Dallas cycling. Photo by Chris McGathey for D Magazine's gallery of images on the Fair Park races. Click here to check out the gallery.

Here is to wishing Ginny, her crew, and everyone who pins on a number another awesome and safe season of Fair Park crits. See you there!

Banana Republic Cords

It has been a while since I have owned a pair of corduroys, years as a matter of fact. But on a recent trip to Banana Republic a few pairs caught my eye. As I perused the different cuts and colors I grabbed a few pairs and headed for the dressing room.

As I was trying the different styles on I was leaning in a direction that I normally don't go, towards the slim cut. By know means was this a "skinny jean" cut but it was most certainly slim. By no stretch do I have big legs, but with all of the cycling I do I normally prefer to wear a looser more forgiving fit for pants and blue jeans. That said, I found the Slim Five-Pocket Cord fitting snug yet comfortable in the seat and thighs and now the question was becoming which of the six colors to choose.

I settled on the Dark Acorn, what I think to be a perfect color for this time of year and the weather that we are getting with it. After purchasing the cords I didn't wear them right away, so I didn't have the opportunity to wear them until traveling to Seattle for cyclocross a few weekends ago. We had a Saturday evening reservation at the Columbia Tower Club with its majestic views. While the fog and the rain may have obstructed the views that evening, the Banana Cords were spot on. The cords have that great mix of going from dressed up with a button down and a sport coat to casual with a t-shirt and a sweater.

Case in point with the flight home, and this is where the garment hit a home run for me, the flight back from Seattle to Dallas. I did take it down to a more casual look with a sweater but I was more concerned about sitting in the middle seat on a plane for close to four hours. This is were the true test comes. Most jeans and pants will have a tendency to ride and bunch, causing me to squirm and shift, driving my seatmates nuts (It's hard enough to fold my 6 foot plus frame into a coach seat anyways). So you can see my apprehension as we boarded the plane.

I took my middle seat and I was quite comfortable for the entire trip. I was able to settle right in, the cords did not bunch or move and it was a pleasant flight. I did get up to use the lavatory and stretch my legs but I would have done that regardless. The Slim Five-Pocket cord is a hit, it passes my test. I was already a big fan of Banana, but they have moved to the top of the list. I have already gone back for a second pair and my new goal is to find a pair of jeans that fit and wear the same.

Texas Cycling: One Big Family

I went up to the The Superdrome Saturday night to watch Chris Carlson attempt to set a new Texas hour record. I knew that I would see some familiar faces and sure enough I did. Not a huge crowd, but a good mix of a little bit of everybody.

As I milled around in the infield with people taking pictures and telling Chris congratulations (of course he set the record, like there would be any doubt) I had one of those moments again as to why I love the sport so much.

It is a brotherhood, no make that a family — because we have sisters out there too. We get out there on the bike and 9 times out of 10 we are trying to beat the crap out of each other. Doesn't matter if it is at a weekly crit, Saturday morning South Ride World Championships or a big-time 'cross race weekend. The intent is usually to try and rip each others' legs off.

Part of the Texas Cycling Family, Photo by  Lee McDaniel

Part of the Texas Cycling Family, Photo by Lee McDaniel

That is what made this past Saturday night so cool. As I looked around the stands and the infield, I counted people that represented at least ten of the local and regional racing teams and employees of five different bike shops. That is when the family aspect of this sport hit me: at the end of the day we always have each others' backs and cheer each other on.

By no means am I an elite-level cyclist,  but we are all one big family, no matter how ugly things get on a ride or during a race. We all lead different walks of life, have other hobbies, but we always seem to look out for each other the way a family should.

I have a post that I started months ago about why I like to ride bikes so much and how what cycling means to me. Maybe this will give me the momentum to finish it and post it soon.

Strap-ID: Emergency contact info when you need it most

Nobody wants to be there. On the ground, the side of the road or a ditch. Unable to communicate. It’s scary and something we are all aware of every time we clip in, but always try to push back into the recesses of our thoughts. If it does happen, it would be nice to have a way to let a simple piece of plastic speak for you.

That is where Strap-ID can help out. Strap-ID is a small, simple rectangle and lightweight piece of 3D printed UV-cured resin that slides securely onto a strap of your helmet. Printed on it is your name, important identifying information such as date of birth, and of course, contact information for those you want notified should something happen to you while out for a ride. 

strapIDimage

What's ingenious about Strap-ID is that is goes on your helmet .... near your eyes .... and that's one of the first places a first responder will look if you've been in an accident. And the Strap-ID, sitting alongside your helmet strap is instantly noticed. The paramedics or the people who've stopped to help you don't have to search for information, it's just right there at a moment when time is of the essence.

Another benefit of the Strap-ID being placed on the helmet is that it will always be with you, since you always wear a helmet. No need to remember to wear an extra something each time you head out for a ride. Strap-ID is just always there for you.

strapIDsmudge

Dallas-area cycling enthusiast and fellow racer John Cowan and his 3Dallas Printing Company designed Strap-ID to be small and lightweight enough that a rider never notices it since it sits flush along the side of your face and you don’t even know it is there. Printed using 3D technology right here in Dallas, this piece of essentially safety equipment is a must for every single rider. In fact, some of the guys I ride with wear Strap-IDs on the straps of both sides of their helmet to make the information even more noticeable in the worst of situations. I was able to be involved in the R&D process of this project and have wearing one for the better part of two years. I cannot encourage you enough to wear this. 

Let’s face it, even you if are riding the South Side World championship on a Saturday morning or just cruising with your best friend, can you be certain they can get a hold of your emergency contact? People aren't going to know your wife/girlfriend/mother/best buddy/dog to call them and let them know what's happened. And they're probably not going to know the code to unlock your phone to find that information. None of that even counts on those solo training rides we are all bound to take at some time or another — when you're out there by yourself and something happens, Strap-ID can communicate for you. You are already going to wear a helmet anyways, why not have that extra peace of mind on the helmet with you.

Order a Strap-ID today. Order one for a friend. Anyone who rides a bike needs one of these. 

$17.50 each | order online at www.strap-id.com