firstname.lastname@example.orgThis is an opinion piece by Reno Toffoli. Reno's opinions don't necessary represent the opinions of Your Group Ride or its advertisers but I always enjoy his rants. If you'd like to write an article for YGR, please email me at
For whatever reason, I waited 20 years into my adult cycling career before I entered my first race. The biggest reason for this was that my memories of racing BMX bikes as a kid weren’t the fondest ones. As a 13 year old, I would get overwhelmed by nerves and adrenaline for the brief 2 minute duration of a race where one tiny mistake (yours or someone else’s) could take you out of the running
and get you a nice bit of road rash to boot. As a young teen with a brain made of scrambled eggs, I didn’t really understand what I was doing; I’d get overly competitive, and then beat myself up endlessly when I didn’t get a good result. Because of all this, I decided that I had much more fun just poking around on the trails, building jumps, learning tricks and all the other stuff that went with being part of the BMX culture in the 1980s.
By the time I started mountain biking, racing was the furthest thing from my mind. The memories of racing taking the fun out of everything had put me firmly into an anti-racing mindset. Besides, I wouldn’t have known how to find or enter a race even if I wanted to as things like the internet and YGR were many, many years away.
I’m not really sure what got me to enter my first race. I think some of it was just the thought of trying something new and I also wanted something that would motivate me to ride and give me a goal to look forward to. Another part of it was the fact that the internet and things like YGR now existed and local races were easy to find. I’m also pretty sure I saw videos of a couple local races and said to myself, ‘Hell, I can do that!
My first race was actually a time trial. In fact, it was a Taft Hill time trial just over 5 years ago. My goal was a realistic one; not to come in last. The result? I didn’t come in last, but I was damn close. The race was hard, and painful, and I wondered why the hell I was going flat out with my heart rate pegged at the limit because I never rode like this normally. I don’t know whether I would say that it was ‘fun’, but it was interesting and I learned a lot in that first race. One of the things I learned was that I wasn’t a time trialist. I questioned what I was doing and didn’t know whether I would continue doing it but there was something about it that kind of pulled me in and kept me coming back. The nice thing about using the time trial as a first race was that it was essentially me against the clock and I didn’t have to worry about dealing with other riders, or tactics, or anything like that so I guess it served its purpose.
The Crazy Joe Cross series will indeed be talking place this Sept. The races will be held Tuesdays Sept 9th, 16th, 23rd and potentially 30th. To obtain your personal invitation with complete details, please fill out the form below. You will receive an email later this week.
If you have received a Facebook invite, you don't need to fill out the form.
Continuing their legacy of giving back, the First City Cycling team is partnering with Food Bank for Larimer County to create a food drive for this holiday season. Racers will be able to donate cash and food before and during the Cross of the North race weekend.
Urgently Needed Items:
Unfortunately, they cannot accept frozen turkeys at the race site. However, frozen turkeys can be donated at the Food Bank for Larimer County:
1301 Blue Spruce Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Cross of the North is donating 2% of pre-registraton fees to the Food Bank.
Join COTN organizers September 6th at ProVelo for their Pre-Reg party. Get a look at the course maps and a free lunch / beer.
Saturday, Sunday, September 6-7 starting at 8am
NoCo Gravelo is a semi-supported bicycle gravel ride and revival west of Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, and it's FREE to participate. Rides start around 8:00 am Saturday morning, and we'll gather around the campfire for food, beverage and stories as folks finish the ride throughout the day. Bring a tent to camp and take in the stars with us Saturday night! There will be some food and beverage there, but it is primarily a BYOB event. Large, primitive campsite (no toilets or running water), so be prepared to dig holes and bring your own water.
There are two loops that both start and end at the campsite. The short loop is approximately 24 miles with 3000 ft of climbing, and the long loop is approximately 56 miles with 6500 ft of climbing. Both loops top out at 10,900 ft elevation. Neither loop is for beginners, as there are long, steep climbs at altitude involved with both. There is a gnarly descent (for a gravel ride) that is also part of both loops.
If anyone doesn't want to ride, but still wants to be part of the fun, we'd love it if you want to come help out! We need some volunteers to run a couple water/first aid stations, too, so please let me know if you're interested in that.
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer for the event, shoot an email over to email@example.com.
How to get there:
Organizers of the Cross of the North cyclcross race weekend will be hosting a pre-registration party at ProVelo Bicycles on Sept 6th. The party goes from 10-2pm and will include road, cx and mtb group rides, discounts at ProVelo, FREE lunch and beer. You'll also be able to register without online registration fees. See the flyer below for more information or hit the event Facebook page.