Friday, October 18, 2013

Nice And Tall

On a recent bus ride to work, my friend Scott was talking with another rider, Jane. They were talking about her son Jason's high school football season. Apparently, Jason's quite an athlete and is being recruited by Bo Pelini to play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Jane was very proud of her son. She gushed about him to a captive audience on the bus.

When she paused to catch her breath, Scott commented that he had noticed how Jason has bulked up.

"Yeah, he's small, like your buddy there," she says while nodding at me, "but Jason's got way more muscle than him. Way more."

I'm nodding along like a dope -- wait. What? Did she really just say that? I looked around. Everyone on that bus was giving me the up and down. She didn't even wait for the bus to stop to throw me under it.

Oi, it appears that everyone around me is getting taller. Or I'm getting smaller. Or both.

Exhibit A: The Training Ride
Mod captured this scene on a training ride. I'm on the yellow bike on the left. To my right is my buddy Noah.

Mark: Awkward draft behind these two.
Rafal: Danny devito and Arnold like

Danny Devito? Really? I suppose if Noah can be Arnold, then why not.

Exhibit B: 2013 Corporate Cup 10K:
Everyone is taller than me in this photo. Everyone.

I felt like this kid:

Exhibit C: My Junior Bike
Remember when Jens Voigt crashed in the 2010 TdF and took some kid's junior bike for a harrowing descent in order to make the stage time cut?

Jens is tall. When he's not stealling kids bikes, he rides a 60cm. I'm not so tall. I ride a 54cm. My colleague James Peters is about Jens' height. Like Jens, James also rides a 60cm. This is photo at the rack of my junior bike next to James' Jensie bike.

If you look closely, you can see daylight between his drops and mine. Dang.

Exhibit D: The Call Up List
In cyclocross, there is a starting line tradition to offer front row call ups for those who've earned it. Call ups are not only an honor, but they can also affect the outcome of a race as those in the front row are less likely to encounter bottleneck traffic from tight turns, barriers, mud and sand pits.

Having been the runner up at this past weekend's Omaha CX race on Saturday, I was expecting a call up on Sunday.

It didn't happen. As a result, I started in the back, got tangled up in a crash in the first sand pit, where somebody else stepped on my shoe and sheared a buckle off, yada, yada, yada...

I commented to Fred afterwards that perhaps it was a simple oversight that I wasn't called up. I rationalized that since I registered day-of, my name wasn't on the preregistration list. It was plausible theory that race official Darryl Webb could have pulled the list from preregistered racers and forgotten me. Why not? It had to be a simple oversight on his part, right?

"Or maybe he just didn't see you at all," Fred said.

Ouch. Thanks pally.

At nearly 5'9", I'm not exactly short. Nor am I tall. And till now, I've never had an issue with my size before. Now I'm beginning to wonder if I should.

Yet to my dear Mom, I'm a giant among men. Katherine likes to remind me this from time to time. She once overheard my Mom asking for assistance: "Brady, you're nice and tall, could you reach that bag of flour on the top shelf for me?"

Nice and tall. Do you see that Mark Savery and Rafal? James Peters? Fred Hinsley? And you too, Darryl Webb? Shame on all of you.

And don't forget to call me up next time.

Nice and tall. Thanks, Mom. I feel better now. Or at least an inch taller. Whatever. I'll take it.

Happy Friday Everyone


  1. James' bike is no mere 60cm - it's a 64. We had to special order it.

  2. 64? Wow and thanks for the clarification, Bryan Redemske, I'm feeling taller already

  3. C'mon Brady. How many times have you complained about me leaving you hanging with one of my unfinished blog posts? That's right. A lot. Just tell me one thing. When your mom said "Could you reach that bag of flour ..." Well ... Could you?

  4. Also - I have always hated the way bikes for tall people look. The head tube of that Trek is ridiculous. One more thing I like about the compact geometry. The larger frame look way less dorky.

  5. you didn't get called up because you don't have usac points. it has nothing to do with what you had done the day before

  6. Yes, on my tippy toes, I reached the bag of flour thank you.

    I agree with you about tall peoples' bikes. Proportions are an important part of a bike's aesthetic details. It's not quite the same, but small bikes with 700c wheelsets also are also unbalanced. In my opinion 650bs look better on bikes that are smaller than say 50cm.

    Perhaps James' 64cm road bike would look better rolling on a set of 750Cs?

  7. Rafal: how did I not have USAC points on Sunday? Didn't I get some on Saturday?

  8. not high enough for call up . cx rewards racing all big events and finishing well in them. so racing 4-6 times a year locally will never give you the points for call up.

  9. Wait wait wait, let me chime in here on the whole call up thing as there is little consistency among promoters. Typically, call-ups are based on your USAC or ranking of pre-registered riders only (hence the benefit of pre-registering). Why pre-registered? Because it gives the promoter officials to compile the list. They're too busy with the race on race day to make compensation for day-of race registrants. You do have points Brady, but one you didn't pre-register and two, points aren't tallied until after the weekend. The good news is you'll be in better shape at Oakley Night Cap if they do call-ups...if.

    So you don't feel bad, look at 8 time junior national champion and junior world cup runner up Logan Owen. He's fast enough to start on the front row at any US UCI race yet because this is his first year racing Elite, he had to start in the last row at Boulder Cup because he has no Elite UCI points. He rode through the entire field and finished 5th. He now has points but he's still screwed because points aren't tabulated until right before the first World Cup. Oh it's a cruel world.

  10. Thanks Mark, but I don't feel bad anymore.

    Still, I'm curious. Where did you get that ditty about call ups for pre-registered riders?

    The USAC CX rule book mentions nothing about about call up/starting order for preregistered riders. In fact, it only mentions call ups once: "for championships, the call up order shall be listed on the race announcement, information pamphlet, or at registration."

    Now the UCI CX rule book states that individual classification of the current season (or last year's final publication) is taken into consideration for call up order. Then, non-classified riders may draw lots.

    This was no UCI event nor a championship.

    Still, let's pretend it was. Lucas had zero current season UCI points, nor any UCI points from last year, yet he was called up on Sunday's race. And the the race flier mentioned nothing of call ups, regardless of preregistration. So basically, it came down to the the race director or official's hasty discretion before announcing, "this was the list I was just handed."

    Perhaps if we do call ups for local, non-championship races, then I motion for the rest of us non-preregistered grunts a chance to draw lots for the remaining spaces. It seems only fair.

    Look, this whole thing is silly. I mean, we're talking about UCI points for local lawn racing. Still, I think it's funny and am sticking to my story -- I wasn't offered a call up because I can barely reach the top shelf when I stand on my tippy toes.

  11. Non of us have UCI points, nor will any of us probably ever have them but that's only relevant at UCI Elite races.

    Lucas does have USAC points as do you. The USAC points ranking is a revolving 12 month point scale that averages your top 5 results to give you your ranking points. These points are extremely important if you plan on racing big events as the difference between a 2-3 row start versus a 10th row is huge.

    But you're right there is no standard for call-ups outside of UCI Elite. That's why I say typically the above is the case. Some promoters do call-up by order of registration, others by race series standings, others by USAC points, others by Cross points, it's as varied as the number of promoters. But it is usually outlined in the race bible/flyer.

    But the most common, is pre-registered riders by USAC points with day-of registered riders by random. It's the most fair for the racers and easiest for the promoters.

    Before USAC started their points ranking, I had to do a qualifier time trail for call-up at Nationals, it was a huge mess. Even last year we had three seeding heats at worlds because there's no masters level international points system.

    Bottom line if you want to get good call-ups, you need to race regularly, the system rewards those that are dedicated.

  12. Alright you talked me into it. Time to get dedicated. Well, tomorrow or the next day or something.

  13. Ok got it. So Lucas preregistered, but Matt Tillinghast and I didn't. That makes sense now.

    Wait wait wait, I'm getting ahead of myself again. Tillinghast didn't preregister but was still called up.

    Hmmm. He must be taller than me.

    To avoid this kind of hassle in the future, I propose the following changes for local CX racing call ups:
    1) Preregistered racers with USAC points
    2) Non-preregistered taller than 5'9" w/USAC points
    3) Draw lots for the vertically-challenged, day-of racers.

    All in favor, say I.

  14. At this point, I'm beginning to think the only fair thing is to see of you can get your mom to manage the call-ups.

  15. It's a shame Barry gets no respect from the peloton.

  16. Didn't Paul get a call up to? So add nepotism to the list.

  17. Just when I thought I was ready to hand over the call ups exceptions list to my Mom, there's this.

    Hey Paul, how tall are you?

    This is important to document because I may need to include the following:

    Non-preregistered entrants shorter than 5'9" w/USAC points AND related to a race official.

  18. First come first served. Call ups at a local event seems...silly. Heck at stupid week we used to make sure we were waiting at the finish line so we could stake our claim on the line. Heck, I've even known guys to ride in from the front and stick themselves on the line. I suggest you try that next time Brady.

  19. FINALLY....something I'm better at than brady. I'm almost 6 feet. And I outweigh brady by about 50lbs. So there.