Get Your 2011 ATRA Season Guide » Enter your info to receive a free pamphlet on the American Track Racing Association’s 2011 season including profiles of velodromes around the country and a schedule of major upcoming track races.
Pan Am Peeps » Alfred Nash III — the track guru that he is — compiled a great list of folks on Twitter who are covering the Pan American Track Cycling Championships. Check it out because this is some of the only coverage available for this event which is happening all week.
Walton’s Race (San Francisco, CA) » Macaframa alleycat kicking off a big weekend in the Bay Area.
Bandit Cross (Minneapolis, MN) » Off-season renegade cyclocross racing presented by Bike Jerks.
Feet Of Fury (Encino Velodrome) » The second race of this year’s Bob Hansing Memorial Cup is gonna be off tha hook!
Kissena Royale (Kissena Velodrome) » Affinity Cycles bringing you more races, cash primes, prizes and giveaways in the Kissena Royale series. Don’t miss it.
Ride + Style (San Francisco, CA) » Red Bull presents a huge fixed gear event at Justin Herman Plaza mashing together racers, trick riders and urban artists. It’s gonna be fun!
San Luis Rey Road Race (San Luis Rey, CA) » Beautiful SoCal road racing and the SCNCA Super Masters Road Race Championships all presented by Celo Pacific.
Thunderdrome II / Velo-City Detroit (Dorais Park Velodrome) » Another edition of the infamous Thunderdrome featuring bike races, moped races and all other types of fun. Bike messengers will also be able to race for a shot at moving on to the Cycle Messenger World Championships.
Where The Hell Is Waldo? (Los Angeles, CA) » Scavenger hunt race with multiple checkpoints throughout the city. Starts at LA Brakeless and finishes with an afterparty and trick jam at Jairo’s Bike Shop.
COPACI Pan American Championships (Medellin, Colombia) » Did you know that the Western Hemisphere is holding our continental cycling championships next week? No? That’s because you can find pretty much nothing on the internet about it (I bet you don’t even know what COPACI is). Track cycling events start on Sunday and will continue through the week. TIP: If you’re interested in following results, keep your radar tuned to Canadian Cyclist.
CycloMAYnia Cross (Santa Barbara, CA) » Cranky’s Bikes (awesome shop and awesome dudes) will be hosting an off-season cyclocross race at Santa Barbara High School to kick off a month of bike-themed events.
Living in a city with two velodromes is awesome but I’m still 20 miles away from either one. For any a car-free citizen like myself, the trickiest part of any race day can be figuring out how to transport all your race gear. Let’s face it, riding track tubulars in the street is not exactly ideal. So when Chrome Bags announced the Sherman race bag I was elated — finally a backpack specifically designed to get a racer to the track
I’ve been using this bag for over a month now and I’ve done a lot of miles with it on my back. The bag is designed to carry items that you would normally need to bring to a race — including a set of race wheels. The way it works is kind of similar to a giant tool roll mounted on your back. The bag folds over onto itself and you can strap pretty much strap anything you want into the bag. Of course there are also pockets for smaller items too.
As expected with any Chrome product, the construction quality is top-notch. Using heavy duty materials and craftsmanship, the bag seems like it could last forever. The 1,000 denier Cordura shell is built to withstand the elements, the truck tarp liner seems impossible to tear and your back would break before the shoulder straps give in.
The main feature that makes the Sherman so unique is its “tri-fold” system, which is designed to pack an extra wheelset on your back. I love this feature. When I’ve had to carry wheels with me before, I used to have to strap the wheels to the outside of my backpack which leaves them swaying left and right as I ride through traffic. With the Sherman, the wheels are held securely with built-in straps. The wheelset becomes integrated into the bag which makes the center of gravity much more manageable.
Inside the pack, there are a total of 8 pockets to carry smaller items. One is a main zippered compartment big enough for a change of clothes and a laptop sleeve or one of those nifty track totes. All the other pockets are smaller and made to carry items like shoes, tools, water bottles and snacks. All the pockets work together as a sort of organizer, lots of little compartments where you can put your little stuff.
The trick to using the pockets is to know when you are going to need the items you’re packing. The open pockets near the top of the pack are easily accessible from the side — even when you’re packing wheels. These are good pockets for things you might need during a pit stop like snacks, water and a lock. The zippered compartment and the other two pockets on the folded-in flap aren’t easily accessible without unfolding the whole bag so that’s where you want to put stuff that you won’t need until you reach your final destination.
While using the backpack, I kept wishing that there was just one more pocket. But I’ve probably said that about every bag that I’ve ever owned anyway. If Chrome were so inclined, they could add one more spot to put stuff above the open pockets just under the outer flap.
Other features of the Sherman include straps to hang the bag up for easy access at race days and also big d-rings mounted on the shoulder. You could strap a frame to the outside of the pack and carry your whole bike if you wanted to!
And that wouldn’t be much of a problem. One of the most impressive qualities of the Sherman is how well the weight is managed. Somehow I was able to carry more stuff yet I felt half the burden. The weight is distributed evenly with the foam back panel and oversized shoulder straps. The adjustable straps are actually quite useful while riding. Sometimes you just want to shift where the load sits on your back and the strap system makes this easy to do on the go.
The Sherman is a slightly unconventional backpack so naturally there’s a little bit of a learning curve but once you figure out what you’re doing, it’s a cinch (the video below was filmed in under 5 minutes). It’s almost like pitching a tent, once you’ve done it a few times, you’re an expert — and at least you don’t have to deal with annoying tent poles.
Overall the Sherman is an awesome backpack for racers who want to ride to the starting line. I love being able to carry my race wheels safely and securely and the ride the velodrome makes for a great warm-up. Because of its untraditional design, I wouldn’t say that this bag is the best for every-day use. Chrome designed this one to carry your race kit around and that’s what it does quite perfectly. Having said that, after some use you might find that the bag’s design is very modular and its potential to cart stuff around is only limited by your own creativity.
If you read this blog chances are you have some kind of love for track racing. So here’s your chance to let everybody know what track cycling is really about –- and why it’s so awesome.
Margo Weathers of Supply And Demand is working on a documentary about the track cycling scene on the local level, national level and international level. This FRIDAY AND SATURDAY Margo will be talking to track cyclists in the Los Angeles area and anyone who’s got a passion for track culture. There will be short video interviews and portraits (plus I hear there’s free food!) so if you want to represent then please come by. You’ll get a copy of the portrait for your own use and a chance to be called back for more participation in the film.
She’s looking for the most driven, aggressive and determined cyclists who’ve got something to say and I know that includes each and every one of you. Contact Margo Weathers at email@example.com and set up an appointment. Remember, the interviews will be FRIDAY (tomorrow) and SATURDAY in Los Angeles so don’t hesitate! Sorry for the last minute notice!
Anteater Criterium (Irvine, CA) » A counter-clockwise circuit around UC Irvine’s medical school.
Little 500 (Bloomington, IN) » Famed coaster-brake track race that was the focus of the classic film Breaking Away.
Orange County Dark Century (Long Beach, CA) » A suburban century ride through the night starting on Saturday evening and looping through Orange County until returning to Long Beach in the early morning.