Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hoppy Hoppy Grasshoppers

"I don't want to take anything away from him, he won the race, but I was the best rider today. I was just unlucky – but that seems to be my season this year."

-Jonathan Page on why Tim Johnson beat him

"I won because I was lucky - lucky to wind up in a [race] full of losers!"

-Tim Johnson on why he beat Jonathan Page
(he didn't, I say DID NOT actually say this, keep reading)

That's ridiculous, no one would ever be a big enough dick to say things like that.
But Page did - Tim did not, that absurd Tim quote was adapted from the little film "Highway 61".
A character who thinks he is Satan himself says it after being accused of cheating at a seniors Bingo Night.

Not to take anything away from JP...but winning is winning (unless you cheat). Losing is always losing, no matter what. Losing like Trebon did in Kansas is "unlucky". He had nothing to do with what happened to him. Not being able to control your bike in adverse conditions in not "unlucky", it is "unskilled".
I suppose JP also thought he was unlucky when someone threw those giant padded barriers at him during Asper-Gavere. I seriously don't mean to trash the guy so badly, but Tim won Nationals fair and square, the rider who stays on his bike, rides it the fastest, doesn't have a technical, doesn't drop out because he's having a bad day, and crosses the line first is the best rider...period.

What I really wanted to share today were my picks for "Best Barrier Hoppers in 'Cross today". I took this little video of Wells at the Verge NBX race. He had retired the hopping for the most part, for quite a while. He brought it back in force, showing he is still one of the most talented Hoppy Hopping dudes around.

Todd Wells at NBX

It was sick, he actually aired out over the first barrier and rarely even came close to touching the second. He either gained time or maintained position throughout the race by hopping. All the better that he did it while battling it out with Jeremy Powers, one of the most consistent hoppers of all time. Powers may not have the cleanest, sexiest hopping style, but he is always willing to risk it and he gets the job done. For whatever reason he was not hopping that day, he did, however win the race, which may have made him feel more adequate.

Jeremy Powers at New Gloucester

Another incredibly consistent hopper is Matt White, he hops at speed, in traffic, utilizing his tops, so his fingers are nowhere near his brake levers. This video from my friend Andy illustrates just how effective his skills are.

Matt White at Canton Cup 2006

You'll notice that he gets a half a bike length on the other rider. Nay sayers will tell you that it is NEVER faster to hop. So who would you use to test this theory? Who would be one of the fastest transitioning riders out there to go head to head with a hopper? How about Mark McCormack? That other rider was Mark. And Bob's yer uncle.
I couldn't find the video of Nys and Stybar doing their synchronized "dolphins on the bow wake of a ship" hop, so I just used the photo at the top of the post. This may have seemed strange at first with all the ranting about poor sportsmanship and whatnot. If anyone knows where to find that vid, I'd love to see it again.

No real conclusion here...how about, I'm Thom Parsons, not only do I approve of barrier hopping, I think it's Awesome!


CTodd said...

Someday I will bunnyhop barriers in a race. Someday...

Colin R said...

Nys and Stybar

This is from lap 3 I think, they were going faster on lap 2.

I don't think Powers hops at high speed very often any more.. he did eat it pretty hard this year. Low speed hopping is style points, but not much faster.

At least we have the log in Wrentham.

ryank said...

Hopping is sweet. I got some good photos of Wells hopping at RI (www.flickr.com/photos/exit17/).

And I can't believe Page would say that. Suck it up and deal. Remember what happened at Worlds last year? I seem to remember quite a few European guys saying the same thing after Page got second.