• Cross Nats: Important Stuff… about drinking

    by  • January 3, 2012 • cx

    First of all let me tell you all, especially my friends, I think i hate Wisconsin.  It’s cold.  Sure you can buy a mansion for $400k, there are bike trails all over the city, the food is great, and the cost of living makes my wife giggle, but I cannot get used to wearing this many layers.  To that end I’ve set up a happy hour, in coordination with CX Magazine, for Norcal visitors, and anybody else for that matter, during cyclocross nationals this week.  Announcement, in which i totally quoted myself, is below.  Now that I know i can self-quote, I am going to start doing all the time, now that i know i can.

    ATTENTION!: Due to the cancellation of the “Notnationals” races on Thursday January 5th, Cyclocross Magazine and Norcalcyclingnews.com are changing the location of their happy hour from Smokey’s Club to the legendary Natt Spill, which is located in downtown Madison. Full announcement below.

    Cyclocross Magazine and NorCalCyclingnews.com are happy to invite all fans of our writing, friends of our websites, and subscribers of the ground breaking print rag, Cyclocross Magazine, to meet us for drinks and food at local legendary hotspot Nat Spill in downtown Madison. Located blocks from the state capital at 211 King St. owner Chris Berge has started covering the walls in cyclocross photos to set the ambiance and make nationals attendees feel at home.

    When asked about the venue Natt Spill owner and cyclocross aficionado Chris Berge said, “We are a Norwegian, Chinese, pizza disco and a DJ starts spinning music at 10 PM. It’s weird and quirky the way cyclocross people are! I call it Portland chic.” The Natt Spill is a cycling mecca for locals, so true to form they kick it old school. There is no sign out front, no phone, and even through the beers are priced well, $4 and up,  bring cash becuase credit cards are not accepted.

    Norcal Cycling News and Cyclocross Magazine will be taking over the Opium Room at the back of the restaurant to meet friends from CX hotspots all around the country. “I’m bummed about ‘notnationals’ getting iced out but stoked to get into the Natt Spill for a night of debauchery with other crossnatics,” said Norcal Cycling News writer Ted Burns “It should be… memorable, if things go according to plan.”

    Cyclocross Magazine & Norcalcyclingnews.com Happy Hour
    Date: Thursday January 5
    Time: 7:30 PM
    Location: Natt Spill – 211 King St, Madison, WI
    NOTE: There is no sign, no phone, and no credit cards – so bring cash!

    PS. If you are a current national cx champion, which we can figure out at the bar, norcalcyclingnews.com writer Ted Burns will buy you a beer.


    Racing is going to be nuts.  I have been doing a little update every few days on course conditions for Cyclocross Magazine.  Yesterday I almost died since the entire track is basically a skating rink.  Un-ironically the park the race is in, is right off the ‘Ice Age National Scenic Trail.”  Below is a quick write up of what the track was looking like.

    January 2nd 3:30 – 20 degrees – clear, icy,

    This might have been the most treacherous ride i have every taken. At least half the course had turned into pure ice fields.  There are rideable sections through most of them once you find the lines on the perimeter of most of the trails.  I fell about a half dozen times, which i captured on video (awesome!), and at least once I was worried about broken bones.  It is pretty impressive how much ice there is, you could literally use skates in a few places.  The hill is still rideable, but I couldn’t make it all the way up.  The downhill after the stairs are also rideable.  The hardest section proved to be the second up hill since that entire section is a ice field with little room on the perimeter to find a line that is rideable.  Let’s pray for warmer weather to melt this ice bowl!

    I also took a video of the course.  I had to speed it up since it took me about 20 minutes to get around.  There are few falls in there for comedic effect.  I had to edit out one bit where i pointed the camera at the sky while i fixed some course tape i took out.  It was a really pretty shot of the sky though.

    Tips and Stuff

    Here are a few quick tips and stuff I’ve found helpful

    1. Cold Weather Gear: I found this article by Mud and Cowbells the most helpful in getting ready for cold weather cross: First-Timer Advice for Winter Cyclocross Racing

    2. Car Wash: There are two car washes on RT 151 between Madison and Badger Prairie park if you need a bike wash.  They are located both directions off  of McKee road.

    3. Food & Drink: I recommend the Old Fashioned located right downtown, and Brasserie V located on Monroe street for higher end dining options. For local coffee Barriques is good, as is EVP, and Cargo Coffee.






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    Former NorCal resident now residing in Madison,Wisconsin. I race cross, but I'm named after a velodrome. Support your local bike shop, NorCal race promoters, and go learn to race on a track. Hellyer Velodrome - http://www.ridethetrack.com