The course was pretty much a carbon copy of the 2008 course, only it wasn't 30 degrees and frozen ground. After last weeks successful race in the 40+, I was once again on the verge of being top 10 for the series. With a good race in Woodstock I would achieve that goal and then just need to be solid at Montrose. I got the bikes ready and made my way out to do a pre-ride. Most of the course was still being marked so we were basically following the paint markings on the ground to figure out where we were going.
My typical warmup routine is ride the course easy for 1 lap, do a faster lap on the second, and then ride sections that need some work fast on the last, but try to just stay warm. On the second lap there was still some confusion as to where the course was, so I wasn't able to get a really "hot" lap in.
The typical protagonists were there; the green team of Verdigris, Turin, Pony Shop, etc. The start was fast as always and I worked my way to about 7th by the end of the first lap. However, from there it went backward, with guys passing me over the next 4 laps and me not being able to hold a wheel. A bit frustrating after last week, but as I sit here today the signs were there pretty much all of last week (excessive congestion, bad legs on rides, etc.). I ended up in 15th which was initially disappointing, but looking at the overall, being top 10 for the series is still a much reachable goal. So with out any racing this weekend (not going to Jingle Cross but hoping for a Bandit), I'm gonna try to recover, get healthy, and be smart. Then do a few efforts next week with the plan to be good at the final at Montrose.
There were many of the normal ABD'ers there and I actually met a few. It's good to see more ABD riders out there. A few years ago it was just me, Gina Kenny, and when he could Brad Dash. Now there is someone in almost every race (40+, 50+, 30+, Women, and 4s). We are still holding onto 10th in the team competition, and I think we should be able to maintain that spot.
Dec. 6th is the final race. If you haven't had a chance to get out this will be it. Montrose has always been one of my favorite courses and from what I have heard, it should be quite a challenge.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for reading,
Hello Racing Fans,
After a season of racers playing favorites and beating out the locals in regional events, this past weekend saw the country's best cyclocrossers meet up in New Jersey for two days of the muddy, sticky, gooey fun at the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross. I'll let the journos at Velonews.com and Cyclingnews.com report on the pro races, and instead share a few key observations from the back of the pack.
1. While the mud made for some great pictures (see attached), I lost track of the number of riders who had derailleurs snap in two between pulley wheels.
2. It's probably a good idea to get off, shoulder and run with your bike if you find yourself cranking out 500 watts and yet not moving anywhere.
3. If an enthusiastic superfan has tied a dollar bill to a low tree branch overhanging the course, you should grab that dollar because for you, the ring isn't going to get any more golden than that.
4. Masters 35+ race on Sunday noticeably harder than Cat 2/3 race on Saturday.
5. Cyclocross is most fun if you don't care about the results. Anyone know a place where I can pick up some, "I don't care" pills?
And as long as I've broached the subject of medical conditions...
6. I suffer from "Leap Apnea." A condition whereby, when leaping up onto your bike mid-stride, you hold your breath for a second or two while bracing for the jarring, crushing thud that invariably occurs when your "down-there's" meets your saddle.
Thanks for reading,
Date: Thursday 11/26/08
Time: 0830 (8:30 AM)
Where: BHS (Bartlett High School - northeast parking lot)
Distance: Approximately 40 miles (weather permitting)
Pace: This is a no drop ride (within reason)
This ride will be on the Prairie Path so we suggest you break out the mountain or cross bikes.
Note ride cancelled if it is raining, blizzard or more than 1" of standing snow. As in prior years temperature does not stop us from riding!!!
Last week was round 7 of the ChiCrossCup series in Northbrook. For me it was a one and done (race the 40+ and race home to go to a birthday party). This was almost the race that didn’t happen as initially the Village of Northbrook and its Park District didn’t want to have the race. After some significant soothing by the promoters, they were able to modify the course significantly and hold the race. Also another factor that played into this was the BEAUTIFUL weather that we had in the several days up to the race. If it had rained like it did in the previous 2 weeks, I am confident the village would have canceled the race.
Overall, the course was still a nice mix of technical, power, and speed. There were several nice off camber sections that for the first race of the day were slippery. Some other areas in the open were soft yet to maintain speed, required significant power to work thru them. There was also a nice sand pit. Very little recovery was available, and it was on the throttle the whole time.
Personally I had a good day. I felt strong the whole race. Unfortunately so did everyone else! For me the most frustrating part is that there are people just in front of me, catch them, but then can’t pass due to the course and then have a bobble and lose a bit of ground. I just need to race smarter with what the course throws at me, and keep my mistakes to a minimum.
I still have an overall series goal of being top 10, and am still working as hard as I can to reach that goal, but with only 4 races left, my chance is slipping away.
As a team though, ABD is staying in the top 10, showing that as a group there is quality.
This week is another close to home race in Bloomingdale at the Hilton Indian Lakes Golf Course on Schick Rd just east of Stratford Square Mall.
For me it will be about a 10 minute drive from home. Seeing as it is so close to ABD country, I am hoping that there will again be another great turnout of ABD’ers. I hear those of you cheering and it definitely helps push me along. For those of you who have not experienced what a ‘cross race is about, this is the venue to hit. There will food, drink, and lots of other activities that are happening. See the CCC website (http://chicrosscup.com) for all the details.
Thanks again for reading,
The week leading up to St. Charles was rainy and cold. Normally I would be disappointed because that would mean either no riding or spending time in the basement watching videos of Sporza Superprestige and World Cup races (and picking up some Flemish!!!). However, knowing the course in St. Charles pretty well, a smile came to my face because I knew that it would be sloppy in sections.
Lately I have been looking into getting another nice set of wheels that I could put on my pit bike and/or allow me to run different tires for different conditions, so I contacted Rob Curtis (psimet.com) who allows you to rent wheels for a race to try them out. For $35 I figured I would give it a shot and got to St. Charles early. The wheels he has are really pretty nice (50mm carbon rims, DT spokes, and sealed hubs) and the price is reasonable ($699). The wheels are setup with nice tires (Challenge Grifos), but in the slop that we raced in, these were probably not the right tire. However, I was committed to using them so I race with them.
WIth it being the day after Halloween, there were many there in costumes getting callups. After the top 10 there were another 3 or 4 callups for costumes and then the masses (which included me). I ended in the third row, and it was tight. The start was chaotic and I was sitting in about 20th or so once the course opened up and we started the wet/greasy/muddy climb thru the woods. I slowly picked people off and once we got out of the woods, gave a good effort to move into about 10th. The next sections were all open area that were grass sections and included off-camber turns. In the first off-camber turn, I could feel the rear wheels loose a bit of grip and right in front of me someone went down. I was able to get by, and keep going. Next was a quick downhill into a 180 degree turn that was just pure mud. Then up the hill where it was almost impossible to ride. I quickly shouldered my bike and ended up passing 3 guys as they tried to ride up the hill. Then back down, and into a single track section to some more off camber, onto a gravel path, then to the best part of the course. MUD that you ran thru and rode thru. I looked up as at this time and I could see the leader and then counting backwards I was in 7th and had a gap on the 8th-11th place guys.
Going into the second lap, I continued to maintain my place, until the second off-camber section where I was going too fast and lost traction on the rear wheel, and went down. It was quite an ugly crash, and took time to get myself righted only to find that my chain dropped. Now I go from 7th to 12th. I kept pushing, but it didn’t seem like anyone was coming back to me. Finally I caught the guy in 11th and we ended riding the rest of the race together, attacking, recover, push, battle. I knew that it would come down to the last lap if I was going to get 11th, so I put in a dig on the first hill and gapped him over the barriers. He came back on the next section and took the front. We then went back and forth up the run-up and made our way to the mud section. It was at this point that I was able to cleanly ride this while he bobbled a bit and then I just sprinted to the finish to end 11th. Overall a good race, but a bit frustrating in that I know I can do better.
I then jumped into the 30+ race (after changing clothes, shoes, and bikes) and worked my way through that to finish strongly. In addition, there was quite a nice turnout of other ABD’ers: Ben Demong, James Sneddon, Gina Kenny, Sue S., Jessie, and a few others who I don’t know(sorry!!!). Also nice to see Terry and Jenny Cerwin and hearing their support!
Overall for the Team Standings, we are sitting pretty strong in 9th. Just shows that with the few riders we have doing ‘cross there is definitely some quality. I still have a goal of being in the top 10 by the end of the year in the 40+ class. It may be a bit difficult, but I’m going to keep trying.
This weekend is the Northbrook race which was a big DNF for me last year due to a broken chain. I am hoping for redemption!
Hope to see more out there again this weekend.
Thanks again for reading,