Friday, September 30, 2011


Greetings from the front range of Colorado, where I'll keep you all posted on what's happening in one of the hotbeds of the American Cyclocross scene, need proof ? Colorado riders took home over twenty National titles at Bend last year ! I was not one of those riders, a few of you may know me from my previous ramblings at this abandoned site, where I scribed my perspective of an overly enthusiastic, middle-aged, middle of the pack, participant with decent bike handling skills but lacking fitness.

I delayed my start to this season due in part for some quality Taiwan time. I was in no hurry to start as summer in Colorado pushes deep into fall and I despise racing in hot, dry conditions which is what was exactly on order for what I pegged on the calendar to be my start to the season.The race was held at the classic Xilinx venue, North of the Peoples Republic. Before I was even to the turnoff from the Diagonal, I could spot huge plumes of dust billowing up from the South side fields. Signed in for 11:15 am 45+ start and struck out to take in the course when I immediately began to strike up conversations instead with everyone I literally hadn't seen since states last year. One lap of warm in and a few nervous openers and I pulled up to the line to hear everyone get a call up that I was in front of last season ( perhaps this delay wasn't such a great strategy methinks). So in a field of 60 or so riders I am placed 2nd row from the back. Whistle blows and we're off on a furious tear up the pavement. I am super pleased with my start as I've weasled my way to a mid pack position. Bunny hop the curb and into the dirt with a duffy right hander around a tree and off a small log. Already I can hear and see panic and indecision among my fellow racers," run it or ride it" ? I ride it, it's not a big deal but as I roll away, I can spot another rider with all his weight on the front wheel and not in control heading for me. He t-bones me and pushes me down, under the tape and off the course. By the time we are untangled and rolling the majority of the group is gone. Well, this has just turned into a training race, I spent the remining 4.75 laps in my 46T trying to get close to the middle again. It wasn't to be as I rolled through in 40th. Not exactly how I envisioned starting the season but I had to start somewhere. Here is some video from a fellow 45 pluser

Originally I had planned on bagging out on Frisco ( too far, too high ) but I need redemption after Xilinx and we'll see if I get on Saturday. On another note, cross in the Springs seems to be taking hold. All previous Wed evening practice sessions were typically a low key affair maxing out at 4-5 riders. This year every week we've had a solid turnout with about a dozen riders including our own former National Champ, Marc Gullickson. Also among fellow SRAMmies in the Springs, we have 8 riders going up to the Ft Collins USGP in 2 weeks ! Very cool to see the seeds sprouting. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Astroturf, peanut butter and soup

Last Saturday, I rode (competed?) in the Elite race of the USGP in Madison. The ground was damp but not slippery. This made for traction like riding on astroturf, allowing me to really lean over and carve turns, as seen here:
photo: Bill Kieth
I had a good start and made it through the first-lap chaotic frenzy relatively unscathed.
Photo: Bill Kieth
I finished mid-pack, which is about all I could hope for against competition of that caliber.

Overnight it rained and rained. I elected to do the master's race Sunday, and while warming up the course was like peanut butter - thick and heavy. It's difficult to ride in peanut butter, and it packs up on the bike to the point where it's hard to keep the wheels turning. Luckily, it started pouring rain (and even hailing) before our start and the mud turned in to soup. As you can hopefully imagine, it's much easier to ride through soup than peanut butter, and soup doesn't pack on your bike like peanut butter can. Think about it - you've never had soup stuck to the roof of your mouth, have you?
photo: NikkiCyp
I had another good start, moving up at least 40 spots in the first lap. Thereafter it became much more difficult to make headway, as the more fit and technically adept riders were all that were left in front of me. I'm racing my way in to shape and having huge fun along the way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

USGP Sun Prairie

My first USGP races this weekend in Sun Prairie I would say were a success. Saturday I started near the back in 71st and managed to make my way into the lead on the first lap. After a few laps solo and some time getting acquainted with the dirt, the race came down to a photo finish.

I would have liked the top step, but second is still pretty good in my book.

Day 2 on Sunday did not start out as anyone would have hoped. Temperatures in the 40's and rain made conditions tough. It also made me wonder what I had gotten myself into. The race began with another start in 77th near the back. After the second lap I found a partner in crime to swap the lead with each lap. Again, some time getting to know the mud face to face left me behind to claim 2nd place. Hat's off to Tyler Jenema from Mafia Racing. His skills and balance in the mud gave him the clear advantage over me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moving on up

David Reyes has been the SRAM Factory team's standout in the first month of the season. After strong performances in the season-opening Jackson Park CX relay race back in August, he went on to win the Cat 3 race at Patriot Cross on September 11 and again at the Chicago Cyclocross Cup season opener on the 18th, again at Jackson Park.

David's Patriot Cross trophy is also useful for dead lifts, squats, and as an indoor climbing wall. Photo: Dave Stone 

Photo: Eric Goodwin

The twisting descent just before the pits at Jackson Park. Photo: Eric Goodwin
David's last trip to the podium as a Cat 3! Photo: unknown...
The evening of David's Jackson Park win, he requested an upgrade to Cat 2, and it was granted by noon Monday. Now he'll be trading paint with the big boys...and we think he'll be giving as good as he gets! Good luck David!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Family time

I competed in three relay races this past Sunday - the 40+ race with J.P. McCarthy, The 1/2/3 event with David Reyes and the coed race with my wife, Ellen. Our nearly-eight-month-old son Ellis was also there, cheering us on. OK, so maybe he wasn't entirely certain what we were up to, but I think he enjoyed the sights and sounds and especially all the attention he received. 

One of the things I love about 'cross is how spectator and family friendly it is - races are typically held in easy-to-access city parks rather than on the edge of nowhere, laps are short, and the action is continuous. And everybody loves a good wipe-out.