Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Contrast

The ChiCrossCup just completed its first double race weekend of the year. It's funny that everyone called the previous weekend's course at Dan Ryan Woods a 'power' course, when it was this Saturday's race at Wauconda that really put a premium on power. Sweeping turns and generally grippy surfaces meant we were rarely on the brakes and almost always pedaling. There was hardly a moment to rest and recover. Brian Matter came down from Wisconsin to remind us how very slow we are in comparison to a top U.S. pro...

I didn't realize Brian had a  first-lap mishap and subsequent bike swap. But of course he caught us soon enough:
There he is!  Photo: Amy Dykema
A lap later he took off. At first I thought I might be able to stay on his wheel for a lap or so and learn something:
The massive flyover, shortly after Brian took the lead. Photo: Amy Dykema
I more-or-less maintained contact for half a lap and did, indeed, learn a thing or two watching his lines through the turns. Soon enough, though, I was red-lined and watching him pull away, never to be seen again until the podium ceremony! That left Kevin Klug and I to duke it out to the end. While we were only sprinting for second, it made for a fun finish to a tough race:
Finishing sprint. Photo: Amy Dykema
Sunday in Carpentersville was an altogether different animal. Despite rain overnight and Sunday morning, it was already drying by the time the elite race went off at 1:30pm. We had a fantastic course again this year with mud, sand, grass, roots, pavement, whoops, two creek crossings, fast and slow combination turns and a tricky off-camber section. My favorite spot was the 2nd creek crossing, which immediately followed a barrier.  Most people elected to run through the creek which was both fast and efficient, as demonstrated here by my teammate David Reyes:
Smooth. Photo: Ben Van Couvering
I, on the other hand, chose a riskier, slower and less efficient technique of leaping over the creek, all in the name of keeping my socks dry:
Awkward. Photo: Ben Van Couvering
Carpentersville was the first ChiCrossCup race I ever did, back in 2007, when I was still living and working (for SRAM) in Germany but was on a visit to SRAM's HQ in Chicago. 2011 marks my fifth year racing there and my third win at that venue. Thanks for all the great times!

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