Thursday, October 4, 2012

USGP Sun Prairie and CCC Hopkins Park in DeKalb

It's been a very busy couple of weeks here at SRAM HQ so just a brief note on the two past weekends of CX racing.

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin hosted the opening rounds of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross on September 22-23. When the USGP's title sponsor fell in to financial difficulties, SRAM was one of several existing sponsors that came up with additional funding to keep the series healthy. Trek Bicycles generously stepped in as the new title sponsor. After a few years of getting slaughtered in the pro race, I decided to race in the masters 35+ race both Saturday and Sunday this year. After a mediocre start on Saturday I made my way up to the lead group, but eventually faded and watched in frustration as the other three riders pulled away. I held on for 4th. Sunday, a horrific crash just after the start forced our race to be canceled. The Pro/Elite race was a couple of hours later so I quickly switched my registration and lined up in 62nd spot in the 'big show'. I had a decent but unremarkable race and finished in 41st. Still, it was a lot of fun racing in front of a large and vocal crowd on a really fun and challenging course.

This past weekend was the 2nd stop in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup. They changed up the course a bit this year, making it faster with fewer tight, low-speed turns. I hardly touched my brakes the whole race - which may indicate that they took out a couple turns too many, or may indicate I was pedaling way too slowly. Probably the latter. I had a very poor start and had to chance frantically in the first lap. I made it in to 2nd position just as Brian Conant of the Pony Shop established a gap on the rest of the field. I spent the rest of the race attempting to chase him down but in fact he just slowly but surely padded his lead all the way up to the finish.

There are always a lot of great photos and videos from the race posted on the ChiCrossCup forum. Here are a few of my favorites:
Idyllic fall weather. Photo: Edmund White

An 'artsy' shot of new SRAM employee and SRAM Factory Team member Michael Hemme. Photo: Edmund White

That's me in the series leader's jersey, which I managed to hold on to for another week. Photo: Edmund White

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