Monday, October 15, 2012

You win some, you lose some

This was the first of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup's two double-race weekends. Saturday was PsychoCrossChicago in Wauconda. I understand the morning races were mostly dry, but it was a little muddy and very slippery by the time the Elite race went off in the early afternoon. After another poor start I was quickly able to move in to the lead and establish a gap after a couple of laps. I did not know that Tom Burke from Michigan was visiting our series this weekend - he closed the gap after a few laps but was never quite able to latch on to me.  Still, he made me work hard all they way to the finish. Here's a link to a GREAT video of the race. You can see me struggling to clip in at the start, then a couple of the early laps, then a couple of the later laps.

Sunday we were back in Carpentersville where I've had several really good races, including last year. My luck ran out this year! After another poor start (I just can't seem to get my foot clipped in to the pedal properly this year) I quickly moved up to third place in muddy conditions that tend to work in my favor. Still in the opening minute of the race, I discovered that my rear tire was quickly going flat. Luckily I had Paul Schilling working the pit for me and he helped me switch to my 'B' bike just two minutes in to the race. Unfortunately it was fitted with dry-conditions tires because my wife Ellen had just finished her race on my spare mud tires. She made it to the pit in time for Paul to replace the flat tire on my 'A' bike before the first lap was over. I switched back to my 'A' bike the next time by the pit and could then start making forward progress. Unfortunately, I was out of time because our race had to be stopped after just two short laps due to a tornado warning. I finished 13th and lost the leader's jersey that I had just regained the day before! Congratulations to David Reyes, who's aggressive riding in the opening phase of the race earned him the win.

Ellen in the Women's 4 race on the unrideable muddy off-camber section. Photo: Gene Cassella
A note on course design - while many will say a particular course is great because it matches their strengths, I know that different course designs and course conditions are going to suit different kinds of riders. Both races this past weekend suit my particular set of strengths...while others ruthlessly expose my weaknesses. It's clear that a lot of time and effort go in all ChiCrossCup courses which makes them all great.

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