This year is a first for me—a ‘cross season that stretches into January. I am traveling to Madison for Nationals, for the privilege of getting my ass handed to me by the fastest old dudes in the country. I can use all the training I can get, so with the MN State Championship in the books, what’s a guy to do? Head to Badger Prairie, that’s what. The race is held at the same venue as Nationals, so it is a great chance to preview the course (that was my thinking, anyway).
Sunday, race day—35 degrees and steady snow give the course a little bit of everything. Slush: check. Ice: check. Mud: check. For some reason, I thought that the Masters 35+ 123 was the field for me. Everything was fine until the whistle blew. Then those dudes just rode away from me. Humble pie is always a little bitter, but that’s how it goes sometimes. They were fast, fast, fast! I was not, not, not.
It was a great course, though. And with no one around to bother me, it was a good chance to push myself. Can I go a little faster through that slippery downhill section? Can I ride that slick, icy hill this lap, or will I have to dismount? Should I take the bacon-wrapped cupcake hand up? (The answer to that one is always Y-E-S!).
One more December ‘cross workout done. I’m making this up as I go. Five weeks ‘till Nationals.
Nice to see all the Crossniacs at the race.
Christopher Fisher took the top step of the podium with Craig Faulkner one step down in the open Mens race. Joshua Roeser took 9th on Sunday. This was all after Saturdays’s men’s Cat 1 & 2 race were Christopher took 5th with CJ in 7th, Joshua in 11th and Rhett Finley round it out with 15th.
Great weekend. Green Acres was pure madness– huge crowds, the monster hill, a flyover. Best of all, Crossniacs everywhere. Some on the podiums, some not on the podiums, but everybody racing their heads off and having a great time.
Jackson Meadows was a smaller, quieter race. But I still saw Peter’s blue and orange chevrons everywhere. Nice work everybody who brought home the hardware! The rest of us– just keep racing. You know you want to.
Beautiful fall day. Maybe too beautiful, but I’m not one to complain, since fall is so short in this part of the world.
I got to the line early (or so I thought). Instead, it turned out I was on the back line. But considering that I broke my collarbone in this race two years ago, maybe that was OK—took some of the pressure off. The course was excellent—rutty, bumpy, with great climbs and descents. Plus, it has the run-up from hell—a rotted timber stairway, interspersed with rocks, that seems to climb forever.
Last week, I got rolled off the back on a power course, and found myself in no-man’s land, with plenty of time to wonder why I race ‘cross in the first place. This week, I remembered so many reasons: approaching each course as an intricate puzzle to solve, constantly testing my mental and physical limits, and competing with a community of hard-nosed racers who understand that ‘cross is something that gets under your skin and into your blood.
Young ‘till I die.
I liked the new course design at Theo today! They put together a technically demanding course and the run up on the stairs never fails to destroy. Fun day, perfect racing weather and team mates screaming…..love it.
PLUS…I grabbed a dollar hand up…so it’s almost like gettin’ paid to race!
Metal Mike out
Wonderful day for a cross race with just a hint of rain and temps in the 50′s.
This time I got to the start line with plenty of time and air in my tiers. I was in the front row but as we pulled up to the line rides came in on both sides and now I was in the second row. Off we go and I find myself mid-pack again and at that very moment within 50 yards I make a mental note ‘more aggressive at the start’.
Well – I’m nothing if not consistent. Other than my first lap with all the crowd I was within 2 minutes of the same time each lap. Here are the split times. Finished 5th but most importantly I had a blast. I love the flow in the wood section, the fast descent into the amphitheater with its stair or terrace step option and who dosn’e love a sand pit and a double pinwheel of tape for good measure.
Now I just need to figure out how to get that blasted ankle transponder back to the organizers…..
Good luck everyone racing Sunday.
October 7th. My first cyclocross race of the year.
What I did right: Ride to work all year. Glue on some new tread and prep the Major Jake.
What I did wrong: Not check that my race (45 +) started at the same time as the Single Speed and 35 +.
The other mishap was that my valve extenders that had been put on by the shop did not have pipe tape between the valve on the tire and the extender (or perhaps some lock tight) to keep them from separating. As I rode of to the start line my front tire slowly went completely flat! I ran back the parking lot, grabbed my pump and then noticed the issue. Fixed and back on the bike but now I was late and rolled up to a large group of races at the start line.
Course was set around a car test track that is flat as a pancake. They had added some features by ribboning off some ditch sections on the grass but for the most part the race was all about flat out power. I have been racing on some FSA full carbon wheels that came on the Kona from Ryan Trebon and they have a lot of flex to them to the point I feel like my tire is coming off the rim so I was rather hesitant on the switch backs to the point that Jay Hollywood was yelling at me from behind to trust my tires.
I did what I could to chase down each group of riders ahead of me, rest a moment then go to the next and in the end finished 4th in my 45+ group and 9th out of the 56 who started.
After the race I took a lap on the Orange Major Jake with the new Mercury wheels and they did feel a lot more secure than the carbon FSA’s.
We didn’t sleep much the night before the state championship cyclocross race. I could blame it on my kids, but the nerves were striking my stomach harder than the knees and toes of my six year old. Cyclocross may be considered niche to some. Still others like myself find it a spiritual experience. We push ourselves to near cardiac failure while at the same time writing poetry with every off camber turn into the wet surface below.
In the week leading up to the race I got an email from Joel S. (San Francisco Crossniacs Syndicate) writing that he had a plan. Joel’s idea was to rent a 17 foot truck keeping us shielded from the snow. The truck worked to perfection for warm-ups and we became a central social point during the races as well. I loved having buddies from birchwood stop by and use the truck as a drinking hole for the day. The propane heater made us all comfy in the 27 degree, 12 mile per hour windy, snowy day.
The whistle blew and nine months of preparation were off and spinning. I did pre-ride the course but I forgot to pre-ride the start! So even having effortlessly won the hole shot I had no idea where I was going and was forced to sit back and follow in fourth place during the first half lap. Mitch Nordal and Charles Simacek of Freewheel were off the front as usual and tough to keep pace with.
Each lap coming through the stairs was intense. The spectators were loud and furious as always. My heart rate was shooting through the roof every time I jogged those stairs. Love the drum core too. That was a nice touch.
My goal for the day was top ten in a field of 68 CAT 3 riders. Heading into the last half of the last lap I was sitting 15th and knocking ever so slightly on the doors of that goal when suddenly I went down hard on the asphault iced over section before the mini LGR barriers. Five guys flew by and now I was 19th with about twenty seconds left.
Ped had a great vision in the creation of this course. One key feature that I always look forward to at Bassett Creek is the flow of the off camber turns. A lot of our local courses have twisty stuff, but often they are not at speed and don’t come with differing amounts of elevation. It seemed to me that Ped dialed these corners to perfection and forced the racers to navigate the turns at speed. Fun times and we will see you there 12 months from now.