Up in BC we just had our first cross weekend on Sept long weekend. the Kicking Horse Cup was a 5 race event featuring two road races, an enduro mtb race and two cx races to close the series.
The Hospice Cross took place on Day 1 with roughly 30 participants from Alberta and BC. Featured a mega huge run up that destroyed the field and set the bar for day 2 up at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. DAY 1 was fast and flowy (run up excluded) and played well for the Albertans who race on predominantly hard pack and grass. Of course for the first race of the year I went off WAY too fast and blew up after lap 5, whimpering into the finish mere seconds (23 to be exact) prior the Elite winner.
The second day at Kicking Horse featured a phenomenal muddy and wet grass course which offered extremely technical bike handling and two big climbs. KH was smart in getting a big crowd up there with a Farmers Market and the resort open for the last weekend of DH riding. There were about 100 spectators sitting on the patios with beer in hand. It made for a great start to the season. Cob webs were flushed, excellent riding occurred on my behalf on Sunday and was able to reach my race goals for weekend #1.
All in all the first weekend was a success. The organizers put on such a wicked event that there is much talk already for next years courses. Now....twelve races to go before Nationals in Surrey BC and hopefully followed up with a trip to the USGP down in the Pacific NW before my winter race season starts the weekend after. Busy times ahead!
Thanks CXMag for offering such a wicked avenue for all of us cx fans. I've been racing Kenda Small Block's for the first weekend of racing and they have been wicked. Now i just need a set of mudders...... All the best in the coming months of racing.
Racing CX in Northern California in September it's pretty easy to understand why the NCNCA blogger goes by the name Dusty Downs... http://ncncacx.blogspot.com/
This years CX season opener was Central Coast Cyclo-Cross #1 at the Fort Ord course location known by most NorCal crossers, which will always feature some kind of sandy obstacle and a log somewhere. This course did not disappoint, it started with a long climb and then a technical descent with at least 3 sandy corners rife with peril. The warm temperatures made for a dusty race for sure.
The CX rust was pretty apparent... in a few ways. I just switched to more focused CX training (hey, it's a long season here in NorCal) so the copper taste in my mouth came on pretty quickly and a quick peek at the Garmin showed I was in the red almost immediately. In addition, I completely stuffed my tire selection and for some reason (laziness as they were already mounted) I rode the only set of 32s (no UCI for me!) in my tire collection. Oh.. and did I mention I haven't glued up anything yet so I was on clinchers.
These things coupled with a current lack of bike handling made those sandy corners into even bigger obstacles, a couple poorly timed bobbles and I watched some hard fought places on the climbs be given right back on the descents. It definitely pointed out to me where I need to be putting the time in, my fitness was okay (not great) and my lap times were very consistent. I also manage to bunny hop a barrier or two.
All in all, it was great to be back on the bike and see some familiar faces along with some new ones! Good times ahead.. now who can I talk to about getting some rain before CCCX #2 next weekend!
Cross season in upstate New York started with a bang on Sept. 8-9 at the Ellison Park UCI race. I competed on Saturdy in a very windy and rainy Master's race.
The best part: beating the guy who lined up next to me at the start, complained about being called up to the second row (he should have been in the first row he said), asked me if this was my first time racing cross, and told me he'd competed at Worlds last year. The worst part: having to leave early on Saturday before I could say hello to Molly Hurford!
Rode in my first cross race on Saturday. First annual Roll In The Hay With BOB. Brutal, ultimate suffering, can't wait for my next race.
The morning was sunny, warm and HUMID! Steeply uphill, off road off the start for the first 1000+ft? or 2 minutes, with a set of stairs (almost) at the top. Still up, into the tape and into the death spiral (not as deadly as it sounds), out and finally downhill. Slippery off camber zig-zag, down a short steep with a six inch wide drainage trench at the bottom. Okay, the "trench" was only about an inch deep, but I still wonder if it wiped anybody out. Down and next to the soccer fields, off camber around next to the other soccer field. Down a short steep off camber into the tape for some more hillside zig-zags. Up a little hill, out of the saddle cranking and somebody put a set of foot and half tall barriers in the middle of the course. Fine, whatever, I'm back on the bike, around the corner and out into the backstretch which is a hilltop hayfield they mowed a path back from one end to the other and then back and then back. We got a nice breeze on the climb through that. A nice sharp corner out of the field and onto a boney fireroad. Back uphill through a short mown path and through the uphill finish for five more laps.
I finished mid-field, but more importantly I finished, which I hope everyone who was racing for the first time did. It would be discouraging not to finish your first race. About ten people flatted out.
I also tried out the "Roll in the Hay with B.O.B." cross race this weekend as my first foray into the sport. What a great time! My full report is posted here:
Going into the first cx races of the year, it's probably impossible to overstate how excited I'd been. I was not at all disappointed when they finally rolled around, and I think it'll actually be hard topping this past weekend. Both races were part of lower-Michigan’s still very new and utterly punk-rock Stomach of Anger (SoA) CX series. . . .
Two races so far:
Raced my bike: David Douglas
I’ve been writing race reports for a long time now and while I don’t think I have reports for all my races, I have them for most. I looked back at some of my old reports last week and was bemused at my enthusiasm -- kind of like the early days of being in love. I still get a kick out of racing but my relationship with cyclocross has changed over the years. Now I know (mostly) what to expect and it’s more about managing what I’ve got to work with with respect to fitness, courses, and competition. I still love the sport but that feeling is tempered but experience, understanding, and familiarity.
This past Saturday was my first race of the season and I experienced the usual pre-race uncertainties and second guessing. Before the first race every year I harbor this secret hope that somehow I’ll be much faster than I expect. I fantasize that I beat guys I’ve never beat before. I speculate that if a few guys maybe race A rather than SS, then I have a chance for the win. Then I race and reality is restored and I either end up about where I expected to be or a little worse.
I raced some short track mountain bike over the Summer which 1) reminded me how to race -- how can I forget from year to year? -- and 2) reminded me how to suck it up and push a little harder when I think I’ve got nothing more to give. So I guess #2 really dovetails back into #1 since that’s a part of knowing how to race. I felt pretty good about racing in general but still had lots of questions about cyclocross racing in particular.
On Saturday I lined up on the second row for the single speed race at David Douglas Park. There were a few fast guys in the field and right there any illusions of victory were gone. Scott Barker, my main CX rival last season was in the first row and I wanted to finish in front of him. The whistle blew and we were off. Immediately the dude in front of me botched his start. Thing is, I figured that he was not going to be frosty off the line so I had a contingency. I jetted around the outside and started passing gobs of people until I had to duck back in before the course narrowed.
We snaked around the ball fields, dropped into and climbed out of the ravine of doom twice and somehow I managed to maintain 8th place. The second lap shook things out a bit and some of fast dudes who lined up farther back came around and I shuffled a bit. I stuck to Barker and even got around him a couple of times only to be passed back immediately. A few laps in I was sitting just out of the top ten when my legs just felt super. Toward the end of the third lap, coming out of the ravine, I just wound it up and dropped Scott and put some distance on another guy.
I make it a point to not look at lap cards since they generally depress me. Since the 35+B/50+ race went 5 laps, I was expecting the same for us. I was wrong. Luke Demoe, the SS winner was so effing fast, he earned us an extra time around the course. During the penultimate lap, I was only feet from the next dude up the road when we came out of the ravine the first time. I was certain I was going to get him but he proved too strong. Near the end of the bell lap, I had a hefty advantage over the next guy back and considered soft pedaling since there was no way I was going to catch the guy up the road. But I reminded myself that I needed to stay sharp so in the event that guy stacked it, I would be in position to take advantage. He rode the final sections cleanly and no positions changed and I rolled over the line 9th (out of 35 starters and 32 finishers).
I felt about as good as I expected which is something, I guess. The B racers who started 90 seconds in arrears to the SS racers didn’t catch me and I think I maintained the 90 seconds the entire race. So all in all, not bad for 47 year old father of two.
Raced my bike: Het Meer
First off, a couple fast guys showed up, perhaps you know them?
Second, there was a beach. Some folks had difficulty riding to water's edge.
Third, the dude who finished third in the A race (behind those other two guys you might have recognized) rode a single speed.
The race was second in a nine race series and I had call up points from my ninth place finish in the single speed class the previous week. Turns out that five of the guys who finished in front of me last week didn't race singel this week so I was fourth man to the line. The grid is narrow so we formed four person rows. The start is a half mile long crushed grave path with a not quite 90 degree bend at two thirds down. A start made for drafting.
My rough plan is to let Luke Demoe, the guy who finished third in the A race and won the previous week, take the lead and to hope that I can hang on his wheel. He's running 42x16 and I'm a tooth up in the back at 42x17. Luke also tells me that the A race did 30+ for the start. Yikes. The whistle blows and we are off. I clip cleanly and within the first 20 feet it's Luke I shoulder to shoulder. I'm feeling good and spinning fast and think that perhaps it's a good time to let Luke take the front. I soft pedal a revolution or three but he doesn't surge ahead. So I keep going and a second or two later he tucks in behind me. I'm all in now.
At the quarter mile I'm really hurting and keep expecting people to come around. I set up for the bend and about five guys come underneath me. I try to latch on as a couple more come around after the bend but I don't have a lot to respond with. I finally slot in for the fast and bumpy field section back around toward the start. After some more shuffling, I fall in third wheel with the two other guys I spent a lot of time racing last week. I stay on them recovering from the whole shot.
I had practiced entering the beach and drilled it just fine each lap. During the second lap, I took took the lead over the two guys I was with and dropped them fairly quickly. Scott Barker hung on in the distance most of the balance of the race but was never a threat. At the end of teh penultimate lap, John Lin passed me and I did my best to hang on to his wheel. He had more gas and stayed just out of reach. I managed to pass one other SS racer near the end of the lap but my lackadaisical finish allowed him to pip me at the line. I was pissed at myself for that one -- especially since he finished just ahead of me the previous week.
Managed to score a 14th out of 48 and beat a couple of my primary rivals.
After the race, Luke Demoe told me "Great leadout at the start." I replied that I was expecting him to come around me and take the lead. He responded, "No, I was hurting. You were flying."
Strava from other highly placed SS racers showed 26-27mph for my hole shot. While an ego boost, that race was definitley *not* one for the hole shot. The course was wide open for a long time so there was absolutely no benefit. Sometimes it's hard to shut off the adrenaline.