Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hermann Photos


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hermann Under the Lights

This was far and away the most fun I've ever had at a race. Professionally run, great course, huge turnout and good legs, all the makings of a fantastic night. We headed down to Hermann after work on Saturday, slamming RedBull and rocking to Black Sabbath. Upon arrival, a preride of the course did not disappoint and we were primed to go as the sun went down on our new black kits. After lining up in our assigned callup order, the whistle sounded and we commenced the 2008 cyclocross season. A variety of twisting turns and up hill barriers on the top of the course had me in the top ten before the screaming fast pavement downhill. More grass turns at the bottom saw a teammate slide out and had me working my way up through the corners. I was sitting fourth through the sand pit and the sewage swamp that followed before popping out onto more pavement for a touch of recovery. The stairs, which had thankfully been cut in half from last year's state course, felt less torturous this time and I felt good charging up them to complete the lap. As the race wore on, I moved into third and was closing in on second with two to go. I went down through a 180 on the pavement and the gap to second was gone. I finished third and felt pretty rockstar doing it since it was a super pro race and there were fifty people in it. Additionally, it was the best I've felt racing all year, which can only be a good sign moving into the rest of the CX season. Big thanks to my wonderful wife for bringing the most intense cheering section at any cross race and good job to all the Mesa team for excelling on a brutal course. I love cross more than any form of cycling and I am beyond excited that the season's finally here...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gateway Cup

So I did some crits over Labor Day weekend. I've always been ambivalent about crits, there not as long or exciting or physically draining as a good XC race, but they are always there when the dirt racing is thin for me. I've done a lot of the Tuesday night worlds this year, but the only other real crits I've done were the Tour of STL back in April.

So I went into the biggest crit weekend of the year with little expectation and even less proper preparation as I was given a friend's entry the day before the race on the Hill. Less stress is good and I entered with the mentality of having "fun". There's not much to tell, but I will relay what happened, regardless.

Sunday's race has a nice gradual climb on the backside of the course and it manages to be fairly draining, especially the 20th time through. Luckily, there was a neat sprinkler system like the one in Beijing to keep us cool. I decided to attack here halfway through the race, just for fun, but also to see what happened. I pulled a Big Shark rider clear who promptly rode me off his wheel when he came around. Two other guys bridged and the winning break of three was established. Luckily, I was too cooked from my "attack" to hang on and rolled in with the pack for a sweet 19th.

Monday was much better. We had a motivated and cohesive team and animated the race. A small move by one of our juniors early on was countered by Christopher who spent the next several laps hanging about twenty seconds up solo. All the while, I held down third and fourth wheel in the chase, marking everything that tried to bridge. When he was caught, Charlie countered and stayed clear for two more laps. As he was nearly caught, a group countered and I successfully bridged up to them and went for gold. Our group of six dropped two riders until there were four of us left. The prospect of even getting fourth was exciting to me and I hung on, doing minimal work and hoping to stay away to the finish. Going into two laps to go, I heard the two lead riders, who had been doing most of the work, say that they were sitting up because they were sick of the rest of us sitting on and with the pack about ten seconds back, I figured I should contribute to our effort and put in a long pull for more than half a lap. Turning onto the back straight with a lap and a half to go, they attacked and I had no answer. I was immediately gapped and dropped from the break and tried to hold on to fourth in between the break and the chase. I was caught with half a lap remaining and Christopher then won the field sprint for fourth. So, I didn't get the result I wanted, but I am happy with the teamwork and a good result for the team, even if it wasn't me. I feel like I have a better sense of how to race crits after this year, which is good and if nothing else, I know I looked good doing them...