Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
After a brief testing of the 29'er waters, I am going back to the tried and true for 2009. I liked the 29'er as a bike, it was and is fun to ride and well suited to certain trails. However, I can only have one geared mountain bike at a time, so for a do it all race machine, I will be rolling the newly redesigned Epic Expert, thanks to some generous support from Specialized. A few key component changes and some aesthetic darkening and this mother will be ready to shred some serious trail. Full report to follow...
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
And that's it, the last cyclocross race of my 08/09 season is done. I suppose I should never rule out the Groundhog 15K in mid February, but that's the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. Now, it's all about low intensity and weights for the forseeable future.
Admittedly, the race itself was a bit anti-climactic, although it did provide a nice cap to a wonderful season. The course, located at a wasteland of a facility, featured a number of intriguing obstacles and terrain never before seen in a local CX race. There was the crumbling cement platform that offered up both pavement and "stair" sections, the old batting cage acting as course tape and the wind blown levee complete with roadkill laden run up. It was a unique environment and the organizers set up an exceptionally challenging course that made full use of all the characteristics of the area.
I signed up for the A race after having a fair bit of success in the B field toward the end of the Bubba series. I hadn't ridden for a couple weeks after KC and had only done some low intensity riding in the week before the race. It wasn't the ideal build up for my first A race, but I felt I had to man up and ride with the big boys, even though there were only a handfull of other competitors.
The race started off well with Mar Mar taking the hole shot and leading through the broken cement section up the run up to the top of the levee. Once up top, we endured a raging cross wind in eschelon formation. A long windblown drag led us to the descent off the levee into a mud and sand filled lolipop. At this point, we had a front group of three with Nate, myself and an impressively strong Yielding. We made our way out of the bog and into the spiral. The best part of the spiral was the two truck ruts that crossed the whole thing making for some solid jarring with every turn of the screw. Nate and Yielding gapped me through the spiral and that gap continued to grow for the rest of the race while I chased solo in third. I really just didn't have it and spent the race in a solitary pursuit match. The main motivation for staying in the race was my third place position, but the energy draining squish of the ground and the relentless pounding from the lumpy terrain had me wanting to quit for most of the race. I ended up finishing, though, and took third in my first A race. It would be easy for me to say that no one was there and that the third place is less valid, but I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm proud of a podium in my first crack at the top level. Part of racing is showing up and doing it and for that I feel that I earned my place and am content with the day.
The scene was more in line with last year, smaller scale on both the turnout and the spectators, however, the ICCC did a great job with a well run event and a brutal course. Most of the people that have really made this season were in attendance and between the burning car and gross of fireworks, this was a solid way to round out the season. Hopefully next year will bring similar creativity and growth as CX in St. Louis continues its progression. It's definitely something to look forward to. Now where's my mountain bike?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Two weeks of eating and drinking copious amounts of unhealthy substances followed by a week of low intensity riding should make my first A race at tomorrow's Crossacalypse a bit humorous. Luckily, watching CX videos and reading VeloNews's cross worlds preview has gotten me pretty excited about one last coating of embrocation. The tubies will be aired, the cages removed and the skinsuit stretched on for what promises to be some good times. I hope McGurk's still has vegetarian toasted ravioli.