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Za Touch Ups

T-minus a couple-a days and we're on the aluminum tube over to the Motherland. THEN, I'll have some new stuff for you all to read. Sorry for the lead up dribble.

So at this point, I am doing some touch up. Whatever work I've put in is in and that is that. I've definitely put everything I could given the balance I have got to maintain into this trip in terms of body prep so all that is left is dodging this light cold I have (nothing big) and doing some tuning this week with prescribed intervals designed to keep the channels open in za muscles.

Changing subjects, I just want to say THANK YOU to all my homies. Honestly, the emails and shouts of encouragement are truly special. At the end of the day, I'm not deploying to Iraq. But it feels like it! If you lessen the degree of severity to the scale I am venturing on (a 'cross vacation), there is still a sense of 'man, give 'em hell' when I speak to true 'crossers. It is like going to battle, gladiator style. Here's where I am at with all this:

  • We've chosen a sport (cycling) that is by its very nature hard and inherently self-weeding of non motivated people.
  • The specific part of the sport we've poured our passion into ('cross) is probably most prohibitive...even for long time racers...given the extremity of it all: conditions, intensity, aestheticism/technique. The shit's hard, yo. I can't believe I've maintained fitness and motivation since August. I do NOT want to stop!
  • We participate in this discipline and it gets us so close to PRO....more than any other sport. As an example, Fred, the local softball 3rd baseman from the East 53rd Street McSorley's Irish Pub team is likely not going to escalate his skills up the 'series' ladder to compete against the best on earth. Frankly he can't. The escalation doesn't exist. Cross can give us that. Look at our homies over there new throwing down in the Super Prestige and GVA's. Many of you race against them/with them weekend in and out in Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Boston....It is that exciting.
So in my head, it's basically those points and more which are are deeply embedded in your (the crossers) brains...possibly without you realizing it....and yet you know what's up with trips like this to Belgium and you take the time to say 'Give 'em hell'. That is so rad it makes my hair stand up. I will try to throw down as hard as I f-ing can.

I look at this picture Jon C sent to me to stoke me up. Open this bad boy up and look at it.
This is the face of a man saying "Holy shit. I just won the hole shot at the Master's World's." I love it. It's these sort of stoke ups from Jon, Mark Howland, Will Black, Brandon, Boups, Bobby Noyes....and boat loads of other folks....that again, make may hair stand up.

I will report. You will be stoked. You will come to the Motherland next year and get it on.

Start saying it. Write it down, print it out, and hang it up (or set an Outlook reminder, worker bees) and it will come true.

Ya-f-ing HOO.

Reader Comments (16)

Jon Cariveau is the only guy from the good old USA that I have ever seen get a front row call up. I on the other hand have managed to get a last row "random" call up everyone of the previous 5 years that I have gone. I don't think they have it out for me specifically, they just look down the list and see an American sounding name and slot us on the back. Maybe I should change my name.
Either way get ready to runble!

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWB

They must've thought he was French!

Will, are you aware of 'the story' of a specific Belgian who won the Worlds the year before, got the lottery 'shaft' and forced to line up in the back. And when he did so....positioned himself about another 100 yards BEHIND the last row? When the gun went off, apparently this guy came barreling through...plowing past last row dudes who weren't even clipped in yet! He goes on to get in the top 10 in the first lap...and I believe ends up winning again.

Fable or real? You know about this urban legend?

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Never saw that happen. I talked to about a dozen other Americans last year and they were all on the last row, including the 3 others that I travelled with. I convince myself every year that this year will be different and I will get a better spot, though it is getting harder to do. Once I can no longer have that sliver of hope and belief I will probably stop going. Kinda like when you were a kid and you finally realized there was no Santa Claus, it will be a sad day.
It seems every year all the fast local guys are on the first couple of rows. Last year the lake water level was much higher so it bottled necked more right at the start, I ran more the first lap than all other years combined. If the water is down you can pass a ton of guys after the sand run in the photo you posted. Otherwise it is a cattle call for most of the first lap, unless you are on the first couple of rows at the start.

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWB

I can see my head in the picture over the Moot's rear wheel......Can't wait.

I talked to Will about his call ups at MOL and then contacted the organizers about it. I will find the response and post it here.

4 days to departure....


January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

On 3 trips to MOL I have been called up 3rd row, 2nd to last row and last row. From my observation they pick one number (hopefully at random) and then go through the list numerically from there.

Here is the question I sent to the head official and one of the organizers that I have met several times through the years (at other events as well):

Blah, Blah, Blah.
The last 3 times I race Mol the call up order I thought was done by random order. This year racing at the USGP series in the USA a lot of the masters said that the call up last year seemed to be only part random as all the racers from North America were on the last 2 rows. They were upset about this and most of them said that they would not return to Mol because of this bias. It did not seem to be this way the three times I have raced there...even though two of them I have ended up on the back rows. But I just wanted to check with
you before making plans to race in Mol that the call up order would continue to be totally random, transparent and have no bias. If you can let me know what the situation is.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

His response:
I'm quite surprised about your question and remark. Each year (incl. next year) the call up order was/will be at random. There as no influence at all
or bias, I refuse to believe this would be the case. I have no problem with remarks or any critisism, on the contrary : I am open for all questions to improve the organisation. So tell your friends/collegeuas that we will be handling the same procedure and that the fact they had to start on the last two rows was just a (bad) coincidence and totally unintentionally.

Looking forward meeting you again,

SO: My guess is that the reason that the non-euros end up in the same row for call up is because usually we travel together and sign up was the case when the person that I was traveling with ended up next to me 2X. I think the best bet for a group of N.A. riders is to sign up at different times and hope for the best.....regardless of call up it is a fun and tough race and 40 minutes seems like a long time.


January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

word. the vicarious stoke-meter is in the red! race hard, have fun!

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Honestly, I don't even know why I am in the software biz. I have had more fun this year with this Blog than you could imagine.

Look at these comments! Sick! You f'ers rule!

Hmm. Maybe this is the next MTBR for 'cross. I knew Francois back in the day when he started that site. Maybe I'll ping him...


January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

I completely agree on the fact that we all tend to sign up early and together so that would suggest we would all start in the same area. That will be one thing I will change this year, maybe I will stake out the sign up area and look for the guy who won the last two years, he always seems to get a good call up. As I said earlier I still believe I may get a fair shake, how else could you do VO2 max intervals in Jan.if you really thought you were going to be hosed again?
One thing I do wish they would change is to give the bigger groups their own race. If you are the second wave off you catch the backmarker guys in the class that started before you about a half lap in. If you are the first wave you start to catch the other group midway through your 2nd lap.

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWB

Check the race schedule.
The bigger races DO have their own starts this year.....No double waves for 30+

These are the guys to watch from today's results:

Masters B

1 Jan Van Donink (Herentals) 41.20
2 Mario Lammens 0.21
3 Dirk Mertens 0.43

Dirk and Mario are always contenders.

Greg....riding in shorts today! That weather is going to make you soft....the weather up here sucks ass....rain like you can't believe for that last 2 weeks. I am ready for mud not sand!


January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What about the portage style of the guy in 2nd, just after JC? Hand on toptube, saddle slamming into helmet, eyes gazing at feet. Brandon would not approve.

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterflan

Men (1959-1963) 40’ 12.00hr

Men (1964-1968) 40’ 13.00hr

Men (1969-1973) 40’ 14.00hr

Men (1974-1978) 40’ 15.00hr


January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Seperate races! That just made my day.

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWB

How many people can we expect per category/age group?

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Last year I had about 70 guys, the 35-39 group had about 45-50. The course is super fun but is pretty one lined. There isn't much 2 or 3 wide racing. To say that you have to be aggressive is an understatement.

January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWB

If you want to know how many people to expect in your Cat. you can look up old results here:

Cut and paste if it does not link direct or go to the cyclocross section of Cycling News.


January 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

A buddie o mine in Wales
who has raced Mol, mentioned to me several times that the narrow width of the course makes for true contact sporting action. time to dance. don't be shy Greg.
And don't forget to eat a donut,
or at least a decent waffle !!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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