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Cross Racing Week 8 | 8 Ball


8th. Can’t seem to break the curse of the 8 ball. By most standards, top 10 is an achievement in itself…and the crew we have here in Colorado is about as fast as it gets. And yet even while I am in the mix, I am the master of self-inflicted misery. It’s awesome. I’ll walk you through all that nonsense in a minute…

This weekend brought some great racing to the Front Range. The Rocky Mounts School Yard Cross went off Saturday and lots of smiles were had…or so I hear as I took a well needed rest day with the family and forgot all about ‘cross for a day. Check out some of the pics of the course and Boups’ man-made mud drama here.

Sunday I was back on it. I took the drive out to what felt like Kansas to the up and coming town of Brighton, CO for Alpha Cross.  It’s about an hour’s drive from Boulder but when I got there the scene was pumping. LG on announcing duties, jumpy castle for the kids, food, beer…a good ‘ol cross. image

The course was literally carved out of the prairie, the Alpha Cross crew having clearly labored to make a course that was fun and technical, using every part of the open space they had at their disposal to weave the course. A lot of the course was fire road that had been completely swamped out by mud from the precip we’d had over the last few weeks, driven over by trucks, then dried. So it was a bump fest. Thank goodness there was no new precip as the course would not have been rideable. It’s different soil than at Xilinx from our mud fest last weekend with clay earth that would have made the course impassable. It featured a huge Nor Cal style run up…one I haven’t seen since racing at Watsonville ages ago.

I lined up with my hombres. Phenecie, Cariveau, Robson, McFarling, Hludzinski and The WB back from a surf trip (read: rested). Clay was doing single speeds but all the usual suspects were there. The start was a long drag on a dodgy dirt road that apex right over loose gravel. I wanted to be out of the melee and drilled it from the TWEEET. This would be the beginning of my classic 8 Ball disease….

image By the first lap I had put in a huge gap and went psychotic. I burned a half pack of matches on a stupid 1-2 lap early assault that I thought could initially push and hold on a technical course that suited my style of riding.

The course meandered through countless 180s…essentially a 25m sprint, flowing into corners sans brakes, then power out in a sprint for another 25 meters back up the other side. Once I had cleared them of any melees and got a split of us rolling into lap 2 via my retarded assault on myself, Cariveau and Phenecie, were free to fly which they did. I was bridged to by my fresher (smarter) companions then discharged repeatedly over the rest of the race following the 3rd through 7th guys at exactly the same distance for the rest of the race. I would fly up the run up and bring the guys back, then gapped again on certain sections. Yo-yo-ing with a great group mere meters ahead but so loaded I was not able to put in the bridging assault to get ‘em back. Classic.

So these tactics are indeed stupid. It’s all intertwined in this awesome level of impatience I have…and the fact that even after so long in this game, I have so much to learn. I study all of us in the top 10 in the 35 A’s and it’s all fairly well balanced…but guys like Jon C have this little extra something…a cocktail of skill, fitness and smarts that kind of boils down to this:

A last lap face like this:


Will always win over faces that look like this on the bell…


Sorry for nailing you guys above! Ha! I'll throw myself under the bus with the prime example being my own…


God, I love this sport. Lessons learned with every every season, let alone every race. Here’s to those who repeat the definition of insanity every weekend and apply Quixotic principals every lap. I’ll be sure to be out there next weekend applying changes from the lessons I’ve learned.

But alas, all was not lost on my early race assault! I won the beer prime and took me homwe a six'er of London Pride. Giddy up!

(Photo by Brian Graves)

Hup Hup!

(Thanks to Dan Rieber for his great photographic eye and for being out there at the races! Scope out and buy some of his fantastic pics here!)

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