Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ranks and Placards

Creative Commons License

Search Page Section
« Lead up to the big show | Main | Cross Racing Week 6 and 7 | Sienna Lake, Valmont South and Embracing Truths »

Cross Racing Week 8, 9 and 10 | A final season dump

The sunset of the season. The closing cowbell of a long and trying campaign of racing against the fastest masters in the country. Four final races that tested everything out of me. Mainly testing my patience, focus and belief in where I belong and how to stay focused on doing the best that I possibly can. So, here's the quick dump of a lot of drama, fun and anticipation for Worlds and 2013. 

Bowl of Death - Louisville

Next to Elks (Official Course of the U.S. National and World Champion), this is the world's crappiest venue. But we love it. It's fun, flowy, bumpy and hard...and a lot of time into making it as good as it can be happens by guys like Mike Hogan and Philip Ball. 

I got a great start like last year (although last year we were in 6" of powder) and broke the selection free pretty immediately. 

Photo by Michael Schaub

The course undulates with lots of punchy climbs and on/off bike work (which is my strength). Here, I can control my adversaries (a.k.a. my best buds like Jeff Cospolich and Ward Baker below) to check their speed. Shame that they can pedal those bikes faster than me between the technical sections! Ha!

Photo by Michael Schaub

I'd go on to finish 10th on the day. A quick cool down and I was ready for Seamus (Aiden was sick and not racing) who was fired up to go and shred. 

Seamus got a phenomenal start on his 8-9 group, pushing super hard and showing some great technique on such a technical course. This picture pretty much says it all...

Photo by Dejan Smaic - Sportif Images

Castle Cross - Castle Rock

I don't know what it is, but this course has my name. It quite literally chews me up and spits me out. I was pretty worked from the day before but was motivated to do my best as always. 

Photo by Dejan Smaic - Sportif Images

My start and initial laps were pretty flawless. I was up front and having fun with my buds. But I made a pretty rookie mistake by convincing myself that running my tubeless set up that I use for training would be the choice set up for this MTB course if there was one. By lap 3 I was in top 10 in a decent position. I then burped my rear tire dry and pitted to my spare bike with sew-ups. 

Photo by Dejan Smaic - Sportif Images

I'd spend the day pushing way too hard over the red-line blowing corners and riding like a bag of anvils to do what I could to catch back on. To no avail. I'd finish in no man's land in 15th. 

Like the day before, I quickly got some clothes on and prepped Seamus for his race. The Castle Cross crew led by John Haley had the course DIALED for the 8-9's. A specially designed course for them to give them real laps and lots of folks surrounding them on the tape. 

 Photo by Karen@

Seamus was impressed with the course and showed me what he thought were the places to go hard and go fast. Makes me smile. He went on to crush...taking the flowers in a 7-lap drag race against his little adversaries. 

The Resevoir # 2 - Boulder

With a week's rest, it was time to face the Rez. A new course with tons of sand riding was what we would face and my pre-riding showed me that I'd have good legs and that the course was ironically in my favor versus a suffer fest of sinking my corpse into the sand lap after lap. 

Photo by Dejan Smaic - Sportif Images

I had a front row call up and was super focused on what I needed to do to be in the initial selection. From the gun it was perfect. I was in 4th, drafting, flowing and settling in. Through the wooded sections on lap 1 at picked up a stick in my front derailleur which essentially diabled any front shifting! ARRGH! I had to pit and was consumed in the maze of riders. I had to push hard and started to gain time. Then....psssst! Flat! A change of a bike yet again back to the disabled one but it was ridable as I'd gotten the chainring down to the 39. 15th. It was what it was. Bike racing. 

Youth Center - Golden

Finally...some cross weather. Today we'd race in 20deg temps and a light layer of snow. I love this course. It's similar to the Bowl of Death. Very MTB-ish with lots of on/off the bike action. Timmy Faia and I put on a show last year with a strong 1-2 finish. I wanted to do well again today and went hard from the gun. 

Photo by Karen @

Lap after lap it was unclear who would take the roses. Timmy, Glen Light, Ross Delaplane my teammate Matt Davies or me. Any mistake would be critical in the tight racing. It was real racing...being at the front, calculating and being focused.

Photo by Karen @

In the end a flat would blow Timmy's chances for a repeat victory with my teammate Matt taking the roses. I'd take 5th, having settled in the last lap for the placing as I knew I wouldn't bridge in time. We all finished 1-5 within 30sec. It was a blast. 

Off the bike, I was with Aiden who was shivering cold. His little teammates and other racers were all shivering...their little bodies trying to deal with the freezing temps. 

They got going quick, the refs being merciful to be efficient with getting the races going...

Photo by Karen @

Aiden was just back from being sick for the past 2 weeks, the poor kid. He'd demonstrate some deep courage pushing super hard and dealing with coming off the couch plus frozen feet, face and hands. A great finish for him. 

States - Loveland

The 'Big Show'. The Colorado State Championships. I'd come off a week of work travel and classic Keller 'stress'. I lined up thinking I just wanted to flow and no hunger in my belly to push to top 10. And you know what? That's what I'd get. 

I lined up 3rd row in a hungry field. 20 riders in front of me. The course in pre-riding in my opinion was a dirt crit. It essentially was straight - - chicanes - - drag race straight - - chicanes - - drag race straight - - chicanes. On packed dirt. Some precipitation would have changed things dramatically but we race on what we race. And you have to be good on anything. 

Photo by YannPhotoVideo

My race was as I expected. I'd get dropped in the pedaling drag race sections, then yo-yo back groups in the technical driving sections. 5 laps of that in and I'd snapped.

Photo by Annette @ Mountain Moon Photography

Not enough endurance in my legs and I just have to remember that my season started in mid October...having snapped my clavicle in late August. I'd finish 24th, anonymously but happy that I could get 'er done and inspire my boys to rail it with me as well. 

Both Aiden and Seamus raced their little hearts out. Seamus' 8-9 race was a barn-burner. Multiple laps of a slightly truncated course. Seamus had a decent start and used his great fitness to come back from 5th to take 2nd behind his lighteneing fast teammate. Here my little Irishman puts many adults to shame with his stair technique...

Aiden's 10-12 race was absolutely ballistic. As exciting as ANY race over the weekend. Aid'er got off to a phenomenal start....

Photo by Annette @ Mountain Moon Photography

...and proceeded to show me all of his skills on display. I was out of my mind watching these kids shred. They were F L Y I N G!! The core 10-12's of their huge 30+ field caught and dispatched most of the 13-14 field who started 30sec before they did...

Photo by Annette @ Mountain Moon Photography

Aiden pulled off an incredible top 10 ride in his crew, a true 10 year old against amazing older kids. So proud of him. My voice was hoarse after his event. 

The Colorado season is done. Now, I continue to push. To try and put back some endurance in the bank and keep my eyes on Louisville KY. My second Master's World Championship here in the US. I am beyond excited....but quite honestly still have to get there. My cycling life and work life are on a collision course and I'll have to thread this needle carefully with as much grace as I can muster. 

Wish me luck...

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>