Entries in 2008 cross racing (53)
By good bud Brian Patrick of OnSight Media knows cross…as he’s ALWAYS in the thick of it, boots on, feet in mud, trotting around our courses with his hi-end cameras in tow shooting us in all our snotcicle-hanging glory.
He’s released a DVD that’s compiled the 2007-2009 State Championship races here in Colorado plus some bonuses like the 35 Opens from Blue Sky Velo’s race at Xilinx this year.
Local folks can head to Boulder Cycle Sport to pick up your copy for $20.
Remote or lazy folks can order on line here. Same price plus S & H.
Come re-live the glory…and the snotcicles…all in the comfort of your own home and flat screen.
May. It's that time. I'm watching things these days (mainly what goes in me) and I am already tinkering with the equipment. I am lusting 'cross already. You all know I love the photographers who are out there at the courses and snap pics of our tired arses weekend after weekend. Search this site and you'll see a zillion posts talking about photo sites. Here's a couple of new photography sites to get you juiced up on your forthcoming seasons and all the effort you're going to put in this summer to get lean and fast.
Dejan's Got TONS of coverage from all the local races....from TT's to crits to of course 'cross.
I tweaked with this photo he took of me at States this year (sorry Dejan...couldn't help myself) but the raw JPG demonstrates a quality that is like he used strobes...yet I do not recall any other than Rob O'Dea's and one other guy's. Hmm.
'Cross is clearly tugging at the heart strings of Winsor White and it shows. TONS of fantastic pics from the local Boulder and surrounding area races from this season and seasons past.
Get ready folks. 4 months to get unfat and glue tires.
Our friends over at OnSight Media...who bring you many of those great videos you watch on VeloNews TV while on your 'lunch break', have finished the 2008 Colorado State Cyclocross Championship video and is now on Comcast CET!
Check out this link here for CET's schedule for March (search for 'cyclocross') and set your DVR's! Also, scope out OnSights blog post on their release of the video to CET. They nicely laid out the times for us:
March 1 - 12:30pm
March 2 - 5:30pm
March 5 - 6:00pm
March 8 - 7:00pm
March 9 - 8:30am
March 10 - 8:30am
March 12 - 7:00am
March 13 - 9:30pm
March 15 - 9:30am
March 18 - 6:00pm
March 19 - 7:00pm
March 24 - 8:30pm
March 26 - 6:00pm
March 28 - 12:00pm
March 29 - 9:00am
7 more months until 'cross....
Photo by yours truly.
Pale Skin, Pale Skies and Pale Ale - Oskar Blues Cross Race Caps off the 'Cross Season
By Lizzy Scully
Images by Eddie Clark
(January 3, 2008) Lyons, Colo. - More than 100 racers, including nearly 20 pros, gritted their teeth through 30-degree temps for the Lyons Oskar Blues Cross Race this past Saturday, January 3. Almost three weeks after the official end of the season and following the holidays, most racers had already stopped training for cyclocross. However, this didn't dampen the good-natured competition and aggressive riding of the day.
That's it folks: The last, race: she's in the books! Brian Hludzinski, bruised eye and all from a dramatic sledding incident, braved the cold weather with his Boulder Racing and ACA crews to put on the last race of the season: Boulder Racing's Lyons 'Cross. The race was unbelievably festive and attitudes relaxed (as they should be ALL the time). I think a lot of this had to do with the presence of the Oskar Blues crew...who were out in FORCE with the Dales Pale Ale semi (and it's unbelievable air horns blowing as we raced!!). OB woudl be hosting an apres-race party with their fantastic adult beverage selection and food.
Boups and I made the trip down to Lyons by bike. We rolled from our hood to race the men's pro event at 12:30...Boups towing a trailer behind his Yeti single speed 'cross bike with all our extra wheels and crap. It was 20 degrees and people thought we were retarded as we rolled down the 36 to Lyons. Cars honking, pointing fingers, etc. Hilarious (and Boups wasn't even wearing his new 'skin suit'...more on THAT in a sec).
The last couple of weeks since Nats, I've been in hyper-sleep mode. I'd resigned myself to my winter hiatus of beer drinking and mountain biking in the snow...but still restless. I wanted some more! We got back from NJ (seeing my mom and family for the Holidays) and I did a couple of tempo rides and one opener. I felt pretty fit. Hmm. I think that my Nats debacle was some of the deepest training I'd done all year! HA! It must have baked in during Christmas break as I ate piles of peanut butter cross cookies (the kind with the Hershey's Kiss on top).
Make note to self: Following this training plan for next year.
So Boups and I make it to the course after our long freezing cold journey, sign in...or I should say BARELY sign in as we were going hypothermic and couldn't even hold pens! Seriously! We eventually get our numbers and get some pre-riding in. The course was short and to the point: Power rider course. It was nearly all flat with the exception of two technical sections: one including a barriered run-up/ride-up....and the other this giant dirt mound that had you go straight up...then straight down. You needed some degree of technical savvy but mainly those sections if you were smooth would preserve your gaps during the race. I ride down to Lyons from Boulder with Grifo file treads on and just left 'em on after the pre-ride as they hooked up on everything (I am a HUGE fan of this tread pattern after a season on 'em now! They can basically do everything!).
After sufficiently warming up, Boups goes ahead and does it: Dons the gold sequin skin suit. Purchased on eBay, hopefully washed, it was saved all year for this special occasion. He's going out in style:
So the pro men, including Boups in his gold suit, line up....and all simultaneously look down at our tires. GOAT HEADS. No embellishment, I pulled out between 4-6 (probably should have left 'em in but I have Stans in my Challenge file treads) so all seemed OK. Others just left 'em in and raced 'em as is.
The ACA official sends us off and it's such a civilized start I couldn't believe it. Slow motion start. Ha! We just gradually ramp up and get the machinery going, Chuck Coyle taking the hole shot. I think I was in 4th. From the get-go, a split happened after the barriered run up. The Cliff Bar Devo kids, Brady Kappius* on a 42x16 single speed, our State Champ Matt Pacocha**, Coyle**, Spencer*, Michael Robson* and yours truly.
Team Clif Bar and Matt get a massive gap from lap 1.5. Ball game, me thinks as they are gone and GONE. Brady, Michael, Spencer and me form another group for essentially the whole race. Each of us taking turns pulling us around. By the closing laps, we can see that Paco is dangling in front and we're getting closer lap after lap, so our tails go up. I for once use my head and just sit in for a bit. Michael uses that massive engine and yanks us around the flats one last time and we make contact.
In the last lap, Spencer attacks from our group, peels of Paco and I come from the back behind Brady and Michael to bridge up and we successfully split. We cruise the whole last lap together grooving in and out of the technical sections and start to get a feel for who's freshest. Coming in on the last dirt road section towards the finish, I am sitting in the back. It's either 3rd place (the Clif Bar devos stomped it and won...no one was catching them) or 6th. It's Paco, Spencer and me. Spencer attacks with 500m to go, and I peel off with him. I'm thinking I got him but unbelievably he keeps the wattage going and I can not nip him! D'oh! Spencer 3rd, me 4th, Paco 5th.
It was a super fun race and a great way to end the season. Truthfully, while I felt decent and the course was pretty ideal for me, the fast guys were not on their A game....many having checked out after States...but I'll take the scraps amongst this crew any day.
So now it's OFFICIALLY mountain biking and beer season. And time to start planning. That's right folks: clearance from the control tower has been confirmed; Za Trip Part Deux is back on for 2009 racing season! We're going back to Belgium.
*My team mate Philip Ball (all photos above except those water-marked by Pro Peloton's Nick Saucier are Philip's). A link to Philip's photos from the Open Men can be found here.
**My personal photos
Aww, c'mon, Greg. You know you want one more! It doesn't matter that you've resigned yourself to a hiatus. You just can't say no! I know you can't!
See you tomorrow 'cross fans.
I saw Kerkove's tweet on his best of list of 2008 and it is RAD! He did a fantastic job in getting this year-in-review out I was inspired to do likewise. So with confirmation from Jeff that I could blatantly rip off his framework for his best-of (after all, he is the MASTER of sports marketing in this Web2 day and age....), I've listed below what were my tops of the year. Thanks to Jeff for letting me 'borrow' his list framework!
Best New Race: The Blue Sky Velo Xilinx 'Cross Race!
TOTALLY pro and the entire Blue Sky Velo team went psycho to get it done and done right.
Best Race that I Raced: Chatfield State Park.
I can not describe the FUN I had at this race and likely was the best I felt the whole season. A true course for mountain bikers and those who can handle bikes.
Chatfield St. Park CX - 8 Nov 08 from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.
Best Race that I didn't Race: Cross Crusade
I'd get an email a week from my hombre Chris DiStefano in PDX this season to let me know how rad the scene is and that they'd measure their racer participation each weekend in the THOUSANDS. I need to make it a mission to get out there in 2009 to mix it up a bit with some of the fast West Coasters.
Best Training or Racing Aide: Nothing.
As it was a very 'different' year for me with no real ability to build up this year (at all), I went completely naked into the season and felt my way through. Not ideal but the best thing I could have done to keep the pressure off. I'll have a better plan for 2009, but just flow-ing in and out of each weekend in 2008 was what the doctor ordered.
Best Food: Pancakes!
For some reason these bad boys made me feel infinitely better than my old pre-race fuel: Eggs. It must be a protein versus carbs thing but my best results came with a healthy dose of the flap jacks ~3hours before race time.
Best Road Trip: Za Trip!!
While the Nationals in Kansas City was an epic road trip this month, it was still (unbelievably) in 2008 (January) that I was in Belgium and The Netherlands on the most epic racing road trip I've ever partaken in. It will happen again. Plans are in motion...
Best New Product I Tried This Year: SRAM Red/Force
This was the year I 'made the leap'. The products are absolutely bomber and worth of the rigors of 'cross and would recommend it to anyone who wants lightness, bomb-proofness, cable-free bars, etc.
Best All-Around Ride:
Best Picture I Took: Some Pro dude in Shriek Grootlo
It's not a technically great picture in the eyes of real photographers I am sure, but I like looking at this pic as it reminds me so much of the trip to Belgium and of the fantastic woodsy courses we flowed on in Za Motherland. It was taken with a crappy Canon point and shoot camera so I can't complain.
Best Picture Someone Took of Me: Larry Rosa at Nats.
I met Larry for the first time in person in Kansas City. I'd admired and aspired to his image taking for some time and was stoked to meet him in person. Salt of the earth! The image is perfect and his effects are rad. I am suffering inexplicably this race and yet I like seeing this pic as it 'feels' like the day to me. Cold. Always climbing. Pain.
Best Purchase I Made In '08: Selle San Marco Concor Saddle.
The product just fits my ass well. What can I say? It is bomb proof which is truly the most important reason (and is so Euro-bling it makes me smile).
Best of the Best of 2008: Lucca! This was the year we got our little fat-head, floppy eared lab/boarder collie mix. She rules. Even though I want to duct tape her up and keep her in a closet some days.
I am really looking forward to the clock turning to 12AM January 1st 2009 tonight. It's been a long year and we are ready to move into the future! I wish you all the best of everything this coming year! Make it your best.
Trippy video of the men;s 35-39 Nationals Race assembled by my favorite cat, Cat Johnson. Check it out!
Indeed it is that time of year. Oy. Sort of like when a TV show ends with a To be continued... ALWAYS a bummer. I've got all this restless energy still and not sure if I should do pre-work intervals or maybe just go and spin around and do wheelies on my single speed. I'm a bit lost. There's a race on the 3rd, but not even sure where I'll be at that time this January. This time last year, it was frenetic. Trying to maintain fitness between the last Colorado race and going to Belgium.
So with all this restlessness, I decided to reflect a little on the season. All-in-all, I can't complain. 8th overall and a enough top 10's to satiate, but I know that I have a couple of surprises left in the legs. The Firecracker 50 just isn't enough for training for 'cross. Ha! The summer was spent with my head far far away from bikes, and when I came rushing into the 'cross season, it was done so with a complete 'Hmm, let's just see where you end up' kind of attitude. No expectations, just flow. And so it was. I think that with the exception of my barrier clippings at Xilinx and Chatfield, the cleanliness goal was met. The racing was done with no technical issues...rolled tires, failures, flats, weak lines, bad technique....and I think I rolled as smoothly as I have ever. So, I had that going for me this season...
What's next? Each year....even after a decade of racing our sport...I strive for better. Each year I spend the first 1/2 of the year contemplating the changing of the leaves. This contemplation starts from the time I clean the bikes after their last race and hang up the tubulars for their winter/spring hiatus until mid summer when I start taking the bikes down of their hooks, re-fill the tires and just feel the bikes again. Each year I take 'em down a bit earlier. Each year I say to myself, can you go at this again? Can you get closer to hands in the air? Can you continue to balance?
I think it's longing that keeps me alive.
Done and Done, folks. The season is finished and now I am really looking forward to just coasting for a while. I thought a lot about what I wanted to write here and I think if I abstract it all out and up, it boils out to never, ever saying uncle. Ever. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Road tripping is a lost art. When I say I had more fun this weekend than what seems like the past 5 years, it is an understatement. I have never laughed as hard as I did this trip due to Ward Baker, Paul Maude and of Course Aaron Boups Bouplon. There were moments when I came undone laughing that the minivan was about to go into a ditch let alone the frolics we had on the course…and in the bars of lovely Kansas City. Thanks boys. My soul needed that more than you realize.
• Everyone should road trip at least once a year. This is mandatory for the soul and should absolutely be part of your training program.
• I have never raced as poorly as I have in what feels like a decade. But I won’t bitch here (see below).
• The performances of Dubba, Andy Jacques-Mayne, Katie Compton and Ryan Trebon were so awesome in how they crushed the fields, it was a spectacle.
• I’m not ashamed to be from Colorado…even though Wicks called us a bunch of poseurs. I’ll chalk that up to the après-race beers, Barry. Ha!
• Jamey Driscoll blew my mind with his ride. Unbelievable and meeting him for the first time this weekend and meeting him showed me yet again another core/good person that is getting it done in the right ways. He’s going to blow some shit up in the next 3-5 years.
• My name was shouted at every bend and apex of the course during my race. Here I am 12 hours from my house and folks I’ve never even met are screaming their guts out at me to go faster. I’m honored and embarrassed at the same time. I wished I could have made my carcass go faster.
• I’ve never been on a cross course with that much climbing. Jeebus it hurt. Don’t get me wrong….the course was great and beautiful, but the antithesis of a course I could ever be good on. No one could hide this weekend.
• File treads work in the mud!
• I love cyclo-cross. I love cheering for cyclo-crossers.
OK, so to the race and details of the weekend. I drove the 10 hours from Boulder to KC on Friday and we went directly to the course before the hotel. The warm up was…..tough. Without saying much to my buds, I knew that my legs were empty. No spring…no punch. Don’t know why, and it’s not important, but I felt nicht so gut. Saturday, race day, we had decent weather. I’d say absolutely perfect cross weather. The course was dry(ing) and it was this interesting mix of soft earth mixed with grass. The days before were debacles of mud leaving juniors running and some in tears. By the time Saturday came around, it was an entirely different course than what they experienced. It radically changed in texture. You literally sank in to the course, without any mud actually getting on you. It was surreal. Never been on a course quite like that. I think it was mainly due to the compacted grass that acted like a sponge. So imagine riding on a wet sponge…on a course that was straight up…then straight down. The funny part about it all, though, was that I ran file treads. They were perfect for the course, hooked up and cornered perfectly in fact, yet still did nothing for the sinking….especially for my large corpse.
My call up was mediocre. I was 41st (4 rows back) and funny enough that’s exactly where I’d end up. From the gun, I settled into mid 30’s and by the 2nd lap, I’m going nowhere. I would suffer like hell on the climb up the courses front face and once at the top, every lap, pass like 3-5 dudes on the running section and even more on the downhill (which was super fun and not unlike a dual slalom course!) only to be passed by them again on the climb. Quite funny actually. I was not strong enough to attack or preserve my position on the climb which was simply too hard for me. Simple as that. Like I said, no hiding on this course and only those strong enough….and strong enough mentally to dig in and attack….could move up.
On to the sappiness portion: Never Say Uncle. This year has categorically sucked for my wife, family and I. Again, the sheer fact I even lined up at the races I was able to this year I am ecstatic about. But while the sickening embarrassment of my ride was occurring on Saturday with all these people I don’t even know personally cheering for me like I was their own brother, I would get another pedal stroke down and move my body up the mountain. It’s as simple as that. I wanted to be top 20 this year. There, I said it. I know I have it in me and likely even a better ride, but not this past Saturday. I would close my eyes as I was climbing and suffering and knowing I am going backwards, knowing I would be embarrassed and then I’d hear it again: GO KELLER! Or C’MON M & C!!! Or HUP HUP GREG!!! Another turn of the cranks. Another few meters. One position preserved.
There will be times in life where the call will be to acquiesce. But, when you have control over the situation, even when you are cross-eyed and utterly embarrassed, you have to push on. For some, they fear that others will see their name in the results….and way down. They think these things during the race yet have the audacity to pull the plug and crawl off the machine. Call it a day. Call it a ‘training ride’. Those, Barry, are the fucking poseurs. My father would tell me to take my medicine. Take what’s coming to me and learn. Don’t hide. Don’t quit. Simply said, how to you explain quitting to a 6 year old? That’s all that need be said. Never let anyone see you quit. Go until your eyes bleed and some official has to physically remove you.
After our race, the gang and I got our beer on and celebrated. We cheered like crazy people for all those getting their Nationals on. Henry Kramer, Jeff Wardell, Jon Cariveau, Brooke Watts, Karl Kiester....my GOD we were pumped for you. It was INFINITELY more fun than my own racing!
Sunday was awesome. The racing and of course après party was epic. After watching the Elite Men from the pits (I was working for Baker, Boups and Dubba) and yelling at all my hombres like Ryan and Ben….but especially Timmy J and Jeremy as hard as I could (can’t speak today), we all communed in this Irish Pub to get our party on. Drinks were had, frolics played out. It was a fitting end to the season. Tim, thanks for dragging me into your Irish Car Bomb session. Priceless.
So, this is the end of the season and likely my posts will wane a bit as I focus on other things that need focus. It’s been a great season all things considered and once again I am in debt to all of you that read my rants. And it was unbelievable to meet so many of you at Nats this year. I’ll keep ranting…er ah,…writing, if you keep reading.
More photos coming later in a collage of sorts. Stay tuned. Thanks to Longman for most of the racing photos you see above.