Entries in 2008 cross racing (53)
No, you are not seeing things. Those are ICICLES on TJ's helmet!
True story: These guys were dressed like this the whole legnth of the womens and mens pro races....at 20 degrees outside. The guy on the left was involved in an altercation after the finish of the men's race...apparently some strife between Page Supporters and someone else. Ah, just like Belgium. Or, ah, maybe not.
Monster report coming soon....but let me say: ouch. Backwards today with incomprehensible pain and agony.....and fun. Worst race of my life, with definitively the funnest time I've ever had post-race short of a Dead show in, like, '88. Pictures and full report later. Dubba won and it made me weepy in pride. He was hands up by more that a minute in front of 2nd place today. Unbelievable. The weather was too nice which made me sad. No epics.
Nats is good and I went bad...and Rob O'Dea captured it perfectly for me to remember forever. All pictures are just like this one with my straining poop face on. Sweet.
Ward, Boups, Longman and I are set: 6 bikes, 16 wheels, 1 pressure washer, tools, PRO stand, clothes, 3 pairs of white sex Dragons, 6 hours of 'cross DVDs and roughly $300 in extreme Belgian beer...all in or on top of a Honda Odyssey. 9 hours of driving await.
The Boulder crew is assembling near the start/finish area near the Blue Sky Velo tent and Redline truck. Boulder Cycle Sport will have its tent set up in that 'Colorado coumpound' as well. PLEASE come and huunt me down and say hi if you ar at Nats!
My home boy Brian captured some video of our 35 Open race this Sunday at States. If you have seen the videos played on VeloNews and other places, that would be Onsight-Media. Check out their stellar collection here!
Oh, and on thebrief video below, watch as Ward helps himself back IN the race from under the tape! Sweet! The slow-mo of my squrily rear wheel when I hit that speed bump I did not know about is rad too!
62 degrees. Sunny. Perfectly tacky and autobahn fast conditions. No, this is not a crit in California....it was our 'cross state championships in Boulder, CO! Clearly my voodoo dances to the Rain and Snow gods did not work. Friday afternoon there was three inches of snow on my front lawn and roughly 35-37 degrees. By midnight the Chinook winds came BARRELING in, blowing at 60mph and literally raising the temps to the mid 50's. It truly was as if a large hair dryer dried up everything. By morning....not a piece of snow. Lawn dry. My Karcher pressure washer sitting in my car....weeping.
It would be fast....and it was. On to the race...
The pre-ride of the course showed again why DBC Events are some of the single best race organizers and course designers in the country. It takes a lot of experience...and trips abroad....to understand how to dial in a course and Chris G, Joe DeP and the crew made an unbelievable one. Not 100% suited to me given some of the long straightaways but the course was riddled with technical features that forced you to be consistent and smooth which would be my saving grace. Lots of 180 switchbacks...some that traversed uphill (see pics below I took of pro men going through the switchback maze), sand traps that also 180'd which forced most...including the pro men...to dismount and run. Stair features and barriers strategically placed. It was cherry. Why the HELL is the UCI removing barriers from their races??? Lame lame lame lame lame. That *IS* cross! I digress...
My pre-ride showed that Typhoons would again be perfect. I had file treads with me too but the off camber stuff I was a little freaked by as I thought a little tread would be needed. 35 front and 36 rear psi did the trick.
The 35 Open men start to queue at the start area and as I am there, I count the slots....1....5,6,7,8. 8? D'oh! I was 10th in the regional standings and I wanted the front row. Sure enough, the ACA official calls us up, one by one and the front row gets filled. I am in 2nd row....which probably should have been good enough for me and prevented me from blowing my wad on a hole shot. But, I'm me, and thick like that (more on hole shots in a second). The start was a super long and paved uphill slog. Once you reached the top of said slog, it would send you DIRECTLY back down the grass literally coming back down the way you just went up...to climb it again! It would literally sort out the race on that very first up and back.
"30 seconds gentleman!" TWEEEEEEEEEEEET! Captured on film by my man Dave Hixson. Note that I am on the left and on my second pedal stroke, I slip a pedal but somehow recover and get it back in. Like Moses parting the seas, you'll see a hole open up and I saw it and went for it to win the hole shot as we come up to the top of the hill (after we pass Dave's camera here...):
CX States from Dave Hixson on Vimeo.
On the way back down, I get a gap and we start to snap off the core group already. Take a look at this shot Longman got. On the left, look at Ward...who literally gets thrown outside the tape and he lifts it himself to get back under! Ha!
After winning the hole shot and coming back up the pavement, I started to (of course) get a massive lactic build up. I am trying to spin a super fast gear to unload 'em (see Dave's video above) but things are getting a wee bit difficult. We traverse into the woods for the first time and I sit in with Jon Cariveau, JJ and Matt Opp. The technical sections all go well. I have power and fluidity but the straights are causing me woes. I can't stay on wheels I am still loaded. I manage to stay in the top 5-8 or so by laps two and 3. The sand pit I made a pre-race decision to run every time and this proved to be good for me for the day.
By lap 3, Boups, who is doing his warm up for the Pro race (ha!) comes by me and yells at me to stay on his wheel but his pace is nothing I want to match. I slip...rider after rider they come and gobble me up. I hear someone say 16th! as I come through a section and I get....angry. The legs start to feel fresher and fresher. I decide that if I am going to suffer on the flats, I'll use them as recovery and maintain my gaps and do what I can to close gaps on the technical stuff people are fumbling through. It works.
I start gobbling up riders. Find a wheel...bridge....recover...launch. I do this I guess 5 times or so. I work with Michael H and we are grooving together. There is a group coming up fast behind us and I tell him it's time for us to move on it. Michael literally says..."Christ mate. Put the bullet in me now and get on it!" I laugh and almost go off course but have to go so launch from him and bridge to the next group containing my team mate Brian H and Spike's David Overstreet. Each lap Dubba is yelling at me and it feels good and I am working as hard as I possibly can as its motivating me to power down and bridge. It's not a bad thing to have the reigning Master's 35-39 National Champ in your corner (Dubba photo by Mat Barlow).
By the last lap the race is sorted. Essentially three groups: JJ and Jon C whipping each other senseless by 25 seconds over Ward and Whit doing the same to each other....Dennis Farrell coming on like a freight train to catch them....then groups with Jeff Wardell, Mike Hogan and Ross D followed by David, Brian H and and me. Brian is having a good day but a shifter issue is ruining it for him unfortunately. I tell him I gotta go and launch from him to catch David Overstreet who is also on a great day as well and there's just not enough course left. I flow in behind seconds behind him and roughly 1:40 behind the day's winner JJ in 10th place according to my lady. I still do not know how I could pull some of those folks back. I really wanted to do better but when I see with whom I am racing...National Champions, established pros....unbelievable athletes. I am proud no doubt. 10th is where I was to be...needed to be this year.
After my race, I swapped out my chamois for my work pants and camera. I would split time between the pits as well as shooting the pro mens race. This was one of the most spectacular races of the year. Mat Pacocha, Dubba and Jake Wells put on a clinic. Jon Baker had some unbelievable mechanical dramas and still was able to maintain 4th which was excellent. But the three up front put on such a fun race to watch, it was sick. I made the call that Dubba would take it (even though I told Matt before the race it was a course he could really neutralize people on...) but I knew Dubba was on fire. By the last lap, Dubba attacked but just did not have the sprinting legs to hold off Paco who took an amazing win, Jake Wells in second, Dubba 3rd. Some pics and HD video from my new Nikon D90:
Some of my photos...
See the full size pics and more here.
So there you have it folks. The Colorado racing season for 2008 is all but done. I took 8th overall in the series so I can not complain. Only Nationals left. I still look back at this year and I feel it was miraculous. The fact that I could get out this year week after week and trade pint with fellas I truly admire is nothing short of miraculous....given when I look back at what a difficult year this was for us as a family. The 'cross was, is and hopefully perennially will be my salvation, my medicine for keeping me on the straight and narrow. I pray my sons find their version of the 'cross...and bear it strongly.
OK, there *is* one more race on January 3rd in Lyons, but States was today so it's sort of a wrap. My full report coming when I am not so nuked. 10th on the day of extremely...EXTREMELY....fast racing. I can't complain. I am absolutely cooked.
Some initial digital celluloid.More tomorrow.
Arctic...that described the temps out early this AM and only the true flahutes were out for our pre-work hup session. Nothing much to report other than the engine is feeling good and I am still doing my voodoo rain or snow dance for this weekend. PLEASE Santa, bring me crap weather.
On the digital celluloid tip, I upped the ante recently and upgraded my point and shoot Cannon to a big boy Nikon D90. My GOD is this thing nuts. I have been inspired (as constantly reported upon) by PDX Cross and the other photographers in the various regions capturing our beautiful sport. I'm trying to be all artsy-like and shoot b & w....
Today was 2nd to last Wednesday Worlds. One more next week to prep for Nationals. A wave of sadness is enveloping me. Looking forward to KC!
A certain secret agent with the initials CG sent me some super secret spy photos captured from his leased U-2 Spy Plane. a bit of course is still missing form this shot but is the spirit of the course we'll face this Sunday.
I think personally the course HAS IT ALL! Stairs, sand, grass (or mud), pavement. Mmm. You want to see what this course looks like with a bit of mud, have a look at Joe S's Peloton Photos here from 2 years ago.
Turkey Day was awesome. Best in a long while Dinner with great neighbors...kids running wild having made themselves up like Native Americas, tons of good beer. Late night music DJ-ing to each other. An epic in itself. Friday, The Man was at bay and so played with the kids and met up with The VeloNews boys for some openers at Elks.
Then things went sideways...
Saturday AM I was gearing up for my revenge at Chatfield. I felt great that day a few weeks ago, my cold is all but gone, and I wanted to try and up the ante and get closer to the podium. 4th is good, but it's still 1st not-on-the-podium guy. I pack up and start to head south to the venue and get a call on my cell. It's my lady and when I pick up, she's screaming for me to turn around. She's cut the bejesus out of her hand on a broken dish in the kitchen. I abort and blaze back up home (thank God I was close!) and immediately see that this is beyond my butterfly stitching capabilities. A trip to the ER, skin and tendon sewn back together, the family and I hunkered down to take care of moms on Saturday. She's a rock start and doing fine...
Sunday. Cold and damp outside. Belgie style. No snow here but you can taste it in the air. I pack up the Rock Lobsters, emborcations and head south to the venue at Bear Creek Lake Park in Morrison...about 50 minutes South of me. I tell my wife not to handle any sharp knives and to leave the dishes....I'll get 'em when I get back! By the time I reach Golden CO, about 1/2 way there, snow...probably 2 inches and coming down. 30 degrees. Perfect.
At the venue it is coming down. There are STILL crowds at this Red Rocks Velo race, and all is being handled super PRO. Registration, course marshaling. You name it. I pre ride and the course is super technical...and then add snow. Holy crap...perfect. I wash out continually and then take my Typhoons down lower...and lower...and lower. 30 front and 31 rear. Amazing. My next pre ride lap I was sticking virtually everything. It glued over some amazingly dodgy ice sections.
We line up and I get a call up. Most of the usual suspects are there so it was not going to be easy today. Gun goes off and the WB, yesterday's winner at Chatfield and my bro, grabs the hole shot. Nice punch WB! We fly into the snowy singletrack immediately and start to flow. I stay in 2nd place through the first lap where me, WB, my team mate Whit Johnson and recent Cat 3 upgrade Mike Robson...also the Photographer for Moots! We get a fairly sizable gap by lap 2 and the 4 of us just flow like a 4 part train.
Roughly 3rd lap Mike comes to the front and ups the pace and by this time Whit is in 3rd place and me right behind. Whit has a bobble and I take the reigns at 3rd. Lap after lap we are trading spots. WB takes the front and gets a gab, Whit bridges and I sit on Mike. By the last lap, the BCS boys make their moves. Whit uses his former pro mountain biking skills and puts a gap into WB in the slick singletrack and I come through guns blazing through the volleyball sand section running its entirety and maintain my gap over Mike. Whit 1st, WB 2nd, Yours Truly, de laatste podiumplaats for 3rd. Mike trailed in 25 seconds and unbelievably it was roughly a minute and a 1/2 before the next wave came through.
Never a crash. Certainly a few slips and slides and feet out/off camber-ings, but man the bike performed. Never a mis shift with the SRAM and the tires were delicious.
Next week States. Week after that...Nats. See you in KC sports fans.
Whit rocking to 1st
The WB, super form at the right time. 2nd.
Yours truly. 3rd.
All's that is missing is a sleigh.
Matty Opp railing his Rhinos.