Entries in 2008 cross racing (53)
Stunning. I raced these courses here in Boulder (my report coming soon!) and when I see Rob's photos he so kindly shared with me to share with you, I am BLOWN away by our scenery here in the Bubble. It was an amazing two days of racing, the VeloNews party on Saturday night and seeing/catching up with old friends...
Enjoy Rob's pics for now. And as if I have to say this, the pictures were submitted to me in good faith from Rob so all copyrights are my home boy's!
Back in Boulder on Saturday from my trip abroad. Comfortably bloated along with a good case of mental and physical exhaustion. The perfect remedy: Squeeze your carcass into a skin suit and get cross eyed with 60 or so of your friends.
Sunday's course was at the Boulder Reservoir and put on by my team mate and race promoter Brian Hludzinski of Boulder Racing. Today was a special day in that my lady was doing her first cross race! More on that in a second.
First, the Res is an (in)famous course. It has spectacular vistas and lots of natural features such as rolling terrain and woods...but a massive dose of beach sand. Belgie style. We literally can make our own Koksijde here in Boulder. The only drawback of this cross-paradise are....
...goatheads. The nemesis of bike racers here in Colorado. They are like armor piercing thorns that cover the ground and are problematic for bare feet...but un-Stans'd bike tires as well. Warming up, I would ask everyone about their experiences and I got the sense that literally a 1/4 of the fields were getting flats. "Stay on the course" was the rule of the day. I bought inner tubes from Boulder Cycle Sport that had replaceable valve cores and pumped them full of Stans, using about a cup worth (e.g. the cup that comes with the bottle of Stans) in each tube. For what it's worth, I either did not get a goat head, or the Stans worked like a charm.
Warming up, the body was telling me lots of things. The feedback in general was neutral: "Just get cross eyed and do your best". The legs felt shallow but not bad. The body felt tired but not sick. I had that haze of jet lag going on too...you know what I mean...that sort of semi narcoleptic wave of tiredness that envelops you. But, I digress. I'm alive and I'm out racing!
The field in 35 A was stacked. Timmy, Phenicie, Carivou, Wardell, Gallegos, Oliver, Mike Hogan as well as the BCS crew me, Webber and Brian H. Special guest was our friend and known local hard man Whit Johnson. A thrilla in Manilla. ACA's Al does call ups and says we're going to roll to the 'true' start line. I am in the front row again and we casually drift up. As we are still rolling..."TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!" They blow the whistle! It's chaos. They never stopped us. We talked with the ACA folks afterward and resolved it but it was horse cocky. I ended up getting in the top 6-10 or so which is where I wanted to be anyways. Matty O jammed the first lap hard and I think paid for it as we started moving up and ejecting riders with flats or bobbled in the sand. I simply rolled. The mind never getting into that place of venom and go-go anger needed to bury yourself. I rode as clean as I could which was about a B+ but never had the legs to go deep on the extra long straights where I lost all my spots. The sandy beach section was chaos and still hadn't developed 'high ways' which the open men would have later on once all the other cats had formed the lines. I'd liked to have stayed on the bike and ridden the sand (see video below) but had to dismount and run each time. So, all said and done, I ended up an anonymous 15th and have to feel 'Zen' about it as I know where I should be and have GOT to have patience in myself to ramp up for when it is all important. The great news on the day is that my boy Webber took the W again for the 2nd week in a row.
WAY more importantly, it was my wife's first cross race! She was absolutely pumped. What we didn't tell her the week leading up is that the course she picked for her entree into cross racing was arguably one of the hardest of the year. Sorry hon! Didn't want to break your spirit! The sand, wind and goat heads make for an epic on most days the race comes through the Res. She killed it. Finishing on the lead lap of her category...the 35 Open women. She suffered silently and excellently each time having her mad husband and kids cheering her on up the long sandy beach run up. I think she's hooked!
Not a helluva lot of pics but here's some from me and others....
Boulder Res Cyclocross - October 26 2008 from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.
You must believe me when I say this: In no way shape or form did I Jedi mind-trick my wife into doing what she's about to do tomorrow:
SWEET!! She sprung it on me two weeks ago that she and her friend were 'just gonna do it'. Now, while my lady lives with likely the biggest cross geek of all time, this was very much her thing and honestly shows how powerful this whole sport is at hooking the innocent into its grip. The wave of growth this sport is reaching is clearly at its crest! Home makers and professionals alike are getting the bug. So good. So very good.
So before I made off on my trip to the UK this week, I set up a mini clinic for Amy and her friend Angie last weekend. We brought out the port-o-barriers and I gave them an hour's worth of the good stuff. Both these ladies rocked. Clearly they have some serious athletic talent, but after the instruction, they just got on with it inexplicably well. I've never seen anyone pick it up this fast. We did my basic 'intro to barriers' which breaks the process into three fairly easily learn-able chunks. And nothing is learned at high speed. All slow speed until the little nuances are felt, and then we crank up the speed once the comfort is there. The three pieces come together and we go full bore at the port o barriers to gain confidence Today, as you'll see, we upgraded to unmovable logs.
So, the evidence! Amy is ROCKING it. While I was away she practiced the barrier work skills by herself once, then we did these hot laps you see in the video along with a bit more instruction. All before the Boulder Res race tomorrow. Her first. I'm so proud of her...
from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.
And of course equally solid lap after lap. I made her get a bit cross-eyed so she could feel her body when it's gasping for air as you come into barriers. Mainly so she can know what to expect when you're under stress. But all she could say..."THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!"
I am so impressed and proud and in awe, I do not know what to say. My lady RIPS!!!
Mark Woolcott was out in force yesterday as well, with his bandoleer of cameras and light meters to capture all our saliva dripping mugs. Have a look at his gallery and buy some photos! Help out the photogs!!
So my boy Dave Hixson was out there racing and then filming the action! He threw together a great video of the 35 Opens and 3's and we put it up on my Vimeo account. Lots of Boulder Cycle Sport and Rocky Mounts action! All in all great days for both the squads I must say!!
The PRO photographers were out in force yesterday! As he was last week, Rob O'Dea was out with his gaggle of cameras on random parts of the course popping strobes and catching your smiling mugs in full flight. Click the image below to take you to his collection of Cat 3, 4, Open Women and Open Men.
OK. Where to begin? A zillion excuses could easily come out of my unworthy mouth (as I type this post with one hand...ha!) but truly none that I'd even dare insult you with. Bad strategy, bad form, bad technique...it all added up to an unbelievably hard day at Xilinx for the Blue Sky 'Cross Race. But this I will tell you: I am STILL so worked from this afternoon, I clearly left my spleen out there. Literally not wanting to say anything to anyone after the race I hurt so bad and escaped to my car where I sat in its open tailgate...and started to dry heave. Awesome day.
First a note about Blue Sky and the event. Core. I felt at home in some sort of weird way. OK, not weird as much as comforted. I've raced courses at Xilinx a zillion times over the years. Theirs was flat out hard. Challenging everything about my crossy-ness from it's 2.1 mile lap to its nasty climb on the back side to the seemingly 24" high barriers. The Blue Sky folks challenged you to be good. I failed today. The scene was unbelievable. USGP -style amenities and nearly the fields. Still only 600+ racers compared to our brethren in PDX putting up 1200+ racer numbers weekend after weekend. A special note about Rob Love (owner/proprietor of Blue Sky). Capital 'C' Core. Rob, you do so much for the sport and community, we need a sculpture of your bust on the Pearl Street Mall. Ha! But seriously, thanks for motivating your team as the support and organization was obvious and super dialed. And especially Dan Farrell who is the crossiest of the crossy. Pained face, white shoes, matching Ridley and all. I thank you all for your support.
OK, already, so the race. Call ups occurred today and my ass was still in the top 10. 20 were called and my 9th place got me in the front row (we'll see where I am after today, ahem...). All the gang was there except for Timmy who has family in town and homie knows his priorities. The WB Ward Baker was back from vacation and we were even blessed with Boups today doing a warm up in the 35 A's for his Open race later. So bottom line the 50+ starting would be throw down-ish for sure.
Waiting in the queue for the gun, I had to pull a funny ha ha and I yelled 'GO!' and you should have seen the jumps! HA! I though Hogan was gonna soil his chamois! Ha! Sorry bud! Eventually Al, our ACA official counted down and whistled the start.
The start was a long-ass uphill drag on pavement through the Start/Finish and apexed down hill before hitting the grass. My goal for the day was simple...and ultimately stupid: Win the hole shot (which I did) keep tempo for the first lap or two (which I did and won the 1st lap prime), split a group off of what I knew would be the strongest 10 (which I did) and sit in and work amongst them to try and do something on the day (which I DID NOT).
After lap two Dennis Farrel came by and as an experienced bike racer, worked me like his red-headed step child up the long drag on the back side. I turned around and looked at the WB to come through which my home boy did. This essentially stayed that way through lap 2.5 where Pete Webber, my team mate, came through and he yelled at me to stay on. I turned myself inside out to stay in and managed another 1/2 lap like this and started to unravel a bit. Phenecie and a flurry of others came through including the Spike Team armada.I'd eventually take some of the Spike guys back but Chuck Coyle and Jared would get the best of me today. I finally was able to sit on on this group and get the deep breaths cycled through I longed for. By lap 4 (of 6) I just felt awful...like the kind of awful that has you seriously doubting our ability to keep the "valve covers" in place...on both ends if you know what I mean. It's been a REALLY long time since I felt that type of race-induced sickness. It was hot out (75+) and I just felt absolutely uncomfortable the whole time. Oh, yeah, this is Cross. I forgot. You're supposed to feel that way.
By lap 5 I am in the top 10 maybe 11...and honestly saying to myself: "...smooth, that's all boy. Just be smooth and get home. Bell lap next. Just hang in and you're golden." Lots of drama is meanwhile going on at this time as well. The WB burped a Hutchinson and leaked its air, changed bikes and STILL bridged up to me and over took me for an eventual top 10. Nice work boy, seriously. As he comes past me in lap 5, he brings my other team mate Brian Hludinski up to me and he too is inspiring me to stay on. We make it to the barriers, and burn through and I commit the sins of ALL sins: I frigging clipped one of the tripple barriers with my cleat and completely yard-saled. I am absolutely serious when I say I did a FULL somersault (ask Joe D) and sat there. Specialzed S Works helmet mangled and I am just stunned. I work SO HARD on technique...train it to 100's of people and I came apart!!! Exhaustion and total lack of focus and WHA-BOOM! On the ground. I immediately have this HUGE blue ball of a hemotoma on my hand and it's hard to shift and brake. I have to shift my helmet around as it's nearly backwards. I am shell shocked and try to focus and get beck to flow. 2 dudes pass. I am getting deeper into the suffer cave. 3 more dudes pass as we go through for the bell lap as I can not keep it together. Suffering. I am thinking "this is frigging bad. You should be EMBARRASSED!!!" I make it through the wooded sections in a pack of 4. I drop 2 of them on the run up with the barriers and we get back to the pavement onto the start/finish area. Just another climb up the hill and I am done....yet I am with a guy. He fumbles momentarily and I just drop my SRAM Red into the 42x12 and hammer as hard as all get up and win the sprint....for 15th place! Ha! Joy. Hard, hard, hard.
After the sprint, I started to feel sick...I mean the true sick like the stomach upside down kind. People slapping my back saying good race...wanting to talk, etc. I just had to escape. So I rolled down to the car and as mentioned, had the dry heaves as I sat there in the back of the wagon. THAT is a day of cross....
The day's silver linings:
- Hearing my name multiple times every lap from the best fans. SO COOL! It is SO INSPIRING you guys. I am trying like all get up out there and when you yell that stuff, I go that extra bit deeper.
- Dave Towle's commentary. He was RIPPING out the race call action today and Dave., you too I appreciate as you rally the fans and racers up like none other.
- Cody O: Great to meet you today man!
- Rolling my Dugast on my B bike during warm up and not having it tear....Then again, Challenge tires are a-callin' me!
- My homeboy and team mate Pete Webber took the flowers with an impressive display of patience and eventual power. Wish I could say I helped you man!
- Not actually yacking.
Photo George Scott
Core. These guys are core! They love the 'cross like [insert bad analogy here of a drunk loving his drink or other somesuch bad analogy].
Needless to say, the BSV homies love their hup and have poured their significant resources into a race of full huptitude. Get all these SICK amenities:
- -FREE Brats on the grill (donations will be accepted however, and ALL proceeds will go to Valmont Bike Park)
- -Solid prize list http://www.blueskyvelo.com/cx/prizelist.htm
- -Dale's Pale Ale "bunnyhop the barriers" contest
- -PRO neutral support in the double-sided pit courtesy of Mavic SSC
- -Dave Towle announcing the action from the "Tower of Towle" stage
- -various raffle/giveaways from our sponsors in the expo area.
This is going to be SUPER fun.
Click on the image below for all the registration info you need! Pre-reg by the way is CHEAPER and FASTER!
You can cruise over to Mark Woolcott's site and check out some of the muddy action form the 35/4's, 35 Opens, 4's and 3's.
Dubba also cranked out a bunch of photos of the BCS folks and others. See 'em here or via the show below!