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Entries in boulder cycle sport (15)

Cross Racing Week 5: Belgium at altitude.

The weather as I mentioned earlier today provided the absolute, most sincerely awesome conditions for racing the 'cross. I swear to you that you had to rub your eyes to ensure you were not in some muddy field in Belgium. The BoulderRacing team put together such a spectacular course, I ended up calling almost all of my best buds methodically to ensure they had raced that day and hear how happy they were (as it was THAT obvious that the course was labored over). Let me talk a little bit about the course first, before the day...

  • 1 fallen log dismount
  • a triple dismount of sets of logs
  • a set of run up double barriers
  • a set of hot triple barriers
  • deliciously technical wooded sections
  • S-turned pavement sections
  • and one full-on Belgie style muddy field with ridiculously sick laid out turns ranging from drag strip straights that caused beautiful rooster tails of mud spitting out the back when you got your Sven on to flow-y carving turns that needed you to ensure you fully dialed in your tires before you toed the line.

MY GOD!! I will dream about this course for a month. It replicated...end bettered...the courses we railed in Belgium this past January.

So to the race. Truthfully, as egotistical as it sounds, I woke up at 5:20 this AM swore to God I was going to win. The fact I've been devoid of quality training, been on the road this week and am spitting vinegar with angst these days only added to my fire. I didn't care who showed up. I just wanted to unleash something because I wanted to. The weather made me smile in a rather sinister way as I just about salivated thinking about the suffering that would take place.

After some hot laps, I dialed in my Dugasts at roughly 35-38 PSI (F/R). It was clearly a low(er) pressure kind of day as the course demanded absolute flow. You had to be upright today and not even necessarily fast all the time on this course...just precise and on TWO WHEELS all the time to keep your advantages in tact throughout the race. Tire pressure is that insurance system.

We lined up in a moderate field. I'd say 35 to 40. The weather was about 39 degrees and misty rain. Perfect. They did call ups...but not for ACA overall, but from Boulder Racing series overall...which I missed the first race of. So I lined up 2nd row specifically choosing Timmy and and told him sternly: "Homes, just drill the start." I gut a definitive "Yup" in response. I didn't know a lot of the dudes being called up and was sketched as the usual suspects in the front know each other so specifically, we are fluid and safe.

In the line up today, I had what I'd never had before...teammates! PLURAL! And this would be a decisive factor today for our placings. Me, Pete Webber and Brian Hludinski. of Boulder Cycle Sport.

"GO!" says the ACA official and we are off. Timmy as promised punched a hole and in 50 meters I went from back 20 to top 4. Perfect. THANK YOU MAN. We got into the woods first and as we were concerned, a guy we'd never seen before comes barreling in and NASCARs with Timmy and trades paint. Classic. We are all typically so fluid that this was tough to stomach. So with Timmy to the side, I literally did a run through the initial technical sections to get past this guy and set up shop to control him and things. By the time we were out of the technical section and on teh pavement, we'd already got a split of the top 10. NASCAR guy is still in the midst as we barrel down into the muddy fields. It's at this moment I give a 'huh'? He slows down considerably so I yell at the guy to 'UP THE PACE!' I come around him and drop the anvil, flow through the barriers and get back onto the pavement with people shouting at me '20 seconds!' I guess I have a gap.

Flowing into Lap 2, Tim, JJ Clark of Spike Shooter, Jeff Wardell of Excel Sports and my team mate Pete Webber bridge up. Pete launches this attack and I smile as I finally get to sit in. I lamely attempt to block....just slow down a bit...and the 3 come by me. We flow and JJ races hard to bridge to the attacking Webber with Timmy and Jeff in tow and I snap and decide I need to conserve.

By the closing minutes I am still feeling good and trying to up the pace to catch Tim and crew. Webber, my bro, has the worlds worst moment and flats and requires a bike change. He was destined for the W I am certain. At about this time, my OTHER team mat (I can;t believe I have team mates!) Brian Hludzinski bridges up. We work hard lap after lap trading tempo on various parts of the course. Throwing it down. We can see that Brian Maslach of Spike Shooter is coming on us like a freight train in the last lap. I make the call and just throw it down and Brian blocks. I come in in 5th about 30-45 seconds behind the top 4 with a sprint shoot out between the Brians behind me.

Awesome race. Just awesome. Truthfully, I was so in the zone of thinking THIS IS CROSS!!! while I was racing I probably could have placed better! HA! It was just so perfect...the weather..the course...teammates in the mix. I felt....well, I felt at home in some weird way. Not i=one slip today. Technically perfect. Maybe every so slightly cleaner through certain sections but sincerely no complaints. Just more power needed to bridge and stay connected.

More race photos are on their way courtesy of Mark Wollcott Photography who was out there with his SLR's firing strobes like machine guns. But my good bud and fellow Valmont Bike Park advocate Zach Lee captured some awesome pics of the course! Enjoy his digital celluloid!

'Cross on...

VeloNews 'Cross Videos

Check out Dubba's overviews with Neal Rogers on 'cross equipment and technique....sort of a high level re-cap of what we teach on the Wednesday clinics. Speaking of which, I'm not going to be at BCS tomorrow night as I am on the road for work! Call the shop ahead 303.444.BIKE to ensure there is a clinic tomorrow as we have great coaches stepping in when Dubba and I can not make it.

BCSCX Clinic No. 2!

OK, CLEARLY 'cross is growing off the charts. I think we had double the amount of people here at tonight's clinic that we had last week. INCREDIBLE! Again we had children, pro 1-2's AND national champions in our midst, all honing their skills to completely rip it this season. In fact, I even think some confidence is brewing on how the gauntlet is going to be thrown down, especially on other cross hotbeds in our big Nation. I hear PDX is in the cross hairs of a few Boulder 'crossers:

Ha! Kidding Chris D and our 'cross brethren in Portland. But seriously, watch your backs.


Today we had so many folks, Dubba, Matt Pacocha and I had to break the main group into roughly 3 groups of 15-20 and focus on individuals. Today, we re-capped our skills from last week, then broke into these groups and went deeper into the nuances. We capped it off with start drills. I damn near killed myself demonstrating fdast starts by blowing the chain right off my bike! Ha!

But all said and done, I am in LOVE with watching folks fall in LOVE with this sport.

Digital celluloid:

Dubba's new toy.
Challenge White Sex file treads.
Kabush: careful when you remount cause I think Dubba stole your seat.
Velonews was on staff shooting photos and video.
Only a section of the people who came tonight...I need a fisheye!
Yup. This is about family. SO good! Can't wait for my boys to hup it up

BCSCX Clinic No. 1!

What a phenomenal turnout last night! Thank you all for coming! I think there were between 35-40 people. Sick. We had so much fun getting our 'cross on. 10 year old kids to Open/Pro level racers were in attendance, listening attentively to the instruction going on...instruction designed to make the experience of cyclocross more enjoyable...and make Colorado racers FASTER!

Last night we covered a lot...and will be reviewed next 'class' (next Wednesday at 5:50 PM at Boulder Cycle Sport). Last night we dove into:

  • Dismounts
  • Porting
  • Remounts
Next week we'll follow a progression and refresh those skills learned last night to bring you all forward into new skills.

Of course, some digital celluloid!:

Velonews' Matt Pacocha had a delectable new toy he's testing....
Riders listening to the gospel
Kids and pros alike in attendance...
Nick Stevens was there filming for the Valmont Bike Park
Folks practicing their new skills
Ah, 'cross commeraderie

More instruction....
And more practicing!To the volunteers go the spoils!! Thank you AVERY for donating these delicious samples to Brandon and I! You guys are OFF THE HOOK! So cool of you!

Making the more ways than one

Day 13...and the ribs are starting to feel a bit better, although I can feel the lowest one crunch around a bit. Yes, it is absolutely disturbing to feel that. 4-6 weeks says the doc. I did not ask for what that means so I may be seen doing the secret training...

But enough of that. I've been through annoying injuries before and I'll bounce back. But I am bummed as I've been champing at the bit to talk about this coming cross season and all the exciting stuff that is taking shape. It's been a glimmer of fun for me to distract my mind with in a summer of absolute heartfelt agony.

So, without further adieu, what *is* going on this season? I guess it is all rooted in Belgium where Brandon and I talked deeply about the BCS CX team...and creating a 'cross-specific team in general....and what could be done with it. Mainly it centered around pure passion for the sport and how we love it deeply...and how folks really seem to be falling in love like we have been. But, the interesting thing is, with all these people...and MANY first time adults....pouring into the sport, how are they learning what to do? Are they enjoying themselves? Who is 'coaching' them...when we all know SO many adults are too shy or 'don't have the time' to get taught. Who is teaching the the basics? The history? The technology?

By ALL definitions, people need BIKE PRACTICE <--and yes I'm quoting Tim.

Literally, the fundamentals need to be taught to those flooding into the sport. There is no difference between the type of repetitive motions a baseball player needs to go through to perfect, say, bunting, than that of a 'crosser's needs...say, porting or re-mounting. Over and over and over and over again the motion of properly sliding back on the bike (note I did not say JUMP back on the bike) need to be taught in fine detail. So, the lessons, skills, techniques, etc will be taught to them to help ensure their entire experience with the sport is super fun and allow them a path to continually see improvement. Joe Ball taught me...and you all have a story of a guy or gal who taught you. It's those experiences that seal the contagious spirit and make lifer's out of the newbies.

So with these thoughts in mind, and finally coming out of "the summer I want to forget", I'm proud to say that made the leap to hook up with Dubba for this coming season as BCS team rider and cross 'evangelist'. My family of compadres at Rockymounts are all in support of the concept and the move and the need for me to focus my time on this, which is so close to my heart.

So, what is at the core of all this? I can net it out this way:

  • The BCS Cross Team is all cross...all the time.
  • The team's focus is pure evangelism for the sport we love and passing that spirit on to folks of all abilities and all ages.
  • Education will be my primary focus this season. Teaching and involving myself in clinics....and with much as possible, wherever and whenever possible.
I'm psyched...even with my ribs keeping me up at night.

So with this move to BCS and teaming up with Dubba, there'll be new colors and new equipment to rely on....and as many of you know, I am pretty obsessive about my bikes and a Class A snob for knowing what I like...and what I don't like. So, I wanted to send a shout out to those who believe in this old crippled guy (who cries like a baby....).

Boulder Cycle Sport: Brandon and most importantly the boys at the shop....Dwayne, Mike, Coleman, Evan and Jeremiah have been there for me non stop no matter what uniform I wear for years. With my crazy schedule, these guys dial in my bikes and genuinely care about the quality of my ride, and for that I am grateful. It has made all the difference these years.

TRP Brakes: I have gone on and on and on and on and on about these unbelievable pieces of cyclocross art. All my bikes will be equipped with TRP stoppers...the EuroX Carbon and EuroX Magnesiums. This is a company that HAS LISTENED to 'crossers and delivered on all the little nuances such as toe-in, micro adjustments pad width, pad name it. They did NOT just replicate an ancient version of old mountain bike or touring cantilever design. Perfection. Especially for stopping a carcass like mine.
The very fine folks at SRAM have enabled me to ride INCREDIBLE product: Their Red and Force groups. When I saw Brandon installing these at the beginning of last season. I got all wobbly knee'd. I lusted the lever design and knew it would be a PERFECT application for 'cross. No cables to get in the way when porting (the way I do), simplicity and tightness in all made sense. Funny that Tim Johnson won the Nationals with his Red group....and Brandon the Master National stars and bars with his Force group. I am stoked to have made the leap!

There are so many other folks making huge commitments to this team...and the sport in general....that I will take more time in future posts to highlight them as well. The folks above have truly shown faith in me and I am eternally grateful. I'm going to work my butt of and play catch up and do the best I can this season, but ultimately.....

...bring you a message of salvation! I'll be an evangelizin' fool

'Cross on, crossers.

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