Entries in cyclocross (85)
Unbelievable weekend as you've all read by now. Compton is absolutely sick and deserving of the world cup win....the first by an American. Seeing her last weekend at the Redline and Boulder Cups, my buds and I were drop-jawed at her power. The sand was nothing for her....and literally she rode the entire sections while most the men's pros and 35 opens ran it. Sick.
Boom. That was the sound Lars made blowing Sven (his teamate...ha!) and everyone else up. Wellens had a great weekend obviously but Sven was not Nijs this weekend.
Totally weird observation. When Sven suffers, he switches his porting technique. Even in total deep mud like today, when he is on song, he ports under the down tube. But when the suffering sets in, he wraps the head tube. Weird. Maybe I'm just a total geek but it's just something I've noticed after watching zillions of hours of Flemish.
The WB's (way) better half fired up her new DSLR and grabbed some fantastic pics of last weekend's races. Here's a re-cast:
And another Jeff C pic.
Jeff C's lady caught this one of J-Pow. Check out the front clincher.
The Boulder Cup @ Harlow Platts
Yeah, yeah, I've said it before a ton of times on this here blog, but it's true, rest works. I touched a bike once this week as my body was yelling at my violently to slow the F down. Bottom line, today was a good day in the vet pro class for Rocky Mounts. More on that in a minute.
Today's race was held in Highland's Ranch CO. A bedroom community with lots of sub divisions....and even more churches. So with that theme known, today's race was called "On the Cross" and was put on by Bike Source. Honestly, I think this was the best organized race I have been to this year and the nicest folks. Yeah, the veritable cathedral we were racing around was semi-intimidating (Timmy, you would have probably sizzled a bit upon entering the compound....HA!) but the atmosphere was great and the free food, awesome schwag bag and organization with marshals in orange vests EVERYwhere really mad a big difference.
Me, Ward and Dave W from RM made the trek down to race the 35 Opens. As we see every weekend when we pull in, the Squires bros were out there in their masters race throwing down....putting all their ooomph into their identical Moots CX bikes.
We arrived, reg'd and suited up in the warm up kits and began the pre-ride. The course was classic Colorado CX. Lots of dirt fields, bumpy grass with some pavement for good measure. Today saw a set of triple barriers and a double barrier set on a run up which made the course well suited to me as it was twisty and technical with no sections where anyone would have a clear advantage, unless of course you are Dennis Farrell (more on that in a minute). Rolling on my warm up Dennis comes up to me and says: "You're running Dugasts on this today??" Well, yeah! They hooked up SO beautifully. The Rhino's bit into the crappy earth like buttah. Rolling back to the car to get changed, I saw why Dennis asked me that question: Another 'feature' of Colorado 'cross courses...a goat head. I pulled that thing out, applied a bit of spit to the hole and low and behold: No bubbles! A set of Dugasts saved. Thus, I lined up on my white Rock Lobster with a shitty old set of Rhinos that are hazed and I wouldn't be so heart broken if I nuked one.
The field was a decent sized one today (I'd say roughly 40-50?) with most of the usual suspects there today save my boy Timmy and Karl K. We got the call up and the group was ready to go. I whispered to Ward that I was going to win the hole shot today because the first section was tight and dodgy and I did not want to be caught in any meles.
"One minute gentlemen..." said the ACA official. "....30 seconds....10 seconds....TWEEEEEET!" We are off. I win the shot as planned without burning too many matches and get through the dodginess with Ward right behind me and I think Dennis behind him. Through the barriers and we are motoring. We get a split with all the usual suspects: Dennis, Ward, me, Jeff Wardell, Rod, Mitch, Chris Phenecie, etc. Dennis pulls up with me as does Ward and puts in an attack which gets 20 feet. Ward covers and it and whispers back that the situation is perfect.
We continue on and by lap 2 I witness what makes Dennis the caliber he is. He just applies another attack and that 20 seconds turns to 40 and Ward is put in difficulty. I'm close enough to see but so loaded up I can't react to even try to work with za WB. I continue to roll with a group of like 5 or 6 including Hartman, Wardell and three Green Mountain Sports boys: Phenecie, Rod and Mitch. Onl lap 3 or 4, Phenecie sees me suffering a bit on the front of this group and he attacks. His Green Mountian Sports guy just settle in and wait patiently like the good team mates they are. Adios Chris, nice work as usual! I settle in and literally for the WHOLE race it is our group of like 5 or 6 within a foot of each other training around the course. I decide that I NEED to do something smart so I settle in, do NOT work and sit on the back fairly comfortably of this 5 person group. Lap after lap the Squires bros and Doug in particular are feeding, cheering and waiting in the pits. Unbelievable team mates. We owe you something HUGE you guys.
Towards about 35 minutes, Rod puts in an attack after working his way up through the 5 of us which essentially leaves me, Hartman, Jeff W and the rest of the Green Mountain squad. They play very shrewdly and let Rod go forcing Jeff Hartman to use that Diesel of his to bridge and pull us. He doesn't pull us back as Rod is on song today. Nice work man!
Throughout the race, Mark Woollcott is cheering me on SO SUPPORTIVELY it is crazy. From under trees, laying n the ground by the barriers...he was popping out of everywhere! Thanks brother. He's saying "Just roll! You're playing it smart!!". Apparently he's yelling at Ward with the same type of support which is rad. Quote of the day:
Mark: "Ward, you got Farrell! Just a few seconds back! You're catching him! Oh, and I'm telling Dennis that too next lap!"
HA! Thanks man. We need that against hard men like Dennis!
So, bell lap and I am suffering a bit and the group concedes a bit. I hear the announcer call Ward's name rolling in, in 2nd as I am pulling up the pavement in the final stretch. He's behind the day's winner, Dennis Farrell by a 1/2 minute to maybe 40 seconds which is so incredible. Our group comes in like 30-50 seconds after that and by the last 1/2 of the last lap the concessions were going on and finally gaps of 5 seconds between riders formed. Jeff gaps be by 10 seconds and I can not bridge back to make it a sprint but settle in satisfied with an 8th or maybe 9th. Dave Weber my team mate I see about 20 seconds behind me and he is on a break through day! Nice boy!! So for the RM'ers today, it was solid: All of us in the top 10 with a lot of great racing going on. The cool part is that I am again crawling back./ I did not have the punch bt I raced smart, I hung in teh whole race with a truly hard group of guys and recognize that when I train and 'take', I need remember to 'give back'. Especially at this time of year.
So I get home and my beautiful lady has a cold Samuel Smith's Nut Brown waiting. Kind. I open up the schwag bag and it is awesome. Hammer gels, powder, e-Caps, a water bottle and the new CX Magazine as has been advertised here on their blog. I crack that beetach open as I've always wanted to start a print edition of my rants and evangelisms of 'cross to the masses....in a very glossy, color sort of way that only a fresh new magazine can deliver. The mag looks pretty interesting and I'll tear it apart tonight when I crawl into bed. But on a quick pass through it was the last page....the back cover....which caught my eye.
In the blink of an eye I had a semi-sexual reaction (Sidebar: Mom, I know you read this blog so I am officially coming out of the closet, er ah garage: I am a cylosexual. There I said it). I got a wet spot when I saw the picture of this Zancanato custom made Hup United edition ridiclo-steed. Yum fricken yum.
My God, the paint, the FMB's mounted to rare Mavic Classics tubular rims and the pimp white saddle and bar tape. You GO boy. I want to sort of hump it a little. Just a little.
So here in all its glory is the picture that was used in the mag shot.
Ta-fricken-da! Like butta:
I'll be hoisting up the big girl undies as far as possible to race the On the Cross race held in scenic Highlands Ranch CO tomorrow considering my implosion a week ago. Last weekend's debacle is still looming in my brian but a week of just getting away from cyclo-cross bikes and the pressure to just stay on it was part of my agenda. I'm way happier and truly have no idea how the body will respond this weekend but a couple of days on lunch time rides on my single speed brought smiles to my face that haven't been there in a while. I want to get over this mid season hump and in parallel am willing the work badness to stop. I am trying like hell to Jedi Mind Trick the work drama to move from me and slap its all-consuming badness on some other poor sucker. Be gone work shite. Be gone.
Tomorrow, fun 'cross with WB and Dave. No expectations. No pressure....whatever. Just me and some pain for an hour or so.
Better news: Mol is a go for me and a tight crew who have committed. More on that in an upcoming post We've got the hook ups over seas and the race schedule is coming into view.
Old home Monday to Friday this coming week for the DEBACLE so again, limited training but such is life. I'm gonna pack up and bring the 1 x 1 along and go and be with some of my core family for some smiles. An epic night ride I hear is in order!
Somewhere back in Frisco, I left my form...and my fun unfortunately. There it was at that Nordic Center: a peak and a signal that I needed to rest and build on it. What did I do? I built a house of cards and kept going. Hard. This weekend symbolized how the human body can decompose into a shallow carcass with absolutely nothing inside. Spectacular implosion. It was awesome to witness I'd guess! Ha!
Race 1: Redline Cup at the Boulder Reservoir.
Saturday's race was held at the 'Rez' in windy conditions. Tents were blowing everywhere as was the steel orange fencing which apparently took some racer out! So, rest assured it was going to be a suffer fest. I make my way to the registration center, see some familiar faces, get signed up and then they hand me the number.
Queue in the horror music. I'd bet that the Swobo guys would have loved it. I rolled my eyes, pinned it up and just got on with it.
I got the call up once more as I still miraculously had some ACA clout. Today I opted for my white Rock Lobster with Challenge Griffo clinchers given the goat heads that were bound to get someone today. I got one within 15 feet of the first dirt section Friday after helping set up the course so I was preparing for the worst. In fact, I even went to Boulder Cycle Sport and Dwayne hooked me up with some of those slime rim strips that sit in between the tube and the tire casing. Paranoia...
ACA Al counted down "15 seconds gentlemen....GO!" and we were off. I settled in with the WB per plan in 8 to 10th. No hole shots today but would have been easy to do. I wanted to ramp into my race. After the gun, the WB said 'nice work' to me when we merged into our places in the top 10 or so on the 1st lap and was pumped as we'd let folks work and we'd sit in and protected from the West to East blowing wind. Jeff Wardell won the hole shot. Lap 2-3 and things are still OK. I am floating in about 11th to 13th and feeling OK. I do not feel a punch so to speak in the body but absolutely enough to finish within a top 10 to 15 in our huge field (I believe 55 or 60 starters).
The race continues on and the suffering begins. I get caught out after a bobble while grooving with Ward and like 'that' I was trapped in no mans land....out in the wind. I dropped my head and just got on with it. I come through mid race towards the wooded section by the beach and Rod Y and Jeff W are off their bikes, on the course, both unraveling course tape from their wheels and sprockets. The wind is blowing so hard it is throwing the course tape into the racers....reaching out and grabbing unsuspecting handlebars or wheels at will. Meanwhile, Dave Towle lap after lap is ROARING out names including mine and it is motivating. Thanks Dave!
By the 2nd to last lap, I am making up ground. I am in 17th or possibly 18th spot. No brainer finish in top 20. Not great but I'll take it. Then...."what the?". Soft rear tire. Yup. Goat head. I am on the back side of the course probably as far away from the pits as you can be. I ride ever so gingerly and like that: "whoosh....whoosh...whoosh...whoosh...whoosh...whoosh..." Jeff Wardell's group of 5 or 6 bridge to me and just roll on past me at their full gallop while I am rolling along like a snail.
I slip and slide on over to towards the pits and raise my hand. As always, the unbelievable Squires Brothers....Rick and Doug...see me. I raise my hand and they're ready. I come in to the pits and Rick grabs my white bike while Doug hands me my freshie. Total pro bike change and I thank those great team mates immensely.
I finish out the bell lap and roll in a fairly pedestrian 24th place. The placing belies the effort and threw me outside the points. It was what it was.
Thank you EVERYONE for cheering. Again, it was so intense to hear "Go Greg!" or Rock it Mud and Cowbells!" from complete strangers. So unbelievably rad. I failed you guys!
Race 2: Boulder Cup - Harlow Platts Park .
I woke up at what I thought was like 7 AM. A miracle if there was one but little did I know it was 6 AM....Daylight Savings time. Yes, I am one of those people I guess who forgets the DST thing. I pack up and roll the grocery getter over to Harlow Platts and register. Thankfully today, no 666 but I think that the bad mojo was settled in my muscle tissue already.
Warming up was another case of "Uh oh. You've got nothing Greg." In fact, I woke up in the AM and already knew (seeing a pattern in me faithful M & C readers???). The wind is howling yet again today albeit not as bad today. Tim and I talk pre-race and I tell him that it ain't in there today. He looks at me and says he hears me.
Some how, I get the call up again! Ha! No, I am not paying anyone off. We line up and I have a prime 2nd row position. I am stoked on it as it means I can 'settle in'. and just race the race. My head is just settling the need to finish in the top 20. Just grab me some points and then rest.
"15 seconds gentlemen (deja vous)....TWEEEET!!! (whistle today). We're off. MASSIVE crowds. Cheering and noise and Dave Towle is again blaring out the goodness. It is truly exciting. I'm in the top 15 on lap one. So all is good.
And then....it begins. That it being my demise. My decomposition. My spectacular implosion.
The house of cards starts to decompose. One card at a time, lap after lap.
I can not describe for you the suffering. I have been racing bikes a long time and you need only believe me when I say that I should have just crawled off my bike....but I will never do that. I paid my money, I'm just going for it be damned of placing.
There is nothing to say. The race was inexplicably hard for me and I had a body that had absolutely nothing. In fact, when I came through the finish....in my abysmal 34th place....I can not tell you how badly my jaw hurt. Apparently I had been grinding my teeth and clinching them the whole time and as I type, my jaw is STILL sore.
Here is all I am going to say....and this is more for me when I go back and read this diary and less for you who by now are sick of me crying like a beeatch:
Greg: You can't keep this pace up of family, training, racing and work while traveling all over this planet. You can not do it all. Listen to the signs. Take a break. Relax.
10-4 Greg. Will comply.
So after my race, I take off my skin suit, throw on my civies and go to say some quick hellos to some friends, take some quick photos of the pro men lining up and then I am going to head out. I grab a Boulder Cyclocross Ale in the beer garden and as I am doing that the pro mens field is in like lap two.
I keep hearing Dave Towle: "And there's Brandon Dwight!"
Up oh. I am hooked now. Dubba is on fire and I am NOT leaving until I see this out. Lap after lap, Brandon is hanging. Taking back places and settling in to what (at least I feel) is his breakthrough race. This was SPECTACULAR to watch. A great friend and true worker-racer in the absolute and utter mix with the best in our country.
Dubba: Kudos, brother.
So, all in all folks, it was a spectacular weekend. I am SUCH a cyclocross fan that my shitty placings and the depth of suffering I went through just faded away. I am 36 and stoked I can be doing this. I realize who I am. More importantly I am enamored with this sport of ours. In fact, I spent most of the Pro race yesterday standing next to this older woman who came to spectate and I walked her through what was going on. She had SO many questions and was like a girl in a toy store. She was hooked!
My digital celluloid of Boulder Cup yesterday. I noticed after positing that they are really big and Here is the direct link to in my PhotoBucket album.
Katie giving the VN interview after her shellacking.
Johannes and Stu Thorne from Cyclocrossworld.com.
Dubba called up.
Tyler and Tonkin.
Tyler and Tonkin 2.
Freakish Scotland Braveheart dudes 2
Freakish Scotland Braveheart dudes 2
Pro men front row.
Parbo and Trebon.
Pro mens start.
The beer garden.
Lane and his lady.
Vermark clothings US guy. Funny mo fo!
Jared and bud.
Tonkin the tank.
Corey discovering something is amiss.
Corey bunny hopped then blew his chain off. C was one of only two (he and Wells) who bunny hopped!
Wicks getting it done.
Kabush. A true hero of mine.
Todd bunny hopped teh barriers every time. He made it look more efficient. Insane.
Travis Brown riding his 1 x 1 (44 x 16). He is bar none my absolute hands down hero. I STILL have a Mountain Bike magazine from like 94 with him on it. Loved him then. Love him now.
Troy rocking it.
Chris G....who RUNS the race....literally patrolling picking up garbage. It's ALL in the details.
Tim and Powers.
The race was RIGHT here. Tim and Powers. Lap after lap marking each other.
Wicks just did not have the snap this year like Trebon did but was really impressive to watch.
Horner throwing down. The guys can't even remount but loves the 'cross. I got a chance to speak with him and he's a neat guy.
Ross Schnell apparently per AC2 in his 2nd cross race...ever. And nailed a top 10 or so.
Colby re mounting.
Matt P! Holy GOD. riding a Primus Mootry single speed (44 x 16), he was truly in the race and when he yelled at Brandon to motivate him near the sand section, it was EPIC. true Boulderites helping out each other.
Todd Wells post race. Unbelievable come back from a broken chain.
Dubba post race. A wink 'cause he knew the form was there?
Some Vid. More coming later.
I have mad pics and video of the mens pro race....and invariably the legions of friends and family I had on the courses the last two days will have photos of my races and my, uh.....let's just say the house of cards I built came a tumblin' down. D'oh!
Time to rest now.
As I predicted, Klaas got his W in Eernegem today. He's come so close since day one of the season and I knew he was getting the blood thirst towards the end of last season. It was obvious that he'd be rolling this year as he's just coming into that sweet spot age.
I'll see if I can recast some pics later today after my race...
That's right! HA! I'm locked and loaded for Belgium! I am inexplicably excited. This has been an amazing year of ups and downs but my focus on this goal has been what's gotten me though. Each Friday since 2006 my Outlook Reminder throws up a reminder to me that I will be in Belgium in 2008. I see it and I chuckle to myself. I simply visualize what it's going to be like....what I'll see, who I'll meet, how I'll go, how the equipment will work, etc etc and I get into this uncontrollable smile state. Can't wipe it off my mug once my wheels start turning in my head thinking about it.
I will be having some awesome travel companions on the journey and they are working feverishly to get all their plans dialed. I am so pumped.
This is an AWESOME little video clip of the Koppencross highlights from today. I still do not know if I am in love with the 07/08 UCI points leader uniform, this year modeled by Sven in a fairly pedestrian blue. I was down with Sven's perennial vertically striped UCI leaders jersey which essentially has been his for 10 years. If you read the Cycling News coverage of the race today, Wellens pulled back Nys and bridged up in what sounded like a throw down last two laps, only to get dropped like a bad habit by Sven the Cannibal on the bell lap. The sequence where Bart bridges back at the crest of the Kopp and Nascar's into Sven to take the line back onto the hill traversing the top of the field on the Kopp is classic. You go Bart.
I can not wait to get my first shipment of DVD's Joe! Oh, I owe you some casholine, don't I?