Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ranks and Placards

Creative Commons License

Search Page Section

Entries in Za Trip 2011 (6)

Za Trip 2011 | Master’s Worlds and an Assenende

Za Trip 2011– she is done.

It was very safe to say that the Boulder crew came to Belgium unknown…and they leave well known. Especially the boys in Orange and Black. Unbelievable efforts by the entire crew…and I truly think they left an impression on the racers that the US fields are deep…and strong and taking the Masters and Elite Worlds in ‘12/’13 Extremely seriously.

As for the Master’s Worlds, our friends at CXMagazine published a brief report of the antics and re-casted the videos of Brother Webber seen below in earlier posts previewing the course. You can catch up on the videos to re-cap but the race was epic and the ‘Za Trip’ boys killed it in the Men 40-44. This was a first Master’s World Championship for all of them…with the exception of Pete having done the Elite Worlds in Koksijde in 1994. Their results are fantastic and shows the class of our Master’s riding in the US.

  • Pete Webber 4th
  • Brandon Dwight 6th
  • Ward Baker 12th
  • Kurt Perham 14th
  • Brian Hludzinski 16th
  • Michael Robson 18th

I’m extremely proud of them and truly looking forward to them coming home and hear the stories.

Ward MAsters Worlds 2011

Seen above in the green DCM kit is Nico Berckmans…and to the left in the picture in the all white Stevens kit is Jens Schwedler. These guys (scoring 1 & 2) in the race put on a schooling as you’ll see in this video. Note the time gaps…



With that epic day of racing in Mol in their legs, today, Sunday the 23’rd, the boys had one last race to do…and one BIG race to go and watch. The Boulder crew made their way to their FINAL race in Assende, Belgium…the last race of the Flemish Cup. It was a Boulder Cycle Sport affair with Brandon taking the flowers with Za Webber in 2nd.


All the boys crushed it today putting 5 into the top 7 amazingly. I remember the last race i did on "Za Trip 1' and how spent I was after Mol. And of course Fort 6 (the next day's race) was the hilliest and muddiest race I’d every experienced! OUCH! These boys leave knowing how the sport is raced and raced hard in 'the fields' and what great champions are like (like Mario below) and that we have a great admiration and passion for the sport.


Now, on to the late day fun! With their faces washed and bikes packed for the plane trip home tomorrow, the crew were able to go and spectate at the World Cup in Hoogerheide. Clearly the boys were celebrating given the beer and their new found VIP passes (don’t ask…)

BCS Boys

So with some fine Belgian Brown flowing through their blood streams and with backpacks full of high end HD recording devices…what’s a bunch of cross nerds to do? Go explore…

First, Pete was able to catch up with the legend, Adri van der Poel at the Hoogerheide World Cup race today. Have a view.



They then cornered our good friends, like Johs, Jeremy and Timmy for some camera time. Just enough to stress ‘em all out.



Pete then goes and tries to invade Niels’ ‘compound’…



After the race, you can clearly see the, um, “excitement” Webber has with his stalking of Styby. Or maybe it’s the beer.


That’s it folks, the trip, she is DONE! We’re all proud of the crew here in the US….especially here in Boulder…and most especially the author. If I could not be there with my best friends, I wanted to help articulate the great and fun things these guys are doing for the sport.

Now get home boys. I’m tired of the awesomeness you just experienced.

Za Trip 2011 | Hot Laps and Cornering Tips

Michael strapped on the Contour Cam and pointed it back at the boys during a hot lap of the 2011 Master’s Worlds Course in Mol. Brandon also provides some pro-level cornering advice in the sand.

Cornering tips from Dubba…


Za Trip 2011 | Wednesday Worlds in Mol and a visit to Ridley

Ah, the vacation spot on the ‘Silver Lake’ (Zilvermeer). An in-land oasis where 1000’s of Belgians enjoy themselves lying lazily on the white beach sand every summer, basking in the sun. But come January, Mol-Zilvermeer becomes a place of intolerable suffering…where Champions are made and where the best of the ‘old’ classes can have a shot to don the illustrious dark blue World Champion’s jersey for their efforts competing in the Cyclocross Master’s World Championships. Mol is epic. Mol is beautiful. Mol is a phenomenal place to have a ‘cross. It will be missed, but the excitement for Master’s Worlds in Louisville, KY USA is reaching a fever pitch.

Pete and Za Boys packed up their rental Sprinter van and headed to Mol Wednesday for a ‘Wednesday Worlds” of their own. They pre-rode this Saturday’s World Championship course, and Pete checks in. You’ll also see that they had a field trip to see our very good friends and BoulderCX sponsor Ridley Bikes. See those photos below from Michael Robson’s professional lens.

And now, “Turbo Pete” Webber!…

Hey Cyclocross Fans!

Yesterday, Wednesday, our crew travelled to Mol to pre-ride the track for Worlds.

The course is pretty awesome. It is mostly flat, with a good mixture of high speed and slower sections. There are a zillion turns, mostly fast and with a good groove. There are a few tight 180s with a deep rut defining the best line. You've got to be balanced on the bike and hit the rut while leaning and turning. The main challenge is sand. There are two major sand pits, one is a long beach section, the other is in the forest. Both are ride-able if you hit the ruts right, but if you screw up you can loose significant time. They are pretty fast when you have a clean line, but traffic will up the difficulty. The beach section is directly following the start/finish, and it will be chaos on the first lap. Since call ups are in a random order, luck will play a big role. It will be essential to get thru the beach clean on the first lap.

Most of the course is under a canopy of pine trees, and the pine needles are combined with a dark, sandy loamy soil. In some places it is hard-pack, in other places it is loose and rutted. Water drains quickly, so mud will not be an issue. There is one set of 6 log stairs, and one set of double planks. No running otherwise. Overall, the technical challenge is moderate. The physical challenge is definitely high. The soft ground requires power, the many turns require sprinting, and the sand pits keep your heart rate pinned. The rider with good legs, high-end speed, solid technical skills, and no mistakes will win.

Thanks for the update Pete!

It also must be remembered that this crew of guys are amazing bike nerds. I mean, Michael Robson in himself is at galactic levels of bike geek-dom. I am often in awe…and in shock…at the time he spends tweaking and experimenting with bikes. So, he and Ward put together some “Cross Tips” for us. Check ‘em out…




Here are a collection of photos from the course. Note the mixture of sand and loamy soil. I remember those roots REALLY vividly!


Finally, as mentioned, the squad donned their ‘day clothes’ and visited our amazing friends and BoulderCX Sponsor, Ridley Bikes. I’ve written enough about their amazing products having been on X-Night’s and X-Fires the last 2 years. Game changing. Michael Robson, pro photographer, Aussie (Oi! Oi! Oi!), mad crosser and friend snapped a beautiful essay below. The Ridley operation is surgically clean. Amazing…












Za Trip 2011 | R & R Days = (you guessed it) Beer

The boys got on their bikes today with the rest of Za North Americans to shake out the badness in their legs before proceeding to fill up said 'hollow' legs with the brown bubbly goodness, Belgium is famous for.

Pete’s video check in…



Pete interviews Dubba…



With the ride done, the crew packed up and headed the 5 clicks to the Roman brewery to get on the ‘Schlameel, Schlamazel’ and tasted the frothy goodness. Yes, this is the part that should make us all, who are unshowered and hunched over our PC’s the last 2 weeks (OK, maybe just me…) insanely jealous.

pete beer

the crew beer




Za Trip 2011 | Bakel, Za Netherlands

2 years and 3 days ago…exactly…my Dugast rubber was tearing through this most epic of courses in Bakel, The Netherlands. It was epic and would go down in the annals as the most brilliant course I’d ever been on. This still holds true to this day. I literally dream about that course and want to make it a goal to get back again next year.

As the boys were getting ready to depart for the trip, I told them that while “the big show” is Mol, the race I KNEW they’d fall in love with what was in store for them in Bakel. It offers everything we’re good at with respect to our core group of buds here in Colorado: Flowy singletrack, top-end bike handling, highly technical cornering, etc).

And so it came to pass as you’ll see that the boys had an amazing day. Our good friend Edwin Raats stole the top-step bouquet from a hard charging Brandon (2nd) and Pete (3rd) with the other ‘Za Trip’ boys pulling in prijs geld as well. I think it is extremely safe to say that Edwin is determined not to wear his Dutch National Master’s Champion kit next season, but the dark blue Master’s WK kit instead.

I’ll let the guy’s pictures and words tell the rest of the story about Bakel today…but of ALL the races these guys are doing on this year’s ‘Za Trip’ program, Bakel I’m sure will leave a strong pull to come back like it has for me.

Pete's video check in... 

Dubba interviews Brian, Michael and Ward... 

Michael Robson is our notorious ringleader of our pre-season Wednesday AM road/dirt training rides. It's on these rides where he shows us some of the tricks he learned in the 90's racing Kermesse's like slowing everyone down 'cause people are dropped' (read: he's recovering for his late stage attack in the same gutter...every week). But it's his post ride reports we actually long for and here is a typical example as he recounts his race in Bakel. He writes about everything, except for the Dwarfs, Rainbows and Unicorns it appears he saw as well today...

"If you are a rabid crosser there is the race you dream of. That perfect race with the perfect course, perfect conditions, perfect weather, perfect flow. We did that race today and it was, well, perfect. From the moist loamy earth to the gorgeous Dutch women, Bakel, Holland was better than your dreamiest dreams. We arrived under a sky of pillowy clouds to a nicely balanced course of woods, grass, sand and a little pavement. all of it tacky and blazing fast. Cruising through registration the next step was to get dressed for a pre-ride and within half a lap it was apparent that were were on to something special. Keller had said" Ahh Bakel,.. Robson you will love Bakel", and he was right. WB and I pre-rode together and at one point I looked back at him, his ridiculous grin told me we were on the same, blissful page. This was going to be good.

As seems to be the case here we got the obligatory crappy call up, but we did get call ups and were distributed throughout the last two rows of a 45 man field. Pete, Dubba and I got great starts, weaving through the pack and moving up in the first few corners. On the first trip through the woods I was right in the middle of enjoying the delicate wiles of a particularly fecund section of forest when I was rudely interrupted by Dubba barking at me from behind. "Robson, pass where you can". The audacity. Anyway, it was time to get to work. I pulled Dubba up through the stragglers until we were in the lead group, passing left and right, Pete was already there. I was able to stay with Pete and Dubba for the first couple of laps and then settled into a giddy rhythm of bermed roller-coaster trails and lovely manicured grass. Meanwhile further back WB and Brian's start was later likened to 'pushing a tennis ball through a garden hose' but in short order they were on a rampage, with three to go I started seeing them. WB was chasing hard but I was holding him off. He had gapped Brian just as we turned a hairpin and Brian was screaming at me "I'm coming for you Robson!!".  Then I made a small mistake in the woods and WB was suddenly behind me. He passed me before the cursed sand run-up but I stayed on his wheel plotting my revenge. It wasn't to be, Ward saw my move and was ready so as we swung into the o-so-short final straight I couldn't make enough ground and my wonderful friend beat me in for 7th. Earlier Edwin Raats had snuck away for the win leaving Pete and Dubba to duke it out for second. Dubba dug in for the no. 2 spot with Pete hot on his heels.

On that day with those conditions that was the funnest course I have seen. Some might say it's not technical enough, others that it is too easy, not enough mud or heavy grass but I'm safe in the knowledge that Bakel was a truly euphoric day of cyclocross.

Its now late at nght and I just took an Ambien, shit's getting nutty.



Some digital celluloid to punctuate the day…


Post race interview to the spectators with Brandon and Pete. Questions and answers in English and Dutch. This guys was great. He knew both Pete and I were cyclocross national champions and were ex-Pro mountain bikers.


On the podium, complete with podium girls and a bouquet: Edwin Raats was too strong today. On the right is the winner of the other older category, which started in the same group.


Loamy dirt. Buttery smooth and grippy.DSC_1996

Every corner was bermed out like this. The course was a blast.


This race brought to you by Rabobank, naturally.


The pits are incredibly PRO. Right down to the flags reminding you you are NOT in Belgium.


It would not be a cross course in the Netherlands with out flat grass. Notice the family on the bike path in the background. Every road in the country is paralleled by a bike path. And, there are people riding "Dutch City Bikes" everywhere, and not because it looks hip and cool. It's a way of life.


More berms.


Dopers Suck is strong across the pond (as is the white sex, naturally)




Dutch condiments.


Michael Robson was in the money today!


We knew Pete Webber was good for something.


Ward 7th, Brian 9th and Robson 8th. Strong work boys!

Za Trip 2011 | The Team Has Arrived!

The boys made it safely and are ready to tear it up tomorrow. Pete dropped a video-update to us while Michael Robson has provided a few pics of their opener-ride today.

Hup boys!