Kind of tweeked from the UCI races on the West coast last weekend and all the travel back from New Zealand, but can’t pass up a big money, well run cyclo-x in the midewest. A two day race in it’s 2nd year with the biggest prize list of any cyclo-x in the US. The courses both days were great/hard. Sunday had a run-up that rivals Seattle. Saturday I wasn’t on and finished 3rd behind Chris Horner and Doug Swanson. Sunday I was having a pretty good day and was leading after about half the race, but flatted a clincher pretty far from the pit and lost a bunch of time that I couldn’t make up. Doug won over a superstar of the future, Bjorn Selanger, then Chris Horner, then me. Riding good is the point. Not the results always. As you can see by the photo, it is always a good time in Iowa City. The way all racing is supposed to be.
Big change of weather in just one week. Last weekend it was in the 20’s, this Sunday nearly 60. Decided to race because it was too windy to train, plus it was the State Championships. I’ve been feeling alittle under the weather the last week, so thought some hard efforts might jump start the latent fitness. Didn’t seem to. I won the race leading a Trek-Midwest sweep of the top 3 spots with Shad Smith and Adam Mills rounding out the top three. Hopefully I get going better before Nationals this weekend in Providence.
I arrived in Providence, Rhode Island, Thursday, the day before the Master’s race on Friday. I am racing all three days, with the Elite race on Saturday the focus. The course is nearly exactly the same as last year, minus the snow and ice. I’ve kind of been a little under the weather since the ice water dip a couple weeks ago, so I’m uncertain about my form. Friday was a good check. The course was great. Good riding sections with slick corners. The skim coat of mud made it a somewhat bike handling course. I got to the course way early to watch Catherine Walberg from Topeka race. She flatted after leaving the road, 300 meters into the race. I went to the pit and made sure her spare bike was ready. She was 30 seconds back by the time she got “her” bike back and eventually rode back into the lead and won. It was the first time she had won and was super excited. Then Ned’s race was on. He isn’t the most beautiful thing on a ‘cross bike, but was riding great. He started back in the smoking section and got nearly into the lead before they hit the grass. He rode a couple laps with his main competitor, then rode the guy off his wheel. Super good ride. It was the first master’s event that he has every entered, MTB, road or ‘cross. I had been standing around way too long before my race started. I rode pretty hard the first couple laps and then took it back a notch, trying to save some energy for Saturday. But, obviously, winning is nice, especially at the Nationals, so I didn’t take the event lightly. I had the luxury at the end not to bury myself and won with a healthy margin. It is nice having so much spectator support
Can’t say things went as planned for ‘Cross Nationals on Saturday. Somehow I had enough UCI points to line up on the 2nd row, which is way better than I thought. I had looked forward to riding in the front group . I totally screwed up the start and pulled my right foot out of my pedal on the road. After clipping that back in I pulled my left foot out. That being said, I hit grass in 30th or so. Great start. OK, new plan. I kept my cool and tried not to make any more stupid mistakes, because mistakes on the first lap of ‘cross races are minutes at the end. On the first road section, I hooked up with Chris Horner and passed 10 guys at least. I knew the course would be good for him, with little to no technical riding sections. At the end of the first lap, on the finishing road section, Chris was off his seat going super hard and the banner on the barriers blew out and “grabbed” his bars. He hit the ground so fast and hard, I’d bet he hardly knew what happened. This is the 2nd year he’s crashed hard right in front of me. Last year, he fell hard on the ice on the fastest descent and slid head first into a metal pole. Anyway, that was the end of the backup plan. I was still 10 seconds off the second group that was going for 7-15 or so. I finally got settled down and ended up riding with Eric Tonkin(Kona) and Tristan Schouten(Trek-VW) and that was how it went pretty much the rest of the race. Tonkin did virtually all the pulling on the road sections. I came by and tried to lead on the off-road sections, but we weren’t making much if any ground on the group ahead. A few guys started fading and we finally ended up sprinting for 12th, which is the place I finished. Kind of disheartening, but it was pretty much the place I deserved with the race I raced. It’s pretty strange. I finished 12th this year and 12th in 2005 on the same course. Completely different races. About the same feeling mentally, though. The sport never ceases to amaze me. More on Sunday.
1 Ryan Trebon (Kona) 59.37
2 Jonathan Page (Cervelo) 0.33
3 Tim Johnson (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com) 0.34
4 Todd Wells (Team GT) 0.36
5 Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly) 0.37
6 Barry Wicks (Kona) 1.04
7 Ben Jacques-Maynes (cyclocrossworld.com/SRAM) 1.43
8 Matt White (FiordiFrutta) 2.05
9 Mark Mccormack (Clif Bar) 2.21
10 Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant Strawberries) 2.25
11 Jonathan Baker (Primus Mootry) 2.27
12 Steve Tilford (Verge/Shimano) 2.48
13 Justin Spinelli (RGM Watches – Richard/Sachs ) 2.49
14 Erik Tonkin (Kona) 2.50
15 Tristan Schouten (Trek/VW/Michelin) 2.53
Last year I experienced it, but this year confirms it. Cyclo-X stage racing is hard. It’s the third race in 3 days, with a bunch of standing around before and after the races. It’s hard not watching the races when you’re a bike racing fan. Anyway, they lined up anyone with a National Champion jersey on the front row. I started just OK and was 6th or so the first lap. But, I was completely out of juice. Almost like I bonked. The second time on the road section I got passed by 5 or 6 guys and was on the back of a 7-man train. I was getting spit out the back through the slinky-effect and after another half a lap, I completely sat up. I thought about quitting, but so many people were yelling I kept riding around. Eventually, I got into a group in the late teens that were riding about the speed I could go. I sat on the back of 3 guys pretty much the last 5 laps. The race was the full race distance of the day before, 8 laps. I couldn’t believe it. A few guys ahead started blowing gaskets and a few more flatted. Trebon flatted on the second lap and looked like he was quitting, but 2 or 3 laps later, he came by again. It was nice to see that he was riding mildly hard the day after winning “the race”. Anyway, through attrition, etc. my group ended up sprinting for the top 10. I was 9th on the day, which was way better than I deserved. Tim Johnson schooled everyone. His time was only 20 seconds or so slower than Ryan’s the day before. That was pretty impressive. I wasn’t that far off timewise either. I don’t really understand it, I was pretty much blown the whole race and only kept riding because it was the Nationals weekend and the last race of the season. That, plus, I don’t quit races unless I’m hurt or sick. Anyway, I was glad to be done. Next year’s Nationals are in Kansas City and I’m going to make it a major goal of the season.
1 Tim Johnson (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com
2 Mark Mccormack (Clif Bar)
3 Jonathan Baker (Harshman Wealth Management / Primus Mootry)
4 Ben Jacques-Maynes (cyclocrossworld.com/SRAM)
5 Ryan Trebon (Kona)
6 Adam Myerson (Nerac-OutdoorLights.com Pro Cycling)
7 Erik Tonkin (Kona)
8 Tristan Schouten (Trek/VW/Michelin)
9 Steve Tilford (Verge/Shimano)
10 Taylor Carrington (Turin – Powerbar)