Monthly Archives: November 2008

KC Cyclocross Nationals Course Preview Race – Boss Cross

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Boulder was this weekend, but I hate altitude. I was thinking of flying out to the East coast for two UCI races this weekend, but there were two cyclocross races scheduled here locally. And one was being held on the Nationals course in December.   So, I decided to stick around and check it out.  I’d ridden a ton of miles the last week.  At least for the end of October.  But, nothing intense, so I figured the race/pain would be just that, intense.

The best training advise for this venue is you’d better start getting super fit for climbing if you’re racing Nationals in December and plan to have a good result.  It is pretty much up for quite a while and then directly down.  It is a fitness course for sure.  Pretty open with a few off-camber, fast corners. There is a YouTube helmet cam video below from one of the other categories. It doesn’t show how much elevation gain there is, but it does show the general layout of the Nationals course. No audio though.

Anyway, this is the first non UCI cyclocross event I’ve raced this season.  That’s not normal for it being November already.  Anyway, the guys around here, nearly all of them my road teammates,  have been going pretty good and it’s been pretty competitive racing.  I’ve been interested in seeing how well they’re going.

Anyway, not too much to report.  I got a pretty bad start, but there were less than 30 guys in the Elite race, so a horrible start still leaves you in the top ten.  About half way up the climb the first lap I got into the lead.  The one set of barriers are nearly at the top of the climb.  They were using 2 X 12’s for the barriers and I had no problem jumping them which gave me an advantage  immediately.  Then it is a pretty technical long descent, which isn’t bad for me either.  So I had a pretty good gap 1/2 way into the first lap and didn’t have any real problems the rest of the race.  I was surprised how bad I felt for most of the race.  I didn’t feel like I had much power until the last couple laps.  I was riding way better then, which is nice.

Brian Jensen was 2nd on the day. He’s done virtually no cross racing until recently, so each one is a learning experience. Shad Smith has been sick a couple weeks and it was all he could do to stay with Brian ’til the finish for 3rd. Joseph Smaltz, junior, rode in for 4th, sans seatpost, thus no seat. He rode the last few laps that way, improving on his standing ability. And Chris Wallace was 5th. We have a bunch of real good young guys around here that ride bikes pretty good. It’s fun.

Anyway, I was a bit apprehensive about the venue when I saw it a couple months ago.  Seemed too rustic then.  But, it is going to be good.  And, it’s just going to get better I’d guess.  Hopefully this year the temperatures will be closer to normal which is in the 40’s.  Ok.  Some photos below.  You can’t really get the layout of the course too well…..sorry.

You can kind of see the elevation change.

You can kind of see the elevation change.

Long open descents.

Long open descents.

Kind of mistiming the 2nd barrier.

Kind of mistiming the 2nd barrier.


Kansas Sunsets – Best in the World!!!

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I’m off to Toronto to try to get some UCI points in cold rainy conditions. I’ve been meaning to post a sunset picture for awhile now. In the fall, the Kansas sunsets are the best in the world, bar none. I think it has something to do with the harvesting and air particulates. That’s also probably why I can’t breath that well nowadays. So, here is a photo my brother Kris took looking South from Topeka. Enjoy!

Toronto UCI-C1 Weekend

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself this weekend. I’d committed to coming up to Toronto over a month back. It’s not that I”m not in OK form, it just that I’m in OK form. Whatever my thoughts were a month ago, alot has changed, so they aren’t really pertinent now.

They field was pretty good, but not super deep. Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers were the cream. Then Andy Jaques-Maynes, Matt Shiver, plus most of the best Canadians. And a bunch of others that have been going fast so far this season.

Both courses were awesome, but completely different. Saturday’s was a pretty flat course with lots of off camber riding. And some rain came down on top of the 40 degree temperatures. That made the course pretty slick from the start. And it got slicker the whole hour. Luckily, I’m alright in the mud. But, unluckily, I wasn’t having the best pedaling day of the year. It wasn’t be any means the worst, but it could of been better. I got myself all the way up to 2nd after half a lap, but that wasn’t to be. They was a pretty long steep climb that became a run up the first lap and nearly all remaining laps. After Tim Johnson had punched out and Jeremy Powers messed around in the pits changing bikes/wheels/ whatever, then punched out, there wasn’t anyone really left to race with. Nicolas Weighall was in no-mans-land behind the CyclocrossWorld.com riders and then Andy Jaques-Manes and Matt Shiver and I riding around behind him. Molly Cameron was hanging tough for a while, but never gained much ground on us. I fell only once, hard on my right shoulder. Then I screwed up a couple times and got gapped from Andy and Matt. Finally, I decided to try to ride all the climbs instead on run, thinking I was going to be crippled for Sunday if I didn’t. That was way slower, but lots easier on the legs and back. It didn’t really pay off, I was still pretty sore Sunday morning. I ended up 6th, which is OK UCI points. 18. Nearly the same as 3rd in a UCI C2 race.

Sunday was completely a different race. Up and down a small ski hill. Nearly the most climbing possible in a cyclo-x. I got a pretty miserable start. I realized that my right arm wasn’t working that well in the morning, but lifting the bike the first time over the barriers was nearly impossible. I wasn’t worried because I thought the race was going to be one of attrition and I could manage the torn rotatorcuff thing. Then it started to rain. The climb had two steep pitches in it. Both just 30 meters or less. They got so greasy that you had to climb on your seat and pedal very fluid. That’s not something I’m good at. Probably actually a better description would be that is something I’m bad at. And it showed. I was out of the top 15 the first two laps, but within striking distant of 5th still. Then, just when I started figuring out the whole situation and got going, I broke a spoke in my rear wheel. In retrospect it was a mistake, but at the time, I thought I could still ride into a good position without changing my wheel. I thought it was going to take too long and I wouldn’t have enough time to pick off enough riders. I hardly picked anyone off at all. The last two laps it started drying up enough so I could climb the hill with my pedaling ability. I started going pretty good, but I was way too far back. I caught 3 or 4 guys and ended up getting 12th. Finishing, I spun my wheel and it was hitting one side of the brakes pretty seriously. Whatever. I wasn’t really out of energy, I just couldn’t allocate the power I had properly. Tim Johnson made up for his 2nd place finish to his team mate from the day before and won handily. Then Jeremy Powers, Andy Jacquest-Maynes, etc.

I felt pretty good today (Sunday) and am alittle disappointed that I didn’t have a better finish, but that is cycling. I’m thinking about going out to the East coast to the New Jersey UCI races next weekend. I need to race more. And I want to see how fast everyone else is going. Obviously Tim and Jeremy are going real fast. Ok. Monday is flying all day, so it’s a write off. Hopefully the weather in Kansas is alot better than Toronto. I’m not ready for winter just yet.

Saturday

1 Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworls.com – Cannondale) 1.02.20
2 Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworls.com – Cannondale) 0.51
3 Nicholas Weighall (Radracing Northwest – Hagens-B) 2.03
4 Andy Jacques-Maynes (SSpecialized – KMC p/b Cal Giant) 2.51
5 Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team) 3.00
6 Steve Tilford (Trek) 3.21
7 Molly Cameron (Vanilla Bicycles Cyclocross Team) 4.10
8 Benoit Simard (Bluberi – Martin Swiss-Specialized) 4.35
9 Matt White (Bikereg.com)
10 Osmond Bakker (Emd Serono – Stevens) 4.48
11 Aaron Schooler (Team H & R Block) 5.02
12 Mark Batty (Team R.A.C.E. Pro) 5.52
13 Tim Heemskerk (United Cycle Racing) 7.20
14 Derrick St. John (Stevens Cross) 7.23
15 Nathan Chown (Handlebars CC) 7.39

Sunday

1 Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.Com / Cannondale) 58.27
2 Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.Com / Cannondale) 0.59
3 Andy Jacques-Maynes (Specialized/Kmc Pb Cal Giant) 1.09
4 Dan Timmerman (Reynolds) 1.22
5 Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team) 1.34
6 Andrew Watson (Norco – Evolution Team) 1.53
7 Matt White (Bikereg.Com / Joe’s Garage) 2.36
8 Davide Frattini (Team Colavita/Sutter Home) 2.51
9 Molly Cameron (Vanilla Bicycles Cyclocross Team) 3.01
10 Derrick St. John (Stevens Cross) 3.28
11 Nicholas Weighall (Radracing Northwest / Hagens-B) 4.02
12 Steve Tilford (Trek) 4.14
13 Josh Dillon (Fiordifrutta / Cannondale) 4.23
14 Aaron Schooler (Team H & R Block) 4.28
15 Osmond Bakker (Emd Serono / Stevens) 5.17

Tim Johnson in the mud.

Tim Johnson in the mud.


Jeremy Powers winning.

Jeremy Powers winning.


Even with Dugast tires with green Michlein tread, I had to walk some slick corners.

Photos compliments from Jon at Cyclingphotos.ca

5th Street Cross – Emmaus, Pennsylvania

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I flew out to the USGP weekend in Princeton a couple days early to race the Thursday night 5th Street Cross. I can’t really describe the event without photos. It is super cool. A 1 mile course on the property of Bill and Beth Strickland. Awesome course, at night, racing with headlamps, consuming alcohol (PBR shortcut), around fainting goats, kids, dogs, and hanging with friends. It is what cycling/especially cyclo-x is all about. A bunch of people that share the love of the sport getting together and having competitive fun. It has nearly outgrown their yard. I did the race once last year. It was the first wet race of the season. This year the same. Every year more and more riders come from further and further away. They had to start giving out numbers this year to score. And, they do a better job scoring the race, even though it is at night, raining, etc. than nearly every UCI race I’ve been to in the last 4 years. There are official medals (which I now possess) and leaders jerseys (for 6th place). Below is a array of photos that doesn’t do the experience justice. Check out their website. Under commentary on the left column, there is video from the previous races. Fifth Street Cross

USGP Mercer Cup C1 – Princeton, NJ

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It seems like the weeks are going by soooooo…. fast.  When traveling all day Mondays and Fridays there seems no time to do anything else.  Including much training.  Which is weighing heavily on my mind.  Not doing the stage race in New Zealand this year kind of puts me more at the mercy of the weather for fitness the next few weeks until Nationals.

Anyway, The Mercer Cup weekend was a new event for me. It is in Princeton New Jersey.  A very old nice town.   The course was pretty flat.  But, not flat enough for the conditions. The mud kept getting deeper and deeper.   It was pretty unrideable in sections both days.  Running downhills because of the mud depth isn’t something anyone wants.

Saturday went badly.  I got a pedal in my wheel early in the first lap.  I stopped and unhooked by brake straddle cable and kept riding.  I was pretty far back in the 20’s when I got to the pit.  But, I only had wheels there, no bike.  So I decided to just keep riding since brakes were virtually not needed.  The riders going through the pits and exchanging bikes were gaining an enormous amount of time.  Maybe 10 seconds. Probably more.  The pit was rideable and the parallel course was walking in ankle deep mud.  It pretty much destroyed my motivation for racing.  I figured it was over 2 minutes at the minimum.  Half way through the next lap I convinced myself that it would be the best thing for the weekend to stop and go and try to find some spokes for my light carbon wheels.  I hate quitting races, especially when there isn’t any real reason to stop, but I didn’t  regret this decision.

Sunday I arranged to get a spare bike from SRAM.  I only had to supply some Shimano pedals.  But my mistake was to not set the bike up myself.  I got a pretty cruddy start, but I knew from the day before, the race was going to drag on for ever.  The course was better in some places and worse in others.  There was a pretty long run, over 100 meters up a slight grad and then back down the other side.  It got a bit better the last few laps and you could ride most of it.  Switching bikes after half a lap was a disaster.  The seat was way too high and the brake levers way to low.  I flailed the next half lap and lost a ton of time.  By the time I got back onto my bike I was barely racing for any UCI points (top 15).  I got going a few times, but kept destroying any chances by throwing myself on the ground or having help throwing myself on the ground.  Anyway, I had some epic contact with the mud.  The most memorable would be the guy that was cutting one of the wind blown banners down and had it wadded up in a ball.  Right when I got up to him, he was in a rush trying to cut the last zip tie and decided to throw the rest of the banner right between my brake levers and top of my front wheel to free up his hands.  Needless to say, that didn’t go too well for me.  Whatever.  I’d already broken off my fair share of plastic post holding the ribbon.  The only line on alot of the course was where the ribbon was blowing off the course and it allowed you to ride out of the deep mud.  But you still had to come back and ride around the posts.  Sometimes that didn’t go as planned.  I ended up finishing 17th.  I was OK with that.  Better than I should of done.  I was riding/running pretty good.  I just made a thousand mental errors.  That isn’t a good thing cyclocross racing in the mud.

So, I’m OK with the results.  Bill Marshall and Chris Wallace helped me out a ton in the pits on Sunday.  It is much harder working the pit than racing.  And Chris had already raced the junior race.  He is leading the USGP series after the first two weekends.  That is pretty cool having a local KC rider leading a prestigious National series!  I’m off to North Carolina Friday morning.  It’s amazing there are only 3 weekend left until Nationals in KC.

Balance was key.

Balance was key.

Jeremy Powers hugging the ribbon.

Jeremy Powers hugging the ribbon.

Bush cut on face.

Bush cut on face.

Chris Wallace, awards podium,  leaders jersey.

Chris Wallace, awards podium, leaders jersey.