North Carolina UCI races-Pre Jingle Cross Rock

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It was the last warm day in Kansas for awhile. A bunch of guys from Lawrence rode over to my house in Topeka. I rode back with them to the coffee shop in Lawrence and back. It’s an easy way to get a 3 1/2 hour ride with little effort.

Anyway, I still haven’t gotten much better lungwise from New Zealand. The two cross races and travel didn’t help much of course. Tim and the gang in North Carolina put on two days of excellent cyclo-x. It shows that you don’t have to be from Portland or the Northeast to know cross. You can be from nowhere Kansas/North Carolina and still produce excellent courses.

This course was a bunch of riding. It flowed fast and other than a sand pit, it wasn’t very technical. I was suprised that I felt so bad on Saturday. I was just as suprised that I felt much better on Sunday. But not good enough to compete on a National level. That is going to take some thinking and abit of luck. I’m not sure how to address my “illness” at this point. I know it isn’t working as well in cyclo-x as it did stage racing. Usually, I’d be much worse by now or much better. Whatever.

OK, back to the race. Jon Hamblen and Justin Spinelli from Richard Sachs were riding much better than the rest of us. Cyclo-X does work well as a team sport and they rode well together both days.

Saturday, I got dropped lots of times trying to get up to the front group of 4. And I nearly quit the race at least a dozen times. I was so winded virtually the whole race, that I couldn’t really make any rational decisions. If I could of, I would of quit on the 2nd lap. That would of been rational. Instead, I ended up riding around most of the race looking at the rear hub of Jonathan Sundt’s rear wheel, as he rode tempo for the last 30 minutes, keeping the front group at 30 seconds. I had realized that 6th was the place I was going to finish, but on the last lap, Matt Shiver, Jittery Joes, crashed and had to make a bike change, so we passed him. He was only 5 seconds or so back with a 1/4 lap left, so I took the one pull I took all day. Jonny got a little confused and never got on me. So, when I pulled over to let him finish ahead of me, he wasn’t there. I felt badly, but he was cool with it. Said he took a bunch of time off and was just getting back in shape.

Sunday went way better for me, but I finished 2 places worse. I was in the front group of 5 the whole race. The Sachs guys were the offensive players and I was the single defensive rider. They attacked and I chased. Sometimes I’d get off the front with one of them, but it never lasted long. Anyway, Spinelli put in a good attack on the last lap that kind of stressed me. At that very moment, I happen to make the one serious mistake of the weekend. I slid out on a U-turn and dropped my chain. I thought I was going to get back on, but realized after a minute or so that wasn’t going to happen. It is amazing how giant a 10 second gap can be in a cyclo-x race.

I’m not sure if I was going to win, but I know I shouldn’t of finished 6th. And I did finish 6th. So, what do I know? So, 17 more UCI points at a cherry pick weekend during the USGP races in Trenton. Not what I had hoped for. But, that is bike racin’.

OK. Jingle Cross Rock is this weekend in Iowa City. I won it two years ago when Jason McCartney was making his first cyclo-X appearance.  Last year, it became a two day event, with Chris Horner becoming the Pro Tour rider exhibit.  This year, Horner is coming back, plus my ex-team mate from Specialized, Todd Wells.  Todd should school us pretty well unless something weird goes on.  Like Doug Swanson shows up with his A game on.  You never know with Doug.  Sometimes it’s his A game.  Sometimes it’s his D game.  Not usually in between.  I hope it’s the first.  That would be way more interesting.


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