Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cyclocross season is here! Double-cross UCI Weekend!

I use to hate the season change from summer to fall. Everything is dying, it is usually damp, cold, and the sun sets too damn early. When I was a kid it meant going back to school. When I got older it meant watching football (which is cool) but also staying inside until next spring, and continue to get fatter and lazier. And then is 2006, I discovered cyclocross and I have not looked at the fall season quite the same ever since. In fact, the very things I once dreded about fall are now the very things I look forward to in racing cyclocross. Because without the fall colors, rain, snow, mud, wind, and below frezzing temperatures while trying to ride your bike around in your underwear -- what fun would cyclocross be? So here we go, get ready for the next 4 months of enjoyable pain!

So the Season kicked off with the KTR Doublecross UCI weekend. A lot of big name pros raced like Jon Page and Steve Tilford which is always the highlight of the weekend. But this race also attracts folks from around the midwest because of the UCI tag. So it increases the field sizes and lets you know just how you are stacking up against other folks in the region.

I came out again this year in C-class (I have some unfinished business from last year). I am fresh off a greuling mountain bike season, so I decided to take some reat and train for cross only. I have recently read the "Mountain Biker's Training Bible", and have learned a lot about myself and how to train. What a great book! To help with cross season, and applying the principles learned, Brian Hancock last years State B-class champion has agreed to help me with a training plan. So I am looking forward to seeing how this plan helps my season. I I will report my progress in addition to my race reports and results. OK, so enough of that stuff lets get to the racing.

Day 1 - I was ready. In my training plan this is not a peak race but a good hard training day. But it is a race none the less, so I was going to give it my beast effort. The class was huge 39 guys! I lined up fron row and took 3rd in the hole shot. I was able to maintain a high cadence and began to put a gap into the field behind me. The problem was the 9 guys in front of me were putting a gap over me too. So I contiuned to push and felt really good. It was not my strongest race but it was consistent. The only mistakes I had were 2 off camber crashes (see pic) The grass was wet and slippery that 1st day, but the crash did not result in any lost position. I finished a respectable 10th. Not bad for the 1st race in a field of 39.

Day 2 - The only thing on my mid was improve. I took 3rd into the hole shot again, but my legs were filling with lactate acid sooner. And I drifted off the lead group sooner. I thought I was falling apart, then I looked back and did not see anyone. This was encouraging, I was doing better than I thought so I continued to push. At the start of my second lap, Joe (TSB team mate) yelled from the crowd "your in 8th". OK I am doing better! And I could see a small group of riders just ahead. lets see that would make 7th, 6th, oh shit 5th palce is right in front of me. This was the carrot I needed. I kicked it up a notch to catch them. As I pushed I would check behind me. I saw Jason Melecosky coming from behind. Jason finished a respectable 12th in day one in his first ever CX race and was hot on my heels today. Finally he caught me with half of the 3rd lap gone. I was excited at his progress and encouraged him to keep going. This also, helped me because we were able to work together to catch the group in front. Jason had just a little more kick than I did that day. As we caught the 5th place group, jason was able to pull ahead of them and sprint up the final hill and create about a 7 sec. gap. I was able to hang on and finish with 6th, 7th, and I took 8th. I did better than the day before and the field size was 36. So again not bad. The good news is Jason took his first top 5 at a CX race! And what a race to do it in. Way to go Jason. My training is still on track, and the results I put up last weekend are about where I should be. I can only get better....

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