Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Columbus Park CX!
The kick off to the newly revamped Tailwind USAC CX State Championship series got underway last Sunday, and it did so in un-charted territory. A new venue and in my backyard. Yep its almost the end of the earth. Right on the country's international border. Yep, racing in the UP probably would have been closer. Yep. Right here in St. Clair Co. Ironically, its only about 20 mins away from Stony Creek, but to some of the Suburban folks, they were in God's country. Well, Columbus Park proved to be a worthy venue for CX with 29% gradient run up, fast flowing bermed down hills, a 14% grade loose gravel climb, and balls out long power flat sections of 2 track, this was not only different than any other Tailwind race in the past, but one that offered something for everyone. This not only marked the first time the park has hosted a CX race, but also the first time a CX race has taken place in St. Clair Co. So to me, that is really cool!
Onto some racing. This was going to be a good test for everyone. New season, new venue, and a few new faces. That first race is always a acid test... Who's got it? Who's been working for it? How did you road or MTB season go? Who's lean? Who moved up? All the questions are asked. Then you line up, look around. Yep all present. Wait where is So and so? Who is that? Then the whistle blows, and your heart is stuck in your throat! This year it was not any different. Most of the usual suspects were present, so it began... David Johnson grab the hole shot and put down an incredible effort out the blocks. Rodger Bowser followed along with Andy Fedewa, Shawn Schaffert, Brian Wachlarz and then me. Roger and Brain soon covered this first attack and we followed. The Brian Decided to pull ahead of the group and laid it down on the first section of flats. He put some serious hurt on the group. We followed but slowly, the other guys started to fall away. By the time the 3rd lap rolled around, I made contact to Brain and Rodger, and the damage was done to the group behind. I was at my limit and was hoping Brain was done. And as soon as the 4th lap started, he sat up! He was done. Rodger and I went around and began to trade blows. We soon realized it was down to him and I and formed a truce. At this time we were picking up riders in the Elite class, and used them to our advantage for drafting and keeping a nice healthy gap to the rest of our group. We traded pulls until the last 2 laps. Rodger then began to turn the screws. I could feel the pain increase, but he could not completely shake me. He would pull away on the climb and the run up, but I would claw back on all the technical sections of downhills and the flats. By the time the last lap rolled around, he dangled just a few hundred feet ahead of me. Brad Lako was on the side lines yelling at me to chase him down! You can DO IT! DIG! DIG DIG! I stood up and lit a match! I instantly bridged the gap on the down hill. Then the run up. He pulled a few inches back. Then the next down hill. I was back, into the chicanes, and onto the flats. Rodger stood up and applied max power to the pedals. I tired to do the same but my heart rate was already maxed out. No more matches. I tired to stay with him, but could not close down the last couple hundred feet at the end - 2nd place.
I was very happy with the result especially finishing that close to Rodger who is a former Masters 35+ State Champ and overall series champ. So this should make for some exciting racing this year.
Another notable race was the B Men 39-U. My good friend Brad Lako showed that he is going to be a major player in the cross series this year by taking a commanding win! and putting up some of the best lap times of the day! This is Brad first official USAC win! And it is well deserved. Keep working hard, stay focused one race at a time, and take home the year end hardware as well!
Other notable results -
Adam York taking first in the Elite class against a very tough Sven Baumann!
Tom Barret and Scott Fabinjanski - 2nd and 3rd. These guys are ready to breakout. I can smell it.
Mike Seaman - Another great single speed performance with 3rd.
JB Hancock - Taking 1st in the single speed class and having fun. That is what CX is about right?
Ben Christian - 4th in B 39-U. First race and podium! Nice Keep'em coming. You worked hard for it.
Ryan Katulic - 3rd in B 39-U. What would happen if you actually rode your bike other than a few races?
Me - 4th in the single speed race. I felt like death, but pulled out a spint finish for 4th in the end!
Well I will be off to Madison this weekend to take on some of the best single speeders in the country at the USGP of Cyclocross! Shooting for a top 5 and stretch for a top 3 podium finish. It will be tough, but I am ready and excited for the challenge!