Tuesday, November 11, 2014

HPT Grand Prix CX!!

Wow what a night! I have not done a night cross race since I first started racing many years ago. It was a blast!!

I had herd good things about this course, I had not yet made this race and kind of kicking myself in the butt now. So with the Singlespeed race later than the Cat 3, I am in for two races on the night!!

The course was laid out at Heartland Park in Topeka KS. I could not do a better job in explaining it so here is the course description from the horses mouth. "Come check out the areas’ only “avondcross”, Flemish for evening ‘cross, at the  Heartland Park Topeka dirt track (think earthen velodrome!). Racing starts at dusk and will finish under the lights with the Men Cat 4, and Singlespeed. This race will feature mainly hardpack dirt, a grass infield and some gravel. As always there will be some cyclocross type obstacles to challenge a racers quiver of skills."

Lined up in the Cat 3 race behind the Cat 1/2's and it seemed to have a roll reversal as far as numbers. We only had 10 (I think) in the Cat 3's but 20 or so in the Cat 1/2 race.

I recognized pretty much everyone there so was able to pretty easily pick out who I needed to keep an eye on. I ended up accidentally leading out everyone onto the dirt track where drafting played a key role in the race. I tried to create a gap to not let everyone take my wheel but I could see the shadows behind me and knew that was not in the cards this early in the race.

Soon after there was a split and for the rest of the race it was me, Tim Herre and Nathan Shay. Each lap I was able to stay really comfortable on any of the grass sections but once we hit the dirt Tim and Nathan both had some decent high end and was tough at times holding their wheel. So basically from this point it was who can make the fewest mistakes and who had the best timing for an attack.

I think it was two laps to go Tim hit the deck and I know that takes a bit of energy out of you, he was also leading out the majority of the dirt track. Last lap Nathan put in a good attack just before the same dirt track and I decided to follow Tim as he was putting in a decent chase. My game plan was to conserve as much energy I could till after the dirt section. Once we got back to the infield grass section, I see Nathan wipe out on the loose gravel (bummer man) which allowed us to hook right back up to him. I knew this was the time to get after it. I took off a little sooner than I originally wanted but pulled a Jens and never looked back.

Ended up taking my first Cat 3 win of the season.

Switch bikes, drink some water, take a gel, almost puke, off to the Singlespeed race.

I got a front row start here and the feild was a bit larger. The entire goal here was to get a good start and just hang on for as long as I can.

Joe Fox put in a great move to take the hole shot, then I proceeded to follow him and Britton the best I could. Half a lap later they were gone.

Go over and check out the start on Instigram, Britton's wife has some good videos.

After about a lap or so, I see Britton is having issues with his 5 lb bike and DNF'd. So now its Joe, then me, and then a couple guys back.

The entire race I kept waiting for a bum rush from behind from some guys but it never came. To my surprise I was still holding second with two laps to go. Further to my surprise I see Joe fading a bit. Last lap he hit a wall and I caught up with him on the infield grass and gave it my all. I wanted the race a lot more than he did and don't think he even put in a effort to chase. But I will take it. Took the win.

Two wins in one night is pretty crazy for me. Probably the last time also...


No pics that I have found...

Did find an awesome one of my boy Travis. He and Eric had quite the battle in masters and ended up 1 and 2 by a wheels length. Great job!!

How awesome is this pic!?!?!?! Courtesy of Joe H. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Boulevard Cup CX!

Headed on down for Boulevard Cup CX with the family on Sunday. I have raced at Herman Laird Park many times so I knew what was ahead of me. This course is pretty flat, always has that gravel loop in it and usually some additional pavement. In years past being primary a MTB guy in the spring summer, I have never done very well out on this course. Last couple of summers I have been getting my roadie on so I was pretty sure I was going to fair a bit better than usual.

Signed up for the Cat 3 race and had a perfect warm-up, took a couple laps to check out the course and actually brought my trainer out to look like I know what I am doing. 20 min before race time as I was keeping warm, I noticed my front break rotor was rubbing just enough to annoy me so I headed to the truck for some last min adjustments.

Then it happened......

So I leaned my bike against my truck to adjust my break. Got it to quit rubbing, went to go put my tools back in the truck bed and wouldn't you flippen know it... Wind blew over my bike and bent the crap out of my rear hanger!!! My pristine Boone, Zipp wheel rocket ship, out of commission. AND 15 min before the race is supposed to start.

Luckily I had enough time to go get my single speed pit bike and go change numbers and get into the single speed race. So the day was salvaged.

Lined up behind the 3's and the game plan just got really simple. Hold Britton's wheel for as long as possible, then once dropped, have fun and catch as many Cat 3's as possible.

Holding strong here! Why is it Britton even looks faster... Huh.... Anyway- Yes, this is only about 45 seconds into the race. And yes, I was dropped  shortly thereafter. 
I had pretty decent legs today and think I am finally getting back into cross shape and ended up 2nd on the day in Single Speed. First time I had this much fun on such a flat course. Sure would have loved all those corners on my new Challenge tires though. 

Most important aspect of the day by far was that my wife and little guy came out to watch. This is the first year he kinda knows what is going on. 

Let me tell you, there is no greater feeling than your little boy studying every move you make and cheering you on like your some sort of super hero!

He wanted to get on Dad's bike!
My escort to the Start Line. No training wheels.