Monday, October 22, 2012

Mid-October Cyclocross

Official cyclocross racing season runs from September through December in this country. Although now it is a bit longer because beginning last year, the national championships was moved from mid-December too early January. Further, the Master's world championships is in the US for 2012 and 2013 and this year (well, actually early Feb 2013), the elite World Championships is going to be in the US. So now you can race in the US from September through early February. That get's to be a pretty long season, and similar to baseball, different riders (teams) ratchet things up at different times.

This past weekend was an exciting one for cyclocross fans because the American hero of our sport, Jeremy Powers, got his best ever finish in a world cup...which bodes extremely well for the rest of his season and the possibility to see him on the podium at the world championships.

Locally, there was a big race weekend down in Tulsa, OK, which originally looked extremely attractive. But seeing that the friday and saturday races started at 9:30pm, I decided that I'm too much of an old man, and that it'd be better too stay in Missouri.

This is a point in the season where you can still build some high-end fitness too last through the winter, so I've been hitting it pretty hard during the week and also on Saturday's. So, like all self-centered cyclists, I'm trying to rationalize why my legs didn't feel super hot on race day this past Sunday. One of my favorite racers in cyclocross wrote a great blog piece about those days/times when you're legs don't show up to a race:
"Dear legs,

I regret having to send this letter, but enough is enough. Maybe you never got the memo. Or maybe you just forgot because it doesn't feel like autumn yet and in your defense, it has been quite a while. So let me take this opportunity to remind you that we are supposed to be a bike racer now. Actually, it was supposed to be a week ago and due to your absense, beard and hands were hung out to dry. I have to wonder how you failed to notice how hands were out practicing for bike driving and beard was filling out in preparation for the coming season. What have you been doing? I have supplied you with all the tools you should need to succeed. Hard training, long rest, but you don't seem to take the hint. Well, moving forward, we have a long job ahead of us and it's going to be much longer if you continue to fail at your part of the bargain. Unfortunately I have to put you on the spot. If you don't get it together I am going to have to reconsider your involvement at this facility.

Sincerely your's
Bike Racer Dan"

I think Josh must have sent a similar memo to his legs after last week, because he brought some heat and put me into a serious pain cave yesterday. It was like old times and honestly, really fun to suffer at the hands of the butthead. Well, let me re-phrase, it was really fun too race off the front with Josh from laps 4-10 yesterday. We traded leading and thus, attacking each other and had a solid dual. Which lasted until the finish line and concluded in pats-on-the-back and my comment to him, "thank you sir, may I have another". 

As far as the race report, I've been pretty bad at writing these lately and need to get my day started...but, Kenda/Felt pro-mountain biker and super nice dude, Drew Edsall recently moved to St Louis. He was there and put in a blistering 2nd lap...which almost shattered all of us. Devin Clark was also riding really strong and at one point, it seemed like he and I were going to repeat the shenanigans of Hermann. However, an untimely miscalculated corner would prevent that from being the case. 

Next up for me...well, it's Monday. Time to go cut some cancer cells with a laser (cancer research is awesome). 

Bike-stuff-wise: I really want to go to a few bigger races this year. Originally the plan was Jingle cross and then try really hard to do well at the master's 30-34 race at nationals. Jingle is a logical choice because it's only 5ish hours from my house, the race supports a good cause (always important to justify our self-centered-ness with pseudo-concern for others), and it's a mid-west thing. But last week I got the urge to travel out to Boulder for the Boulder Cup and the Colorado Cross cup this coming weekend. The family situation will allow for that too happen, but right now an examination of our bank account may prevent that from happening. Which is a shame, because it looks like it is going to snow in Boulder on Friday! I guess it's always good to think about goals in these situations, the reality is that money is the biggest limiting factor in being able to travel for a bike race and the 1500mile round trip to Boulder probably isn't compatible with the cost-benefit equation. 

post-script: I was talking to a friend about favorite CX racers and have established this list:
1. Adam Craig
2. Jeremy Powers
3. Tim Johnson
4. Dan Timmerman
5. Stybar
6. Tie between Tristan Schouten and Brian Matter
7. Zac McDonald
8. Barry Wicks
9. Sven Nys
10. Francis Mourey


Casey Ryback said...

Great read. Love your perspective from the top of missouri's heap.

Mark W. French said...

Nice job yesterday Dan. It was fun watching you guys trade paint up front!

Davey B said...

Sven at #9! WTF!


Dan said...

Sorry Dave, there's a theme here. My list isn't 'best cross racers ever' (which Nys would surely be #1), it is 'my favorite cross racers'.

Last year's world champs produced a little unbelievingness for me. Todd Wells (who really should be on my list, maybe in 5th?) said it best, something along the lines of the belgians decimating the field like Postal did.