Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad news for US 'cross???


"According to Adam Meyerson, UCI Cyclo-Cross commision member, inscription forms and information on being a UCI event for next season are now available, and the deadline for registering events is just six weeks away, on December 15th.

Of note is the expiration at the end of this season of the UCI's exception given to North American promoters on minimum payouts.  Currently UCI promoters in North America have been allowed to put up half the value of the UCI mandated payouts.  These minimums are enforced at European races, but lowered to help further introduce UCI races in America.  It seems to have worked, with the record number of UCI races in the States today.  But if the higher payouts are enforced next year, we might see either fewer UCI races, higher entry fees, or expanded sponsorship needs to maintain the current number of UCI races.  With the economic crisis on hand, hopefully a quick recovery can help make sure the latter option is a viable one."

I have to agree, it seems like we have a ton of UCI races around the states this year compared with years past.  I have a feeling that increasing the payout in these events would effectively kill all but the largest ones...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Feels like...

So this morning Kristie and I headed down to Jeff's house pretty early.  She had a shower to head to on the north side, Jeff and I were headed to the race at Lower Huron.  Thanks to Jeff, Kristie and I didn't have to drive two cars down, as it would have been next to impossible for us to coordinate the drop off/pick up with a race and shower in the middle.

Jeff and I made it down to catch the end of the C-race, did a few laps, saw the B-race, did a few laps, warmed up during the masters race, and then prepared for 60 min of suffering.

Last year I didn't head down to this race simply because it was a bit too much to do after the Cinci UCI's and the mad rush of the early 'cx season.  This year, without a good excuse to miss it, I decided to head down to the race for the first time since I was a junior.  Interesting note about that one...back then Robert started the race over across the river and the bridge included two-way traffic to the crazy run-up, which was different than the one this year but similar in angle and magnitude.  I was in the B's for that race (this must have been in 1998...) and in this particular day I was leading the race with about two laps to go.  I remember coming around one of the corners by a tree near the finish line and coming upon a crazy guy on a road bike standing in the middle of the course.  I nearly missed drilling "that guy" and yelled something so he would move from the course.  I don't remember exactly how I finished the race, but what I do remember very clearly is "that guy" was in fact Frankie Andreau, who stopped by while on a ride.  Whoops!

Well today didn't go much better, but at least I didn't try and run over anyone.  I feel like I have a four cylinder and everyone else is running on 8 or 12.  I didn't get last, but that was really only because Mark P blew a major gasket towards the end and not because of any super-human effort by me.  I think I remember my lap times being relatively consistent, which is nice, but it would be nicer to take 10-20 seconds off each lap.  I guess I have a long time to get better, but it would be nice to have a bit of that right now...

Next weekend is OFF and I plan on resting up for the Vet's Park / Iceman / USGP???


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Biggest Fans

This post is dedicated to my two biggest fans.  They are the BEST!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicago Cyclocross - Hawthorn Woods

So this past weekend I drove down with Kristie and Shannon to Chicago.  Friday night we got a late start and didn't make it to Chicago until 11-ish.  The next day we were busy with the Northwestern vs. MSU football game and the 60th anniversary of the 1949 Rose Bowl team.  My grandpa, a trainer on the team, is one of only a few still around from that team, and since Rose Bowls don't exactly come around every other year for NU, they make a pretty big deal about the two teams that have ever visited Pasadena in January.

Saturday after the football game we had a nice dinner with all of the former players but it was a long day and I was pretty exhausted.  Sunday morning I managed to get a spin around the hotel parking lot before breakfast, which was the first time I made it on my bike in over 48 hours.  My legs were accordingly stiff and non-responsive, so I was hoping for the best with my "late" race time of 1:00 Chicago time.

Shannon, Kristie, and I arrived at Hawthorn Woods city park around 11:30 or so and we were greeted with WARM temperatures and a packed parking lot.  The Chicago Cyclocross Cup series is a well-oiled machine considering that all of their races are put on by different promoters across the Chicago area.  Fortunately for me this race was only 16 miles away from the hotel!  After registering in the 1/2's for "only" $25, I took a pre-ride lap of the course between the 11:00 and 12:00 races.  I managed one lap, and was quickly amazed at the sheer size of the sledding hill within 200 m of the start.  

Our start found the first 10 called up from the Chicago series, so I was in the second row with a total of 23 starters.  At the gun it was a bit sketchy, as the start straight was narrow (maybe 3 m maximum) and there was an off-camber turn within about 100 m of the line.  We headed off to the right and quickly swept around for our first jaunt up the far right side of the sled hill.  At the absolute top we did a 180 degree left hand turn and bombed down the hill, only to be greeted by another 180 degree right turn into a single barrier (at the bottom of the hill).  I remounted and rode to the top again (all but one lap was ridden) where we turned left one last time and bombed down the hill again.

The course then twisted around the back side of a baseball field and onto some very curvy pavement.  The wind cut across from the right as we did a "munson-esque" out and back (all on pavement).  We hit one fast barrier which required a swift remount before being back on cobbled pavers within 10 m of the barrier.  There was one small section of mud when we rode through a ditch and then rode around the perimeter of a large grass field.  A few more turns by the pits brought us back through the Sram start loop, only to be greeted once again by the beastly sled hill.

Considering my lack of riding and overall lack of energy and power lately, I felt pretty good.  I rode with the group of 10th through 16th place for most of the race, but couldn't respond to the attacks in front.  10th and 11th were separated by about 10 seconds, with 12th and 13th taking it to a sprint.  I finished about 15 seconds back from them and was pretty happy with 14th on the day.  Most fun of all was the sweet cheering section I brought with me...Kristie, Shannon, my mom, dad, uncle, and two cousins all came out to support me.  It is always nice to get some encouragement while you're suffering like a dog around a HOT course.

One thing I took away from this weekend was that we have a pretty sweet set up for 'cross racing in Michigan here.  Except for Robert's rope, which is difficult to see in sections that wrap on itself, we have two great series available for 'cross (plus the Ithaca GP and the pumpkin series...).  Sometimes it is pretty easy to criticize but until you put something on yourself it is also important to remember how much work it takes to put on a quality event.  The Chicago races were well-run and aside from a few narrow sections here and there, it was a fun course.  I'm glad I was able to get out and see a different race from a different series, but was a bit sad to miss the UCI's in Cinci.

Oh yeah Cyclocross Magazine's issue 4 should be out any day...check out the Ithaca article when you get a chance!  Thanks Kristie for some sweet pics from Sunday!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Ok briefly, because I'm absolutely exhausted:

1) The Ithaca GP went well, only 60 riders, but it was a great day to race!  Hopefully more people will show up next year, but 60 was a nice increase from 43 last year.

2) Today's Stoney Creek 'cx was my first official jump back into the A's.  Let's just say I didn't get lapped...no snap = dropped from the last group on the course = riding 4 laps by myself, trying to hold off the train of Jeff and Mike.  At least I held off those two and finished on the lead lap.  I guess there's only one way to go when you're on the bottom!

I will do my best to update the blog more often.  This week was homecoming at AHS, meaning I was just a tad busy.  That on top of the Ithaca GP didn't do well for my sleep or just plain time at home.  Now most all of the extracurriculars are done, so I can focus on improving from today's finish.