Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trek CXC Cup

It's good to finally be Cyclocross racing! I've attended the Sun Prairie USGP race for the past two years, and wasn't about to pass up doing the renamed and relocated Trek CXC Cup. Our truck broke down on Friday, so there was no chance to pre-ride the course, but I got in a few laps before my race Saturday. It was super exciting to race with my new team mate and good friend, Gavin Haley! The course was fast, bumpy, and full of turns. This made the Challenge Fango ideal. There was a run up on the course that was very challenging, but you could ride it. Also the barriers were perfect for hopping.
Photo credit; Roxanne King, CyclingRox.

On Saturday my start was mediocre, it was a shock to my system as I hadn't been racing much. By the first corner on the course I was about 6th wheel. Gavin was at the front getting the hole shot. It took me half a lap to catch up to Gavin, and we worked together taking turns pulling. We went across the line together with our hands up! Apparently I won, and Gavin got second.

The next day the course was only slightly changed, a few corners were re routed and the downhill was made more challenging. This time Gavin and I wouldn't be walking away from the race as David Lombardo was here. Yesterday I started first row, due to a few of the riders missing their call ups. Today however I was in the second row. There was a little issue, almost running into another rider who dropped his chain which killed all my momentum. Once I recovered, I worked my way up Gavin and David. We took turns attacking David, trying to work him over, but David held strong. On one of the attacks there was a spot where I really found, right before the finish line. I decided to sit back and wait until the last lap. Then going down the hill, disaster struck! David crashed right in front of me in a section too tight to get by him, and since it was a downhill, I was unable to stop in time and ran into him, falling on his bike, flatting in the process.
Photo credit; Gary Smits, XTRphotos.

Luckily, Gavin was in front of David and got clear. I had to ride on a flat tire for half a lap before reaching the pit. After switching bikes the gap to David began to come back down, however my brakes were not working very well and upon hitting the downhill on the next lap, I couldn't stop! I went into the course tape and it took me a while to extricate myself. After that, catching anyone was pretty much out of the question. I finished 6th, but Gavin stayed away and won the race!  I was super happy for him and excited that we won both days.

It was a ton of fun racing with Gavin and the new team, Here is my press release.  

Thank you to all of my sponsors for making this possible, HED Cycling, Intelligentsia Coffee, Apex Physical Therapy, Challenge tires, Enzo's Cycling Products, Lazer Helmets, and Focus Bikes!
& thank you to Gary and Roxanne for all the awesome photos they took of Gavin and I!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Begining Cyclocross Season on the Fat Tires

The month of August was about rest and training. Now, in September, I'm beginning to race in preparation for the fast approaching Cyclocross season.

A little over a week ago, I participated in my first Minnesota High School Cycling League race. This is the second year Minnesota has had a high school mountain bike league and this year Duluth has a composite team. I think Cycling being a high school sport is a amazing way to grow this sport and as such I greatly admire what NICA and the Minnesota High School Cycling League is doing. While I will be unable to participate in most of the high school races due to 'Cross, the first race on the calender did not clash with my racing schedule so I was able to attend.

Brain Hayden -who is one of the coaches for the DCT (Duluth Composite Team)- drove some of the riders on the team and myself to the race course on Saturday to pre-ride the course and have fun socializing with each other. I had previously met some of the people on the team but also was able to meet many new faces. The course was located at Salem Hills and was 4.5 miles of completely flat, very fast ski trails with a hard packed rut though the center and some surprisingly fun flowing Singletrack.

We woke up at 6:40am the next morning, ate breakfast, and drove over to the race venue to set up our team tent. The girls raced at 9:30am, the boys at 12:00pm. We had one girl on our team, Amanda, who raced the Frosh/Soph category and placed 13th. After the Freshmen, Sophomore, JV, and Varsity girls all finished, I did a easy spin around the course to see if it changed at all. As I expected, the already sandy soil was very loose from almost a hundred girls riding on the course. This made the once relatively easy course challenging due to lack of traction

At 11:40pm, after finishing my warm up, I found my way to the call up area for the Varsity boys. only the riders who raced in the series last year and scored points were called up to the front row, however I was attentive enough to snag a second row starting position.

On the first corner I was 5th wheel, I worked my way up to second wheel after the first few corners and stayed there for the first half a lap or so, getting used to the course. I attacked then and rode the next few laps alone until coming into one to go, I had to stop for a long line of lapped traffic. I waited there for about 30-45 seconds and by the time I got by everyone, Second place had caught up to me. I let him lead through the start finish stretch, then attacked. It stuck and I won the Varsity boys. The Duluth Composite Team got 3rd overall! I had a lot of fun racing with the team in a high school setting.

Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival

This was my fifth time doing the Short & Fat. Last year I placed 7th. There is a rule in place that forces you to do the short race if you are under 18. This makes the front of this race consist of some of the best MTB juniors in the Midwest. It's not your typical XC MTB race, there is no singletrack and it is a point to point race, 16 miles long. There is also the Chequamegon, which is 40 miles long. I placed 3rd in this year's short and fat.