Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Cross Season Wrap-Up

My 2013 Cyclocross season ended with a whimper last Sunday at Kringle Cross.  This was the BIG weekend for cross racing here in Boise.  The Idaho State CX Champs were on Saturday, followed by Kringle Cross, the last race in the Waffle Cross Series, on Sunday. We had cold temps, snow, ice, mud, beer, a Food Truck Rally, waffles, costumes, and Waffle Cross Series championships up for grabs .  There were plenty of reasons to be mentally and physically “up” for this weekend.

And they're off!  Masters 45+ Race Start
The whimper?  I simply felt flat and raced poorly both days last weekend and it is still eating at me.

You know that feeling when you can stand and hammer out of every corner, easily stick to the wheel in front of you, or respond when a rider accelerates? Yeah, I didn't have that feeling last weekend. You know that feeling when you go into every corner with confidence regardless of the surface or angle?  Yeah, I didn't have that feeling either.  Feeling flat and lacking confidence is no way to go through a cross race.

Givin' her all I've got Captain...but it wasn't enough

The Cat 1/2, 3, 35+ Race was muddy!
 Ok, let’s turn this frown upside down, shall we?  In contrast to my racing performance, the State Champs / Kring Cross weekend was rad! The Idaho Waffle Cross crew did a great job with the “Big Show” and created an awesome atmosphere for cross racing.  They took their already excellent event promotion & organization up another notch.  There was a giant heated tent for registration, great course markings, sponsor & event banners throughout the venue, a dedicated timing tent, and of course plenty of good food and beer to keep the spectators happy...very PRO.  Overall, racer attendance was a little less than I thought it would be which begs the question:  Should the Idaho State CX Champs be held at the end of November?  Just wondering out loud whether some folks lose their cross mojo once we get into December.

Nancy Odle rocking the Gingerbread Cookie costume. Best costume winner!

Kringle Cross was festive!

Mike Kennedy sporting a Tu Tu, bows, and nipple bells! Nice!

We had an Abominable sighting at Kringle Cross!
 Prior to the State Champs weekend, we had several great weekends of racing to sharpen our skills and tune the engines.


Dec 7th - Eagle Island CX @ Eagle Island State Park
Snow!  We woke up tp 2-4” of cold, dry snow on Saturday morning and temps stayed in the low 20s all day keeping things wintry throughout the races.


Conditions were cold & snowy for Eagle Island CX
Team Real Theater put on a great event in challenging conditions and the venue at Eagle Island State Park is just gorgeous.  I was excited to race in the snow and felt pretty confident ripping around the course despite the slippery conditions. The crux of the course was the steep run up and if you didn't have toe spikes, you were in for a long day. I had toe spikes. :-)


Twisting through the trees
 The Masters 45+ raced with the Cat 4 men and we had a decent sized field sharing the course. My personal race sorted out very quickly at the front as I battled with three Cat 4 racers who I traded the overall lead with several times before opening a little gap on the last lap and taking the W.


Ron Miller with a PRO shoulder-carry up the run up. Toe Spikes!
Nov 23 - 24 - SICX #6 & #7 @ Sandy Point
Frozen grass and failing SRAM Hydros was the theme for this Sandy Point weekend.  My goal was simply to race as hard as I could for 60’ each day and try to stay with the fast Masters 35+ group as long as possible.  The timing of this race made it good training for State Champs.

Remount on top of the SICX Flyover
As much as I love the venue at Sandy Point, I have yet to have a good race there. I struggled Saturday with a few off-camber corners in particular as well as the beach run up. I just never got in a groove and made several little mistakes that cost me time. As the sun got higher in the sky, the frozen grass began to thaw and things got increasingly more slippery with every lap during the race.


When I got home from Saturday’s race, I noticed that my rear brake was a little mushy. Not bad, but not crisp either. A little voice in the back of my brain said “bleed it!”...but I didn’t.

We had overnight temps in the low 20s and as I was warming up, my brakes were losing pressure. As we are now learning, SRAM Hydro Road Disc brakes don't like sub-freezing temps. With 30’ until my race, I had no rear brake. I was ready to call it day early but Steve (Dirt Dart Mobile Bike Service) and I attempted a last-minute brake bleed but we missed a step under pressure (with no manual or YouTube available) and I was out of luck. I got SRAM’d.


Steve and his Dirt Dart Trailer are a regular fixture at the Boise Cross races. Thanks Steve!
 Nov 9-10 - Idaho Waffle Cross Series, Turkey Cross

The theme of my Turkey Cross was chilly, dry, and one bunny-hop gone wrong.  I had a solid race on Saturday and battled with Ron Miller and Rob Burke for the top three spots in the Master’s 45+ race. I was able to hold off Rob for 2nd place but Ron was too smoove (yeah, I said smoove) and rode off the front for the win.


Turkey Cross - Staging the Masters 45+ / Cat 4 race


Trying to hold off a determined Rob Burke

A little post-race interview with Brian Price, co-organizer of the Idaho Waffle Cross Series

Sunday was new day and I was ready to rock. I got to the venue early and planned on doing several laps to get my lines dialed in. My first practice lap was mellow...just scouting things out and seeing what the Waffle Crew changed overnight. On my second lap, I came into the 10” double barriers and thought, “I am SO bunny-hopping these”. I backtracked a bit, and then got up some speed before hopping the first barrier...but I clipped my rear wheel and endo’d into the frozen grass. My left shoulder and head took the brunt of the impact. As I layed there in heap, Zach came down from the parking lot to help as he had seen the whole show from above. My left arm wasn't working.  Ruh Roh. My first thought was “broken collarbone”, but Zach said my shoulder looked out of whack.  Luckily, Dr. Lori Smith was in attendance to race and came over to check me out. She sat me on my tailgate, had me hold my arm at 90 degrees, and then calmly put my shoulder back into its socket. Holy Shit! I could immediately move my arm again. She must have seen a twinkle in my eye because she immediately said, “You are NOT racing today.” I was very fortunate to have Lori put my shoulder back into place just minutes after my crash because the swelling wasn't bad yet and this made it easier on both of us.   

Fidee Cent made the trip from Jackson to race Turkey Cross and took the Men's Cat 3 WIN on Day 2...in his sweet new Athlete360 skin suit.
I have a lot to learn about how to prepare for, and then race, a full cyclocross season.  It is a tricky balancing act between resting enough to be fresh for racing and not losing fitness as the season goes on. I also have a long list of CX-specific skills that I want to work on before next season. I learned a ton this season and I am already looking forward to applying it next year.

To everyone heading to CX Nationals in Boulder, CO, best of luck and Hup Hup!

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Dave, met you this morning on Sidewinder.
Probably going to Idaho City to ride FBs next Wed AM.
If you are interested in checking it out email me.
mcknightpac@hotmail.com