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Monday, October 10, 2011

dan ryan woods race.......


This was my second race of the cross season. The Chicago Cross Cup races are great and very popular here in Chicago. I did the Wauconda race last year and had a blast. I had to start work at O'hare today so my original plan was to drive up Saturday afternoon and get settled in at my crashpad and then be rested for Sundays races. I also planned to do two races. Originally, I wanted to race the 40+ and then the CAT 3 race. I would have, but as Saturday wore on, it got later in the day and plus the Blues home opener was on tv that night. I decided to just stay in St. Louis and then drive up in the morning. I got up at 4am and was in Chicago by 10am. I had to scratch the original plan to race the 40+ since it started earlier in the morning. I then tried to sign up for both the CAT 3 and CAT 123. I didn't read the fine print on the flyer and found out day of registration was an extra five dollars, so instead of $40 for both races it was $45. I only had $40 on me. I figured I'd try to find an ATM after the CAT 3 race.

I warmed up on the trainer for about 15 minutes and then rode one lap around the course. The course was longer then I was used to. It had a nice steep tree covered climb, another climb, some technical stuff, two barrier sections, and a log jump. It had a bit of everything, but it also had some good, flat power sections which worked to my disadvantage.

When I got back from my warmup lap they started call ups. There was close to 70racers, and when it was all said and done I was in the last row. This ended up working to my advantage. When we started everyone got piled up within the first 50 yards. I hadn't ridden this part of the course and I couldn't believe there was already a pile up. I thought there must've been a sharp switchback turn. I ended up crashing into someone. I got my spokes caught in someone's skewer, but was able to untangle myself pretty quick and get around the worst of it. I could see the rest of the race splintered, but had no idea what position I was in. I ended up passing a few more people before everyone settled in. I could only think I was in top 30, possibly top 20. After a few laps I decided to bunny hop the log. It made for a smoother transition. I was also in a battle with a couple guys, one was an ABD guy, the other a PSIMET guy. They were both very strong. Over the next several laps we were all exchanging the lead. I then ended up slowly putting a gap on the PSIMET guy, but he kept on digging back up to me. I decided I needed to get away from him, and right behind him was the ABD guy. I didn't want to ride with these guys because I figured I'd lose the battle on the power sections towards the finish. It was hammer time, several times he caught me, but each time he did I laid it down before I broke the elastic and distanced myself from them. I could still see them bearing down on me which kept me motivated to keep pushing. The bell lap finally rang and I had the gap I needed, but just needed to keep it going. I actually gained more time on that last lap and cruised in comfortably ahead of my biggest rivals in the race. Having those guys to battle really made it hard, but fun at the same time.

I was satisfied with an 18th place considering my start position and limited racing. After the race I rode out to a Walgreens down the road to get some cash, but by the time I got back they had closed the CAT 123 registration. Honestly, I wasn't too heartbroken, I was pretty spent from the CAT 3 race, so I just watched a bit of the race before I headed out. I gotta thank the Beverly bike shop. They trued up my reynolds carbon wheel for me after the race and then I went to their shop and they replaced my bent spoke(from the crash) free of charge and even gave me a spare.

If you get a chance you've got to get out to a chicago cross cup race. There's plenty of competition, big fields, plenty of cowbells, and just a lot of fun. I'd love to do next weeks Wauconda race, but I'll be back in St. Louis for the Bubba series.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

first cross race of the year.........

Well, time for my quarterly update. My job in Kansas City is finally history. I thought I would give KC a try, but it just wasn't for me. It was great for commuting, but eventually making it a permenant home was just not appealing to me. I then thought I may be going to Colorado Springs when my company put in a few openings, but as luck would have it they seem to have put it on hold. My girlfriend and I were pretty disappointed about that one. My second choice, and propably the smart choice was to head back to Chicago. I was able to transfer back and should be up there within the week. I was a litte apprehensive when I originally transfered to KC anyways, so I'm lucky it worked out and I can head back.

Time to get to the racing. I had a pretty successful cross season last year eventually placing 2nd, right behind Denny, in the masters field at the State Championships. The start of the cross season hasn't exactly been ideal for me. The Pride series races over in Alton only had one Saturday race which was disappointing for me. Last year I was able to go right from the road season and right into cross. This year I haven't been able to race the road as much, having a wedding to go to, and the lack of Saturday races has really put me behind the eight ball. To really put salt in the wounds KC's cross season finally started yesterday, but I had just packed up and moved out of my apartment the day before and headed back to St. Louis. Luckily the Pride series had there one and only Saturday race yesterday.

I had to take my nephew to his soccer game in the morning so I was only able to make either the Masters or Open race. With the lack of racing in my legs I decided the Masters race would better suit me. I was short on time and still had to do a lot of work on my cross bike, which I hadn't touched since the State race last year. I got to the race about a half hour before the start and still had to adjust my brakes, change tires, change, and register. I got that all done, and still got a one lap warm up in.

We lined it up behing the Open field and they started us 30 seconds later. I didn't have my Garmin mount and my Dogfish skinsuit had no pockets. My only choice was to throw it in my skinsuit and I figured it needed to be on my back to recieve the satellites....not the best choice. I was able to get the holeshot, I didn't really even try too hard, but managed to be first. I had to look back because I was sure everyone was breathing down my back. They weren't. With my lack of racing I started to wonder if I started out too hard and if I'd hit a wall. Right about that time I got passed and looked back and saw my teammate Berndt with his crosshairs on me. I just kept trucking along. Remember that GPS I threw in my skinsuit? Well, not so much, eventually it worked it's way down and after dismounting to go over the barrier it ended up in my butt and I was sitting on it. It must've been a sight to see as I was digging it out of my ass. I never wanted to stop so I eventually did work it to the top of my leg. Berndt eventually did pass me. I stayed with him for a bit before he pulled away. Now I was in third with several guys clawing to catch me. I picked up my pace and just kept Berndt within striking distance. That worked out because the guys behind me finally faded and I had a sizeable gap and was assured a podium so long as I kept it upright and didn't have a mechanical. I even started closing in on my teammate. I don't think he finished more then 20 seconds ahead of me. It was a good Dogfish 2-3 finish.

Next weekend I plan to be in Chicago for the Cross Cup series.