Friday, February 3, 2012

Fare Thee Well...

We've had a good run at this URL, but we have decided to consolidate our web real estate and move the Team Blog over to the KindHuman Sports official web page. Be sure to re-bookmark and follow us over yonder...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Welcome to Houston Kindhuman!

Thanks to Justin Borden for introducing us to KindHuman!  We thought you'd like to know a bit more about us because nobody visits Houston...ever...

Justin Borden
Race Age: 40 (editor's note: Justin is the first person we've encountered who lists his older race age...he is proud to be 40)
USCF: Cat 3
Hometown: Denver, CO
Current: Houston, TX
Profession: Oil (pronounced Earl) Bizness

I have never seen E.T. I started racing in 2009. I shave my legs daily. I like the smell of embrocation. I think the full windsor is the only acceptable way to wear a tie.

Anna Felton
Age: 30
USCF: Cat 4 (road), Cat 3 (cyclocross)
Hometown: Wenham, MA
Current: Houston, TX
Profession: Geologist

Anna learned about cyclocross through riding too much the past summer and trying every crit race available in Houston. Cyclocross sounded a lot more exciting, and seemed like a good bike investment. Her dad gave her a road bike for her 21st birthday and that bike still is the best gift she has ever received!

Anna had very low goals for the texas cyclocross season, only race in Houston, stay on her bike and don’t get injured! With some initial success this season, Anna entered the state cup races with a lot of excitement. She decided to race the 3-4 and the women’s open race for the state champion. Anna won the cat 3 race and placed 3rd in the women’s open! Thanks to friends and fellow kindhuman racers!

Anna’s goals for the upcoming road season are to have fun and learn how to race on a team! She also plans on baking lots of cookies to bribe people to ride with if there are no donuts nearby!

Career Highlights
1st (2011) Terra X Cyclocross Race (Texas Age Based Championship 19-34) (The Woodlands, TX)
1st (2011) Bikesport Cyclocross Challenge- TX State Skill Based Championship 3/4 (Houston, TX)
3rd (2011) Bikesport Cyclocross Challenge- TX State Skill Based Championship women's open (Houston, TX)
1st (2011) Sugarcross (Sugarland, TX)
1st (2011) Cyclehaus Tough Cross (Fredericksburg, TX)
2nd (2011) America's Choice Home Loans Criterium (Houston, TX)

Mandi Hall
Age: 33
USCF: Cat 2 (Road)
Current City: Gainesville, FL
Profession: Research Assistant, University of Florida, Doctoral Student

Mandi Hall started cycling in 2001. She joined Team Florida, University of Florida cycling team, while obtaining her master’s degree. At UF, Mandi competed in multiple national collegiate cycling championship events for road, track, and mountain biking. Mandi was a member of the Trigators at UF, triathlon team, where she competed in two Ironman events and collegiate triathlon nationals. After graduation, Mandi continued to race and competed in Fitchburg Longsjo Classic stage race with top time trial, road race, and GC finishes. She also competed in Redlands Bicycle Classic stage race. Additionally, Mandi is an avid adventure racer and placed second in the 2005 US Adventure Racing Association National Championships.

Mandi loves cycling. She has been fortunate to race on phenomenal teams who together successfully won many races and conference championships. She is a team player and enjoys racing with others who share her passion. She seeks to race hard, have fun, and spread the love of cycling. :)

Natalie Kurz
Age: 30
Hometown: Katy, TX. Though Katy is now part of the Houston metro, she unfortunately does not count as a "Houstonian"

Current: Houston, TX
Profession: Lawyer

Natalie has been known to travel far across the great state of Texas, completing epic rides with beautiful scenery...for donuts. Her training mileage has increased greatly in 2011 due to the influence of teammates from the northeast who will bike great distances to one of Houston's few Dunkin Donuts. Because the Houston crew has realized that training may be compromised by integrating donuts and cookies into our rides, Natalie's greatest challenge in 2012 looks to be identifying a new source of motivation that enables her to log miles and also fit into her bibs.

She is expected to take the Cat 4 scene by storm this year and will have great success in the KindHuman kit. We promise to teach her not to not get chain grease all over her calves and shorts...

Career Highlights
Natalie has won a few MTB races (by margins of 18 minutes or so), but was a sandbagger and didn't buy a USCF license until we made her start racing cross.
Christy Lan
Age: 31
USCF: Beginner all the way around. This is Christy's first season racing on the road, but don't make any mistakes, this is not her first season on a bike.
Hometown: Louisville, Ky
Profession: Engineer

Christy started biking like most young girls, with her dad chasing her down the drive way and a huge smile on her face. The thrill of biking subsided as other sports took over in middle and high school, but was revived after college when Christy was introduced triathlons.

Christy became an accomplished triathlete within her first three seasons, winning several sprint distance triathlons, several half ironmans, representing the USA at the Long Course World Championships in Australia, and qualifying for Ironman World Championships in her first Ironman by placing third in her age group. Christy has become know as much for her never failing smile as for her speed on the course. Because her strength was running, Christy decided that she needed to focus her efforts on the bike in 2011 which proved to be an inspired choice. A new love for the bike formed along with some new friendships.

After several season competing in three disciplines at the same time, Christy decided that she needed a new challenge....and thus begins her career as a cyclist. Christy competed in her first cyclocross race this past December and is ready for more. Although there aren't many pure bike accomplishments to speak of this far, this girl is ready for the thrill of the race!

Her goals for the year are focused on leaning the ins and outs of road racing and cultivating the love of cycling in other woman.

Career Highlights
1st place AG Lone Star Half Ironman
1st place AG Oil Man Half Ironman
1st place AG Cajun Man Triathlon
Team USA Long Course World Championships
3rd place AG Ironman Louisville
Ironman World Championships, Kona Hi

Cycling...Hey, give me a year and I will get back to you :)

Kelsey McArthur
USCF: Cat 4 (road)
Hometown: El Paso, TX
Current: Houston, TX
Profession: Geologist

Kelsey loves long rides in the sunshine. She is contemplating retiring early and moving to Tucson. Until then, she enjoys long rides around Houston when the temperatures are moderate or hot. She is still hesitant to jump into racing with the rest of us, but enjoys cookies and is easily convinced to join any ride.

She has completed a few Olympic distance triathlons, but considers herself a cyclist; don’t get her confused with multi-sport enthusiasts!

Kelsey just needs a little push to enter a road race!

Annie Radecki
Age: 31
USCF: Cat 2 (road), Cat 3 (cyclocross)…and total beginner (MTB) once I get a bike.
Hometown: Newtown, CT
Current: Houston, TX
Profession: Real estate market researcher

Annie got her start in cycling at age 2 by sitting on the back of her father's bike yelling "wheeee!!". Now in her 9th year of road racing, Annie Lux is a Category 2 rider and has officially been racing a really long time.

She has numerous wins in regional time trials, crits, and omniums and has raced in NRC races such as the Nature Valley stage race, the Charlotte Criterium, Hanes Park Classic, Speedweek, and Superweek. She made a foray into triathlons and did pretty well because she once swam and played soccer, but mostly because she could bike really fast. However, she realized that she didn’t share the “multisport enthusiast’s” “enthusiasm” for waking up early to exercise excessively…and has retired to the greener and more sarcastic pastures of cycling.

Her current cycling goals are to have fun, to race hard, and to use her experience to help develop new riders. She's excited to see more women on bikes, and would be even more excited to see more women out racing. Oh, and if you couldn't tell, she really likes flames.

Career Highlights
1st (2011), 2nd (2008, 2009) Sanford Critierium (Sanford, NC)
1st overall (2008) Piedmont Triad Omnium (Lexington, NC)
1st (2010), Capital Cycling Club Road Race (Apex, NC)
1st (2007), I’On Criterium (Mt. Pleasant, SC)
1st (2011) Sugarcross (Sugarland, TX)
1st French Broad Classic TT (2nd omnium, 3rd RR, 4th Criterium), Asheville, NC
2nd (2009) Downtown Wake Forest Criterium (Wake Forest, NC)
2nd (2009, 2010) Uptown Greenville Criterium (Greenville, NC)
3rd (2008) Ride Sally Ride Criterium (Chantilly, VA)
Finished (survived) 2007 Nature Valley Grand Prix (in 70th), Minneapolis, MN

Courtney Scott
Age: 27
USCF: Cat 4
Hometown: Katy, TX
Profession: Analyst

Courtney was always involved with sports as a kid. Basketball, swimming, gymnastics, and soccer, and the occasional bike ride.

Courtney’s first taste of competitive cycling was in high school during her first triathlon, in which she crashed on the bike course. Although abraded and bruised, she finished with a smile on her face. She put aside the bike for a while to focus on swimming and running, but due to various injuries, picked up cycling. She joined her collegiate cycling team her senior year. It was a perfect match. The fun involved, the team atmosphere, and the great workout was something that could not be compared.

Courtney just enjoys being on a bike. On two wheels, you can find her running errands, bike commuting, and participating in local races. She looks forward to the challenge ahead of a fun racing season.

Her goals for the year are focused on riding hard, having fun, and staying injury free.

Career Highlights
2nd place AG Cinco Ranch Triathlon
2nd place Baylor Road Race, Baylor Criterium
2nd place TAMU Criterium
3rd place MSU Omnium

Scott Merrell
USCF: Cat 4

Scott didn't send us a bio...but he did send us a Christmas card.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I made Ritchey's Nice List.

Angelo over at Ritchey heard my Chrimbus Wish List plea and quickly rushed out a WCS C260 stem, replete in it's wet white finish. There are several reasons to add to this stems awesomeness: First, this is the first part to arrive that will go on our marketing sample (and my personal) Human Cycles KorsAir. This stem is so dreamy in person, it's almost uncomfortable. Really, attraction to an inanimate object of this particular shape and stature (130mm) isn't appropriate. I should probably seek help and guidance of psychiatric sorts but I shall digress into an enthusiastic euphoria of directional device coupling fastener empatheticalism.

See the sleek, sexiness of the stem and not the addition to the team and coworker of mine, Matt Tagliaferri:

That all being said, I'm looking forward to putting the C260 through it's paces. I've been using Comp level stems from Ritchey for several years and have been more than pleased with the better-than-par performance and durability in comparison to Easton, Specialized and FSA products I've used in the this is a big step up for me. Once the KorsAir is fully built, I plan to do a full video review for Hawley (my 9-5 employer) and post detailed photos and ride reviews. If you can't wait until then and you are a team member be sure to contact Angelo or Travis at If you're a fan or friend or both, then be sure to contact Travis at or your local independant bicycle dealer to order a C260 in your choice of carbon or aluminum, in BB black, wet black, wet red or wet white in one of seven sizes.

Cheers and Merry Chrimbus!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Marky Mark Duroy Is Back.

Mark Duroy has been with the team since it’s inception in California. When I went to work at Specialized, I was shocked by the speeds of the daily lunch ride. It was a full-on road race at sub 3K to go speeds with national and world champion caliber racers that happened to be my coworkers at the time. As I was being crushed, physically and mentally there was one person who went out of his way to pull me along on the hardest days and on the days when it just got too hard, slow down and pedal-in at a more enjoyable pace. This guy was Mark Duroy.

For those of you that don’t know, when mark was younger he raced at the highest level of junior racing and spent some time bouncing around from professional outfit to professional outfit, eventually landing himself in Europe. The guy has experience. His legs have been hurt by top-notch guys like George Hincapie and a close-personal hero of mine Chad Gerlach (I casted him on an episode of Intervention).

When you look at Mark, the first thing people notice is his height. Sure, he stand about as tall as I do but the guy seems a bit larger than life even alongside his usually quiet personality. His legs are huge and have muscles in places most people don’t have muscles. Then you’ll notice how low his position is on the bike. Flat-back doesn’t begin to describe it.

Mark has power for days and I’ve been lucky enough to hop in a few breaks with him and experience his draft/wrath first hand.

Two years ago, Mark broke his leg. Pretty bad. Dealing with the healing and trying to get through his MBA Big Mark was put out of commission. There were some complications latter in the healing processes that were quite scary for him. Nerve damage. Gnarly. Mark gained 65lbs, gnarlier. Luckily, after visiting some specialists at Stanford this past July he was feeling better and was finally able to get back on the bike.

Fast-forward to this September, 55lbs later; Mark decided to hop into his first race in nearly three years. A Pro/1/2 event called The Sacramento Grand Prix. The SGP is a heavily contested event by the majority of California’s fastest pros. Every contender enters this race after a full season of fast road and crit racing. Some of them arrive with stage race experience in their legs. I can’t imagine how hard it was for Mark to line up after a virtual complete hibernation away from the bike. Away from the race. Away from the pain.

Mark finished in the field that Rahsaan Bahati bested that day. I can’t imagine how difficult a feat that was. It speaks milestones for Marks character and strength as a rider and man.

I am proud to say Mark will be lining up as a fellow KindHuman Sports racer, #GettingRad at every opportunity. Everyone, give him a warm welcome back to the team and back to the scene.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Christmas Wish List

We are cyclists. We want what we can’t have. It’s, like, engrained into our DNA. Luckily, we have some incredible sponsors that make it easier for us to ride in style with the best performing, most comfortable and effective products on the market. Here is my 2012 Christmas Wish List…and probably yours too.

RUDY PROJECT | I’ve been rocking the Rudy Sterling since it’s debut two-three years ago and I’ve loved it. But, seeing their latest WindMax at Interbike a couple months ago sealed my future with it atop my head. It is super stylish and surprisingly lightweight. I did notice it was a touch smaller in the S/M sizing than my Sterling so I’ll likely try the Large. Now, the real question is: do I get matte black or white? Truth be told, I’d be happy if Santa’s elves made me either.

I’ve been wearing Rudy Project ExoWinds for like, four years now. It’s time for a change. Santa needed Rudolph to guide him on his journeys; I need me some Genetyk frames with Photochromatic clear lenses.

GAERNE | It's no lie that I am pretty much obsessed with my Gaerne G.Myst Plus kicks. Since my brother-in-law is getting into cycling this year I told him I'd help him out so I will be somewhat reluctantly bequeathing him my shoes, somewhat, because I am totally stoked to try their new G.Air Carbons. These babies are sexy and all-white...clean...PRO.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Gaerne mountain offerings from Ryan and the gang so I also figure it’s about time I get some G.Inkas dirty this season. Ryan, being the penultimate style guide said I should rock the whites…but the Reflex option came in a close second.

RITCHEY | Angelo and Sean at Ritchey Logic have kept us rolling this season with some fantastic offerings from the Comp-WCS line of products. My new favorite being their WCS Contrail saddle, I’ll be purchasing a couple more for my cross and mountain bikes. The item I am most excited about is the Ritchey WCS C-260 stem. The stem is a product that hasn’t changed a whole heckuvalot since the industry wide standardization of the threadless opposed to the quill model. The C-260 has changed that. Angelo, Sean…if you’re listening. I would much appreciate it if Santa would provide me one, in Wet White, size 130. Danke. | Travis has been a huge supporter of not only our Mid-Atlantic riders, but the rest of the team with sweet deals and service. He’s also putting our team logo on his trailor! Badass! Travis and his own contingent of elfish monkey wrenches are all talented wheel builders and if you are on the lookout of either a tubular, clincher or tubeless handbuilt wheelset then I highly recommend their Rolling Blackout custom sets. Travis starts with Chris King’s R45 hub (which I love and have on a build courtesy of Greg Borchert) mated to your choice of HED clincher or Stans Alpha 340 tubeless rims laced with Sapim CX-Ray spokes. What an impressive combination. I highly recommend giving tubeless a try especially with this speedy setup.

DEFEET | There are two things that have been constant since I began riding road bikes…those are the socks on my right and left feet. I’ve been a committed DeFeet wearer for a long time. Woolie Boolie, Air-E-Ator…love. Ryan is actually working on a custom KindHuman Sports order as we speak and I can’t wait to rock them real soon.

TRP | I’ve been in love with my R960 road calipers this past year and my EuroX alloy cantis have been fantastic but I’m contemplating shaking things up a big and running a V-brake set up for next season and also hoping Santa brings me a set of Dash hydraulic brakes for the 29er I’m building up.

As always, I’d love a few stocking stuffers from NuuN and Soigneur. Maybe some Challenge tires? Who knows?

So Santa, if you’re listening, I’ve been a good boy. I’ve stayed away from sweets and I’ve ridden lots. I’ve gone to bed early and haven’t watched cartoons in like, 4 months…so if you should find my name on the Nice List, then hook a brotha up.

Do us a favor, if you're a non-team member and visit the sites of our sponsors and advocate their well being by purchasing some products over and over and over again.

Merry Christmas all!

Monday, November 28, 2011

MABRA Championships at Taneytown

Today's race was the MABRA Cross Championships at Taneytown Memorial Park. I was the only KindHuman rider there but I am somewhat of a Cyclocross Socialite so I found some cool people to hang out with. This race is not in the MABRA Super 8 Series so it wasn't one that I was really focusing on but I thought it would be good to race it so I still feel fresh next week for the last race in the Super 8 Series. I didn't have huge expectations going into this one because of rain and holiday plans getting in the way of training. I really didn't ride near as much as I should have this week. On top of that I went for a hike on Friday that was supposed to be 7-10 miles but turned into 16 miles of hiking through Shenandoah National Park with about 3000 feet of elevation gain. I haven't done much hiking, walking, or running lately so this was certainly a shock to my legs. I basically wore my compression socks continuously from Friday until my race started today in an effort to combat the soreness in my legs. So with all of that in mind I really was setting my goals lower than I should have but I did want to grab at least 1 upgrade point since I was 1 point away from the 10 needed to upgrade to a Cat 2. With 40 racers in the the field, that meant that I needed to get 5th place or better. So my goal was 5th place. When I got my number I was surprised by my 1st row starting position since I have only done 2 races in this series and I didn't place well in one of them due to mechanicals. But I took that 1st row position without complaining. The course conditions were pretty rough. I think this park may have been a water park at some point because it retains water like no other. It hadn't rained since Wednesday but there were huge mud bogs and plenty of large "bodies" of water to ride through. So after some pre ride laps on the Pit bike I line up on my sparkling clean Kona Major Jake. I've been trying to figure out why I've been terrible at my starts all season so I was determined to get a good jump on the field. I know I'm not a sprinter but I should be able to get off the line quickly.

The whistle blew and I was clipped in immediately and off. I made it to the 1st corner in 2nd position. BEST START EVER (for me)!! I took a couple of bad lines and was sitting comfortably in 3rd position. I remained there for a bit and as I passed the pit, i made my 1st mistake. "BARTLETT DOWN!!" I hear from a rider behind me as my wheels slide out from under me on a slick corner. I get back up with only losing one position. I made it through the 1st 2 major bog sections pretty well but I definitely took the slower line through it and lost another position. I'm in 5th place now as I pass the pit for the 2nd time of the lap. In an attempt to get back into 4th I try to pass on a slippery off camber straight away and wash my wheels out from under me again. Quickly I get back up and didn't lose any more spots. I run through the Run-Down/Run-Up section smoothly and remount before the next mud bog. This mud has a chain link fence on the right side and the easier way through was right next to the fence. So I take that line but the mud decides to throw me into the fence wedging my right shifter between the fence post and the chain link part of the fence. I get it out but lose another position. Now I'm in 6th as we get to the off camber turn that follows the mud. My tires are caked and I go down again. I'm right back up and now getting pissed at myself. I go through the start/finish and towards the 1st half of the lap that we skipped on the 1st lap. They made the prologue avoid that section because it was super muddy and technical and they didn't want us sprinting right into that with a large group. So right as I get into the mud I have to unclip. I remount and make a sharp right turn into a slick off camber straight away and again my wheels go out from under me. I'm pretty sure I've already crashed 5 times by the time I do one complete lap. Now I'm telling my self to relax and race smarter and let other people make the mistakes. This goes pretty well and an amazing battle starts between 2nd and 5th place. There were gaps between all of us. I bridged up, passed, bridged up, battled, passed, bridged up, battled, passed....until I was in 3rd place. For the next 2 or 3 laps positions 2 through 5 changed pretty frequently. I've never been in such an intense battle. With 2 laps to go I start running a lot more of the mud and start putting a bigger gap on 4th and 5th place because of this decision. Finally positions are claimed by the start of the final lap. I'm in 3rd with a 15-20 second gap to second place that I was bringing down pretty quickly. 4th place was about 20-30 seconds behind me now and 5th place was about 20 seconds back from there. I continue to hammer it through the straights and focus on staying upright on the turns. I continue running more of the mud sections. At the final mud section I decided to let my momentum from the hill take me into the mud and then dismount. Just as I was about to dismount I was tossed into the fence again. This time my brake lever and shifter were wedged in the chain link fence and I couldn't get it out at all. I spend about 20 seconds trying to get it out of there and then it broke and came free. I'm still ahead of 4th place but I only have about 5 seconds on him. I have no rear brake and 3 sketchly turns to go. I get through those cleanly and I'm on the straight away. I try to shift my rear derailleur but the shifter is broken and I'm stuck in my biggest cog. I shift into the big ring and start spinning my ass off to try to hold off 4th place but with a couple of shifts of his gears, he took me by a few feet at the line. 4th place.

The broken shifter was pretty frustrating to me mostly because it caused me 3rd place but I did get my upgrade points that I wanted so at least I had that. It seems like they should start changing the 4th place podium step from saying "4th" to "Chad's" because I've been 4th for 3 weeks in a row now. At least they know what size stuff to put in the 4th place prize packs. Overall it was an unbelievably fun race and an epic battle. I made some new friends and maybe a new nemesis.

Photo by Lauren Howe

Photo by Lauren Howe

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Race Reports: Rockburn Cross 11/20/11

Chad Bartlett’s Report – Cat 3/4 Men 2:00 pm

Photo: Peter Ong

Chad didn't send me a race report for the day, but here's a brief summary as seen by me (Matt). The super short story is that it went pretty well, since he ended up on the podium. From my perspective (working the pit), he pulled away from the field with a group of 3 other riders early on. All of them seemed fairly content to wait until late in the race to shake things up. With about 1 and a half laps to go, the attacks started, and the group split in two and steadily separated further as the final lap progressed. In the end, Chad grabbed 4th place for another podium this season. All of the guys at the front of this 3/4 field are pretty well matched, and as a spectator, it's definitely been a fun race to watch over the last few weeks.

OK, OK, OK. I'll take the hint and go ahead and write a more detailed race report for you Matt. First of all I was really on the fence as to whether this course would suit me or not. The pre-ride laps seemed like it was a twisty course but not the kind of cornering that I can really benefit from. I like a course that has technical corners that are still fast. This seemed a little too tight for my liking but I still felt pretty confident.

For 2 weeks in a row I had a front row starting position and in this race I really think it made a difference. I got clipped in right away and powered up the uphill start to the first set of corners. My only goal here was to stay in the top 10 and stay on two wheels through the first 5 or 6 technical corners before the sand pit. I was successful by going into the sand in 6th position and figured that the guys in front of me were going to be able to ride it clean so I stayed on my bike. It was a good decision until Pierce Schmerge (Bike Lane) who entered the sand 3 spots behind me dismounted and ran around me taking out the course tape in the process. I managed to stay on my bike but had to slow down while he ripped the tape from his bike. Now we were in the power section through the single track and the lead group was about 10 guys and we were all together with a gap to the rest of the field. As we got to the second technical part of the course, I made a mistake by going into a 180 turn followed by a short, steep, slick uphill in too large of a gear. I pulled my cleat out of my pedal and was forced to do an awkward lunge to get over the hill. I did this right in front of Chris Carraway creating a small gap between the last 4 of us in the lead group and what was now the lead 6. With one corner to go on the first lap the lead group split into two groups of 3.

So on the start/finish straightaway I sprinted across the gap to the 2nd group on the road. The 1st group was up ahead and I had to use my cornering abilities to make my way through the group I was in on the first 2 corners of the lap. Now I had some ground to make up. I just hit the corners aggressively and cleanly made my way through the sand cleanly and hammered it through the single track slowly reeling in the leaders. On the run-up, I tripped over the 1st barrier and quickly hopped back up and continued my chase. Again focusing on fast cornering to reel these guys in. It turned out that these corners were just about right for me. They seemed easier and I could really get a ton of flow going at faster speeds (Greg may disagree with me on that comment as his experience was a little different). It took half a lap but at the dismount for the 2nd set of barriers that I finally caught on. Now it was time to sit on and relax for a bit since I had just put out a pretty huge effort for half a lap. We were moving pretty well so I knew we were opening up a gap on the 5th place rider. This was just making me feel more comfortable as I tried to recover in the draft.

The next 2 laps were pretty uneventful as the 4 of us were trying to figure out who was going to make the move to try to split us up. I knew it would be Eric Krause (Antietam Velo Club) because he's a roadie that has a huge engine and loves to attack on power sections. Sure enough that's what he did and the 3 of us were unable to match his power as he shattered our little group. The rest of the race (a lap and a half) was just damage control for me. Trying to keep a good pace to slowly try to reel in the other 2 in the group while holding off the 5th place rider who has shown to have a ton of power late in the race. I managed to maintain my position and ride across the line in 4th place for the second week in a row. Next goal is to get a little higher on that podium.

It was great having Matt and Greg offering support from the pit even though they had their race right after mine.

Patrick People’s Report – Cat 3/4 Men 2:00 pm

Photo: Peter Ong

I had high hopes coming into Rockburn since it was my best race of last year. My personal goal was to shoot for a top 20 finish. I found that the course had not changed much since last year; a few new turns, a run up, and a few features were redesigned. When I got my number, I was horrified to discover that my bib number was 660, essentially putting me in the back of the field. I fretted because I know placing in the first half lap would be important once you the single track, in which passing was next to impossible. I lowered my expectations and decided to just aim for beating my usual rivals. At the start line, I had the usual pre-race jitters. I always talk about how I wish we could all skip the start and first lap, and just start at the second lap. The ref blew the whistle, and we were off. I tend to sink towards the back at the beginning of most my races and then slowly work my way up. I tried to not let that happen today. I found myself within the top twenty at the hole shot, but with such a wide course at the hole shot, holding that position was difficult. I slipped a little further back as the the pack rounded the first few turns, and there was bottle-necking once we hit the sand pit. Running through the sand pit, I fought mercilessly for positions to give myself as best advantage as possible before the next bottle-neck. I hit the off camber section, positioned somewhere in the mid-20s, not too far behind Nate C. When I hit the single track, I stayed as close to the wheel in front of me as possible, goading the rider in front of me to go faster. As we hit the stairs, I managed to gain a spot or two. What really hurt my chances of meeting my goals during this race were the amount of sloppy turns. Over this season, I've really improved my cornering abilities, but I had a hard time finding a line through a lot of the off-camber turns during this race. I forced myself to turn wide and almost go off course more than a few times.

As the race entered its second lap, and the pack spread out a bit more, which is how I like it. I made a habit of dropping the hammer during the start/finish and continuing through the grass and into the first turns at full speed ahead. This allowed me to shed the racers on my wheel at the start of each lap. I continued to move up steadily, passing groups of 2 or 3. I ran into some a little trouble during the third lap, when I was stuck behind a slow rider on the single track, which allowed a group of 5 that I had dropped to catch back up. This same guy continued this habit and slowing my race through the third and fourth laps, as I would pass him at the power sections, and he would catch up at the technical sections. All this time, I was ahead of this group of 7. On the third lap, I suffered a mechanical with my rear derailleur while coming up towards the pit. I was forced to stop and readjust my chain, allowing all 7 or the riders behind me to pass. It didn't take me long to catch back up to the rear of the group, but I wasted energy in doing so. I found myself neck and neck with one of my CrossResults rivals. During the latter part of the fourth and fifth laps, we were neck and neck, yo-yoing not more than two spots from each other. As we hit the back section of the course for the final time, I was leading him, and I knew he was eager for the sprint. I rode defensively, not allowing him to pass me until we reached the road. Until the final 100 meters we were neck and neck, until he let out an unholy growl, and lifted himself out of his saddle to make it a true sprint. I had nothing left to give and was forced to let him have it uncontested.

After the race, I had a few people tell me that I looked stronger than I have been all season and they thought I placed well. Hearing that lifted my spirits about my performance. I ended up finishing 33rd. While its not anywhere near where I would like to be and where I think I could be, I'm still content. I'm gradually improving each week, and I hope to finish the season strong. If only I was a better bike mechanic.

Nathan Ong’s Report – Cat 4 Men 8:30 am

Photo: Peter Ong

So today was my second CX race and probably the last of this CX season. I was really looking for redemption from last week's race at Schooley Mill as I plagued with some bike mechanicals. Rewind to last week, i rode last two laps with horrible front brake drag (also slight rear brake drag) and handlebars pointed in a totally wrong direction. So in hope of doing "better" or at least faster [in my head] I did some much needed bike maintenance week and go the bike setup. I had also told myself that i would not repeat my somewhat woeful mount/dismounts that i performed at Schooley Mill last week, so mid week CX practice commenced in my yard. Practice makes perfect i guess and i was more confident in my jumps off and on the bike somewhat.

Lining up on the grid i was number 58 (about 6th row). One of the "new found" strategies i wanted to employ this weekend was some big ring riding especially at the start. My borrowed bike was a full sized crank set 53/39 and last week i had brought a knife to a gun fight opening the starting spring in 39/16 or this week, it meant using that 53T. So the whistle blows and i immediately find my pedal with minimal glances down and start moving up in the line. Going into the first turn I was probably around top 7 and stayed top 7 for about 1/4 of the lap or so. I probably got way too excited and just wanted to keep them in my sights, but this pace was soon putting me into [more like BEYOND] the RED. About halfway through the 1st lap, i gave up trying to stay with the top 5 and started to ride at my own pace...unfortunately my pace soon allowed riders left and right to come past. The field at this point was already strung out but I desperately was trying to ride on courage in hope to not lose to many places. Surprisingly the mounts and dismounts went fairly well for me today. Not too many hiccups I can recall.

2nd lap of three, I felt more at my own rhythm and found someone to somewhat draft off of to gauge the rest of the race. We were probably top 15 at this point. In my mind the gaps were pretty large in front and behind me, so why not stick with this guy for a little and see if i can attack somewhere.... Leading into the sand pit, it got sketchy when the rider in front of me (whom i was drafting) slams on the brakes to get off the bike, causing me to awkwardly unclip, whilest sitting on my top tube, forcing me to get off the bike on the drive side. By the time we exited the sandpit the gap was about 3 bike lengths....I wasn't able to close the gap and the gap grew (end of the day finished 4 seconds behind). 3rd lap I was just trying to not let anyone pass and not let the gap go too much. I did have one "kill" on this 3rd lap so that got me boosted! To finish off the race, i sprinted to the finish , alone.... but cross is kind of a race against yourself at times so i figured it would be fitting.

In the end of the day i finished 17th/57. I was pleased, knowing that this race went by without having a major bike mechanical and having done some things "right" like some of the technical turns, not crashing, and mounting/dismounting. Kinda disappointed at my fitness level giving up so many places, but in the end (as always) it was a good learning experience! Congrats to the team, for getting me caught on the cross bug! =P