Monday, December 7, 2009

All Good Things...

I must first wish a huge congratulations to Bryan, of the Mid-Atlantic Crew, and Patricia on welcoming "Buns" now known as Dominic to the world, last week. I've seen videos and photos and the little dude looks just like his daddy. If he grows up to ride half as hard as his father, Dom will be one helluva racer!

With the news of Dominic being born being passed around our team member's inboxes, Matt (also of the Mid-Atlantic Crew) informed me that he and his wife Nichole are pregnant! He didn't want to steal any thunder from "Buns" because he's that kind of a guy, but I'm not that kind of guy. In my mind, it's not stealing thunder, it's re-categorizing the storm! CONGRATULATIONS! I have to say, it's pretty amazing how many newborns there are within the team as well as "on the ways" on the way! What an exciting time for all of the new mommy's and daddy's and mommy's and daddy's to be! Our family just keeps on growing. As team manager, I've already sent out training schedules and logs for our junior recruits...I'm expecting some great results in about sixteen years. ;-P All kidding aside, many well wishes and congratulations are due in part on behalf of the rest of the team, our sponsors and supporters alike.

Cross season, for some is just warming up (kind of an oxymoron, with the weather only becoming colder) for some and dwindling down for others. All in all, Team TOMS has had some great showings thanks to our riders all across the country. This weekend, Matt and a few of the guys participated in the Cap City Classic where the grounds were covered in a blanket of snow! Here's his recap on the day:

"Four inches of snow on Saturday, and a sunny 40+ degree day on Sunday made for a fun slog through a lot of REALLY cold mud. Ryan and I decided that the weather was warm enough that we didn't need anything covering our arms or legs, so we went with short sleeves and bibs. I think we were the only ones without warmers or long sleeves! It was our feet and upper legs took the brunt of the cold, because they were in direct contact with the most mud and splashing.

Ryan and I both registered really late, so we got lined up in the back of the grid. Ryan decided to gun it at the start, and worked his way through a LOT of the field really quickly. I, on the other hand, was chatting with the dude next to me and took whatever you would call the opposite of the hole shot. Most people were trying to stick to the tracked down muddy line on the first lap, so there were lots of opportunities to pass if you wanted to ride through the snow. I didn't realize it, but I guess I passed a lot of people during the 1st lap. By the time I caught up to Ryan (2nd lap), we were sitting somewhere around top 20 (this was cat 2/3/4 race). Because of the mud, there weren't a lot of power sections, and I guess we were both handling the mud pits a bit better than most. We kept creeping through the field.

The muck led to some mechanical difficulties, and Ryan ended up being stuck in his granny gear for the 2nd half of the race. Alas, he still kept in contact with the group. I had a good deal of chain-jumping going on with my cassette and icy-cleat issues, but I can't say my issues were anything worse than anyone else was dealing with. I took some bad lines on the last 2 laps, and had to run some muddy sections that I really should have been riding. For some reason, I was able to run kinda fast for once, and ended up gaining a place on the 4th lap and holding my spot on the 5th lap. I held off a guy who consistently beats me and tends to be really strong at the end of the race, and finished 14th of 40+ starters. On the final lap, Ryan made a good passing move to bridge up to our friend Chris, but he found a root or something under one of the snowy lines and went down. The fall ended up messing with his rear brake cable, making it really hard to get the bike moving (even with his granny gear). The whole incident ended up costing him 10+ spots on the last lap. Kinda sucks, because he was having a great race and the results don't really reflect it accurately.

Even if we didn't podium, TOMS was noticed for being the idiots in the shorts and short sleeves..."Here's Ryan's take:

"The fall actually pulled my rear brake closed, and ten people passed me while I figure out what the issue was. I then pushed a guy up the hill I was at the bottom of, remounted, and finished my race with a crooked stem and still in the granny gear.

On the last lap, I found an ice patch and went down trying to bridge another gap and soft pedaled the rest of the lap so i could finish along with my friend Danny."

I raced my second official race of the season, thanks in part to my bike taking so long to arrive. (Big kudos goes out to Chris Lowe, again for letting me borrow his rig for Urban CX at IX a few weeks back). I(Cat4) along with my Clemmons Bicycle pal Josh Tucker (Cat1) lined up for the SingleSpeed category of the North Carolina Cyclocross - Tanglewood event. It was a solid course layout that was allegedly setup by North American cyclocross living legend, Jon Hamblen. The course was super fun with some very fast and some semi-technical areas that were only made more technical by the amount of mud buildup between races. My big mistake was trying to follow Josh's wheel from the start. I successfully managed to do that, until lap two where I found myself vomiting asiago cheese bagel into my mouth. I recovered a bit and am pretty happy with how I finished up the race. More than anything, this was a really fun course with some really fun people. That, my friends, is what cyclocross is all about.

I also pseudo-previewed the new kits. I am not the brave soldier-type like Ryan and Matt who will rock the short sleeves/no warmers combo. Call me a wuss, but it was friggin' cold!

Thanks for reading!

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