Thursday, November 4, 2010

Some Belated Updates.

For those of you that haven't been paying attention, OUR TEAM IS KICKING MAJOR BUTT! Certainly our best cross season to date, leaders jerseys and all. First and foremost, our uber long distance mountain bike racer Jen Smelser-Wood (or Wood-Smelser or Badass Mom )is a happy, healthy mother to her happy, healthy and adorable baby girl, Campbell Maddox...

...on behalf of the rest of the team, our sponsor and supporters; I would like to wish a giant congratultions to both Jen and her hubby. Y'all make cute babies.

Furthermore, after a year long hiatus Mr. Rob Jaimes himself (one of the fore-founding members of the team dating back to our roots in NorCal) returned to the single-speed cyclocross scene and managed to sneak some front rubber into a solid third place finish! I haven't raced cross in a year either...and I'm way out of shape. Does that mean I have a shot of stepping a TOMS Shoe'd foot atop a podium anytime soon? No. Not a chance in hell. Because I am not a badass like Rob.

I had the chance to see Rob for the first time since he likely last threw his leg over a bike before this race, at Interbike in Las Vegas. We gave hugs, cried a little and when the passersby became all too creeped out by the whole affair, we played it off the like tough guys that we are. It was really great to see Rob and his wife Nikki who also races for the team and you might remember from a certain SRAM commercial that was aired during a certain race for a yellow t-shirt:

"I Chose SRAM": Jaimes & Rubiera from Jim Fryer/BrakeThrough Media on Vimeo.

Here's a little piece from The Billionaire himself, Matt Bartlett:

"KH staying on top of the podium!"

I felt awesome on Saturday at All Hallows Cross. Got to try out the new Kona for the first time, and it friggin delivered. That bike is SO much more responsive than my Gunnar. I did not expect that kind of difference in feel. Anyway... the race started with a pretty weird prologue. It was a 100-ish meter downhill grass sprint off the line to a 75-degree turn. I expected mayhem, but most of us got through OK. I started on the front line, so that helped a lot. Shortly after the prologue turn, we head into the 1st of 2 sand pits (horse rings). I head into the ring in 5th or 6th, with Sean right next to me. I knew that was a bad place to be, because if one of us went down, we were likely to take the other with us. It was too late to do anything about it though. 2 turns into the sand, we run right into each other and bottleneck the field. We got back into the groove quick enough, and I caught back up to 5th just as a lead group was starting to form. This course is pretty wide open, so there's plenty of room to pass if you have the power. I pushed through the group up to 2nd, and saw Andrey Doroshenko (the guy who beat me out for the win at DCCX) starting to pull away from the group. I knew if I could get his wheel, we could probably walk away from the field together. This was another spot where I appreciated the Kona. I put the power down to make the bridge (not a huge gap -- maybe 5 seconds), and the bike responded instantly. I was on his wheel within seconds and hardly felt like I burned a match.

Once I was on his wheel, it was on. We traded half laps pulling, and put a 20+ second gap to 3rd by the 5th lap. I was really looking forward to a rematch drag-race from the prior weekend, and I think he was too. I even ended up waiting for him when he got caught behind some lap traffic with a little less than 2 laps to go. Attacking in lap traffic was not how I wanted to win the race.

With 1.5 laps to go, we came up to Ryan's famed barrier. They moved it down the course a bit this year, so the approach was much faster. Andrey and I were riding side by side, because that was about where we were trading pulls, and I heard a huge bang as I stepped over the barrier. I look to the right, and see Andrey running with no bike. His bike is flipping behind him, because he apparently didn't pick his bike up high enough and clipped the front wheel. I hesitated for a sec to see if he was going to get back on, but from the look of how it landed, I knew he threw his chain at a minimum. I couldn't wait for him to fix that, so I rode on to the finish alone. With a 20+ second gap, I knew I just had to ride smooth through the technical sections and continue to push the pace on the power sections. The finish was pretty anti-climactic, since I knew it was in the bag once Andrey had the mechanical, but I was really happy that I had put myself in such a good position to take the win. I was bummed that we didn't get to race it out at the end, but Andrey's mechanical was self-inflicted, so it's all part of racing.

Definitely the best race of my CX career (both in results and how strong I felt).

Most importantly... I'm hitting ALL of my goals for the season:
earn upgrade points (check)
podium in a 3/4 race (check)
top 10 in the MABRA 3/4 series (it isn't over, but I'm currently top 5 with only 4 races left)

...If you notice the guy showing some belly button, doing his best Mark Cavendish impression in those Oakley's, that's Greg. He USED to ride for us last year. We still love him. But his man-belly hair Fauxkley's look way better in a KindHuman BLUE! Great job to Matt and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic crew. Keep it to the rest of y'all: RIDE SOME BIKES!

Chapeau team.


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