Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another MABRA Race, Another CXHairs Video

Bill at cxhairs.com has always been kind to us, giving us plenty of time in his videos, interviews, and photos. As a thank you, we like to post them up here for our followers to watch. And as a bonus, they are super entertaining.

So, here is Bill's video of DCCX. THANKS BILL!

DCCX 2011 from In The Crosshairs on Vimeo.

Monday, October 24, 2011

DCCX or: How I Learned to Stop Whining and Love the Rad

We had a good amount of riders at DCCX this past weekend, and we decided to give the collaborative blog post a try. We have broken it down into race order.

11am - Singlespeed Open: Ryan Dudek (5/51)

I started fifth row in the singlespeed race, which was almost the absolute back. The start was surprisingly polite, and with the low gearing, nobody could REALLY be making sketchy moves anyway. Well, I guess that they COULD, but the DIDN'T, which was RAD. Everybody in the entire field got rad jumping over the dirt road, and then the field started splitting off into groups. I had to make a lot of moves to get around a large portion of the field, but by lap two I was sitting in the top ten. I remember passing Jon Seibold and thinking HOLY CRAP, IVE MOVED UP. On lap 3 I caught Cargo Mike from DCMTB, who is totally a home town favorite. We rode the rest of the race exchanging pulls and almost caught second place, but on the last lap, as we were coming into the stairs, somebody who was lapped traffic decided to get on Mike's wheel. They dismounted and ran, I rode the stairs like always (#getrad). For SOME reason, the lapped rider stopped on the stairs forcing me to stop and letting Cargo Mike get away. I was unable to catch him going through the last power section, so I knew he had third locked down. I slowed up a bit, thinking I was all alone, when Dan Atkins came BOMBING past to swipe fourth. I finished 3m behind him in the sprint, which I wasn't too upset with considering that he podiums at Cat1 MASS races. This was a very refreshing reminder of why you don't stop riding until you cross the line.

12pm - Women 3/4: Jennifer Franko-Dudek (34/41)
Registering late got me a last row start, and everyone in the two rows ahead of me seemed to be in the wrong gear to start a race. Diane from C3 and I had a laugh about it and were praying for the seas to part and we would make our way through the pack...I went right, she went left, and the part was to the left. Stuck behind the entire field and grabbing a handful of brakes on the second turn was not fun, but still I made the best of it through the turns on the back half of the course. I didn't really have any idea of where I should be in the group since I haven't raced a MABRA race since 2009, and I didn't really recognize too many names. It was great to be in a bigger field and actually racing a group. I was with a couple of girls going back and forth having fun just riding my bike. I suppose I could have been a little more aggressive overall. Mid-race, I realized I was racing close to Doron Peterson, who used to lap me when I started riding bikes. I turned it on a bit, and it felt good to actually have the desire to race someone in cross, it doesn't happen often. My competitive bone is not there on a cross bike yet. After a few words (of course being girls we had a chit chat and say hello in the middle of the race) I made a "move". HA! I couldn't believe that I actually wanted to pass someone, and I was doing it! One lap to go, and the leaders of the elite field were starting to make their way through the 3/4's (all but the top 3 finishers in the 3/4 race were lapped by the winners of the 1/2/3). At that point our race is pretty much over, yielding for the leaders and just basically holding your position. I still tried to make up ground where I could and got a little crazy trying to pass another group of three girls on the U-turn. I went down, bummer! Doron got back around me, and I did my best to stay with the group, but again the elite field breaking through and we had to move aside. I hung on the back of the group for the rest of the lap and actually had a little of a sprint finish with two other girls. Overall I had a great time and surprised myself. Maybe I should listen to Ryan and try racing a bike instead of just riding a bike. :)

It was great to see the rest of the team out there kicking butt and having a good time partying and racing. We've come a long way and have a great group of riders representing and improving every weekend.

2pm Men 3/4: Uwe Steckhan(61/125*)

Photo courtesy of Shreya M

You could say this was my best and worst cross race of the season in one day. But being DCCX, how could it have been bad at all? After all, this is a great location, no need to rent a car to get to, the course gets more fun to ride every year and it was perfect Mid-Atlantic cross weather - sunny, cold and just a few muddy spots here and there on the course. Having upgraded to Cat 3 for this year's season, the first few races my remaining German habit of punctuality and signing up on time proved to be a big disadvantage, having to start in the front of the pack resulting in being run over by almost everyone within the first few seconds of the race start. For whatever reason I did get a mid-pack start for DCCX, made up a couple of spots immediately after a somehow unannounced start and got into a good flow within the first two laps, making up and losing spots about on equal, but keeping my overall position. But coming back to the bad part of the day, maybe I got too comfortable, with this being already my third time at DCCX without major issues in past years. Anyway, in the middle of the third lap I took a wide turn to try to pass a rider and got my front wheel violently stopped at a root, sending me including bike within an instance into a nice somersault, taking my breath and orientation for more than an instance and picking up a nice grass patch with my helmet, which I only realized after the race, but might look nice on some of the upcoming pictures and probably explaining why some spectators looked at me as if I had been from a Zombie or Halloween movie. After realizing what had just happened, but not immediately figuring out what kept my bike from further fulfilling its purpose of at least allowing me to roll on and with the team tent in sight I was about to throw it all in, when I did see my arch-nemesis coming up about two corners down the course. Reenergized not to lose that opportunity I bent my shifter back into place, found and dislodged the brake arm from being stuck under the rim and off I went. Even after realizing I was slowly losing air in my rear tire and stopping in the pit once to borrow a pump, I managed to keep on going. Although very much necessary I did not have enough of a lead on my nemesis to refill my tire a second time, I went into the last lap with my tire rolling off the rim in every corner, me riding standing wherever possible to keep the weight off the back and actually finishing the race riding on the rim. So much from the middle of the pack, where in the end I was fortunately able to keep my position, beating my nemesis and my body, both probably not very happy about this today, but it seems the mind prevailed; but both mind and body are now looking forward to one weekend without racing.

2pm Men 3/4: Patrick Peoples(50/125*)

My only real goal for DCCX was to not have fun because cyclocross is srz bsns. That and to beat my arch nemesis, Seabass. We've had a pretty gnarly rivalry going on this season. I started on the same line as Uwe and Seabass. Maybe about 6 or 7 back. When the race started, I decided to forego my usual habit of not being able to clip and, and get right to business. My body was not in business mode, though. (insert excuse for poor performance here later). Also, I think I went deaf during the first lap due to some dude who smeared grease on his carbon wheels before the race. I stayed pretty close to Seabass for most of the race, either me falling a few spots behind, or him falling a few spots behind. It was a epic clash of mediocre cylcocross racers for the ages. After 3 laps in, I finally accepted the fact that I wasn't gonna win. A lot of the course left me feeling like I was peddling through molasses. I thought I was super clever by riding down the 180 hill, in a ready-to-dismount position and then running up. It was probably about as clever as tossing my bike at Hyattsville. I was taking what ground I could on the straightaways and taking the turns with more confidence than I have all season. Come last lap, I thought I had some distance on Seabass, so I stopped Schlecking. He closed the gap a bit during the last lap, with me putting in a little extra kick in the end to secure 50th place. Overall, I'm happy with how I did considering how poopy I felt during the first few laps. Although, I was only able to achieve one of my goals.

2pm - Men 3/4: Nate Chenenko (20/125*)

i started in the second row due to series pointz and came into the dirty u-turn on the side of the hill in about 15th. my nemesis (not arch-nemesis though) was just to my left, and he moved right just enough that i couldn't take my desired line. i got into the soft soil and lost front wheel traction which ended up in such a phenomenal faceplant that people were congratulating me after the race.

i was back on the bike after 5-10 seconds (concussion check/chain fix) but by this point i was in 45th-ish place. i picked up 8 spots that lap and proceeded to #getrad on the jump for the next two laps.

i caught charly hermanson from kelly and jumped past their group with three to go. an AFC guy was stuck to me for the next two laps and i didn't really have much interest in shaking him because we were still picking up so many places via passing. by this point we were in 28th, or so i thought.

it was at about this point where i realized my rear skewer was loose enough that every time i lifted the bike my wheel was rattling around in the dropout. that was the end of #getrad on the jump, much to my disappointment.

i was consistently faster than the AFC dude over the barriers and around the u-turn onto the finishing straight, so i let him by with half a lap to go so i could draft him on the two road sections. this proved to work quite well because i caught the ultra draft and then passed him before the barriers. i was on the road with a 10 meter lead and dropped gears for the sprint. i have never lost a sprint in my life, especially with 10 meters at the start of it. unfortunately all streaks must come to an end, because as i pushed my SRAM paddle to downshift it broke (after being in dire straights all race) and the AFC dude came around and beat me by a meter at the line.

i was pretty displeased after the whole thing because i thought i finished 26th, but i checked the results this morning and i actually finished 20th, so i am happy now.

2pm - Men 3/4: Chad Bartlett (DNF)

I had a great start coming off of the pavement in 10th place and airing it out over the gravel road complete with bike whip. It was RAD but the only people who could see it were those people behind me because there were no spectators there. I quickly moved through the top 10 riders just trying to stay ahead of any mishaps by other riders. Basically I saw Chris Caroway in front of me and decided I needed to get in front of him and stay in front of him because he was surely going to make a mistake and cause a gap to form between him and the lead group. That was probably my second smartest move of the race because that's exactly what happened. He did something on some corner and before I realized it our lead group was 5 guys and Chirs wasn't there any more. I felt great for the first 3 laps. I had just sat in the group not doing any work and being very efficient with cornering so I wasn't burning energy accelerating out of the corners to close gaps. Two guys from Bike Lane were in the group and they were doing all of the work at the front and were starting to get tired. I saw this happening on the back (uphill) straightaway so I went to the front and lifted the pace in an attempt to make them crack. I wasn't on the front for too long before going into the most technical corner on the course too fast. A totally off camber 180. I fell but got right back up. Without even looking at my bike I just assumed my chain had fallen off. So as soon as I got up I picked up my bike and started running up the hill while simultaneously cranking my pedals with my hands. This was the smartest move I made in the whole race because that put the chain back on while I was running up the hill and I didn't lose any ground. I was sitting in 5th position right on the back of that group. All was good for another half lap until I went into a corner a little too hot and hit a little bump. I stayed up but it pushed my tubular off my rim just enough that it was rubbing my brake as it came around. I made it to the pit still with that group that was now 6. I went in the pit grabbed my pit bike and I was on my way. The only problem is that just as I exited the pit I realized there was only about 5-10 PSI in my rear tire of the pit bike. RACE OVER!

* there were 125 registered for the 3/4, but only 90 finishers. without full results posted

3pm: Men 1/2/3 - Matt Bartlett (21/51)

I'm pretty sure this was the most stacked field MABRA has ever seen. On top of that, there were over 50 starters, which meant my time spent racing in no-man's-land would hopefully be kept to a minimum. The field delivered. I went for my Tacchino strategy of putting myself in the red from the gun and seeing how long I could hold onto the lead group. I successfully lasted longer than I did at Tacchino, but by the 2nd lap, I was out of reach from the leaders, settling into a more reasonable pace, and looking for the cash/fun hand-ups that the fast guys skip over (my favorite part of this season so far). While I didn't make as much hand-up money as I have in other races this season, I did successfully run the stairs while eating an apple with a dollar bill embedded in it. Cash AND refreshment! I was definitely having a good time out there, but was feeling really good too. This is probably the first 60 minute race that actually felt 'short' to me. The last 3 laps felt great, and I was reeling myself up towards the group that had been 30 seconds in front most of the race. I never quite reached that group, and I got passed by 2 guys who were leapfrogging their way through the field. That being said, I picked off a couple of guys who were popping, and maintained my 21st place position at the line. It was one of my lowest placings for the season, but I'm really happy with it considering the strength and depth of that field.

3pm: Men 1/2/3 - Ryan Dudek (49/51)
The elite race was horrible. I toed the start line with dead legs and fell apart after 3 laps. I tried to win at partying, but I think I only got second place. I did take one dollar, one beer, one cream soda, and one tortellini handup (thanks Carraway) after riding the stairs, though. After getting lapped, I grabbed my Raleigh out of the pit for maximum raddage. On the last lap, I broke the chain and slowcoasted to get the Rock Lobster back and finish. Overall, I had an awesome weekend. Good times, good friends, and new blisters on my hand. (I really need to get some of those TRP RRL levers on my singlespeed).

Kenzo Cross Winners

Ryan took home the win, along with a course marker that he wrapped up in his wheel and $10 at last Thursday's Kenzo Cross in Philly.

Photo and race by Surly Rider

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Granogue CX 10/15-10/16/2011

A bunch of us Mid-Atlantic KHS riders went up to Granogue CX out in Somewherenearwilmington, DE for 2 days of racing this past weekend. The Granogue courses may not be the most technical ones around, but they’re always a suffer fest. No matter how they set it up, you go home feeling like the course was 75% uphill. There are very few places to recover. The conditions were unexpectedly dry this year, considering the amount of rain DC saw during the week. That was great news for me, because I could finally get away with the file treads glued to my new Hed Belgium/White Industries wheelset that JRABS built up for me this summer. Quick review/plug: super responsive and plenty light (1450-ish grams I think) for me... RECOMMENDED.

Anyway… on to the racing: I lined up in the 13th row (#67) of the grid in the 2/3/4 race (I need to improve my Bikereg race tactics), but I set my sights on a top 10 finish. Having gotten used to the 60 minute races in MABRA, I figured I’d just drill it 100% for the 45 minute race, and see what happens. The whistle goes off, and this is where things get a little blurry for me. I don’t really remember many details of the first few laps of the race, because I was really just trying to turn myself inside out and take advantage of any opportunity to make a pass. I didn’t care who was sitting in drafting. I just focused on the rider directly in front of me until I passed. Somewhere around 3 to go, I heard a spectator tell the guy in front of me that he was sitting in 9th. Mission accomplished as far as goals go, but I could see 2 other groups ahead of me within striking distance. Dropped him on the road and chased them down. About halfway through the 2nd to last lap, I caught a group of 4 or 5 guys, including the Shane Watters, the MAC points leader, and a few other people that I would assume are part of the lead group or the 1st chase group. I couldn’t see anyone in front of this group, but if there was anyone up there, they were probably out of reach with just a little over a lap to go. I decided that I was better off sitting in for a minute and taking some time to figure out how to beat these guys. I let them pull me through the 1st half of the last lap, and after recovering for a minute or 2, was able to determine that this actually was the lead group. Recovery section over… I started a couple of attacks. Only one person seemed to be able to respond and counter. I knew who’s wheel I wanted to be on (Alejandro Guzman) leading up to the line, and decided to stick to it until the last 150m or so. I’m sure he knew what I was doing, because he definitely started trying to entice me to pass. This little game allowed Nick Taylor to close the gap just before we entered the final technical off camber section. All I had to do was stay on Alejandro’s wheel. I had ridden this cleanly for the previous five laps, but started over thinking my lines, took a stupid one, and washed out my front wheel while correcting. That gave Nick the green light to go grab Alejandro’s wheel. I got up quickly, but kinda slammed my drive train into the ground in the process (this will come into play later), and watched my chances of a win sneak away. I drilled it for the next minute and a half, but couldn’t close the gap in time for the sprint. Alejandro took the win, and Nick took 2nd. The best I could muster from my legs at that point was to hold my 3rd place position and keep Shane from closing the gap on me.

While writing this, it kinda seems like an epic failure on my part to capitalize on a solid chance at a win. Yes, it probably was, but I it didn’t bother me that much. I still think this is the best CX race I’ve ever had, including past wins. While that one mistake was certainly untimely, it was really the only notable mistake I made the entire race. From a bike-handling standpoint, I'm not the cleanest of racers out there... especially not when I'm riding so far into the red like I had been for the previous 44 minutes. So to ride clean and fast enough to work my way through more than half of the field (and still have something left for attacks when I got there) was a huge confidence-builder. I met and exceeded my goal for the day, had my best-ever finish in a cat 2/3/4 field, my highest-ever kill count (64), and snagged a spot on the podium to top it off.

Ellis (31st), Ryan (39th), Blake (66th), and Uwe (87th) all raced really well on Saturday too.

On to Sunday's race...

I was lined up on the 13th row again, so I had the same goals in mind, but was also eyeing a win in the back of my head. The whistle goes off, and my bike (which ran silent during warm-up sprints) was making an awful clicking noise in the rear. I figured I was between gears or something, but the sound continued as I worked my way through the cassette on the start. Once I settled into my saddle, it kind of went away, so I tried to forget about it. I had made up a lot of places by the time I hit the first corner and was probably already in the top 35 or so. Greg was up front somewhere near top 10, and I was right behind Ryan, Ellis, and Sean.

Let me stop right here. Sean (on a single speed, BTW) registered day of and started on the back line of a 125 man field. Less than 500 meters into the race, he's sitting top 35. That's just crazy.

Back to racing... Ellis takes off, looking really strong. Sean, Ryan, Chad, and I get caught behind a small crash on the 1st tight turn. About 3/4 of the way through the first lap, I'm pacing through the field with Sean and Ryan. We're about 10 seconds behind Ellis at this point. Chad is following close behind us. About then, that clicking sound in my rear derailleur came back to haunt me. Apparently my 3rd-place-ensuring crash on Saturday had weakened my derailleur hanger, because it just snapped off when I got out of the saddle on a small climb. By the time I looked down and diagnosed the problem, Ryan threw his bike at me and grabbed mine. In hindsight, there are surely rules against this, since we weren't in the pit, but what's done is done. By the time I thought it through, I was already sprinting my lanky self away on a bike that is much too small for me. I'm still not sure it was the right thing to do, but I bring this up because stuff like this is what makes Ryan a great teammate. He's always looking for ways to help the team, even at the cost of his own race. While he was running my broken bike 1/2 mile to the pit, I was able to continue trying to work my way through the field and get to my better-fitting pit bike.

Coming out of the pit, I had probably lost about 5 places to Sean, who knows how many to Ellis, and Greg was still up in one of the front groups. Chad goes by me as I'm coming out of the pit, and we work together for a little bit to close the gap to Sean. As we were doing that, we were leapfrogging our way towards the top 25. Chad faded behind a little over the next couple of laps, but never drifted back farther than about 10 seconds from me. By the time Ryan got to his bike in the pit, he was WAY off the back and pretty much just trying to catch someone (anyone). As we got into the last lap, Greg was still fighting for a spot on the podium, Ellis was looking for a top 15, and Sean, Chad and I were still trying to catch Ellis. At the finish, Greg took 7th, Ellis was 18th, and Sean finished right in front of me in 21st (kill count 100+!!!), and Chad was 33rd. Ryan's generosity got him lapped and pulled at 76th place. Good day for the team with 5 out of 6 of us squeezing into the top third of a 125-man field.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Saturday night I drove down to Ellicott City, MD to stay with teammate Chad and Greg before racing Sunday in Hyattsville. After such a brutally disappointing day on Saturday, I really felt the need to redeem myself. Saturday night Greg and I watched Harry Potter while he rode the trainer. We also talked about bikes, racing, training, and our favorite kinds of apples. PROTIP: Right now, Honey Crisps are in their prime and in a few weeks, start looking for Jazz and Pink Ladies. After a brief trip to the store to purchase some apples, bananas, soy milk and butter flavored chemical spray, Greg made me a toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich on multigrain bread and went to bed. I watched more Harry Potter.

Sunday morning Greg bought me a coffee and went out on a mountain bike ride while I split for
Hyattsville. I wanted to watch the beginner's race because Matt and Chad's father was doing his first race. I parked my car at 9:05 to see the C race finishing. What did they do, half a lap and quit? Nope, MABRA switched the schedule and the C goes off at 8:30. Bummer. My buddy Steve came out to watch some races before he had to go to work, and he bought me another coffee. We ran into old friends and joked around, I am really glad he is back from Oakland. Also, I think coming to watch the races may have caught him the bug, so I'm EVEN MORE excited for that!

After the Masters 3/4 race, I started checking out the course with 1.5 - 2 laps between each race, so a total of 6 - 8 laps before I started. The course was awesome, the new "feature" was a gravel climb with some logs that a lot of people were running for some reason, followed by a semi-technical descent into a mud bog. It was all totally ridable at first, but that mud bog became a death trap later in the day, sucking in wheels and trapping feet, even stealing a few shoes. (Note: if you are racing cross in a pair of shoes that only has velcro, buy new shoes before you lose one in a mud bog! My Gaerne G.Keira (#sponsorappropriate) shoes were AWESOME at not falling off my feet! I ate a few Honey Crisp apples and drank water (and coffee) and chatted all day. Also, my buddy Jason Pearlman from my first season of cross was there. His kid is in the Little Belgian's races now, so we cheered for Tal and handed out free high fives.

An hour to go, better get my number. Awesome, I get to start 89th out of 103! After looking at Cross Results, apparently only 83 starters toed the line. I guess that is a little disappointing.

Before the race, I was talking with friend/nemeses Chris Carraway about the course. His teammate had told him that through the climb, descent, and mud bog, he was running the entire thing and opening five second gaps on the guys around him. Well, I suck at running, but I took this into account. Starting in the back was going to mean that I would need to be really smart about what to ride and what to run.

At the line, I felt like I should just not start. I didn't want Nate to win our CROSS CLASH because he was starting 13th! Everybody knows that Cross Results is the truth and that nothing else matters! The whistle blows and we're off. Well, sorta. The guys in front of me just kinda stood there and couldn't get clipped in and then fought for position into the corners. I swear nobody pre-rode any of this. At least, nobody lined up near me! Coming out of the prologue, I couldn't even see the leaders. When I got into the baseball diamond corkscrew, they were through the finish. It was going to be one of THOSE days. Through the finish stretch, I passed 5 or 6 guys, but everybody was still elbow to elbow and fighting for 80th place. In the first hairpin, everybody dismounted. For a turn, in the flat, no roots, no off camber... just a turn. Sweet! Around a few more totally non-technical turns turned that must have looked like an infant playing with that toy with the blocks and different shape holes, and we were into a straight with some barriers about 70m up. I pedal hard and make up a handful of spots, dismount, run around a bunch of guys, and remount. Sweet, I've made it to about 70th.

After the barriers were a few technical turns near some trees, so I knew I had to play this smart or else I'd get taped... only the tape would be made of a dense, hard, organic matter. I actually dismounted and ran, and it proved successful. I made up another five spots. Through a puddle that people slowed down for I kept left when everybody lined up to go right. Success, I'm in 60th! Now we are zig-zagging through a super fun small ride with some chicanes and off cambers up and down it. I ran this as well. My body was saying WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, and I said BECAUSE I HAVE TO BEAT NATE! So my legs listened.

Going in to the woods, I must have been in the top 57, and I saw it in front of me. THE bottleneck to end all bottlenecks. People were fully stopped, stepping off of their bikes, walking up the hill, and for some reason shouldering the bike as they walked. Forget that! I suitcased the bike and ran. I made up at least ten spots here, and then I decided, heck, I'm already off the bike, might as well keep running (I GOTTA GET BUBBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), so I run down the hill and through the mud bog. This was the absolute best move I made in the entire race. I passed another ten guys doing this while they were busy falling over in the mud and skidding down the hill. PROTIP: Don't lean forward while you descend a cross bike through a loose downhill section.

Coming out of the woods and things are stringing out, finally. Time to see what I've got. I mean, I knew it was going to be relatively ok, since I had moved up to about 47th by now! I couldn't even see the leaders anymore, so I was a little bummed about that. People were riding in groups, and I was island hopping from group to group. Drop, catch, drop, catch, drop, catch. I was moving up steadily, and it felt AWESOME. Through the backsection, I was divebombing corners so hard as long as there was nobody else trying to corner. Tape to tape, no brakes, can't stop (don't want to either). Moving up, up, up, up.

Laps 2 and 3 were more catch and drop. Riding the gravel hill was awesome, and I was getting heckled for running down the hill and through the mud bog, but I had something to prove today. I had to get Nate. Smooth is fast, and I'm not usually one to turn down a crowd's request to ride something, but I wasn't going to lose my IMPORTANT cross clash with a teammate over riding through some silly mud.

Coming over the barriers lap 4, Matt yells out to me that I am 16th. Amazing! How did I move up this far, and where the crap is Nate? Hammer. Hard. I GOTTA GET NATE! According to my stem mount Garmin that Greg calls a laptop, I was averaging over 16mph per lap, and was pretty consistent on lap times throughout the race. Laps 3 and 4 were my fastest at 6:44 and 6:42 (both times average 16.6mph) and lap 5 was next at 6:49 (avg 16.4 mph). On lap 5, I caught Nate. And then I dropped him. CROSS CLASH SUCCESS!

I finished up 11th. This was a complete success in my book, considering the giant field, the horrible start, and my back row call up. Cross Results has me 2:30 behind the leader, which would be why I couldn't see him, but considering the gap they had on me in the first lap, and the traffic I had to deal with throughout the race, I am confident that I could have been in that top 5 (fifth was 0:55 behind the winner) had I gotten a better start. But thats racing. You either get series points or you register early, or you suffer with a bad starting position. I hadn't raced a MABRA race yet this season. I registered Thursday for a race on Sunday. This was all on me.

During the race, Bill at CXHairs was heckling me for running sections. He even told me that Nate was riding them, and this ALMOST got me to ride them, but then I found out after the race that it was a lie and that he just wanted me to fall in front of his camera again.

This course suited me very well. There were power sections that were broken up with some semi-technical (but not overly technical) turns. I kept a clear head and I kept the legs moving. Bill made a pretty rad video from the day, and the team is heavily featured. Mostly good, except for this one part where Patrick makes an absolute fool of himself and throws his bike through the mud.

Hyattsville CX 2011: Risk vs. Reward from In The Crosshairs on Vimeo.

Eating It, Too

Town Hall Cross in Bethlehem, PA is the PACX Series opener, and it is a course that suits my riding style. A little bit of climbing - but not straight up a hill, some false flats, power sections, and some technical turns to break it all up. I had marked it as a race I wanted to podium in my calendar. And well... yeah, lets just start from the beginning.

Lap 1 I accidentally took the hole shot because Jack Drummond decided to ride straight through the course tape instead of turning. I wanted to be second or third wheel so that somebody else could set the tempo up the hill. I eased up and worked back to second and then followed up the hill. Coming down was a little messy being in the group still. After a couple of straights and hairpins, we were riding across the grade of the hill and my front tubular just rolled a little bit. I stopped, put it on, and eased my way to the pit to grab Ellis' bike.

The pack was now stringing out so I had some work to do. Within a lap i had worked my way back up to seventh. In another lap, i was in fifth, and each lap after that i was making up small chunks of time on the 2/3/4 group. Until lap five.

At the start of lap 5, climbing the switchbacks, the 2/3/4 group had about 10 seconds on me, which is a lot, but achievable in two laps. Ride strong through the switchbacks and shift to the little ring for the short and steep climb. Only the chain doesn't shift, so when I torque it after the slippery grass, the chain drops. FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Run up the hill and throw the chain on, but sixth saw me slip up. He's making his move.

Bombin' down the hill and I'm ready to let him burn his matches to get my wheel. Through the turns after the barriers he is getting close, so its time for me to burn one. Stand up and put it on, through the ruts in the mud and into a sweeping left. And suddenly the bike is gone and my face is in the dirt. The bike hits me in the back of the head and I'm seeing stars. Six and seven pass me. The rear wheel is locked up. I fidget with the brake and get it to let go and eighth place passes me. Back on the bike, hurting, dazed, and wanting to give up. I can't tell if there is snot all over my face, or if I'm bleeding. I wipe it and its snot, so that is good.

I pass eighth in the power sections through the back and then, through a tight right hander up a hill, the rear tubular completely rolls. All the way. It was insane. It makes me wonder if the tubular had rolled head when i crashed and then popped back on when the bike hit me in the head. The more I think of it, the more this makes sense. I was in a sweeping left turn, and I high sided it landing on my right side and face. Either way, I am now out a helmet and owe Ellis a wheel gluing.

DNFs always hurt, and as sore as I am from crashing, the mental pain of a DNF is worse. Always try to finish after you crash. I'm still kicking myself for not running a half lap (uphill) and grabbing 10th - 12th place. But I could redeem myself Sunday in MD, plus, I was heading down to Greg and Chad's for the night for some partying!

***Unfortunately, I am having a hard time finding pictures from this race. I will try to update this entry if I find some.***

Monday, October 10, 2011

CXhairs and Winchester Apple cross.

Watch more video of CXHairs on cyclingdirt.org

You gotta love Bill and the folks at CXhairs.com for doing what they do. Here's some great footage featuring some KindHuman all stars...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great Lakes Report

The bite in the air is a telling sign of what's on its way here in Michigan, winter. After a full and very successful season on the road and in the woods, we can take a few minutes to reflect on the fun we have had and mentally prepare for the cold and snow that is sure to be around the corner.

Cary Roseth had an exceptional road season in the masters 35+ category winning the overall points series here in Michigan while teaching us all a thing or two about a thing or two. He has shown us that hard riding is easily shown up by smart riding. He has proven when other riders are cross eyed with effort, its smart riding that lets you maintain wide eyes, and great fitness that will keep you on the sharp end of the bike race. Its been a great lesson to learn from a great teacher.

Greg Hughes also had a great season on the mountain bike. He won an all out battle in the MMBA points series in the mens sport class. He took his fair share of podium spots and it came down to the final race. Hard work, great tactics and super skills took him to the top. Seriously, he has the trophy to prove it. Greg is a model teammate and we are lucky to have him aboard.

In addition to many top individual results, at the end of July, a few of us got a chance to do a 100 mile team time trial in beautiful northern Michigan. It was a great opportunity to really push our own limits and enjoy the team in the true meaning of the word. The objective was to hold a certain MPH, to come in under "x" hours and obtain a bunch of other goals on the way. The race was good, the weather was great, and the company was unbeatable. The exhausted smiles on all our faces said it all, "I wouldn't trade this hell for the world". I can only speak for myself but I feel I echo the sentiments of the group when i say this wasn't my best result of the year, but it was the best result of the year. This my friends, is a team.

Cyclocross is here, late season mountain bike races are taunting us and we plan on keeping the wheels turning.

There are four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Cyclocross.

Okay, okay, I stole that quote from Ryan Dudek. the king of quotes. Seriously, he has a trophy and crown somewhere in his office or something like that. I'm going to attempt to make this a short update with a lot of info, so here goes...

First: did you know that we are winning races everywhere? Yeah, Jen Franko won a cross race and Greg "The Great Meanderer" Capelle won like just about everything he's entered this season. If you're still on a single speed and beating the yokels, you deserve a PITD for not getting geared up and beating JPow and Ryan Trebuchet or whatever his name is. Big congrats. As I always say, wins are awesome and a huge feather to put in our team hat but just to have everyone out there being awesome and getting rad is what I appreciate most. I think we also owe Matt Bartlett a big round of applause for being a general badass. I also think everyone in the Greater D.C. Area should stop into JRABS.com's physical shop and give Travis a hug. If Travis isn't there, Matt's brother Chad will do. Chad, I want one awesome photo of you getting rad next week. Okay? Okay.

Second, we've always had riders on the west coast. That's where the team started afterall, but never in the cross-crazed Belgium-west: Portland, OR. Now we do. I'd like to offer a big team welcome to Heather Vanderzanden. I mean, her last name even sounds Belgian! Heather is going to hop on board as a Regional Director to help rep hard for the KIND kids in Portland and hopefully grow the team and the message out there as well. Everyone: WELCOME ABOARD HEATHER!

Third, Interbike was great. Cross Vegas was great. Meeting with sponsors was great. And even though, 98% of the time that I'm out there I'm lugging around a camera doing interviews for my day job at Hawley I do get to catch up with our sponsors, old and new faces and get some KIND talk going. That being said I was really excited to see some new products and catch up with old friends from our most awesome supporters at Ritchey, Defeet, Rudy Project, Nuun, Gaerne/GizmoGear.com, TRP and Challenge.

FYI: If you haven't heard, Ritchey has a badass new stem out called the C260. I want one, you should too. Here's Angelo, the guy that places your orders and gets your rockin' 'n rollin' Tom Ritchey's mustache style...

Also, another big FYI: an awesome company from Missouri who likes to give back in big ways has signed up to sponsor the team for 2012 (more details to come). I'd like to give a big welcome to K√ľat Racks to the KIND family and offer a huge round of thanks to Bill for setting everything up. Check out some of their latest products, here...

In all honesty, their Vagabond roof mounted cargo carrier that has integrated bike mounts and faring was one of the coolest things I saw at the show. I love it and hope to get on in the future. Oh, and if you didn't know Option + "u" than a vowel will give you a nice ¨ (umlaut). Get used to it. I expect you to blog about it.

Finally, I'd like to let you know that we are opening up another wheel order. I've had enough inquiries to make it happen. That being said I will be emailing you the "deets" on how to get in on the team order very soon.

Thanks for reading friends!