I was warned; cyclocross racing would be most painful and addicting. A perfect statement for those who compete in the sport of cycling. It is just that. I got a first taste of CX racing at the Ohio Valley Cyclocross Series event at Brookside Park in Indy. An incredible day with temps in the 60s and Sunny – hard to imagine it’s the end of October. Adam Rodkey was the other Tortugan represented the squad. Results – a solid 6th place for him in the Mens B race and I managed 10th in the Masters 35+ after outsprinting the guy who had been in front of me on the final turn. I’ll take it for a first time ever race. A great course with 3 sets of barriers and an evil climb up some wicked stairs on the backside of the community building there. It’s fun as a spectator with lots of action. Ex teammate and friend Bob Brooks was there to mix it up as well. He too, just purchased a CX steed and was a first-timer. If you haven’t got the hint, the sport is really catching on and I’ll admit, a great way to stay in winter shape. Winner of the 35+ race Mike McShane commented that with just one CX training ride each week and one race on the weekend, he’s staying in good form. I’d say, as he’s won practically every race he’s entered. Another funny thing about this racing – it’s a much more relaxed atmosphere; probably from the Mountainbiking influence, but it’s refreshing to see respect tossed around, even to the road racing successfuls getting their arses handed to them in a big way. If you can spend the money, the time, or the effort to try this out, do so. Many had mountain bikes there that they already owned, so an entry fee is all your out if you’ve got one. Time for a few more Tylenol…
Bought a cyclocross bike last week, rode it 3 times, then went and did the “underground” race today in Bloomington. – A nice event, BTW – good, challenging course, with a little bit of everything (coming from my expert cyclocross history/knowledge!). Got my arse handed to me. Man, is this different than mixing it up on the rode. For those of you surprised at my purchase of said steed, and even more so of attending an event that I’ve categorically poo-poo’d in the past – things change (yes, I did overhear the disparaging remarks regarding this, made by a local rider at Soma before we left; noted and will be remembered, friend). And so does my off-season approach to cycling. Did I mention I got my arse handed to me? It’s everything that I’ve been told, and then some. I’ve got the bruises on my inner right thigh to prove that hurtling yourself back on the bike after getting off at mid-gallop is not an easy task. Brauner has taken the CX leap as well with a new sled and he looks good. I’ll speak for him and say that yes, we would agree that it’s quite fun. And for how I feel after doing today, it’s got to be beneficial to my fitness and will make me a better on the road next season. We’re planning on doing the Brookside Park cross race in Indy next Sunday, and like Oliver from the famous story, I’ll be back for some more. Stay tuned…
Karim, Vic, Tim Davis, and myself represented Tortuga in the Cat 1/2 event at this years’ last minute District Crit Championship as it was blessed by the USCF for the Rum Village Criterium in South Bend.
First comment, nice job by Tortuga’s newest member Myron Lewis with his podium finish in the Cat 4 Championship race. Not bad for the 1st year guy – a Gold medal in the road race and now a bronze in the crit. This guy is going to do some serious damage in the 3s next year.
On to the Cat 1/2 race…A paltry 20 or less showed up for the event – lots of other things going on, I believe at least 3 other events in conflict this weekend, all within 3 hours or so of each other. Nonetheless, even with Declan Doyle from Nuvo joking as we warmed up that the race had been cancelled, it was indeed on. Several guys from Northern IN & Michigan showed up that I had never seen before. Our veteran lead man Karim, the “Kevin Bacon” of connecting who’s who in competitive cycling in less than 3 moves, pointed out those to watch, which made things a little more interesting.
The race was called for 70 mins, but the USCF official said he would entertain 60 if we raced “hard enough”, but that if we didn’t, it would be 70 minutes. It ended up being 70 minutes. Numerous fruitless attacks filled the first 3/4 of the event, all of which stayed away at a max of 1/2 lap or less on this mile or so slightly turned oval in Rum Village Park. The last 20 mins or so heated up as everyone realized it would more than likely stay together. Jeff Weaver of Bacardi and Derek Whittey (sp?) got away in a move that proved to be quite dangerous as we neared the late stages of the event. Karim in a mild panic called out for us to bring it quickly back and we did so, just within the last lap remaining. With everyone back together the pace ramped up and the jockeying for position landed Karim in a good spot sitting 4th or so back. With 150 meters to go the jumps went and from my view (in 9th) I thought Karim beat his man to the line for the win. Not so, as he was pipped by half a wheel to take second. Despite the small field, the racing was solid and I thoroughly enjoyed working hard to help put us in a position to win. This is what it’s truly all about.