Cyclocross

Dec. 5, 2021

The last race of the NCCX season. Today we ran yesterday’s course backwards. the roots no longer a concern since they were on a climb, instead was the downhill in the woods and the 3 water bars in gravel, the last one trying to make you hit a tree.

Even Tigger had to be careful, and his butt is made out of rubber….

My race: I was really struggling today, I couldn’t get into the mindset of preparing for the pain of the hurt locker. My warmup was not helping, I slid through the water bars the first lap and nearly hit the tree the second.

Call ups, and I got a good start, after a long drag race, I was second into the woods, we were hauling butt as we got to the water bars, I knew I couldn’t “send it” at this speed, so I let up and was passed by 2 riders. 4th. We were in a pace line for a couple laps, before I was dropped. Two riders behind me, Joe and Vince, I have never beaten, and they were closing fast. I couldn’t hold them off and settled into 6th. 1-3 were 15 seconds in front of us and we were together ( I was back a small gap) going into the last lap. I was killing myself to stay connected and suddenly as we hit the paved back of the course, Vince sat up, Joe was in his draft and I thought if I draft with them, I will be 6th, so I went hard. I got a small gap as we transitioned from pavement, through gravel and into the grass 180 turn so I buried myself and pulled away. Finished 4th today and in the series. I am very happy with my race!

Dec. 4, 2021

Every cyclocross race course has a signature “feature” today was this roots section in the woods. There was no clean line and you hit one of the roots hard every lap. I am surprised I didn’t flat.

Same section, different angle.

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My race: I got an OK start and was 3rd into the first turn and got to the lead after the 4th corner. But it was short lived, the eventual winner came around me like I was standing still, I tried to keep his wheel, but he got a gap. Then another rider and I battled for 2nd for 2 laps while keeping first in sight. I had a little gap in second on the penultimate lap, but got run down by 3 strong riders to finish 5th. Second through me were within seconds, but I couldn’t close the gap. A good day.

Nov. 21, 2021

Good morning, sunrise and 27 degrees, for some reason, I enjoy winter camping, even at race sites.

NCCX UCI Hendersonville Day 2: After yesterday’s 4th spot, I committed to going for a podium, call up, whistle and I shoot out for the lead, in fact I lead over half the first lap. There was a new guy today from California and he got a call up, so I knew he was fast, he went around and I got off my line, lost a couple more spots and realized I had burned a few too many matches on the hole shot, I tried to recover but never came around, crashed again at the barriers and limped home in 9th.

There were several very greasy spots, including the tight shot of the Brevard rider caught in the posts… he was stuck and said he didn’t know how to get out, I reached out to help and he said, take the picture… lol, he had no idea I had the picture before I offered to help ; )

This hill climb got worse after my race, I was able to ride it each lap, but it looked much worse a couple hours later,

Nov. 20, 2021

NCCX UCI Hendersonville Day 1. My race: I got a call up for a front row start and pushed into second up the pavement. I fell back a bit in the first lap, but worked my way to second before crashing on the last lap, I lost two spots and couldn’t run them down to finish 4th. But that is a good race for me

Nov. 14, 2021

Interesting course in Charlotte today. I started well, settled in second before dropping back to third right before the barriers, when I reached down to pick up the bike I missed the top tube and the bike slammed into the barrier and I had to stop and turn around to get the bike, losing a bunch of positions. I never recovered and finished in 9th. I am not disappointed, I rode hard and didn’t crash on the crazy off camber downhill esses.

Nov. 7, 2021

Some days it just comes together. I have been racing cyclocross for years, I have had some success, top 10 finishes in New York, a couple of years ago a streak of 5 second place finishes, but I had never won.

Today I got my first call up of the season, so I started on the front row and decided to have an aggressive start and found myself in second at the end of the starting straight away, another rider passed both of us on the outside on the first off camber, and we tucked in line and the cross the sand pile. The guy in front of me let the leader get a gap and after I mentioned we needed to close it, I realized he couldn’t do it, so I went around and got back on the wheel of the leader. I passed him on the road section, he passed back going into the tight turns (I’m not crashing on pavement) and we built a bit of a lead, my mental state was just stay here and be on the podium.

As we neared the end of the second lap, I thought we were losing our advantage and told him we needed to go, but he didn’t have it in him and i felt good, so I soloed off the front for the third lap for the win.

I am almost as proud of this as I am my South Carolina Mountain Bike State Championship a couple of years ago.

Nov. 6, 2021

NCCX visited Catawba Farms for the first time today. After my race, I tested a new Canon C70 cinema camera, made this quick video – Click To Watch

My race: I started on the second row and despite the contact had an aggressive start to fall into 4th place. I fell back to outside teh top 10 by the third lap before I started picking riders off, I managed to crash all by myself when my shorts caught on the saddle on a barrier dismount and let 8th get to my wheel. He got around me and gapped me, but I decided to ride on the rivet to catch him on the final lap, I passed him and he drafted me for half a lap, I made some big digs but he was there as we did the last 180 turn for the 100 foot sprint to the line, I took him by half a wheel for 7th. I’ll take it!

Oct. 31, 2021

My first race representing Recycles Bike Shop in Greensboro. My race was down, up and DOWN. I am still starting from teh third row and today’s start was a short fast before a technical run-up. I was waiting for that to clean up when the rider next to me fell and took out my legs, so down I went. Once I was going I had dropped to 13-16th. I worked my way back to the top 10 and was still catching riders when my rear wheel went flat. I walked the rest of the lap so I didn’t get a DNF.

My “teammate” Hunter had a much better race in the 16-18 Juniors race.

Oct. 24, 2021

NCCX Winston-Salem, a new course after the normal one was closed due to Covid. This was on a private property and featured large sections on fast single track in the woods. Once again I didn’t get a good starting position, 3 row of the 30 starters. The whistle blows and I miss the clip on my pedal and dropping like a stone. I was forced to stay in line for 1/3 of the lap till I could start passing folks on a rocky climb. Lots of fun battles on the middle laps, passing and being passed back. Finished 9th and did a cool down lap at Salem Lake.

Oct. 23, 2021

NCCX #4 – Davidson. I requested a cat change and race with the Cat 4 50+ field. It is tough to start in a large field in the last row and work yourself forward, but I had moved into the Top 10 as we went back and forth in the ‘essess’ at the start. As we finished the first lap I had worked myself up to 7th or 8th, tough to tell as we were catching the 40+ field. As we started the final lap, I had not picked off anyone in my field, but as we started the final climb, two from behind caught me and I cooked it into the singletrack, letting them get around me. I tried to stay with them as uphill finish chute started, but I faded for an 11th of 28 finish…. I hate losing two spots in the last 500 meters, but couldn’t stay with them. At least this week I was racing around other people!

I was talking in class this week how many photographers have a composition style they will go back to again and again… then tonight several hours apart I made these two pictures…. hmmmmm.