Monday, October 24, 2005

Crossin' It UP!!!

Hooooooboy -- this weekend was awesome! 'Cross racing action made its 2005 debut in Nebraska, and Mother Nature chimed in with some authentic 'cross racing weather to go along with it.

Saturday's race was a tough one... With temps of about 50 degrees (and dropping) with steady rain at the start, our race (Men's A) was a crashfest. Even Steve Tilford, CX god and multiple world champ, had moments that were, shall we say, less than graceful. That said, Tilford laid waste to the field Saturday, lapping the entire field, many twice. I started the race in the top-10, and was going pretty good until about the 4th lap. I went down hard on top of my bike when my front wheel washed out while I was in the process of dismounting the bike. I ended up falling on-top of the bike pretty hard, which gave me a pretty good kink in my back. Though not an immediate issue, that kink in my back would slowly grow worse as the race wore on (and it got colder). About 10 laps from the finish, the muscles had enough, and gave me a spasm that (quite literally) laid me out on the ground. Let's just say that I was in no position to question whether I should finish the race or not... DNF #1 for the 'cross season... Good thing I got that outta' the way early.

Sunday proved to be a much better day on all levels. The weather, while certainly not warm, was dry at least, but there was a howling northwest wind. We basically ran the course backwards fron the way it ran Saturday, which suited my skills so much better, it was amazing. I also had installed my trusty 44c MutanoRaptor front tire on my bike, and with just 35psi in there, it stuck like glue in corners (a problem for me Saturday), and gave a measure of shock absorption that I'm sure others were wishing for.

I couldn't believe it... Tilford lapped me twice. He lapped up to fourth place twice! I felt pretty good pulling down 6th place behind my GB & teammate Jesse P, who finished on the podium in fifth place both days (nice ridin' buddy)... but Tilford was just incredible. He certainly lives up to the rainbow stripes he's sportin'. True class.

I gotta' give a shout out to a few others for fine performances too. Mr. Bike Shop Owner, with his twin 3rd place performances, showed once again that he's a force that won't be denied in cyclocross. He let his riding do the talking, which is all he needed to do. Congrats Jay!

Tony W. put in some awesome rides too, and on Sunday he just rode himself inside-out in his attempt to get third from JT, and not give up fourth to JP. When we saw Tony & crew after the race at Old Chicago, he was clearly hurtin' from a hard effort this weekend, and for that I've gotta' give him a hand. Not many people know what suffering like that feels like Tony did this weekend, but he handles it like the champion he is, and will be in the future. Nice work Tony!

... and finally, I gotta' give Sam Rosenau a big shout out. He gave me everything I could handle in the last three laps of the race, and at that point we were probably two of the fastest racers on the course as a result. He cut out a big piece of real estate that stood between us after the first half of the race, and ended up just a couple of seconds behind me at the finish. The effort was enough that we ended up finishing pretty darn close to JP in 5th -- we made up a lot of ground with the battle, and I was impressed with Sam's resolve to catch me. I had to dig pretty deep in my reserves to hold onto my position. He was comin' on hard at the end, and that's when it counts most. Great ride Sami!

As always, my Kona Jake the Snake rocked, and I couldn't believe how many people came up to me and said "nice bike," even as we stood in a sea of custom Ti Serottas (that the HighGear/LBC team rides -- you wanna' talk nice bike...), Moots and other trick bikes. It is an awesome bike, and it certainly wasn't the thing holding me back from doing better. Leg strength is the limiting factor there! :-}

Thanks for putting on some awesome races this weekend Lefler!! As always, you put on a great event, and I loved the course.

Pic above is courtesy of Roxy. Imagine how stoked I was when I opened my email this morning and found it attached to a message from RF... that made my morning! Thanks guys!


mw said...

great report matt. sorry i missed you both days...

3p0 said...

good job buddy,
get some rest this week so you can rock this weekend at Plizzzzatte.

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice write-up! Glad the race was nice, wish i was there to cheer you guys on.

Cory b.

roxz said...

Good times by racers and spectators alike. Had that been a mountain bike or road race, both woulda been cancelled. Thanks for all the action and great write up! Glad you liked the pic.

JT said...

Good job this weekend Matt. I had fun just trying to stay away from a sea of orange bikes. Hopefully all will be at Platte this weekend to help raise funds for THOR. I might dust off my ATB and race, it is that season.

mg said...

One big THANK YOU to MW, 3p0, CB and JT for the props. It was good to be back in the thick of things again. It's been a few years since I committed to a CX season, and overall I had a blast this weekend. Even Saturday was awesome. Had I finished the race, I'd have never witnessed Matt T's awesome running throgh the quagmire! He was SO FAST through that section -- it was just incredible. If you put him and Tilford head-up on that one section, I bet 'gast would have 3 seconds on him at the end of that section every single time.

Tilford just had incomparably strong legs this weekend. There was no denying his power...

Thanks again guys, and to Rox for the sweet pic!

I too am looking forward to Platte this weekend... looking forward to what will undoubtedly be one of the best cycling weekends of the year! I CAN'T WAIT!!


mg said...

that'll be cool to have you racin' mtbs jay... it's been a long time!

debaser said...

Freaking crazy. I've seen Tilford race and stood by amazed... But he lapped folks twice? Isn't he like a birthday awar from an AARP card? Very very cool.

Woulda been fun to see it in person, but with all the blogging it feels like I had a front row seat.

mg said...

... blogs are pretty cool that way, but yeah, it was quite a sight to see. stolte wasn't even anywhere near him (in 2nd place).

JT said...

Tilford is fast no doubt. But if you could see the team tatics that are going on you would understand why the Gap is 1:30 to 2:00 min. and not more like 1:00 min. to 45 seconds. The key is to stay between Steve and Bill. If they get 2 top spots by the second lap all Bill does is let a gap grow in each corner and then Tony or Myself have to shut it down, time after time AND THAT SUCKS.

I had no problem matching Bills efforts on Sunday I had to do a bike switch (saddle slipped) and Bill attacked I closed the gap quickly but then he counter attacked (very smart and savy racer) closed it down again and then he attacked me 4 more times and I popped. I should have slowly brought Bill back after my bike swap that would have been the smart thing to do.

Steve and Bill are both some of the fastest overall racer in the midwest and Steve is nearly impossiable to beat and both are very savy and have stuff fairly planned out prior to the race.

They both have mad bike handling skills, which I dont. It helps to pre ride with Tilford and watch his lines WOW.

Hoefully some Tony and I can have an answer. Cheers

3p0 said...

Man, it would be sweet to have him down for the Platte race,

and if we can get Cam as well.

might be bad for our local guys to make some dough,

but for myself as a course marshal and spectator.

whoo hooo.

see you guys either Thursday night for the nightime platte ride, or satruday for the main event

tj said...

thanks matty. your little sis so far away in washington state appreciates the updates and of course - THE PHOTOS. wish i was there.... oh yeah, and you are getting closer to that aarp card too, aren't you?

mg said...

nice perspective thomas... i completely agree with what you said. it's just cool that you and tony are in a position to compete with them. i've clearly got a little more work to do... :-}

it was definitely good to get some time following bill and steve both before and during the races -- their lines were ON TIME! stolte showed me a super nice line coming off the road on sunday, and for some reason it just hadn't occurred to me to try it sooner. we were going so fast into that left hander between the trees that i almost freaked and hit the outside tree the first time i hit it that way.

'cross can be such a beautiful sport... watching 'gast run through the mud (with his bike flyin sideways) on the run-up saturday was one of the most incredible things i've seen in a long time. he was faster than tilford in that section. i have absolutely no doubts about that.

traci -- thanks for checkin' the blog out. yeah, my aarp card will probably be showing up sometime here pretty soon. right along with my npr membership (ok not a joke there)... isn't getting old great?!


3p0 said...

dude, you gotta check the photo on Mad Mikes sight.

you uh, lost a lot of blood that day man.

hopefully I'll see you thursday night at platte.

have a good one buddy.

mg said...

wow... that's gnarly.