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!
Posted by MG