Tag Archives: Races

Cyclocross Worlds Race Recap – Louisville, KY – February 1, 2013

Submitted by Paul Weiss:

Ok, well it was pretty epic conditions today.   Temperatures dropped 40 degrees in one night and winds kicked up to a nice teen temperature.   Half inch of fresh snow.   Rutted course was freezing in place with some water still on the course.   These are the conditions I like because no one south of New England ever gets them.   These are the type of conditions I relish because they require a lot of riding skills and you cannot go at your max most of the time.   Normally great for me since I am not the fittest in today’s race, but felt very confident in riding this nasty stuff.

Got a good 45 minute warm up in a tent on a trainer, after riding the fields “off” course for about 15 min.   Took a single lap around the course at noon and realized it was going to be really difficult.   Not only were the ruts and frozen sections really treacherous but there was enough mud to pick up on your bike and instantly freeze when hitting the frame or wheels or gears, or brakes etc.

This was going to be a day for a good pit bike and support crew.   Luckily I had both (Ridley pit bike) with Derek Briggs pitting with the help of John Mcgrath.   I started in way last rows (since I barely qualified with Wed. performance), seeded somewhere in the 70’s.   The start was fun going off the gravel into a giant puddle that was half frozen and rutted.  Riders were going down all over the place and I managed to gain at least 15 spots before getting to the pits.   This was going well!   Guys were falling all over and I knew how to ride this stuff.  After a pretty good 1st lap my bike was really filling with about 10 lbs of ice/mud.   No joke.   I went into the pits and had a good exchange.    Never stopping, dismount, run, remount.   The new bike felt so light, it was awesome!   Around the corner before the frozen barriers I heard something pop and all of a sudden I was in my hardest gear.   Got off the bike and realized my derailer and cable had frozen and then the cable snapped.    No gear worked except my hardest, and that was basically impossible at the slow speeds we were racing in.
Shouldering the bike for what seemed like an eternity got me to the run-up which was really hairy coming down.   It was dangerous to carry the bike do hard to run with it next to me.   Meanwhile it was filling with more ice and adding the 10lbs back.    I ran the rest of the course and was in no place, to do well.   Got to the pit and did another exchange in what seemed like a 10 mile run.   Got back on the (Stevens) bike and Derek had cleaned as best he could.   The bike worked, but was building up ice fast.   It got to the point of not shifting and then not really working.   At this time the leaders were to be upon me and as with many others, the UCI officials pulled all riders from the course.   Not what was planned for this event for me, but it was a life experience that is for sure.   What was really weird was; I was not last.
Not my best luck today but it was fun while it lasted.   Today you really battled the conditions and had to have luck on your side and a major pit crew.   Winning riders had 4 bikes and 3 people working in the pit cleaning.   I saw all kinds of antifreeze, non stick sprays, even windshield washer fluid used there.   All the pressure washers had froze solid and were not in service so we were forced in what it seemed back to the stone ages with scrapers, brushes and hands to break ice.
Sitting back after cleaning bikes at the hotel room and cleaning my body clothes and belongings for 3 hours, I am humbled again at this sport.   Epic conditions are part of it and we all are tested by them.   Lucia and Ziggy get top honors for trudging around a muddy frozen field and driving for hours to get to it and putting up with a tired bleary bike racer.
Tomorrow they will be doing 4 elite races in 1 day instead of 2 days because the venue is predicted to be flooded by the Ohio River on Sunday.   It should be interesting to watch the races and the break down of the whole venue before the river washes it away.
Wow Feb 1, this really late in the year, end of the Cyclocross season for me…….now it is really ski time.

We even made NPR today:

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/31/170754787/cyclo-cross-championship-takes-u-s-by-storm-mud-and-sand

Cyclocross Worlds Race Recap – Louisville, KY – January 31, 2013

Submitted by Paul Weiss:

Team Maine today:

Epic conditions today with my race/heat supposed to start at 8:30AM this morning.  But due to some serious overnight weather (strong winds but warm 60 degree temps no predicted tornadoes) they had to delay and  fix up the course first.   Ended up racing 2 hours later.   Several inches of water on most of the course made for some extremely slow conditions.  Ended up in the back of the start line and finished on lap 2 with a wheel losing air.   Jumped into the pits and lost some time when my chain got a bit off the front ring.   Derek Griggs did a great bike change for me though!   The one elevation feature on the course was really brutal with a mud slog uphill, a deep almost boggy top plateau and a hair raising off camber downhill through a small creek (no joke).     It was amazing to think that the sand pits was second only to the short paved sections for ease.   Sand drains water well, and packed in fine, so it was really funny to look forward to those parts of the course.

It turned out that I ended in 25th on the group, while not my best day, Looks like I will get to race on Friday’s finals.   Yeah!

Tomorrow I will take some pictures and pit for Derek.   Friday is race day again and should be below freezing with some snow on the menu.

Lucia and Ziggy loved the mud.  They were great at cheering me on in while ankle deep in mud.   Well Ziggy was in body deep mud…….

will update this weekend.   I got press passes for the Elite Races this weekend, so that should be great.

Paul and Lucia and Ziggy from Louisville.

TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium – September 25, 2011

Submitted by Joe Reis

I registered for the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium in mid-August before I knew it was going to be the USA Crits series championship. I had heard a great deal about the race from friends and thought it would be a fun way to end the road season. The race was certainly fun and it was very neat to be competing in the middle of a city like Boston, but it was definitely not an easy race to end the season on.

I arrived at the Government Center in Boston with about 30 minutes to spare. I quickly kitted up and picked up my number only to find that they were calling riders to the staging area. With no warmup, I knew my legs would not be happy. To top it off, I was starting in the back of the 100+ rider field. I had been told that I really had to start at the front for this race, but I didn’t think much of it until I actually saw the course.

When we took off, things immediately stretched out. We made our way down past the first two turns and took off on the backstretch. Just as predicted, the legs were screaming. All I could do was sit in and hold on for dear life. After about 15 minutes of this, I managed to start working my way through the field. I always felt like I was making good progress until we hit the back stretch and I could see how big the field actually was and how many riders were in front of me. No matter how many people I passed, it felt like I was still sitting in the back. Luckily, the pack seemed to balloon mid-race after the start/finish line. I was able to shoot up into good position and stay there for a lap. I got my confidence up and wanted more so I tried to get even further up by passing on the inside of the 2nd corner. This turned out to be a big mistake though as I lost all momentum after getting cut off and having to brake. It took a lot energy to get back up to speed and I burnt a big match. I had to spend the next 5 or so laps sitting in and recovering. Definitely learned a lesson from that one.

With 7 laps to go there was a crash in between turns 1 and 2. The legs were back now, but I was also sitting pretty far back so I was forced to slow again as I made my way around the downed riders. Once again, I found myself burning another big match as I sprinted to catch back on. This was where the race really got fast as teams started queueing up at the front. There was little I could do at this point but sit and hang on. The rest of the race was really just surge and recover since things were so strung out in the back. On the last lap, there was another crash on the 3rd corner. Lots of riders went down in this and I had to slam the brakes. There was no way that I could do anything and I just had to roll in with the rest of the riders for 62nd place.

This was definitely a tough race tactically for me. I learned a lot of valuable lessons though and I am eager to learn from my mistakes. Overall, this was a great experience. It was such a neat feeling to be competing among so many big names and in Boston. Such a great way to end the road season.

Time for some CX now.