Crossin over to the East Coast

Originally having a local race planned for the 20th and 21st of September I didn’t think I was going to make it to Charm City CX in baltimore this year.  I was already planning on coming back to MD for a wedding on the 27th and after the local race got cancelled due to permitting problems, I changed my ticket and flew into Baltimore Friday the 19th.  My longtime high school friend Jeremy snagged me at the airport and we went headed over to the venue to pre-ride the course while he finished building the podium backdrop.

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Pre-riding the course with Jeremy

The course was semi-fast 90% grass with 4 sand-pit crossings, a fly-over, one set of barriers, two short steep run-ups, and one longish climb.  Most of the turns were fairly fast and overall the course was super fun.  This race felt almost like a home race as I might have had in Socal, since I grew up 30 mins south of the race venue there were some good friends there, and even my in-laws Jack and Libby cheering me on, it was awesome!

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Having some fun on the Mares. Photo by: Erik Annis / http://kitestringstudio.nextproof.com

The UCI officials were not on my side when it came time for the ‘random’ drawing of the call ups for everyone without UCI points.  I was about 5th from dead last Saturday and 10th from last Sunday.  In a field of 70ish this was a significant burden, I kind of shook it off on saturday and rode as hard as I could, but to see I had another bad call-up sunday it was pretty tough mentally.

I don’t have the pop to bridge huge gaps in the first couple laps at the moment, like Chris Jones did (ending up 3rd both days from the back which is pretty amazing), so it was all about riding steady the entire time.  Every lap I would pick off a couple more riders, never getting passed, and ended up 19th on Saturday and 22nd on Sunday.  I had really hoped to break into the top ten while I was hear and pickup some points, but thats going to have to wait until another race.

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Check out this super clean white shirt I just put on. / “Can you chop the beets” /  Do you have an apron

It was great to stay only a couple miles from the venue with Jeremy and his wife Victoria.  We also had another high school friend, Gary, come up from Virginia, so it was nice to sit around and catchup on whats been going on.  Gary was the one who originally got me into mountain biking 15 or so years ago, its pretty rad how cycling brought us all together as friends in the past and then can reconnect us years later.

Got a good few days of training planned before heading down to the beach for a wedding, then down to North Carolina to visit more family.  Hope to make it back to california soon to do some local racing and plan out a few more Pro CX races for the season.

Vegas baby…#crossishere

Ohh man, as I get older and have been there a few more times, Vegas really gets lamer and lamer.  Luckily this year I didn’t really have to do that much with interbike and could focus more on racing the largest cross race in the US, crossvegas!

I cruised out the day before the race with Jeff and Dan from Focus, and as soon as we got there I rode out to the course to get a pre-ride in.  I had been stressing at how thick the grass really was and how hard the race was gonna be so a pre-ride was necessary.  Afterwards I went over to Las Vegas cyclery and picked up my numbers, mainly because I suck at pinning numbers onto my jersey, especially the arms, and wanted a full 24hours to make sure it was good.

Race day I went to the venue again with Jeff and did some more laps while he was working, it was a balmy 105(+) degrees and there was no way to drink enough water.  We grabbed some lunch then I tried to get in a quick nap.  My only car ride out to the race got there a little early so I tried to sit in the shade as much as I could, while cheering on friends racing in the other races.

It actually cooled down quite a bit once the sun went down, and we started getting ready to race.  Ive done it a few times the past year, but Im still not too used to racing past 9 at night.  Timing of eating, and what to eat, etc… are a little more touchy.

I chose to ride the Focus Mares Canti bike (with WD-40 dry lube because its the F*ckin desert) because you don’t really have to brake, ever, and I have a lot more time on the bike since I just got the disc bike the day before.  I warmed up in a field with most other racers at the venue then cruised to the line for call-ups.  I wasn’t in a rush since I was about 5th to last, literally last line.  I guess thats what I get for doing practically zero CX races last year.  I made some jokes with Barry Wicks about how serious everyone is and then we were off.

The start, like most races, was very hectic, but the huge crowd, lights, and anxiety of the first race of the year made it a little extra crazy.  After some pushing, jostling, sketchy passes (sorry Adam Myerson) we eventually settled into a mini groove.  On the second lap we got gapped off forming the third group, I was 4th wheel behind the person that let the gap form so I didn’t really have an opportunity to immediately get back up there to the pack in front of us.  I was no where near where I wanted to be so I went to the front of our mini group and tried to close down the gap that had grown to about 30 seconds.

Killer shot of the pain by Phil Beckman

We would make up a little time, but no one else wanted to bury themselves to try to bridge and I was unable to do it alone, so I just settled in.  I had burned a good bit of matches at the start and trying to bridge the first few laps that I just went into TT/survival mode.

All alone cruising to the finish.  Photo by Jinna Thomas bike

All alone cruising to the finish. Photo by Jinna Thomas bike

I was happy to finish on the same lap as the leaders (37th) and not get pulled considering my starting spot.  I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish the race, and died of dehydration, if it wasn’t for J. Rowe handing me up bottles in the pit.  I owe him some (a lot) of beers, and thanks to T. Hopper and Steven W.B. for letting me put my feet up in the team van.

I got the heck out of Vegas the next day as early as I could after walking around the show for a little bit.  It was a short trip but it was really nice to be back home with Ellen and Jacki, and out of the desert, even though we are currently having a heatwave in San Diego.  Got some good training in the last couple days with another hard day before I take off for Charm City cross back east in Baltimore, which I am super jazzed about.  I grew up near baltimore, and went to college there, so I feel like I need to do good, plus my kit has a MD flag in the background so…

Hopefully I will have the next (first) edition of the video blog out shortly, its a lot more work than I thought!  If you made it this far thanks for reading!