|Paul Curley's fleet of disc covered bikes|
First item of note is a call back to Nationals in Bend, OR in 2009. If you remember the coverage from The Best Bike Blog Ever there were pics of a racer, even a group of racers, racing CX in Bend with full disc covers on the rear wheel. We were perplexed and never really caught up with the owner. Today we saw Paul Curley, the owner of these bikes/wheels and got to understand quite a bit more.
His contention is that more races are lost and/or diminished due to mechanical issues from the rear derailleur shifting into the back wheel and the resulting destruction of hanger and rear mechanism. If you were present at Kings CX or here at Chicago UCI today you would have seen a large number of this exact issue, but not Mr Curley. He raced with the 50+ crowd and put himself on the podium with a disc wheel cover - they can't be too bad, huh? Click for a little more on Paul Curley.
|Jon Card, strikingly visible through the morning fog|
As a second item of business we need to note the OVCX presence felt today at the UCI Chicago races. I arrived at the course just in time to see the Masters Men 40+ lining up to take the course. Immediately visible through the foggy cool morning was the unmistakable spade skinsuit of Jonathan Card, from upstate Ohio. Jon would start a string of races with a strong OVCX showing by taking 2nd place in the Masters 40+. In the next race, the Masters 30+, Andy Messer toed the line, took off, and never looked back cruising easily to win in the Masters 30+.
In the third race of the day we had two juniors racing, Mackenzie Green in the Womens 3/4 and Spencer Petrov in the Juniors 10-14. Mackenzie had an admittedly rough race taking 12th out of approx 30 women, but Spencer made his presence known quickly. The Juniors 10-14 group started exactly 2 minutes after the women's 3/4 race had started. Spencer had caught and passed everyone on the course by the end of the first lap, besting Michael Owens, the New England 10-14 regional champion, by just over 3 minutes and 30 second.
|Spencer Petrov (center) with Andrew Schmidt (left)|
and Michael Owens (right)
To give a little insight, Michael Owens is a fast rider, nearly sweeping the Verge series on the east coast. He only lost one race all year, and that was a 2nd place. The third place rider on the podium is someone to watch too. Andrew Schmidt came to Kings CX and is tearing up the ChiCrossCup, winning most of the races as a racing age 12 racer. Pretty soon I will be lobbying with the OVCX to separate the Masters from the Elites so I can try to prevent those "your losing to a 12 year old" heckles that I am sure will be coming to a race soon.
After the race, Spencer provided this insight on his race: "I am sitting in my hotel drinking the root beer that I won, thinking about todays race. Today was a good day, I liked the conditions and had good legs so everything worked out but one thing happened that has never happened to me before. I was approaching an older lady riding in the Women's 3/4 race and I politely told her I was passing on the left (usualy people let me pass and everything goes well). Today not only was I told no, but this happened to me multiple times! I guess tomorrow I will try yalling at them MOVE and see what reactions I get."
In the Elite races most of the action was in the pits. By the time they hit the course the mud was sticking a little more and was thick and soupy. Goose Poop Hill was unrideable by even the most powerful and talented Elites as everyone was riding as far up as they could maintain speed, then dismounting and running. From riding the 2/3 race I can say that the hill may have lacked size, but it delivered a pretty good punch to your lower back. It always makes me feel better when the pros don't ride a section that I wasn't riding either - of course they still run it better than I do.
The women's race saw Sally Annis of crossresults.com ride away after the first lap, never to be caught. Sue Butler, River City Bicycles / Ridley, overcame a rough start and first couple laps to come back to the podium and third place behind Andrea Smith of Ladies First.
The men's race was the race everyone was interested in seeing- Ryan Trebon's return to competition. How hurt was he? Was he sitting around the house eating brats, sauerkraut, and Twinkies? For the first lap of the race it was really hard to tell. A group of four formed on the front with Trebon, Powers, Jones, and Matter riding together for almost two laps. Behind the four a team time trial with three riders from Adam Myerson's Team Mountain Khaki's group formed, riding almost 4 laps as a unit.
While watching the race you knew something was going to happen in the front four, but you didn't know when or how big. When was at the end of lap two and how big was WAY bigger than anyone expected. Trebon attacked and no one who catch his wheel - at all. Between Cincy3, USGP, and assorted live video feeds of other races I have seen Jeremy Powers race a lot of times this year and the last two years. I have never seen J-Pow go into the pain cave to try to catch someone, overcook himself, and then proceed to lose a couple places trying to pull himself back together, but he did that today. Chris Jones and Brian Matter moved into second and third, while J-Pow pulled himself backed together for about 3 laps, then came back and got past Matter for third spot on the podium.
Maybe it was just that first race back and Trebon has been licking his lips waiting to get back in the game, but he looked really, really good today. The announcers were tracking laps times and for laps 3-7 he was putting over 30 seconds into his rivals - on each lap. He nearly had time to sit down and have a root beer with Spencer before heading to the podium to collect his winnings today. Great ride for Trebon, and had to be a confidence builder after his time away.
Tomorrow will be day two of Chicago Cross Cup New Year's Resolution and I am sure we will have more fun in store with winds whipping up to about 25 mph outside while I ride this. Of course getting to the assumes that I survive the night. I am being reminded that New Year's is the perfect opportunity to check into a hotel with your kids and let them run amok while drinking beer in the lobby.