Friday, December 10, 2010

CX Nats: Day 2 - Time Trials, Old Folks and Single Speed

First Championship race of 2010 CX Nats
Day 2 of CX Nats brings the old folks (I mean that affectionately, as I am very near to racing on this day) starting bright and early in the morning and terminates with the Single Speed races. New to this year is also the time trials, which the Cincinnati area Lionhearts juniors raced today.

The old guys races started bright and early at 9am and saw a course drastically different than yesterday's snow fest. Almost no snow was left on the course, however the meltdown created pools of water large enough to rival the Great Lakes. If you pedal in these dang things you risk your toe being bitten off by an angry lake Trout or Salmon migrating up river.

The old guy races are always entertaining. They all take it seriously, but in a different way than the young guns.  Rather than risk a broken hip, they will cede a position to remain ambulatory the next day. Seeing as my bones are nearing this same spot in life, I deeply respect this point of view and hope for the same consideration when I am racing these races.

The US Bobsled team would be afraid...
With the increasing excitement associated with cyclocross in America, field sizes have grown exponentially in recent years. USA Cycling adopted a new strategy to place riders in the staging area - a TT to determine who the fast riders were. These "fast" riders would be placed up front and the slower riders in the back of the staging area. The issue became the fact that they TT course and the main championship course are not so similar. After 3-180 degree turns and an off-camber ice skate 180 into a boulder the size of Grant's Tomb, the TT course progressed to a 100 meter downhill bobsled run. At 10:30 in the morning when the Lionheart 13-14 year old boys heading into the TT course, the entire downhill slide was ice - and not just any ice. It was that ice that has been sitting underneath the snow that you keep driving over in your driveway and takes a  sledgehammer to bust off the driveway - lightly seasoned with a fresh rain of course.

Assuming you can get to the bottom without slip sliding into the sage brush, you go through a couple short power sections and then find yourself face to face with the monster. This monster is a run-up that would make Texas proud. (according to the internet everything is big in Texas)  The run-up scales approximately 80 vertical feet and is completely unrideable. You might be able to try riding it, but when we walked the course there was 6"+ of snow on it. For the first time ever I was trying to determine how to attach crampons to cycling shoes for the kids to make it up this monster.

The Best Runup EVER
Honestly, when I walked the course I was out of breath walking slowly up the hill. I may be past my peak, but I am not that far out of shape....yet. This was a serious hill that was going to challenge even the most experienced rider and not just kids. Assuming you still have any air in your lungs, you now have only about 300 meters to sprint to the finish. In short the time trial course was really hard and very difficult to do well on.

So, let's get back to racing.

The best race of the day was easily the Women 40-44. Two fabulous racers (Wendy Williams and Gina Hall) battled the entire day back and forth with a sprint finish down the final straight won by Wendy Williams. Hats off to these women for a great race on a hard course.

Wendy Williams battling Gina Hall

Adam Craig attempts to revive the Daisy Duke look
The most entertaining race went to the Single Speed. When you see a single speed race you are bound to see costumes and get-ups that make you wonder. Today there were a few notables. First place in the race and in the entertainment factor went to Adam Craig who won the single speed National Championship while sporting Daisy Dukes, a solid white BMX helmet and a Rabobank jersey. I didn't get a picture  of him standing on the podium receiving his medal, but I can only imagine what the brass at USA Cycling thinks of this look.

An honorable mention goes to the guy pictured below with the solid disc and the front Spinergy. After considering the possibilities I am certain that he confused the race for the TT and showed up with his SS TT bike. While weight on a single speed bike is often not the primary consideration, those wheels have to be in the 2300-2500g range. Even a non-weight weenie has to look at those and ask "why?" A search is out for this guy's friends to determine whether they even considered giving him any assistance on the approach. This looks a lot like letting your friend leave to a fancy dinner without warning him about his awful hat hair and spinach in his teeth.

Tomorrow will bring the juniors races in the morning and more Masters fun in the afternoon. After I get done coaching the kids in the morning, we will have several roving reporters with cameras wandering about looking for the best of CX Nats.

No comments: