Monday, September 26, 2011

jumpin head first into the mud

Well I'm really glad that weekend is over with!  It was a super hard mental transition going from Chequamegon to lining up behind Bart Wellens 6 days later.  I had really only been on my cross bike 2 times off-road, I didn't get to do any local races beforehand, and I didn't really know how I was going to perform.  Luckily it was awesome.  A huge part of it was my sponsors allowed me to get my equipment super early this year.  I knew my bikes were dialed and that relieved a lot of stress leading up to Chequamegon.  Obviously Chequamegon went good, but then there is always a little mental let down after a huge goal for the season is checked off the list.  Good thing my fitness is really good right now because that is what carried me through my first weekend of cross for the year.  Now I can take a little mental brake and start to get ready for the next big push!

phota @ Amy Dykema
I lined up on the inside and had a pretty good start.  Nothing spectacular, but solid.  I was probably 17th over the barriers 1/4 of the way through the first lap.  Starting lap #2 I passed 3-4 guys and Kabush was just ahead of me.  I missed the lead group.  Zach McD was just dangling.  A lap later we settled into a solid group w/ Kabush & Ben Berden from Belgium.  A lap later we passed Page in the pits and he tagged on the back.  Page slowly went to the front of our group and then surged to catch Zach.  A lap later Christain Huele was coming back to us.  It turned into a really solid chase group of 7th - 12th place.  With 3 to go I took my turn at the front.  I was losing air in my front tire, but couldn't afford to lose the group in the high speed pits.  Huele took over with 2 to go.  I almost crashed/rolled a tire and was gapped off.  I chased back on for the next lap and w/ 1/2 lap to go Zach McD took a sweet inside line.  Next straight away Huele, Zach, and Page attacked and Huele put Zach into Page and they took a crazy crash.  Berden and Huele gapped Kabush and I after the crash.  Kabush was too strong for me in the last 1/2 lap.  10th place!

Day #2

photo @ Mike Janikowski

First cross race under the belt yesterday, so now we better get the first mudder out of the way!  It was perfect cross conditions.  60 and raining.  Lots of mud.  It was sweet to have supreme confidence in choosing my HED Ardennes aluminum rims with Dugast Rhyno tires.  No doubts, No questions, I was all in and confident with my equipment.  This time I lined up on the outside because I thought the outside line in the grass was faster.  Wrong choice.  The inside guys got the jump and when the hit the grass they went outside and I got pinched.  It was muddy and slippery and I was a little rusty in the skills department.  Another solid group was forming, but I was a little too far back.  This time I could see Kabush, Troy Well, Berden and J Pow just 10-15 seconds ahead of me for half the race, but couldn't close it...I ended up battling with Zach Mcd and Yannick Eckman most of the race.  A few too many blown corners didn't allow me to conserve energy throughout the race.  I soft pedaled the last lap because nobody was in site and finished 13th.

photo @ D Marchewka photography

Time to clean up and rest up.  Always awesome racing in front of a home crowd.  Tons of CX superfans cheering me on!!!  Another huge thanks to Tim, Tony, & the crew from MWI for the help in the pits.

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