Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday Night Smackdown

As the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to fall, we have now switched our focus to cyclocross. In doing so, we have also begun a Tuesday night training series now officially dubbed the "Tuesday Night Smackdown". We will hold at least two practice sessions per week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings starting at 5:30 pm. Each session will include 30 minutes of "racing" followed by skill drills, which can range from hill repeats both running and riding, start line sprints, low and high speed cornering and anything else we can think of.

Last night we were joined by Mike Seguin from xXx who fresh off of a 2nd place finish at the palos Meltdown had no problems tackling our technical course. While we did make a few improvements to the course in the previous few weeks, we will be making changes this Thursday to make it even more challenging.

We plan on adding a single barrier to the bottom of the toboggan slide hill in order to force a run-up, and may also include a singletrack section to bridge between two sections of the course. The discovery of a set of stairs last night was quite intriguing as well, but after a brief discussion they were deemed a bit too dangerous as they would force a dismount on cement which can be slippery at times. Perhaps we could leave that section as a riders choice section letting them choose between the grass slope and the stairs. Incorporating the stairs would make for a very European style course, and perhaps this year we will see some stairs in the series.

As for last night, the racing was fast and furious from the start. After taking the holeshot (sorry Julie) and working through the first section of trees, I was dismounting for the double barriers when I nearly got taken out by what seemed like a flying bike. Turns out it was only Tony who I think missed grabbing the top tube or something. Memories of Montrose sprang back into my head and after remounting and standing the barrier back up, Tony and I chased back to the group. This wouldn't be the only problem Tony would see unfortunately. Somehow both he and I managed to get flags caught in our rear derailleurs, luckily no damage was done.

Everyone else was riding clean and had no problems with the dismounts or the off camber section. Tony did manage to rub wheels with me through that section and I won. He took a quick tumble, but as usual got back on and was able to regain his former position. Had it not been for Mike, that postion would have been first , but tonight it was only good enough for second .

Everyone looked good and strong, and the technique seems to be coming along great for both Jorge and Bob. Having only been on their 'cross bikes for the last few sessions, they both looked great and show a lot of promise for the upcoming season.

As always the practice sessions are open to anyone and everyone. We almost always have the park all to ourselves. The course is located within the Dan Ryan Woods Forest Preserve at 87th St, just west of Damen Ave. If you have any questions or would like more info feel free to call (312) 617-8663.

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