Monday, October 27, 2008

Results Official For Bartlett 'Cross

The officials wasted no time in making the results official for the 5th stop of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup in Bartlett. While the results are not yet available on the Series website, they are available on USAC.

The overall has also been updated here.

Mens 4A
Damon 19th
Tony 23rd
Elvis 28th
Patrick 30th

Mens 4B
Bob 19th
Jorge 20th
Joe 35th
Sergio 36th

Tabor World Cup

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brrrrrrr!!!!! in Bartlett

I guess this is the weather we always talk about racing in right? How it would be so cool and epic to be able to race in the wind and the rain and the mud. While we didn't exactly have rain, and the mud really wasn't that difficult, we sure has heck had the wind today. The wind coupled with the rapidly dropping temperatures made for an interesting pre- and post-race. .


Remember Montrose last year? Compared to how it felt today, Montrose was downright balmy. Maybe it was just the fact that it seemed like it was supposed to be warmer, but I can't remember shivering that much before a race. And the goosebumps were so big they almost hurt! Once we were finally off and racing the temperature was no longer a factor, but the wind never seemed to let up. The key to a successful race today was to be able to stay on someones wheel when it mattered. Getting blasted by a 50mph wind is no fun, especially when you are at 195 bpms and frothing at the mouth. At one point, after exiting the short wooded section I was nearly knocked over by a gust of wind. I also experienced a new phenomenon of the course tape trying to reach out and grab your handlebars at every opportunity. It kinda reminded me of being in a haunted house at the carnival where ghouls and goblins try and snatch at you in the dark. Enough complaining though, lets talk racing

After the call ups were complete, I quickly scooted to the front row on the outside hoping for a good start. Tony and the rest filed in behind me. At the whistle, the guy to my right has absolutely no ability to ride in a straight line or be able to clip in at the same time. I actually had to push him off of me for the first 50-75 feet, all the while I can hear Tony making his own opinions known. We quickly lose twenty places to this goofball and are left to try and make our way back up. Tony manages to pass in the 2nd or 3rd corner and Dave from Flatlandia goes with him. I quickly jump onto their little train heading for the first barrier. Up and over without any problems but slower traffic ahead of Dave and I on the first uphill caused us both to dismount. Of course I had to give him a hard time, and he apologized for it. Did he really think I was serious? Anyway, I spent the first lap chasing Tony and the leaders while not getting passed myself.


Onto the second lap and I'm still dangling behind Tony, but closing quickly. Into the wooded section and heading for the mud pit and I made my pass through the mud. I was sure Tony was going to come with me, but heading for the next corner I could hear him shouting encouragement at me, so I drilled again hoping to bridge to Brian from Mission Bay. I did close as we passed the Cuttin Cruiser and Al asking us if we liked gettin' dirty! I was sure Tony would catch us as we entered the asphalt, but I was honestly too afraid to look back. Typically when I race with Tony it is just a matter of time before he catches and drops me.


With two to go and no sign of Tony, my goal was to try and catch and pass the riders ahead. Out of every corner and obstacle I would be up out of the saddle sprinting and attacking the course. I was able to hold Tony off for the rest of the race and even managed to pull back a few riders. It seems my new mindset of attacking the course as often as possible is working. As soon as the race was over, Tony, Elvis and Patrick quickly got into some warm dry clothes so that we could cheer on the Jorge, Bob, Joe and Sergio in the B race


Much to our surprise Jorge received a call up for the top ten overall. Apparently some one had catted up since he was 11th in the results just a few days ago. At the start line then both Jorge and Bob had a great front row position with Joe and Sergio a few rows back. Off the start Jorge settled into a top ten position with Bob just trailing him. They both made it up and over the hill with no problems and rode strong for the rest of the first lap.


Coming out of the woods Jorge seemed to be in too small a gear and we were sure he was having difficulty shifting by his demeanor. But after a little encouragement he found the gear and the tempo to stay with the leaders. Bob too came out strong, and was having little problem holding his position. They were both listening to our instructions to them and were very attentive to the race around them.

During the second lap, Jorge was having a hard time matching the pace of the group he was in. Meanwhile Bob was having a perfect race, he was catching and passing riders and soon caught Jorge's wheel. They were together going into the woods, but Bob emerged first without Jorge. At this point Jorge was starting to slip off the pace but was still putting up a fight. The team did their best to shout and will them towards the finish and they did their best to not let us down.
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As the last lap unfolded Bob was sitting probably top 15 or so with Jorge trailing just a few riders back. Bob dug deep and opened a gap as he entered onto the asphalt for the last time. However the attack didn't stick and he was caught again on the downhill stretch. Going into the last set of barriers Bob was with a group of three and working hard. He passed one rider on the climb out and tried to get a lead out from the other guy going into the wind. The tactic was a good choice, but his legs just couldn't respond after the hard effort of the day. Jorge clawed his way back and finished just one behind Bob for 19th and 20th.


All the while there was another race going on that might not have been apparent to any one else but those involved. Joe and Sergio have a mostly friendly rivalry going as to who can win the most races between the two of them. I think Joe might have had the advantage going into today, and therefore I was a bit surpirsed that Sergio was just sitting in. Joe was left to do almost all the work even on the windy sections of the course. Going into the last section of barriers Joe made and acceleration and tried to shake Sergio for good, but Sergio hung on, letting Joe take the "victory". Not sure, but I think Joe has taken a substantial lead in the "overall" with that one.

After the races we quickly dispersed to try and get warm as quickly as possible. Hopefully no one gets sick after this weather caught us off guard today.

As always, photos courtesy of Eric Nelson and they are available here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sweeeet!!!

Thanks to Ben, I came across a Velonews article that had a great photo of him and even named him in the caption. It is great to see him getting some national exposure that he deserves. Well, while reading the article I come across another picture from the Carpentersville race. This time though there is no mention of names, or even faces, but hot damn! the photo that Imelda chose to accompany her article has ME in it. Well at least my legs. I guess I will take all the exposure I can get for the team. Ha! The photo also appears on CX Magazine as well.

The article was written by Imelda March from the Chicago Cyclocross Cup Series and features photos from Amy and Luke.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Faster Than You



Just check the speed at which they run-up. Ridiculous!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goals Met...For the Most Part


As the team and I prepared for the race today, I began to compile a list of goals I was hoping to accomplish in the race today in Carpentersville. As part of the the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series, every race we do we hope to improve upon the last performance and gain points to move us up in the overall. After the race last week in Hawthorn Woods I was feeling a little down about my somewhat disappointing performance. I know a few of the other guys were as well. So for the race today I set a few goals that I hoped I could accomplish. The first being to get another good start position. This was primarily met, however I lined up behind someone I didn't know. Big mistake. At the start he flubbed his clip in and we were quickly passed. I guess I still can't scratch a good start off of the list.


The second goal was to start in my big ring and hopefully keep it there. I had read a few weeks back on Ben's blog how he was unable to start a UCI race in his big ring due to a mechanical issue. For some strange reason a light went off in my head, and I realized that I should probably take a cue from him and start in my big ring as well. As we shot off of the line I really liked the extra kick that the tall gear offered. Perhaps it was a bit too much kick as I rear ended the riders in front of me who decided to slow as we entered the first corner. C'mon guys, braking into the first corner already? As riders swarmed the first corner I had no choice but to throw some elbows and shoulder my way out of the melee. There went another few spots. Once we cleared the corner I stood up on the pedals and jammed up the first little rise with Tony in tow. Up and back down we went towards the corner and the first barrier. Tony had just passed me heading into it and I took his wheel. However, I'm not sure if he planned on running the entire up hill section after the barrier, or if he just never found a good spot to re-mount. This proved to be a bad idea, as he was being passed by myself and a few other riders as well.


As we entered onto the pavement, I was able to catch and pass Jim who apparently had a really good start. Back onto the grass and heading for the sand pit and goal number three was about to get checked off of the list. On Thursday we spent about an hour working on sand pit technique, and I was a bit surprised at how well I was picking it up. I also noticed that I felt better after powering through the deep sand than I did when I was running it. As I came around the last right hander heading for the sand I just drilled it and entered the gauntlet of screaming spectators. I floated across the sand and powered through and kinda surpirsed myself. At this point Tony was still behind me, and I figured he was chasing hard to catch me, but as he entered the sand his front wheel went out from under him and he went down. I was still holding the wheel of the guys in front of me and passing when I could. The file tread tires were hooking up well, even on the off-camber section and I was able to keep the pace in the big ring. So far so good. Not so good however for Jim as he bobbled the exit to the sand pit and exasperated and already tender ankle. His day was now done. Elvis was holding position but was getting stuck behind more timid riders.

After every dip or corner I was up out of the saddle sprinting hard for the next corner, hoping and praying the minimal tire tread was helping me on the fast sections and was able to hold as I pushed through the corners. Second time through the single barrier and I was about to remount when I swear someone ran over my foot. I hear a quick apology and realize that it was in fact Patrick. Sweet, no big deal, but now we can work together and start making up some time, and opening up some gaps behind us. I keep up my tenacious pace and when we hit the pavement I think I opened up a small gap on Patrick. Oops, I blew that plan pretty quick. This time through the sand I didn't carry enough speed as I adjusted my line going in looking for a smoother entry. I made it about halfway before dismounting, 1 for 2 on the sand so far.

The thrid lap was an eye opener for me as I let a rider pass me early on without even challenging him. WTF? I am supposed to be racing here right? I realized my mistake and quickly closed onto his wheel. One turn later I was pushing him from behind when he went down. Sweet! I got my spot back. I jumped on the pedals to open up a gap. Goal number 4 realized, attack, attack, attack!


Back onto the pavement. Attack. Back onto the grass. Attack. I hear him go down again. Yes! Out on the pavement I can see Patrick holding ground just a few riders back. Maybe we can finish top twenty together. I also catch sight of Tony who shouts encouragement. Surely he must be gaining ground. Tony is super strong and can just ride away from people. C'mon Tony! Keep working!

This time through approaching the sand I can hear my two year old son saying "go fast Daddy" so I had to clear the sand. My wife is shouting "more speed, more speed" so I have to obey. I shift up and sprint looking for the line on the left. I hit it clean, and power though, I probably smiled as I came out of the pit and could hear the crowds reaction. I also opened up a decent gap again.

I kinda like this goal system, it keeps my head in the game and me motivated. Last time into the sand and I clean it for the third time. Up and around the off-camber and I'm chasing the rider in front of me. Over the barriers and the hill and I am closing the gap. I hit it one more time and just miss catching him at the line. It felt like a top 15 finish, but my wife came by with the bad news of a probable top 25. Oh well it still felt great to meet most of the pre-race goals I set. Most of them at least. Last year I would have been happy for a top thirty in the B's race. So I guess it counts as progress. Patrick finished a few back at 30th, Tony at 36th and Elvis at 38th.


Next up was the B's race, and Jorge got a good position on the second row in the middle. Off the line Jorge was strong and slid into 8th spot, his best start yet. I yelled at him to stay on the wheels in front of him and accelerate out of every corner. Bob was holding a top twenty until an early fall, but he only lost two places. Joe and Sergio started in the back, but Sergio looked strong as he attcked up the first rise and took back some places.

First time through the sand and Jorge found a great line, a nice solid ride kept him with the leaders. Bob, Joe and Sergio ran it because of traffic and maintained their positions. Bob went down again somewhere on the second lap and lost some more places, but settled into a nice rythym. Jorge stayed on the gas through the first half of the lap, closing down gaps everytime. Jorge entered the sand again on the second lap ready to ride it, but came in a bit slow. Towards the end of the pit he began to try and grind it out, but toppled in the last few feet. The riders were right on him and then past him as he remounted and began his chase, this pushed him back to 15-20th. Still he was hanging with the leaders though.


Bob settled into a TT rythym and rode a strong second half. Sergio finally warmed up and began taking places as well, while Joe stayed consistant and maintained position. Jorge finally lost the wheel ahead of him, but had put a good gap on those behind him, or at least we thought. Through the sand the final time, he opted to run it and play it safe. But in doing so, they were able to close the gap a bit. Up over the off-camber and into the open grass and the gap came down more. Going over the barriers they were hot on his heels and pushing him into the finish. Going into the final corner Jorge took the line he wanted on the inside and swung wide as the three riders caught him. He stood up and jumped on the pedals and took the sprint from the group to finish a strong 19th. Bob finished about 34th and I am still waiting to hear about where Joe and Sergio finished officially.


A funny thing happened during the 1/2/3 race. Maybe not funny, but an interesting experience none the less. Ben and Julie showed up today as they planned. But things didn't quite go as planned for Ben, at least not the last 15 minutes or so. From the start Ben was off the front. The first few turns he had just a slight gap, but the first time through the sand pit it seemed as if he floated halfway across before even pedaling. A few more times around the course and it was just Ben and Scott from SRAM, holding a huge gap over the field. About halfway into the race and Scott was still holding Ben's wheel until they hit the sand. It sounded as if Ben shifted UP going into the sand and by the time he exited he had 20 feet on Scott. Are you kidding me?!!

Ben kept the pace up and started catching lapped riders. Scott was still trying to bridge, but the gap seemed insurmountable. That is until Ben took a tumble, which wouldn't have been huge had a lapped rider not been trying to suck his wheel. As he went down, the lapped rider rode over the rear wheel of Ben's bike, gashing the sidewall of his tire. Ben re-mounted but was having a hard time in the corners on the flat rear. Scott capitalized and passed him back.

At this point as I was watching this unfold I decided to take my pit bike over to the pit. As I am crossing the course Julie notices me with the bike and asks if it is 9 or 10sp. I tell her 9 and she asks if Ben could use my rear wheel. Sure, why not it would be sweet if he could take a bike change and take back the lead so I offer up the wheel. The change goes well, but the gap has grown in the meantime. Ben gets on his 'B' bike and stomps the pedals and never seems to let up. On the asphalt section he is down by about 10-13 seconds, up and over the off-camber and through the field and he has closed to within 5 seconds. Had they had one more lap he surely would have caught and gapped Scott with how he was riding.


Julie and I made introductions with another and waited for Ben to come around. He was extremely thankful for the wheel and the opportunity to challenge for the top spot. It was kinda neat that he might have won or lost the race because of my timing. It would have made for an even better story had he won, but he seemed content with his 2nd place. After the race we caught up and spoke quickly about our mutual love for Kelly Bikes and trading cards.

The great thing to me about 'cross is the low key atmosphere at all of the races. I'm sure when you step up the the UCI races things can change a bit, but from what I have read they seem pretty laid back as well. As I make the long trek upwards in categories, here's hoping that I can someday find out what a UCI race feels like.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Pre-Pre-Race Ritual


Almost everyone I know who races has some sort of pre-race ritual. These rituals can vary as widely as the personalities that they are attached to. From what you eat, and when you eat it, to how you prepare yourself for an event. These rituals can range from how you pin your number on, to which shoe goes on first. We all have some form of ritual, whether we recognize them or not.

As for me, I go one step further. The pre-pre-race ritual for me focuses entirely on the machine. For without the machine, I am merely a spectator. The pre-pre-race ritual involves a top to bottom review of the machine. And the first step always includes a wash. Sure a dirty bike proves to an onlooker that you actually get out and train. But a clean bike on race day shows that you care about what the outcome of the race may be. Showing up to a race with a dirty bike in my opinion is like showing up being prepared to lose. Why? Simple. Someone who looks after their machine on a regular basis knows that it will work for them when they may perhaps need it most.

To start a race being undertrained is one thing. To start a race not knowing for sure if your bike will work flawlessly is inexcusable. I'm sure you have heard the stories post race of how someone would have made the selection or out kicked someone in the sprint if only their derailleur would have shifted better. I have also seen more than once someone lose a crank arm. A crank arm? Yup, had that racer gone over their bike and been familiar with all of its parts a crank arm would have never come off. This is where the pre-pre-race comes into its own.

The most important thing is to start with a clean bike. Get a bucket, a hose, a few brushes, a sponge and some dish soap and water. A good cleaning can go a long way in keeping a bike running smoothly. And a routine cleaning after muddy or rainy events can prolong the life of a drivetrain. Rinse it off, scrub it down, repeat as necessary. A clean bike can also reveal things that a dirty bike may not. With the abundance of lightweight carbon fiber parts on bikes these days, a clean bike can reveal the tiny cracks in stems, handlebars and seat posts that otherwise might not have been noticeable. I would rather discover that I have to replace a seat post that has devoleped a crack in it in the driveway, rather than the crux of a race when the post fails.

Once the machine has been throughly cleaned and dried, take the time to look over the shifting mechanisms from the derailleurs, to the shifters, and cables. A smaller brush and some degreaser can clean out the rear mechanism and a few drops of lube on the pivot points can keep everything running smoothly. At this time you can also check and make sure the brakes are working properly and the pads are hitting the rim squarely. A quick check of the cables and their tensions is also a good idea at this time. The chain should have been scrubbed with a stiff brush during the wash. Now check for any tight links and apply a lube to each roller. Wipe off the excess and the drivetrain is complete.

At this point you should turn your attention to the frame, fork and components. Check the high stress areas first. If there were any crashes recently check for any additional damage. Check the fork crown for stress cracks and make sure the drop outs are in good condition. Seat posts, stems and handlebars are the controls of the machine. Make sure they are secure and are not broken in any way.

Wheels and tires are the last thing to be checked for me. Start with a spin of the wheel and make sure there are no wobbles. A rim that rubs a brake pad not only wastes energy, but could signal a larger problem. Check the tires for cuts, and make sure they are seated in the rim. If using tubulars, make sure the base tape is still firmly attached all the way around and on both sides. Finally check the wheel alignemnt in the frame and fork and make sure the skewers are securely fastened.

One final thing. If you are using white or colored tape, a scrub brush and some soapy water will return them to a new appearance. For the ultimate in PRO cleanliness, also be sure to clean the mud off of the bottom of the saddle.

Doing this all sounds like a lot of work. But so is all of the training hours that we all put in. A little bit goes a long way if you can ensure that you can cross the finish line with a bike in working order. There are so many variables come race day, from the weather, to the parcours to the competition. Why not eliminate one of them and make sure your machine is as ready as you are.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Whoop! Whoop! Traffic Alert! Whoop! Whoop!

Re-posted from the Chicago Cross Cup website:

ROAD CLOSURE INFO FOR CARPENTERSVILLE

For those travelling on Rt. 31, it will be closed to through traffic on the day of the race between Route 72 (Higgens) and Route 62 (Algonquin Road). This means you may still be able to get through, but it may take a while. If you detour to Rt 25 , turn West (light) on Lake Marion Rd in Carpentersville, left on L.W. Besinger Dr, and a right on Maple Ave. Maple will take you directly to Carpenter Park.

Might I suggest MapQuest

For more info about the race in Carpentersville click here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bike Change At Hawthorn

video

Bob executes a near flawless bike change at Hawthorn Woods. Mind you this is his 2nd of three changes. Damn that boy is good!

Sand Pit Practice on Thursday


View Larger Map
Since the Carpentersville race will feature a sand pit we have decided to move our practice on Thursday to Commissioners Park in Alsip. The park is located at 12600 S. Kedzie Ave.

The park is equipped with lights so we will be able to stay longer than we have been lately. The course will feature a short steep hill that we can utilize a few different ways. Most importantly, there is a double wide sand volley ball pit, much like we will see on Sunday. If you haven't done the Carpentersville race in years past, expect a flat, fast course with a huge sand pit.

We will be bring both flags and barriers to the park, so expect a high quality training session with all of the feeling of a race. We will plan on between 30-40 minutes of "racing" with some skill drills immediately following.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Seriously???



Yeah, those are actually trading cards for the team. These are the highly sought after Limited Edition Series*. Each card includes a glossy action photo on the front and complete stats from the 2007 Chicago Cyclocross Cup Series on the back. Collect them all!

If you or your team is interested in your very own trading cards contact Eric from the ikymagoo Creative Group, ericnelson@rcn.com or click here


*Gum not included.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Results Official for Hawthorn Woods CX

USAC has posted the official results for Sundays Psycho Cross in Hawthorn Woods.

As always the time frame to contest the results has expired per the USAC rulebook:

1 P(b) A protest regarding the final results must be made within 15 minutes after the announcement of results.

In other words, read 'em and weap if they are incorrect.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

3 INCHES FROM THE SUN

Attrition. That was the word of the day. 82 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the sky or a breeze to be felt. Perfect weather for a day at the beach, but for a day of 'cross, are you kidding me?


The course was a bit of a surprise too, and not in a good way. The other day Bob had found these photos of the park in Hawthorn Woods. The lower left photo shows the "sledding hill" that appears to be about 10-15 feet tall. Apparently the photo was taken from about 3miles away, since the actual hill had to have been 50-70 feet high. Once up the little sledding hill wouldn't have been too bad. But twice per lap was downright demoralizing, in other words I loved it! Other than a muddy corner and some sometimes tricky transitions the course was built for speed. The roadie 'cross racers may have actually had an advantage today, when they could get on top of their gear and accelarate away from those that didn't possess pure power. Oh and did I mention the heat yet?


The heat was brutal, and I made the mistake of wearing a long sleeve skinsuit. Ooops, looked PRO, didn't feel PRO though. After scouting the course before the 1/2/3race, we all headed for the team shelter to stay out of the sun and continue to take fluids on. Once we neared race time we were greeted with a slightly more controlled assembly at the start line as the top ten overall were called up to the line. After the quick ceremony everyone scrambled to fill all the gaps left over. Tony managed a 2nd row start with the rest of us filing in right after him. Directions were given and we were off, I had a great start behind Tony with Elvis beside me who I think I saw push someone off of him who was getting a little too cozy. Off of the pavement and into the first right hand sweeper, still hanging on Tony's wheel, perhaps a little too close. Tony comes a bit wide on the far left heading for the tape, squeezes a bit of brake to control things and I go barreling into his rear wheel then ricochet off one of the stakes holding the tape. Ooops again. I managed to keep it upright and only lost a few places and some momentum. Tony at this point rockets away with the leaders as I am relegated to top twenty or so. Not exactly the start I was hoping for. I believe through the first lap the order was Tony, myself, Patrick, Jim and Elvis. On the 2nd of four laps Patrick put in a strong effort after the hill and passed me as I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. I managed to keep him just a few lengths ahead, with the elastic only stretching a bit between us. Through the mud section I decided to run it and play it safe since I was running a file tread Vittoria EVO XN in the rear and preferred to keep the bike vertical. I did this to perfection on laps two and three, but was being heckled everytime I did it. I let peer pressure get the best of me and on the last lap decided to ride. Big mistake. I bobbled the exit as my rear wheel fish tailed under power and the two guys I had just worked so hard to pass and gap came back past me. This is also where the elastic snapped and I lost Patrick for good. Oh well, I figured we were sitting top twenty or so and coasted in for a somewhat disappointing 28th. I did have fun across the line though as I zipped up my skinsuit, wiped the mud from the chest and raised my arms in victory! All in good fun I thought.


We were hoping to finish all five us in the top twenty, but the war of attrition caused by the heat took its toll. Tony did have a stellar ride and managed to maintain the position he had from the start and finished 15th. Patrick stayed just ahead of me at 25th, Elvis followed a few riders back at 34th, and Jim finished 42nd. Not great by any means, but we all rode strong races and came out safe.


The B race was a race for Bob to be proud of. He and Jorge lined up 2nd and 3rd row and both got off to a great start. They both attacked the hill strongly and Jorge found himself sitting 10th or so coming off the hill, with Bob just a few riders back. However, Bob the downhill a bit fast and found himself careening into the tape at the bottom. He quickly got himself untangled and maintained his composure to ride himself back into the race. He katched onto a group and worked the front half of the course smoothly over the asphalt and back into the grass section and single barrier. It was when he was remounting that things went south. He remounted just as his rear wheel passed over a raised seam in the concrete and pinch flatted his rear wheel. At this point he could have surely panicked as this was now the second mishap in just the first lap! But not Bob, he rode out the remainder of the lap and swung into the pit and grabbed the pit bike. Unfortuneatly it wasn't shifting very well, but thankfully the pit was double sided. Tony quickly realized the problem and got Bob onto his bike with barely losing any position, bike change number two, and Bob is still cool. As he worked the second lap on Tony's bike we changed out Bob's rear wheel with my rear, not realizing that I run my tires down in the upper 20's, while Bob prefers a firmer ride. So Bob comes flying into the pit for the third time and manages another bike change without giving up anymore postions.


Bob rode the last two laps on his own bike with a really soft back tire, all the while staying cool and making back up places. We could catch sight of him sitting in after bridging, then attacking and dropping the riders. Meanwhile, Jorge was still hanging top twenty and riding a safe race, keeping things under control as usual with no sign of exertion on his face, I think I actually saw him smile a few times! The last time up the hill I ran next to Bob and shouted him to the top, all the while he was quickly gaining on the two riders ahead. He played it perfectly and kept them in sight the rest of the lap. As he passed the pit the final time, he bridged, attacked, and gapped on last rider. Jorge finshed again in the top twenty at 18th, and I believe Bob was 34th. Not bad considering the rough time he had. And he fulfilled a personal goal of not crashing.



I personally feel that this was perhaps the hardest 'cross race I have done. I can't quite put a finger on it exactly, but the combination of the heat, the climb and the pace all stacked up to provide an exciting day of racing. Special thanks go out to promoter Ted Schweitzer, who was running around like a maniac all day, but managed to pull it off. If you raced today chances are that your photo was taken, click here to find out.



Results for Hawthorn Woods:
Mens 4A
Tony 15th
Patrick 24th
Damon 28th
Elvis 31st
Jim 42nd

Mens 4B
Jorge 19th
Bob 35th

Masters 40-49
Paul 20th

All photos courtesy of Eric Nelson

Streaming Superprestige Live

If you have ever been curious to see just how ridiculously fast the Belgians can be when they race 'cross, then be sure to tune in to Belgian VT4 to watch the Superprestige races live every Sunday.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

DeKalb Results Official

The results for the Hopkins Cross DeKalb race this past Sunday are now available on the USAC page. The Chicago Cyclocross Cup has had difficulties reading the results and thus are delayed in getting them posted. It is always a good idea to check your results at the race venue so that if there are any discrepancies they can be immediately addressed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You Can Help Make Cycling Better



On October 25th there will be an open meeting of the Board of Directors of the ICA to discuss news and events for the upcoming 2009 season. Clubs and club members are invited to join the meeting so that their voice may be heard on issues regarding racing in Illinois.

The ICA is also seeking more involvement from members to help better organize and promote racing in Illinois. Believe it or not the ICA takes it cues from the bicycle racing community. That includes you and me and anyone else who races. In order to better represent us, the ICA needs as much involvement as possible. 2008 was an incredible year for racing, lets help to insure that 2009 is even better.

A few of the key areas that the ICA is working on will include more officials for 2009, more involvement in the different committees involved in organizing races, and adding more races to the calendar by networking with new promoters.

If you have ever been frustated with an official or something else that happened during a race that was perhaps unsafe, now is your chance to do something about it. Having an official amongst your members would be an invaluable resource, for more info click here.

Most association have an active and involved committee structure that helps to promote their mission. For the ICA, those issues range from womens racing to juniors racing, to masters racing, to finding good venues for races, to club development, to marketing, to web site development, to finance and more. If any particular issue is your area of expertise or interest and you'd like to get involved, we encourage you to show up to this first meeting. We will be reviewing our standing committees to make sure they align with our mission and we'll be looking for good people to join these committees.

Also being discussed on an ongoing basis within the ICA is adding new races to the schedule. If you are a promoter the ICA will help to promote and organize your race. By working with the ICA, they can also work to avoid schedule conflicts so that your race gets the largest draw it can.

For more info about the meeting scheduled for October 25th in Lisle, check here.

GET INVOLVED!!!

Update From The Chicago Cyclocross Cup

If you raced on Sunday in DeKalb and are waiting for your results to posted, please be patient. The reults were scanned in and transmitted in a document that is proving difficult to read. The results are being transcribed with the help of USAC officials and will be posted soon.

The third race of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup is scheduled for Sunday, October 12. For directions click here.

The Hawthorn Woods race will feature the following:

(1) Food Vendor: Little Joey's
(2) Goodie bag for every registered racer
(3) An increase total purse of $450 for the Elite 1/2/3 race (larger than most races) thanks to contributions from Alberto's Cycles of Highland Park
(4) Garden hose with water hook to wash bikes (if necessary)
(5) Chiropractor providing adjustments
(6) A grueling toboggan hill with multiple run ups

(7) Master's 30+, 40+ and 50+ will be paid and extra $50 for winning their age group. This extra incentive is possible via the contributions of Village CycleSport (Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, and Barrington)

Bob did a little internet sleuthing and came up with this little goodie about Sunday. That hill doesn't look too bad. Does it?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

OUR BLOGGER DAMON

On behalf of all BBVP, I want to thank Damon for keeping everybody up-to-date about our goings on. It's a compliment to him and us when somebody comes up and asks "who is your main blogger?" To all those people who read these passages, we thank you. We may not be the best riders but we are passionate about what we do and have a true commitment to the sport and our teammates. This also extends to our sponsors, Beverly Bike and Ski and VeePak, Inc. Is there another team out there who in our cat has team bikes? Also, in our first year of existance, our sponsors have supported not just 1, but 3 major cycling events: the kick-off of Super Week, the Willowbrook leg of the Chicago Time Trial Series, and a race in the Illinois Road Race Championship. If, from what you have been reading interests you, come on out or drop us a line. Even if you're on another team and need a change of scenery or different guys to train with, we would love to have you. Come out and see what the South Side has to offer!

VeloSnaps Photos Now Up

Carolyn Golz is another photographer who makes it out to almost all Chicago area races. Her photos from DeKalb are now avaialble for viewing and purchase here.
Just like Ed, her photos start at only $2 and can even be made into a poster size. She has over 30 albums available for viewing, so chances are if you raced this year, she has a great photo of you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Support Ed White

Photo Courtesy of Ed White.


Many of you may have seen his incredible photos, but few may know his name. Edmund White shows up to nearly every Chicago area race and snaps as many great photos as he can. His photos are often linked to on Chicago Bike Racing and they are also featured on the Chicago Cyclocross Cup homepage.

Not many people realize that his entire collection of photos that he posts on flickr
are available for sale via his SmugMug page. His photos start at only $2 each for a 4x6 and every photo can be cropped to your liking. Help support someone who comes out and makes us look good every weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

De Kalb

Where do I even start with this race today. What a blast we had, from the miserable conditions that greeted us to the sunny skies when we left. I think every one of us had a good time, even those that fell. Upon arriving at the course I was a bit confused as to why we drove almost 75 miles to ride around some tennis courts, but once the cars were unpacked and the bikes put together we were pleasantly surprised by the course that unfolded before our eyes.

At this point in the day the rain started to come down a bit harder as we tried to get a good look at the course and see what kind of tires and pressures would work best. As the races went on a clear line was developing through most of the corners, however that line consisted of mostly greasy mud. We took a few warm up laps then headed over to the hill to watch the Cuttin' Crew heckle any and all, especially those that fell on the tight off-camber left hander. As race time approached we made our way over to the start finish where tire pressures were adjusted for a final time and we stood and waited for instructions.

Pleasantries were exchanged on the line with a few other riders, and then it was go time. Tony and myself were wise enough to secure a front row position as there was an 180 degree turn about 150 yards into the race. Off the start Tony snagged his shorts on the nose of his saddle and leaned on me for what seemed like the first 100 yards of the race. I was just hoping not to go down in the first 15 seconds like I did at Montrose last year. I led around the first corner for the team around 10th-15th or so with Tony, Jim, Patrick and Elvis just behind. As we swept through the second corner I could already begin to hear the sound of front tires meeting rear derailleurs at the bottle neck.

Through the first few turns I played it safe, just trying to keep my wheels underneath me, not knowing what kind of damage had been done behind . As the course looped back on itself I could see that we were all safe and charging hard. Across the pavement and onto the run-up and I was quickly off the bike and hoofing it up the hill, down the hill, back up again and Tony comes flying past me! Now the chase was on in earnest. Tony got on the gas and passed a few riders immediately, with myself not far behind. On such a technical course, and all of the mud present, there were not a lot of places to recover on the course. Over the single barrier and into the slippery, uphill singletrack that sucked the energy right out of your legs before putting you onto an asphalt section that rose ever so slightly. As we rolled back into the grass I could count the leaders and saw that Tony was about 13th and I was just 3 back from him. Sweet!

Still no major problems as we started the second lap and the leaders were just within reach, or so I hoped. I began to get aggressive and sprint out of each corner up and out of the saddle trying to keep the leaders and Tony in sight. Onto the last lap and Tony realizes that I am quickly gaining ground and he turns it up a bit, maybe a bit too much. As we head towards the run-up he goes down at the base of the hill, actually sliding uphill! I make my pass and shout encouragement for him to keep working hard. By this time a few riders make it past him while I keep the pressure on the pedals to maintain my position. Through the barrier a final time and I make my last pass of the race, but try desperately to latch onto the group ahead. A few more turns and my race is over, Tony just a few riders back goes down again coming out of the off-camber section. In the A race, Elvis and I are the only ones able to stay upright as Jim, Tony and Patrick all went down at least once.

The B race was next and Jorge and Bob were ready to represent with a first and second row starting position. Off the start and into the first corner and Bob sits 7th and Jorge at 16th. Bob hangs in the top ten for most of the first lap even after crashing once, then comes into the start/finish chute and goes down again. Jorge enters the gauntlet of hecklers at the run-up with 3 other riders ahead of him, scrambles past them on the climb, remounts and perhaps rides the most perfect line through the off camber section I saw all day. He was literally smiling as he threw down the hammer and quickly opened up a 100 yard gap. However, on the back half of the course he managaed to make a wrong turn and got briefly off course. He quickly realized his mistake and the chase was on.

Meanwhile Bob was getting a handle on the course and his bike and kept it upright for the remainder of the race picking off riders as we yelled encouragement. Jorge was never able to make back the positions he lost but finished strong and capped off a break out race for himself. Bob never lost focus despite coming off the bike several times and finished strong. If we can get him on a dry course his ability to generate huge wattage from time trials will surely pay dividends with a top ten finish.

Results for the team were:

Mens 4A
Damon 15th
Tony 19th
Patrick 23rd
Elvis 24th
Jim 25th

Mens 4B
Jorge 15th-I think
Bob 24th

With a bit of practice needed for foul weather racing we were all pretty happy with our finishes. After Tony dug the turf out of his helmet and shifter, he was still smiling. Elvis, Patrick and Jim all rode good strong races. Jorge is on the brink of finishing top 5 or ten and Bob is just an animal having finshed 24th after being on the ground 5 times! Can't wait till next week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Choose Your Weapon


Overkill or Preparedness? Call it what you may, but personally and as a team we are leaving nothing to chance this 'cross season. I myself am bringing no less than four sets of wheels and a pit bike to each race. As a team we will probably have enough spare parts to build a bike at each venue.

Cyclocross certainly takes its toll on both man and machinery. Since Jackson Park we have gone through 3 chains, one front wheel, and a seat post. And most of that has just been during practices, without any crash induced damage. Therefore, we have vowed to have extra chains, seatposts, wheels, cassettes, binder bolts, etc., etc available to us to ensure our race doesn't end prematurely. There were even rumors of a mechanic coming to support us each race. How PRO would that be?

I might even take a cue from Paulo and bring an extra pair of shorts along. 'Cross is too much fun to have to stand by on the sidelines as the race goes on without you. Why let a mechanical get in the way when a little foresight and planning can save your race. When every race counts and points are on the line, a little preparation goes a long way. Call it obsessive, or call it ready. The choice is yours.

By the way from left to right: Michelin Mud 700x30, Maxxis Larsen MiMo 700x35, Tufo T-30 PRO 700x30, Vittoria EVO XN 700x32. Damn, we need a tire sponsor! Any takers?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jackson Park Official Results

After a short delay in processing the results correctly for the Jackson Park event of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup Series held on September 21st the official results have been posted. Much appreciation and thanks go out to Greg and xXx Racing for hosting what has become a great kick off to the series.

Our official results are as follows:

Mens 4A
Damon Nelson 22nd
Elvis Falbo 26th
Jim Jacobs 37th

Mens 4B
Jorge Cerritos 18th
Sergio Moreno 37th
Bob Murray 43rd

After this first race Damon, Elvis and Jorge are now on the board with points in the series. The race this weekend in DeKalb looks to be a technical course which may favor the finesse riders and not the pure power riders. With the race being a good distance away, make sure you check out the Ride Board over at CBR for possible carpools, this is a great tool that looks like it is a bit slow gaining momentum.