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Wow, the last three months have gone by in a blur! It seems like yesterday that we were dusting off the bikes at the Lionhearts CX at Kingswood Park, and today marked the end of the OVCX series, right back where things got started this year, Kingswood Park, in Mason, OH. Along the way we’ve raced in three states, in just about every weather condition imaginable, and had a pretty good time along the way. In no particular order, here are a few things that stood out from my perspective over the last three months:
The Zip Code Battle – Friendly fun with JimmyRoadRash.
The First Lap Flyer at John Bryan – Fakin’ or makin’ it.
The Mud at St. Mary’s – Sloppy.
The Crowd at Harbin Park – Crazy loud coming through the sandpit both directions!
The Busts of Mitch Graham and John Gatch at KingsCX – And we thought seeing them in person was enough!
The Blow-Up Doll at the USGP – Best Handup Ever!
Training, What Training – Lots of hours at work = not many hours on the bike.
The Biowheels RV – Many thanks to Jaden and Bridget Sempsrott for letting me hang all year.
The Mud – This year made up for last year’s hot weather in spades.
Drew Dillman and Luke Haley – Juniors that are smoking the seniors.
The Barriers at St. Mary’s – Makin’ it rain up in here!
Fred Rose – Upped his game big time this season.
Spencer Petrov – Wins the cat 4’s week after week at 13 years old! Super nice and down to earth.
Winning at Monsters of Cross – Glad to get one under the belt.
Casualties of War – Lost two pairs of bibs and one skinsuit to crashes this year.
The Wolverines – Great to see friends from Michigan at the UCI3 and the USGP.
Making it to the Races – Sometimes the hardest part is getting there.
These things stood out, but I’m sure that there are others that I could add to the list. It’s been a great season. Thanks to Mitch Graham and the entire crew at OVCX for putting everything together. Adios.
Another weekend has come and gone, and with it were rounds 4 & 5 of the OVCX series. It’s amazing to think that we are just entering October and are already halfway through the series. Doesn’t seem that long ago that everyone was still on skinny tires! On tap was the second straight doubleheader, this time taking place in Dayton, OH with the Gearfest CX on Saturday followed by the Buckingham Financial John Bryan Classic in Yellow Springs, OH on Sunday.
Things were looking good as I was doing my first pre-race lap of the Gearfest course on Saturday. The course designers had laid out a pretty sweet design, pancake flat with a couple screaming fast sections interwoven with lots of hairpin turns, a double barrier section, a single down tree on the backside of the course that everyone was bunnyhopping, and a single barrier hidden away in the back corner of the course, the diabolical little bugger that proved to be my undoing.
I’d been slowly moving through a lap and had been riding just behind Shawn Adams from Cyclosmart, when both of us came around a sharp left hand bend and saw the single barrier hiding in the woods, beckoning at us and almost goading us into trying to hop it. I was game and went back to the corner to get some speed and give it a go (mind you, I had never attempted this before…). The result turned out something like this:
I’m just glad no one was there to capture my ill-fated attempt on video! I think I took the full impact on my left rib cage, and it was a good couple minutes until I was up and riding again. As for the race itself, that turned out ok, as I was able to ride my usual pace to finished 17th overall, and made the podium with a 2nd in the 35+, however, I was also finding it difficult to cough deeply and there was some fairly uncomfortable feelings coming from my ribs.
1600mg of Ibuprofen later and I was waking up on Sunday morning trying to decide if it was worth the trip to John Bryan. Let’s just say that things were a little uncomfortable getting out of bed in the morning. A quick call to The Pilot for some motivation, and we were back in the car headed for Yellow Springs. I was thinking it might be a short day, but since I was already registered and would be starting on the front row, why not.
Long story short, the course was awesome, starting with a long power section followed by a slower technical section, a wicked fast singletrack through the woods, log jumps, more singletrack, a little more tech stuff, and then back on the power again. We started off with a huge field, maybe 50+ guys, and everyone was fast. The gun went off, I clipped in perfectly, no one else really went, and my only thought was “Screw it”, so I stomped on the pedals roadie style and took my first ever OVCX holeshot!
It was fun while it lasted and I was able to spend the better part of the first lap alone off the front. Didn’t have the legs to hold it, and when I started to notice that I was favoring my left side about 3 laps into the race, I decided to pull the plug and try to work on some good recovery in the hopes of being back in business by next weekend. We’ll have to see how that goes, as I woke up Monday morning and had some trouble getting out of bed. Might go for an x-ray later this week, but I’m going to take things day by day for now. Adios.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – You know it’s been a tough weekend of racing when a post-work nap on Monday turns into almost two hours on the couch! The weekend featured rounds two and three of the OVCX series: Saturday taking place at Brookside Park and Sunday at St. Mary’s State Park.
Brookside: I drove over to Brookside on Saturday with Biowheels racer and author of TheBestBikeBlogEver, Joe Bellante, who has also been fortunate enough to win the end of the season Zipp raffle, not once, but twice. Needless to say, the man usually travels with wheels that are worth more than my collection of bikes, and I was stoked when he agreed to let me race on a set of Zipp 404’s with Challenge Griffo’s glued up to ’em. Things looked even better when the forecasted rain did not appear, leaving us with course conditions that were absolutely perfect. To top it off, I was called up 5th and slotted into a front row start position!
The gun went off and I followed Fred Rose into the dirt, slotting into second place and trying to hold position. The first lap was pretty crazy, as there wasn’t much separation in the group and guys were trying to pass in some pretty tight spots. I think I spent the majority of lap one in the red, and went quickly backwards on lap two, finally settling into a group that would swell from 2-5 riders off and on for the remainder of the race. Suffered throughout, but had a decent final lap to finish 17th, one place better than OVCX #1, but it could have been so much better.
St Mary’s: Self Proclaimed Podcast Celebrity John Gatch, of the TwoJohnsPodcast, and I left Cincinnati bound for Indy on a bright, crisp, and sunny fall morning in search of Cyclocross glory. Unfortunately, the rearview mirror was the last place we’d see the sun all day, as the skies to the west became darker and more foreboding the further we went, eventually opening up to a torrential downpour just as we entered Indianapolis. Needless to say, course conditions had taken a turn for the worse.
For second day in a row, I made it to the front row prior to the start. However, the tactic for today was not to try and go fast, but to remain upright, as the entire course was covered in about 1-3 inches of mud. I don’t think I ever tried to go fast, but rode a steady race and finished around 14th. They were still trying to sort out the results two hours after the race ended, so we bailed and headed back to The Nati to get cleaned up.
What really made the race were the crazy fans that were hanging around the barriers. They were flat out awesome! I started noticing dollar bills stuck to the barriers a couple laps into the race, and started snagging them soon after. Came away with $11.00 extra, and a big smile on my face. Heard afterwards that one guy picked up $28.00 out there, which is more than the last place money spot! Check out the video below for all the action. Adios.
LOUISVILLE, KY – Race number one of the OVCX series is in the books, and the series looks as strong as ever. I heard that there were 352 total entries today, up a bit from one year ago. There have been several format changes this year in order to consolidate the number of start waves taking place. Basically, what has been done is to combine similar categories into the same start wave, then breaking out the results once everything is finished. Start position, however, will be determined by how one finishes in the wave overall, not how they finish in their category. Confused yet? How this affects me is that all of the Men’s Elite categories (Open, Masters 35+, Masters 45+) now start together and race for a combined purse of $1500/top 20 of the overall wave. Personally, I have mixed feelings about it, but my impression after today is that the change made for some wicked fast racing and big fields. There were 53 starters in the Elite class, almost double what is usually seen at OVCX races. I guess if you want to finish in the money now, you just have to man up and race faster! Pretty sure Rule #5 applies here.
As for my race, I started on the 5th row out of 7 and worked my way up through the field on the first 3 laps to eventually finish 18th overall, and 5th in the Masters 35+. Lots of guys bitch about start position, myself included, but I think if you have the legs it doesn’t matter nearly as much as people think. Case in point today was Erik Hamilton starting on the last row, working his way up into the lead group by the end of the first lap, and going on to finish 2nd on the day. I would say that Mr. Hamilton definitely showed us proper implementation of Rule #5 today.
Already looking forward to Indy next weekend, the only question is to race Saturday, Sunday, or both? Adios.
…all within a span of 24 hours!
Last Friday night was the final race of the Ohio Road Cycling Calender, finishing up under the lights at the Milford Sunflower Classic on one of the tougher criterium courses in the state, featuring six corners, a tough uphill section, and a blazing fast downhill to the final corner. A small, but strong, field showed up to race for 60 minutes and the $1000 purse.
Cool sequence of the downhill, all photo’s from Jeffery Jakucyk.
The race started fast, and a strong break of three took off on the 3rd lap. The field was blowing up as the break went up the road,and we were left with a main pack of ten riders for the remainder of the race. The next time we saw the break was when they lapped us about 35 minutes into the race. This was expected because once they were gone, there really wasn’t anyone left in the group that could take up the chase. RGF had a guy in the break and three guys out of ten left in the group, so they did an excellent job neutralizing any would be efforts to bridge or bring it back. I wasn’t willing to do much due to the fact that I had to dig deep a few times just to stay in contact! It was a little tough out there at times!
In the end, it came down to a field sprint for 4th. I put in a huge effort on the hill with one to go and passed everyone, lost one spot going into the downhill, and was able to hang on for 5th. I’m pretty satisfied with the result, as there was some tough racing going on throughout. Adios.
A little post-hillclimb recovery at the ATP Tour stop in Cincinnati on Sunday. Sharapova v. Jankovic. Enjoy!
Sharapova accepts the trophy.
Jankovic accepts the runner-up trophy.
Jonkovic, in action.
I think this is Erin hiding back there!
Sharapova about to serve.
About to start the second set.
Jankovic awaits the serve in the first set.
I am, “The Man!”
A Man Purse was sighted among the crowd!