28 September 2009

Diamond Blackfan Cyclocross Challenge

This is the second year of this race which is held for a great cause: raise funds to fight Diamond Blackfan anemia. Tige Lamb's daughter has this disease and because it is so rare there are very little resources dedicated to curing/treating it.

Just like last year, this race was a "cooker" at 85 degrees. The odd thing was that the temps haven't really been that hot lately. Everyone complained about the heat, myself included. It was uncomfortable for sure, but I suppose it could always be worse!

As usual, I doubled-up with the Masters and Open races. Although this surely has a negative impact on my ride in the Open race, I think its important to get the work in with limited training time during the week. This is even more necessary now that all the local promoters have decided to shorten the Open races to 50 minutes. I object!

The Masters race started off fast with Brendon Jenks bolting from the start line. One of my goals for the race was to start harder than last week so I pushed it up to Brendon's wheel and tried to stay on the gas. I ended up coming around him in the upper field and started to get a little gap. I lost my gap when I shorted a corner thinking it was tighter than it was (it was last year). I ended up going through the tape and had to pop back out and get going again. I didn't get much pre-riding on the course so I guess that's what happens.

I stayed on the gas trying to accelerate hard out of the corners and push the legs. Mark Studnicki moved into second place behind me and settled into a conserve mode (he was also riding the Open race) so my gap stretched out. I continued to ride fairly hard, which I would pay for in the Open race, but I figured there wasn't much use in soft-pedaling around the course. If you want to build up CX fitness you have to race hard.

The Open race was relatively stacked with Josh Johnson & Jon Schottler from Columbia coming over. Pretty much all the local guys came out. Not surprisingly, Steve Tilford lead the fray. I chatted it up with Aaron Elwell at the start, we haven't lined up together at all this year. Scanning the photos of the event, it looks like Aaron did a Ben Raby on the barriers. Hopefully, no permanent damage was done because he's racing the 24hr at Moab in a couple of weeks with Cameron.

My other goal for the day was to get a good start in the Open race. I didn't get this done. Between a relatively bad starting position--third row--and just getting stuck behind a long line of guys, I just didn't get up front quickly. Luckily, I was right behind Josh Johnson and I just followed his wheel up through the group. After a few laps we had moved up fairly well with only a handful of guys in front of us. At this point I thought I had some gas and pushed ahead of Josh and up to Shad Schreiner. I ended moving ahead of Shad too, putting me in 4th. Unfortunately, the wheels came off shortly thereafter and I gradually drifted back to 7th. Despite fading at the end, I am fairly happy with my ride under the circumstances. The legs were pretty decent and I'm sure will improve as I continue to get some more quality CX efforts in them.

The KCCX/Verge boys had a good weekend. Joe Schmalz got it done up in Madison, two podiums in the U23. Smokin'! Locally, Adam Mills, Bill Marshall, Alex Edwards and I all finished in the top 15. Will Gault also came up from Tulsa and doubled-up in the Masters and Open races. The course didn't suit his strengths, but he got in some quality efforts nonetheless. He'll be kickin' some butt when the big races come around!

KCCX/Verge also had a guest appearance by my honey in the Women's beginner race. This was her first bicycle race of any kind and she had to suffer through it with a 26lb mountain bike, a cold, and allergies. Of course, she soldiered through it like a champ. Good work, baby!

Bicycle Shack junior, Luke Lininger rode the Open race, too. He's a relative newcomer to CX and is using the season to set up a breakout road season in 2010. I expect to see him improve week-to-week and start to put the hurt on some guys.

On another note, Doug Stone rocked the Cat 3/4 race, riding solo for the bulk of the race for the win. This was his first CX race of the season and first race as a Cat 3. Awesome start, I'd say!

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