27 October 2009

Who needs to upgrade?

Here's a hot topic!

I did some number crunching with the crossresults.com points list.

Here's some basics:

For the Open Men:
Mean: 338
3rd Quartile: 388

For the B Men (combined Cat 3 & Cat 3/4)
Mean: 438
1st Quartile: 408
3rd Quartile: 466

For the Cat 4 Men
Mean: 530
1st Quartile: 474

What does it all mean? I would suggest that any Cat 3 with lower than 388 points should seriously consider moving up. It would appear you could ride mid-pack in the Open class. Similarly, if you are Cat 4 with fewer than 466 points, it could be your time.

This would essentially shift 10-15 guys from the 3s to the Open race and shift 25-30 guys from the 4s to the 3s. This shift would change the fields sizes to: Open: 30-35, Cat 3: 40-45, Cat 4: 25-30. Seems reasonable.

Here's the full rankings: http://sites.google.com/site/kccrossrankings/home

Kansas City Cyclocross Rankings

For the last couple of weeks I've been working to extract data from www.crossresults.com to create a local area ranking system. The hope is that promoters will start to rely on the rankings for call-ups during local races.

I also plan to incorporate St. Louis' results from the Bubba Series. Hopefully this will stoke the flames of some cross-state rivalries.

Check it out: http://sites.google.com/site/kccrossrankings/home

There are some issues with crossresults.com points, so if you think your points are all wrong take a look at crossresults.com and look to see if you are sharing points with another racer with the same name. The guys running crossresults.com are pretty responsive , so if you see an issue let them know and they'll probably fix it pretty quick.


I've been talking to a bunch of people recently who did not know about this cool website: www.crossresults.com This project was started on the east coast and has been grown to other parts of the country. Go check it out and make sure your info is accurate. Also, if your races aren't getting uploaded, take the bull by the horns and start uploading them---its EASY!

26 October 2009

Smithville Cyclocross Festival

This was the first race that wasn't a dry course, but we just missed the rain by a few hours or we would have had a completely soggy affair. Too bad!

Most of the local KCCX crew was off in Louisville kicking a$$, so for this race it was only me and new team member Shadd Smith. Our main competition was Shad Schreiner and Andrew Coe. I started in the second row so I was figuring on having to do some early work to move through the field. With the curvy chicanes at the start and the beach section about halfway into the lap, I was hoping I wouldn't fall back from the leaders too far. I think I was sitting 6th-8th coming off the pavement, right behind Cameron on his fixie(!). Shadd & Shad led off the start and got a small gap. Meanwhile, I started to move up through the field and was towing Andrew Coe with me. I think on the second lap I had moved up to the point where only Shadd & Shad were in front of me and I had gapped Andrew a little bit. Shadd had moved a little in front of Shad, maybe 10-15 secs, and I was gradually reeling in Shad. I caught him on the 2nd or 3rd lap and then made a few digs on the uphills to try to gap him and move up to Shadd. My first effort on the grassy hill after the beach was not strong enough to dislodge him, but my second effort on the paved uphill got me a small gap to start to build on. Over the next lap I gradually closed in on Shadd, then in the turn after the paved hill he went down. I was a few seconds back and was able to see the whole thing. It was a pretty hard crash. I rode by and he was not able to get going right away because of equipment issues. I kept a steady pace to see what would happen next. I figured he'd be up, ride with Shad for a bit, and then launch an attack and come back up to the front. This didn't happen, he was with Shad for bit but then faded back. Talking afterwards, he said that the crash rang his bell pretty good and he couldn't really get going afterwards. Bummer. Over the last 5 or 6 laps I gradually stretched out the gap to Shad and was able to finish first. I didn't see Andrew after the first lap, as it turns out he had an even worse day than Shadd: pulled out of a pedal at the start, banging his knee; rolled a tubular; and flatted a clincher. Tough day!

I ran the new MAXXIS Mud Wrestler clinchers at standard pressures: F30/R35. I had good traction everywhere on the course and everything felt good. I had no issues with the tires folding over in the corners like I did with the Michelins. If you are riding clinchers, this is a good choice for the wetter and muddier courses. Run the Raze when its dry.

Definitely a fun course. The two primary features were a wet sandy beach section ending with a steep ride/run-up and a steep off-camber grassy hill ride/run-up. I rode both of these features pretty solidly throughout the race. I was able to ride the grassy hill every time, a couple of times pretty fast. I also managed to ride up-and-out of the beach each time except for the first and last laps.

The second defining characteristic of the course was the section immediately following the beach. It started with a soggy gradual uphill stretch followed by a series of 180 degree turns zig-zagging up a more gentle hillside. This section was a lung-burner.

'til next week!

19 October 2009

Sunday 18 Oct - Boulevard Cross - CX Race #9

Some days you have it, some you don't. Today was a don't. I was able to keep the pedals turning, but just didn't have any snap or lightness. On top of that I didn't seem to be handling the bike all that well. This picture sums up my race...dangling off the group, it is where I spent most of the day.

The Course:

It was a mix of elements, power sections broken up by off-camber and/or elevation changing corners. Basically the same course as last year. Everything was dry, except the keg, and the sun was out. A nice day!

The Race:

The start was a fast downwind, downhill paved section into a highspeed sweeping downhill left turn through the grass. I got a decent start sitting 4 or 5 back. Bill hit it hard on the start but things stayed together for most of the first lap. On the second lap a small group developed with Shadd, Chris, Joe and myself. Of course, there is no reason for Shadd to hit the front with this state of affairs, so it was Joe who rode at the front for a lap or two. Adam and Andrew Coe were dangling off the back of this group and they were able to join us when the pace eased briefly.

It was pretty clear that the best play was for Joe to ride away from this group. When he went, the elastic in the group stretched. And then snapped. Adam and I were dislodged. For the rest of the race, Joe pulled away from the group of Shadd, Andrew and Chris. I was yo-yoing 5-15 seconds behind them and Adam was a little farther back. Unfortunately, Chris went down on the last lap and couldn't contest for 2nd. Things shuffled at the end and Shadd was 2nd, Andrew 3rd, Me 4th and Chris 5th. Everyone at the front was riding strong and making a race of it, at least for 2nd.

I think we need some more teams in these races!

I've got a little break in the cyclocross action as I'll be doing the Berryman Epic next weekend. The rest of the team is headed for Louisville for the Derby Cup. Best of luck to all and hopefully we'll see Joe and Chris on the podium!

17 October 2009

Capital Cross - Topeka, Kansas

Back to Hummer Sports Park: thick, power-sapping zoysia and the double run-up on the Mound of Mercy.

The course was a little different then past years because of a cross country meet in the big field on the north end of the park. The result was fewer hi-speed straightaways and more thick grass.

The Open field was missing some of the usual suspects, but there was still a good turnout. KCCX was down a few soldiers as well. Chris W., Adam M., Tom P. and I carried the flag for the day. Chris and I got off the line well--1st and 2nd when we left the pavement. I started to let a gap develop so Chris could slip away but Bill Stolte wasn't fooled. He popped around me right away and kept Chris in check. After a couple of minutes I surged to keep everyone in chase mode. I think this might have split things up. Somewhere on the 2nd lap a small gap developed behind the lead 3 (Chris, Andrew Coe, and I) creating a long line of "achtervolgers" a few seconds back.

Chris and I started to stick it to Andrew by alternating attacks. He covered a couple and then went to the front, probably hoping to control things a little. I think I surged after the barriers on the third lap and finally got a gap to stick. I was out alone for a couple of laps while Chris sat on Andrew. I think the gap grew to 20-30 secs before Chris jumped Andrew and got a gap. I sat up and we joined forces with 3 laps to go. Sorry about that Andrew, but I'm sure you'll get to return the favor one day!

We motored the last laps and had a solid gap by the finish. We didn't contest the finish and I crossed first. Cool, more on tap (CX, and Boulevard too!) for tomorrow at Wyandotte County Park!

See ya there...

16 October 2009

Call Up Procedure Proposal

I have a proposal for how we do Call Ups for all local races. Comments are welcome.

Here it is:

Step 1: Maintain a list of all racers who have ridden in local races during the current season. This would need to be done for every category that has more than 8 riders on a regular basis. This is simple enough, just maintain a spreadsheet for each category and make sure it is updated weekly.

Step 2: Run the category lists through the Seed Racers function at crossresults.com

Step 3: Post the "Call Up List" for each category. Riders and officials use this list to call up the first one or two rows.

There is no reason why this couldn't be done and could probably be largely automated. I volunteer to help get this done if the promoters & officials sign on.

The obvious issue is that not all riders on the list will show up to a particular race. However, this can either be ignored---names are called until the first two rows are full, or the officials can cross names off the Call Up List during registration/roll call. This might add a few minutes to the start procedure, but it doesn't seem like it would be too much.

I also propose that we do some test runs on a limited basis.

Here's the "Call Up List" for the Open (P/1/2/3/4) field as of October 11:

1 Steve Tilford
2 Brian Jensen
3 Nathan Rice
4 Joseph Schmalz
5 Jonathan Schottler
6 Shadd Smith
7 William Stolte
8 Jeff Winkler
9 Cameron Chambers
10 Joshua Johnson
11 Chris Wallace
12 Shad Schreiner
13 Troy Krause
14 Nate Woodman
15 Andrew Coe
16 Thomas Price
17 Adam Mills
18 Jay Strothman
19 Mark Studnicki
20 Mark Nagy
21 Scott Dunsmuir
22 William Gault
23 Tim Kakouris
24 Tige Lamb
25 Devin Clark
26 Kevin Wilkins
27 Nicholas Coil
28 Bill Marshall
29 Aaron Elwell
30 Scott Ogilvie
31 Douglas Plumer
32 Alex Grman
33 Ethan Froese
34 Alex Edwards
35 Joseph Fox
36 Jeff Yielding
37 Casey Saunders
38 Michael Gaherty
39 Shea Bergman
40 John Giles
41 Britton Kusiak
42 Randall Crist
43 Benn Stover
44 Mark Smelser
45 Matt Gilhousen
46 Austin Elser
47 Luke Lininger
48 Mark Cole
49 Eric Struckhoff
50 Robert Cummings
51 Elliot Usher
52 Kenneth Harkin
53 Jason Ozenburger
54 Matt Bougher
55 Theodore Fleming


11 October 2009

KCCX sweep @ Chris 'Cross

Today was our first cool temps race of the year taking place at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. It was in the low 40's, cloudy and some moderate east winds for our 4th local race of the season. The Cowtown boys set up a challenging course, a little different from last year with a lot of sweeping corners and plenty of elevation change. The bumpiness of the turf at St. Mary's is always a factor, too.

It was a solid field with all the usual suspects, plus a couple friends from up north in Nebraska. This race featured primes on the first and second laps making sure we'd have a fast start. Not so good when you don't get clipped in quickly. I wasted a front row position by blowing the start and found myself sitting around 10th. At the front Joe and Shadd Smith had a gap on Chris and Tom Price, who in turn had a small gap on the main group.

I started to pick my way through the field along with Brian Jensen. By the start of the 2nd lap Brian and I were siting in 4th and 5th closing in on Chris and Shadd. Joe had kept the pressure on and was by himself out in front of Shadd & Chris. This group of four formed up along with Andrew Coe early in the 2nd lap. Somewhere later on that lap Shadd and Andrew faded back. On the 3rd or 4th lap Chris launched an attack and rode away to about 10 seconds. I sat on Brian for a lap or so and then pushed ahead on my own.

Over the next lap or so I closed in on Chris while Joe eased up at the front and the three of us grouped up. We rode out the last 3 laps together with Joe doing most of the pace setting. We cruised in comfortably together without any real pressure from behind. Its nice when a team can run a race like this, you better enjoy it while you can because it doesn't happen too often.

05 October 2009

Chris Cross course rumors...

My inside source says we'll be enjoying what might be a somewhat Euro/UCI-ish course next weekend. There are apparently a lot of longer straightaways and only a couple of discrete tight, technical sections. The brick road section that was broken into two separate parts last year will be in one monster section this year. I'm thinking its a good course for Brian Jensen!

In any case, its good to have a variety of courses, from the ultra-tight & technical Swope to perhaps a wide-open St. Mary's course. Looking forward to it!

Who's the Boss? Mr. Joe Schmalz is the cross boss!

Joe took back-to-back wins this weekend. He's on good form and hopefully can continue to build on it for the USGPs, Nationals and Worlds.

For my part, I was 2nd Saturday and 3rd on Sunday. Needless to say, for me it was a good weekend, hopefully one of many this season. I had good power and acceptable technique, with the exception of one turn on Sunday. I was a little surprised to find myself up with the heavy hitters of the local scene. I guess my form is coming around and I had fresher legs than normal having not doubled-up with the Masters race.

Both days the field was stacked and at times I was able to separate myself from a host of strong riders: Steve Tilford, Brian Jensen, Josh Johnson, Shadd Smith, Shad Schreiner, Cameron Chambers and others. While the overall weekend was positive, I still made a few errors and have some weaknesses to work on. My start on Sunday was poor, and it kept me out of the action until I could make my way to the front. I made some tactical errors on Sunday in addition to the obvious technical error of laying it down when I was riding in second position. Time to work on the acceleration for the starts and adopt a little more aggressive attitude.

I am happy with my current equipment setup: the Scott Addict CX is awesome and the Challenge Grifo XS Dry Conditions Clinchers rode really well. I think they'd be perfect if I could run a few lbs less pressure. I don't know if the clinchers can go any lower, if not, I may have to step up to the tubular version.

As a team, KCCX/Verge put in a solid showing both days. Chris put in a good ride on Sunday riding up front for the bulk of the race covering Steve and Josh while Joe rode away. Hopefully the team continues to ride strong and make for some competitive local races. On that note, thanks to Josh Johnson and Jon Schottler for heading west and making things even more interesting than usual.

Luke had a solid weekend and is making improvements from week-to-week. Both days he rode the junior race relatively easy for warm-up and to dial in the course and then did the 1/2/3 event. We're going to tweak his position a little and see if that doesn't help his power and handling.

That's all for now.