The 2014 cyclocross season was quite a treat. I was fortunate to travel a bit more and focus my efforts at a few national events, which opened my eyes and expanded my passion for bike racing; especially cyclocross.
As my traditional focus for most of my life has been in mountain bike racing, I’ve found a new, motivating love and passion for cycling, through CX. With each race, comes a new lesson. With each new lesson, comes the drive to be better. Cyclocross is a great mix of mountain and road racing, but with a technical factor only found in cross. Aside from doing standard training rides and tons of intervals; cross also causes you to focus and hone in on some of the simplest techniques of cycling.
You see, in cyclocross, the races are short and you’re on the throttle the entire time. So every bit of technique you can perfect equals more time into the lead or, less time chasing the lead. In some races, blowing one single corner can cost you a spot or possibly the win. You have to be 100% focused, driven and willing to burn through the pain in order to succeed. Days when you’re on, you’re on. Days when you’re off, it hurts really bad. There’s no where to hide. No long climbs or descents to cut time out on the rest of the field. You have to constantly watch the course as it can change throughout the race. And you can’t get distracted by small errors. The only thing you can do to correct them is go harder and faster in order to make up the lost time. Split seconds of time.
Cyclocross has had a bigger impact on me this past season than just about anything in cycling. The more I train and race, the more excited, motivated and determined I get. I’m already anticipating racing cross in 2015 and can’t wait to have a full season of mountain bike racing to get me prepared.
Below are a few images from the destinations and events I was able to compete in during the fall.
Ellison Park was amazing. If there was a cross course known for long climbs, this would be the one. With a Belgum staircase, a double barrier set that I could hop and a giant log I could also hop, the course suited me well. Oh, and the “long” climbs were also a plus. I raced twice here and got on the podium both times with a 2nd and a 1st.
Possibly the best cross course I’ve ridden. Louisville had their act together as they should since it wasn’t long ago they hosted a world cup. This course had everything from HUGE Sandtraps, giant stair case bridge, big run-ups, technical and really fast forest section, plus a small little step-up jump. Lousiville is a great reminder of how easy a tiny bit of lost time can loose a good place or two. I raced here twice and both days, had a small hiccup that cost me a spot. I ended up in 8th, both days.
Also a really great course for me. In LA, the direction was either up or down with what seemed to be 100, loose hairpin corners that could make or break anyones day. And it did. During my race it was down to the final lap. I made a move at the top of the climb, knowing that Rob would be impossible to shake. It was really a matter of who would wash out on what corner. If neither, it would be a sprint to the finish and I’ve never been confident in my sprints. Unfortunately for Rob, he slipped a front tire and I slipped in for the \•/
National Championships! The race I’d been looking forward to for a long time. I have never had more motivation, determination and confidence going into an event. After a few laps around what I thought was a great course; I was set to go. My efforts from the previous national races got me a solid call-up to the line. Unlike Louisville, where I was called up 78 out of 98… I started this race in the top 20. Half way through lap 2, my rear tire went flat. I was crushed. I nursed my way to the pit, got a shot of air and jumped back into the race. By this time I was back in the 50’s. My race was “over” but I didn’t go down without a fight. I road as hard as I could for the remainder of the race. I picked off nearly about 15 or more riders and put everything I had into it. After I crossed the finish line, the rider that finished behind me came up and put his hand on my back. He was simply saying nice race, but in my mind he was saying, I know how you feel, man. And I’m sorry.
Either way it was an amazing trip. The riding was great. The food was amazing and the company of my dear wife S-Day, great friend Rock and his wife LaNette, was perfect.
Huge thank you to Endurance 360 for the support and making all things possible. It’s an amazing product that I certianly believe in and use.
Thank you to Dave Harward and Plan7 coaching for keeping me on track in the quest for a stars and stripes jersey.
And of course, my amazing family. Shannon, the kids, my mother and father. I have the best support crew and fan club ever.