Friday, October 2, 2015

'Cross Season Off and Going...

The kick-off to Missouri 'cross racing for the past several years has been Jeff Yielding's Dogfish weekend in Hermann, MO and with sad news of it being the last year of this event I didn't want to miss it.  Jeff and his crew puts so much effort into their events and makes sure all racers and spectators gets the best from their experiences.  This year the Saturday event, typically a night race, was moved to day time hours so everyone had a little earlier start than past years. 

Rolled up in the Kuat sprinter and set up the compound.  Kuat is providing our team with the sprinter for all our races this year so that is way beyond awesomeness!  Roll open the door, set up a canopy, wind blade, and bike stands and we are set. 

Course was typical Yielding with a handful of dismounts and stairs (bummer we didn't go to the top), a couple of sand pits (short, but deepish) and a whole lot of turning.  Temps and conditions were great and time to get it started.

Smaller fields than in the past in the masters races, but still a quality top handful of guys including one who was in on business from California who dropped in for the weekend.  Off we go on Saturday and the Cali guy and I immediately have a gap which held until the last lap.  Having swapped pulls the entire race it was game on on the last one.  I put in an acceleration early over a barrier and he ended up washing out in a corner and not able to regain contact.  1st win of the year felt good.

Day 2 I woke and grabbed close to 2hrs rolling around Hermann and the Katy Trail a couple hours prior to race time.  Pretty much the same course and racers with the addition of a couple.  I felt pretty good warming up and decided to make the first couple laps high effort and see where everyone was at.  From the gun I forced a gap and kept growing it until the finish.  Win #2.  Good way to open the 2015-16 season, but also knew this was probably the easiest my schedule would be all year. 

Kuat compound this year will be great
Warming up on my homemade motion rollers

Wass able to ride off the front both days and snag a couple W's

Same good bunch of guys sharing the podium both days
Jeff always puts together a nice swag package

***Hermann Photos from Dan Singer Photography and myself***

HUGE thanks to Jeff and Dogfish for so many years of great venue/event/racing and all the memories.

Solid week of training and it was time to get to the next race weekend...

Up next was a trip north to Des Moines' Night Cap Cross held at a great downtown bar scene.  I've made this trip to Rob's race for the past three or four years and it's a staple for early season racing.  As a bonus for the trip Deb was free so she jumped in for the fun. 

Arrived at the venue and Rob landed us the primo spor to set up the Kuat compound; quick setup and it was off to take a look at the course.  Subtle changes from years past but still pretty basic which meant 1,000,000 turns.  Temps and course conditions were great.

Nice turnout for the masters races and in my 45+ most notable was Jim Cochran, 4th at nationals last year, so it was a race for 2nd - ha!  Off we go and sure enough Jim is gone and by the end finished 2nd with a decent gap on 3rd. 

Kicked back for a bit with Deb and we even got in a nice hour ride on Des Moines city trails.  Before you know it it was time to line up in the Open race.  Really thought seriously about skipping it as Father Time has been whispering in my ear as of late letting me know I am not as young as I used to be...

Good turnout and field in the Open and even after a good warm up it took three laps before my legs loosened up and I felt like I was racing.  By then the competitive front of the field was gone.  Rode a good tempo but in the back of my mind was reminding myself to save some for the next day.  15th by the end; not my best but not horrible.  Went to bed cooked...

Up the next morning feeling tight, but after a good spin around felt better.  Teammate JP Brocket made the drive to DS and jumped in the Master 35+ race.

Solid field in the masters again and even with Cochran out there were a handful of Open guys racing the masters on Sunday.  Jon Nelson, super nice guy from SD, and I got off the front with a narrow gap over a couple guys and after 2 laps I had gapped Jon by just a tad.  On the last lap hHolding onto a narrow lead into the very last corner before the finish I over-cooked it and went down.  By the time I remounted and got going Jon was on my wheel and in the sprint finish he got me for the win; another 2nd.  Would have liked to not raced the Open the night before but that's hindsight...  JP won the 35+ race.

Day 1 podium with Jim Cochran the winner - stud!
Day 2 with Jon Nelson taking the top step - super nice guy

Day 1 start
Starting Line for Open Saturday night

JP and I trying to get our breath right after our finish

Loaded up and headed back home.  Great weekend of racing and hanging out with Deb.  On the drive up and back we knocked out the book 'The Martian' and it's a great read!

Up next after a weekend at home is TrekCXC in Waterloo, WI Oct 10/11th.  Going to be fun!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Local Racing...

This past weekend I jumped in a couple low-key local races in the SWMO area and it felt good to rev up the motor to race pace two days in a row.

Hanna's Hope CX was Saturday and I'd helped Robert Ellis, a doc with CoxHealth, set up the course and was interested in the turnout as SGF is not a 'cross friendly town.  Amazes me how many road and mtb'ers there are who don't support local racing outside with wheelhouse...  Oh well, it is what it is and that's a whole different topic.  The weather was great and the course marked/flagged/taped spot on and while the turnout was low we all made the best of it.

Kuat and Queen City Cycles provide tons of support to
make this season exciting

The 'A' race and Single Speed fields were combined and maybe a total of 12 competitors toed the line at the start.  My plan was to keep pressure on from the start and see how long I could hold intensity as the first race of the year you never know where one stands.  After 45 minutes things went well fitness wise and technically and I finished 1st. 

Course had 5 dismounts per lap which was great to
work on the technical skills

Kit and bike color combination works really well

Solid guys sharing the podium

 A quick review of a couple items   The Focus Mares bikes are great and while there are many things I like about them the thru-axels (front and rear) might be my favorite.  Super solid in all cornering and let me push thru a little quicker/harder than previous years.  I'll do an entry just on the bikes at a later time.  Second is the Northwave Extreme Plus MTB shoes.  I've worn Specialized for the past three or four seasons and was interested to see how the change to a lighter and stiffer (which is not always great for 'cross) pair of kicks would perform.  The answer - flawless and super quick on the run.  Plus, they simply look awesome with the current color combos of kit and bike.

Up next on Sunday was Mountain Madness MTB race in Warsaw, MO (a short 1 hour drive - nice). I had hoped to do the three-hour marathon race, but with a later start time and not wanting to miss Darion's soccer game in SGF I opted for the 18 mile SS class.  Turnout for this event seemed low which is a bummer as the promoter, Mac and crew, put so much into each event they host.  Anyway, 1hr and 18min after the start I won the class (which wasn't tough to make the podium with only three in the category - ha!).  Winning was not near as important as giving 100% effort out of every corner and on every climb; it was a day to simulate the constant punches of 'cross so with that it was a fantastic day as my legs and body responded better than expected with some zip and pop. 

And yes, I did make it to the little man's game 5 minutes prior to it's start.

Up next is Jeff Yielding's Dogfish CX weekend in Hermann, MO.  It's the last year of this event and has been known for being Missouri's signature kick-off event for several years.  Lots of memories at Jeff's race with the flooding of my pop-up camper topping the list (crazy weekend).

JP raced the USAC event at Vegas yesterday and had a great time and excited to be back 'cross racing.  Always a tough transition from a long road season

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kuat Team Racing

Incredibly excited about the 2015/16 cyclocross season and the opportunity to partner with Kuat ( to race with Kuat Team Racing.  I use their awesome products and am friends with most of the folks there and it was just a great fit.  So how this went down...

At the end of the 2014/15 'cross season a dialog began between myself and the folks at Kuat about the increased popularity of cyclocross, a shared passion for cycling and quality products, and how we could help each other in grow our passions.  It didn't take long to come up with the idea of a Trio (ha, little play on product there) of racers who 1) are passionate about their sport, 2) love the atmosphere and comradery of participating in larger regional and national level events, and 3) represent themselves and those with whom they associate in a positive and encouraging manner.  Oh, and I guess can't forget 4) folks who RACE THEIR BUTTS OFF!!!!

With those as the guidelines we quickly had our three for Kuat Team Racing:

     JP Brocket - Overland Park, KS  Masters 35+/Cat 1
     John Jones - Bolivar, MO  Masters 45+/Cat 2
     Dale Sargent - Springfield, MO  Masters/Cat 3

When you see the Kuat compound (sprinter van, tent, and/or the guys) stop by, check out the latest in the best rack systems on the market, and hang out for a bit and take in the the action out on the course.  Look for the Kuat compound at the following events for the 2015/16 cyclocross season:

CrossVegas - Las Vegas, NV
Night Cap Cross - Des Moines, IA
TrekCXC Cup - Waterloo, WI
Flatwater Cross Weekend - Lincoln, NE
Cincy Cyclocross Festival & Pan American Championships - Cincinnati, OH
Derby City Cup - Louisville, KY
Cyntergy Hurtland - Tulsa, OK
UCI Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross - Iowa City, IA
Resolution Cup - Dallas, TX
US Nationals - Ashville, NC

While Kuat is the sole sponsor of the team, huge thanks go out to Queen City Cycles of Springfield, MO who helped get us dialed in with Focus Mares bikes.  These steads had totally changed the way I ride and between Miles, Jeff, and Jordan you couldn't get better service.

Like Kuat Racks and follow us on Facebook, catch us on Twitter @kuatracks, and kuatracks on Instagram.

The following are some photo's taken at a recent outing

Have a feeling this will happen alot this year...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

OMBA - Season Opener on the MTB

So it's late April and with the constant rain in the Midwest I finally started my mtb race season at our local Sac River Trail at the Omba Caramba event.  My base fitness has been fine, but with Thursday as my first single track in '16 I had no idea how this race would go.
Great bunch of folks (MORC) put this event on headed up by Mark Gullet (local fast guy on the trails) and this year did not disappoint.  Temps were cool in the low 50's and the trail was only muddy in a couple places. 
Like all my mtb'ing of past and future I jumped in the 3hr marathon race on my SS.  The loop was 10 miles and I was hoping to actually turn the race into a 4hr 40 mile trek and not just 3hrs. 
Smallish start group with alot of folks I didn't know with the exception of Trevor Gullett, a local youngster who has gotten faster and faster every time I see him. 
Whistle blows and Trevor I are chasing a guy for the first 30 minutes before overtaking him and opening a sizable gap.  A couple miles before the end of the first loop Trevor passed me and opened a solid gap.  I had told him to make sure he paced himself as we were going 40 miles at which he replied he would much rather just go the 3hrs... 
Most of the 2nd loop was solo chasing Trevor
Crossed the line after 1 lap at 58 minutes and felt confident of the 40 miles as my pace was decent without burning any candles.  Floated along most of the 2nd lap catching Trevor with a couple miles to go in the lap and he jumped on.  As we finished the 2nd lap I again told him we were going 40 miles as we were at 1hr 57min and I was starting to feel smoother on the single track and still holding plenty for the last half of the race. 

3rd lap was going well with Trevor tucked in when my Crank Bro's pedal body came of the spindle.  Everyone knows eventually this will happen with older egg beaters, but you just hope it's not during a ride and not a race.  Not a single thing you can do to fix it when it happens, but to limp in.  Trevor headed out after checking to see if there was anything he could help with and I started the 7 mile single leg (i did use the spindle for some stability when possible) slog.  I had a replacement pedal in my race box at the start/finish line so all I had to do was try to hit the line before 3hrs to get the 40 miles in.  Road better than expected, but at the end of the 3rd lap I was 59 seconds too late to start the next lap and the race was over at 3hrs and 30 miles.  Trevor opted not to ride another lap so he got his wish on the time/distance.  Congrats to him on a good race win; would have been fun to see how it played out with another lap. 

Gave the crew podium etiquette tips and half of them listened... its a start 
So there you go; race one under the belt and pretty pleased with fitness and flow.  Couple weeks I head to STL for Greensfelder.

Don't tell me what pedals I should start using as a switch is not going to happen.
 It's a love/hate relation but Crank Bros are my jam!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Resolution Cup and Nationals... That's a Wrap

Well, that was a fun season and though I hit a spell of sickness for a handful of weeks for a whole it was good.  Traveled to a lot of cool places/races/venues, caught up with some old friends, made several new ones, and raced my bike as much as I could. 
So this installment covers a trip to Texas with Dale to race the UCI Resolution Cup (Sat/Sun) in Dallas on the first weekend of January and then on to Austin for a week of Nationals.  It was super fun and good racing.  I knew my top end fitness was gone (last couple weeks was simply trying to hold on to what was left) but man were the courses cool and would have been a blast hitting them mid-season when I was going decent.  All in all quality stuff.
Friday we left MO and drove south in rain (start to finish) which continued all night.  I was smiling.  Got to the course early Saturday and previewed a muddy sloppy course full of a moderately amount of technical sections in a wooded area that was similar to a grown up slip-n-slide.  Still smiling.  Lots of cool elements with a great mix of everything and while the temps were in the upper 40s it didn't feel too chilly, but still brisk.  Just a little humorous watching the shivering local crew.  This was the Texas state champs which meant category racing on Saturday (Pro/1/2) and masters 40+ on Sunday.  I like that concept and wouldn't mind MO adopting that setup.
Rolled up to the line with 40 or so p/1/2's and the field was loaded with tons of out-of-state guys also heading to Austin.  Quick start before settling into the meat of the race and although fitness was at a low by the end thanks to driving ability I finished 13th overall and 6th Cat 2.  I was happy with this considering the field quality.  Such a thick muddy course I took a bike every lap meaning Dale worked his butt off for me and for that (and much more) I say thanks. 

Start of P/1/2 race

Second section in the woods was shorter but had a tricky choice of exit routes
Driving was a must on Saturday's course
Here is a cool 'in race' youtube video of a guy in my Saturday race.  He ended up 12th on the day (me 13th)

The course dried up quite a bit for Sunday and that was not good news as it became a fitness race with much less driving skills required.  Did I mention my fitness was mostly gone...

70+ racers in Masters 40+ field and just like the day before it was a heavily weighted field.  Not a great start and held on for dear life for 16th.  Man that was fast...  Didn't take a single bike change all race even though it was pretty close to identical course (just dried up a bunch).

Fun sections in the wood with several line selections; well done Dallas

One pretty steep long(ish) drop.  Sunday not a big deal, but Saturday
could make parts of you pucker

With two races done on this Texas swing it was time to keep heading south and set up camp in Austin at our 360 Racing condo 1.5 miles from the race site. 
Monday I took Dale to San Antonio to see the sites (Alamo, River Walk, and fresh tortillas) and take in the old neighborhood.  Met a long time friend for a late lunch before the quick drive back to Austin.  Fun day.
Tuesday at 2pm we kitted up and head over to preview/pre-ride the course in 68* temps (it was awesome).  Dry or wet the course was made for drivers with tons of quick sprints to the next mostly off-camber corner and the two infamous 'limestone' climbs (1st was no big deal, but the 2nd was legit).  Course looked like it had some rain on it recently in a couple places but for the most part bone dry.  Fun was a recurring theme of this trip.  After 1.5 hrs we got our packets at a local shop and afterwards it was such a nice day and a fun course that I went back for another hour.  Kicked back the rest of the evening looking forward to Wednesday's non-champ race.
Cool temps moved in Wednesday but still dry for my afternoon non-championship 45+ race (150 racers).  I started 15th (2nd row) and after a very challenging race/course I finished 16th (seem appropriate).  That was tough but still lots of fun.  2nd limestone run up got significantly tougher with every lap.
Thursday was a work day as a 360 teammate and I manned the pits for the guys and gals in three separate races.  That was fun as I always like the time in the pits.  Lite rains were hit and miss and I was hoping for lots of it for Fridays 45+ Champs.
Woke Friday to find a little rain hit but just enough to make it super tacky and way faster course than Wednesday (smile slowly turned downwards...).  Race started at 3:50pm so I headed over a couple hours early to catch some friends racing.  That was fun seeing the local guys killing it (Ethan, Josh, Price, JP, Shadd...).  Temps were in the lower 40s with a pretty decent wind and the track was getting faster and faster. 
I got a 5th row start and after a non-stellar 45 minutes came across the line in 46th.  Knew I was in trouble early and decided to keep with wheels rolling and simply enjoy the course and atmosphere; it was fun (I know, I know I keep saying that).

Not sure which day, but each one had big fields

Somewhat hidden on the limestone steps

Might have been Friday's race early on


Here is a cool 'in race' video and the guy (Ken Krebs) just happened to get lined up behind me.

Friday night Dale and I took in the premiere of For The Love of Mud at the historic Stateside Theater and it was pretty cool; catch it if you get a chance. 

Saturday was cold and wet and the juniors were incredible troopers as they drug, carried, and whatever was necessary to move their bikes and bodies battling a brutal course.  Wide range of determination and crying.  Later on we hung out at Mellow Johnny's shop (pretty cool museumish peices there) Saturday night catching up with friends before turning in for the evening.

Woke up Sunday to find the day's races were cancelled (then later postponed).  Not going into the whole thing as everyone already knows so I'll skip that.  Dale and I loaded up not wanting to stick around another day and headed home.  10 day road trip with 4 races; awesome!

So that's a 2014 wrap; 31 'cross races in the books and who knows how many miles driven.  360 Racing are a good crew and much appreceate racing with them in '14.

2015 has some pretty cool changes/opportunities for me, but that'll be a later post.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cruising Through Boxing Day CX and Beyond

Been staying active on the bike since missing the MO State race (end of my competitive season) doing a good mix of intervals along with bike driving, but nothing of great intensity.  I'm enjoying riding/racing out the season on what I have left and having fun with it and making it through the holidays with the family with no stress.

That being said after Festivus in STL I had an open day on the 26th so Dale and I headed to KC for Boxing Day CX.  The initial plan was to race masters and then a couple hours later do the Open, but that changed about half way through the masters race; I'll get to that in a minute.

After a great Christmas day with the crew Dale and I headed out early getting to the race venue to see an interesting lay out for the course.  First and foremost let me say I am not a 'hater' and truly thank anyone who puts on a race.  Big Kuddos!  The course, pancake flat was a series of go straight, turn 180, go straight, turn 180, look out for the log, go straight...  Absolutely uneventful and uninteresting, but still thankful someone put it together and I was racing. 

Lined up in a field of combined masters ages for a mass start and off we were.  Justin Bowes, visiting from Chicago, set a fast pace right off and I sat on his wheel (big gap quickly formed behind) for the first half of lap.  Over a pole/log barrier I upped the pace and from there on out I was off by myself to the finish.  With 1 1/2 laps to go I did have a run in/tangle with a lapped rider that tore up both shin fronts and hurt pretty good, but was able to continue with plenty of room at the end.

Small fields this time of year

Half way through I decided to skip the Open race and head back home early as the loop was brutally boring and saw no reason to do it again.  Talked to a couple locals and they referenced a long trail system nearby so Dale and I ended up riding 1.5 hrs on that before loading up and heading home.

Sunday was a Christmas day with my folks so couldn't make the Grote race and this Wednesday forecast for Cross off the Year race has 22* as the high and night prior at 9* so I see no reason to battle the elements.  So that means heading out of Bolivar on Friday to Dallas and racing Sat/Sun at the Resolution Cup event.  After that its an easy cruise on to Austin for Nats

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Festivus Fun and MIA at State

Continuing the theme of my past month of racing of battling sickness, feeling good, battling sickness, feeling good... this time it was feeling really good coming off Ruts N Guts and heading to the MO State race in KC on Saturday.  Solid week of training and then on Friday while out loosening the legs and getting in some openers my front wheel washed out on a quick little decent asphalt turn and nailed my hip hard.  Got back up and will some light pain could pedal, but when I got off to run I knew I was done.  Lots of deep pain and I limped home...

The state race was going to be my last 'focused' race of the year so I was a bit bummed to not participate.  Oh well, there was still plenty of 'fun' racing left in my season as after a handful of light days on the bike I was able to run by Thursday and on to the next events.

Found STL was racing on Sunday at Castlewood State Park at an event called Festivus CX (or something like that).  Drove up solo early Sunday morning and arrived with time to preview the course and catch up with some 'east coast' folks.

Fun interesting course with only one pit per lap (would play a role later on) with the first half being a drivers course with plenty of turns, sand, hoppable logs and the back half total power pedaling.  Temps were in the mid-40's and the turf tacky.  Decent sized combined masters field lined up along with the SS group.  The fast guy of the group was Columbia's Ethan Frose who has a huge motor. 

Lined up, whistle blows, and settled into 2nd place for the first 1/8 of a lap before upping the pace and opening a gap on the field. This held for the first two of five laps; every time we hit the power section I could see Ethan closing the gap.  He made contact with three to go, sat on me for 1 1/2 laps then dropped the hammer in the open section.  Dug deeper than I wanted (knowing both of us were racing the Open later) and heading into the start of the last lap he had a 10 sec gap.  Instantly I closed in the driving portions and figured something wasn't right.  When I reached Ethan he let me know his front was flat.  I cruised around and finished with the win with a healthy gap.  No doubt Ethan would have won, but it was what it was.

Early on with Randy and Ethan breathing down my neck

Ethan biding his time before dropping the hammer
Beach/sand section was good for 'runners' like myself
Rock and I posing with Santa at the Festivus podium pole
Kicked back during the hour gap until the Open race started.  Small (but quality) field and right after the start I knew it was going to be a struggle for the next hour.  Three laps in I was comfortably sitting in 5th when I caught a sharp rock instantly flatting my rear tire pretty far from the pit.  Passed by a couple (including Sunny Gilbert) and by the time I swapped out bikes most everyone was out of sight.  Chased hard for a couple laps, but ran out of gas and finished 6th.  Josh Johnson, Columbia, laid waste to the field.

Solid field in the Open

Singer always takes the best pics

On the 'B' bike after my flat

Course spent plenty of time in the woods

Fun and productive day on the bike; glad I made the trip.  Was also able to knock out some Christmas shopping while in the big city.

Up next is Boxing Day in KC on the 26th. 

***Photo from several different folks including Dan Singer, 2 Timing Guys, Randy Murdick, E'ville Mike...***