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.

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