Monday, December 3, 2012

Wicked Nice Weather in December?

Saturday the Marian crew headed to Purdue for the MWCCC regional cyclocross race, the final collegiate race before nationals in January. We were greeted with exceptionally warm weather, which is awesome when considering it's December! Going into the race Wisconsin's Joe Maloney and I were tied in conference points, followed by fellow Marian rider Drew Dillman. Beforehand we talked some race strategy, but it ultimately came down to one of us winning the race.
The race started out with Maloney gaining an early lead, with Dillman, Gerow, I working through traffic to bridge to the front. I was able to bridge up to Maloney first, sitting on his wheel waiting for Dillman and Gerow to join. Once there, Dillman took over at the front, towing us up and down the infamous sledding hill, turned regional 'cross course.
After a lap on the front, Dillman lost traction, sliding out in a corner, Maloney who had been on Dillman's wheel got hung up too. I came around both of them and put in an effort, which immediately opened a gap. At this point I knew I needed to fully commit to make this the race winning move. I was able to steadily increase the adavantage over Maloney, riding to the win and claiming the MWCCC individual conference title, as well earning a front row start spot come January.
I'm proud to a part of the what the Marian University cycling team is accomplishing, as we fight to defend our overall team national championship title in Madison.

 Photo Credit: Sarah Lukas
Sunday we were again blessed to have great weather! Danny Gerow (my roomate) and I headed to Brookside Park for OVCX race #11. I rode to the race, meeting Danny there and heading out on course for a quick preview.
In pre-ride I focused in on making sure tire pressure was dialed, using Rhyno mud tires, I also was able to get a good feel of preferred line choice. My start position was near the back, because of this, I knew it would be important to smoothly work my way through the field, avoiding any early crashes caused by the mud.
As I worked my way into the top 15, I flatted my rear tire. Once I realized it was completely flat, I had already been riding it for a bit, so I decided to continue to ride to the pit where super-pro mechanic, Matt McKinney kept me rolling smoothly with a fresh bike.
During this time only one rider passed me, making it easier for me to continue the charge to the front, where my competitor and friend (Marian teammate), Drew Dillman was already riding in the lead. I was able to work my way through the remainder of the field, closing the gap to Dillman on an off-camber section, leading into a stair run-up. I sat for most of the lap to recover from the effort it took to ride the flat to the pit and catch him.
After regaining some composure, I decided to test the waters, putting in an attack on the straight leading into the same off-camber and stair section that I initially caught Dillman on. I was able to open up a gap over him, but it was short lived; I saw he was closing it down and sat up to save energy. Later in the lap he countered my move, gaining and advantage, but I was able to close it back down.
We were both a little gassed from these attacks and the energy we spent working through the field. Dillman led at a relatively calm, tempo pace as we both recovered. He went wide in a corner, allowing room for me to come on the inside and take over at the front. I decided to again put in an attack, but this time is was a more sustainable effort so I would have something in the tank in case I wasn't able to get away.
This effort gave me a slight advantage going into the off-camber and stair sections, which I had been able to ride consistently with confidence throughout the race. My goal was to now ride the rest of the race as clean and smooth as possible. I was able to do just that, allowing me to further grow my advantage.
Really thankful for the opportunity to race such a great course with excellent staffing, and battle it out for the win with my buddy, Drew.
Check back soon for an interview, along with more details on EuroCrossCamp!
Click HERE to read the "official" write-up.
 Photo Credit: Kent Baumgardt
Only a little over a week of school left before Christmas break, and 16 days til I fly over to Euro-land for 'Cross camp. Time to hit the books - Later!

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