Sunday, October 27, 2013

MN CX Racing and My First Win!

3 weeks since my last blog post?  Slacker... Honestly I've been busy - so busy that I think the 60 minute massage I had on Friday might have been the first time I relaxed in the last month.  Perhaps I should do more yoga?  Nah, I hate yoga.

The real deal is that I was racing like a crazy animal and go! go! go! non-stop pretending that I really don't have a whole lot of other life going on besides racing.  Eventually it caught up to me like it usually does and I crashed down like a ton of bricks. So yep, some time off the bike and some adjustments to the race schedule were on tap.  Now I am refreshed, revived and just finished up a couple back to back weekends of awesome MN CX. 

Last weekend was Green Acres CX weekend.  When they announced that this would be a 2 day event this year I was totally stoked. Honestly when it comes to cx course difficulty and atmosphere nothing really gets close to Green Acres around here.  It's probably the closest thing to Jingle Cross in my opinion.  Now Sports does an exceptional job putting on a race and who doesn't love free food, beer and mud?

Thanks Todd Fawcett for the photo -dirty, lovely, cross
I'll be the first to admit that the Green Acres course is a challenging one for me  It has a massive hill on each lap and being a bigger rider it's probably not one of my strengths (I am slowly learning what those are these days!).  Last year I totally suffered on this course so I knew in order to do well here this year it was going to take a massive effort.   Thankfully I had some kick ass support from Foundry Cycles & a cheering section filled with good friends Lisa, Christina, Katy and Aaron. I also had a toasty Foundry tent to warm up in, and a super hot Tomcat in the pit with my spare bike (this was important on a muddy day 2). 

Thanks Todd Fawcett for the photo --- heading up the massive climb.
Day 1 started out as a snot flying sufferfest with me losing ground on the massive hill and gaining it back on the off camber descent and cornering sections.  Midway through the race I had an unfortunate slide out on an off camber turn and couldn't'  bridge back up. That's cx for ya.  I was happy to take the 3rd step this day behind Corey and Jen...two very strong riders.



Me, Jen, Corey
 Day 2 was rainy and pretty much mud everywhere.  I had a horrible pre-ride lap and really just prayed that lowering the tire pressure would make a difference and thankfully it did.  Considering the conditions and my lack of experience riding in wet conditions I still can't believe I never crashed.  Corey however definitely had me on the grassy ride up (or run up in my case) and to her credit she executed an exceptional race.  I crossed the finished 16 seconds back in 2nd.Overall, I was happy with my performance on a couple of tough racing days...but man was I still hungry for my first ever MN CX win.... 

Which happened yesterday!!!!  Eek!

SABIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
Red Barn CX was awesome and it's flat course with multiple turns definitely suited my strengths.  I took the hole shot and led for the entire race holding off junior Kelly Catlin (remember this name!) who is an exception road racer with a boatload of power and cornering skills. She is just starting cyclocross this year so still a cat 3, but damn her future is bright.  
SABIOPHOTOGRAPHY.COM with Kelly

MN CX racing for women is definitely on the rise and these days it's hard to predict the podium and that is what makes racing so awesome.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have these women as friends and to be able compete against them week in and week out.  We continue to raise the level and make each other better racers.  This is just the beginning. 

Huge thanks to Carlos Sabillon for capturing some amazing images.  He is one of the very best and I am always amazed by his work!  
SABIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM at Erickson Bros Tree Farm

Also, a massive amount of gratitude goes out to my coach Matt with CTS. We did this in just 1 year!  Do not put limits on your dreams!!  This past month has been a bit of a struggle for me....and rising up to the top step yesterday was a true testament to his coaching greatness. 

SABIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM with Terra and Jen
Next up...Iceman Cometh!!! I have been waiting for this coming weekend for more than an entire year! It's going to be a flippin riot!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Foundry Harrow!!

har·row
n.
A farm implement consisting of a heavy frame with sharp teeth or upright disks, used to break up and even off plowed ground.
tr.v.har·rowed, har·row·ing, har·rows
1. To break up and level (soil or land) with a harrow.
2. To inflict great distress or torment on.

I am jacked to have added yet another CX tool to the weapon shed and I've been looking forward to finally tell everyone all about it. Foundry's newest cyclocross racing machine is the Harrow! My first impressions of this bike were obviously that it was clean and bad ass in it's appearance, but hopping up on the saddle was a whole 'nother experience.


This bike is mean. And more than capable of tearing up the CX scene and causing a serious amount of distress on your opponents. The first thing I noticed racing at the Trek CXC Cup was the front end stiffness of this bike is unreal, almost indescribable. It's so stiff and reliable in the corners that actually when I'm not on my Harrow I've questioned if my front wheel skewer was screwed on tight. The Whisky No. 9 Thru Axle Fork that comes with the Harrow is revolutionary and combining this with a stiff, racey frame and a reliable disc brake set up is what makes the Harrow a racer's dream. Trust me, throw a leg over a Harrow and see for yourself... it will blow your freaking mind!

 
Over the past month or so I've been slowly putting my signature on this ride. I've added some ridiculously hot chrome housing along with a nice set of tubeless wheels. With Foundry's support I was also able to add on a set of SRAM Hydraulic brakes to only make the breaking sicker than it already was. This week I'm beyond excited to be building a no worries 1 X 10 set up with a no drop Wolf Tooth chainring that just arrived in the mail! By the end of this week my ride will be 19 lbs of pure awesomeness.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

METAL CROSS

Last weekend was finally a weekend at home and the much anticipated METAL CROSS. I raced the Saturday race and although I had planned to race on Sunday let's just say "shit happened" and it didn't work out :) Leading up to this race there had been a ton of chatter about how awesome this year's course was going to be having moved locations to Clearwater, MN. They certainly did not disappoint and the cross Gods even threw a morning drizzle into the mix. The course was certainly a "real cx" course with a ton of sand, a couple sketchy descents and a muddy stair run up.


Tom was out riding his bike in the frigid rain getting ready for IM Cozumel so I made the trek solo but was super lucky to be greeted by the Foundry crew, a nice warm tent, and some last minute mechanical help on my bike (thanks Noah!) I was a little flustered wondering if I had the wrong tires on my Harrow for the wet conditions so I did a test ride on my Auger Canti. Turns out that the disc brakes and thru axle fork on my Harrow are too awesome to pass up in wet, unpredictable conditions so I still opted for the Harrow and in the end I think it was the right choice. Why is everyone not racing disc for cx? The difference is truly amazing.

The Harrow totally rocked, I on the other hand should have probably spent some more time playing in the sandbox as of late as I really sucked it up on the sandy sections of the course! To my credit it was pretty gnarly and I certainly wasn't expecting to be swimming my way through this race! Pretty rad.


So let's just say it wasn't my best day racing bikes, but in the end I was happy to barely hold on to 3rd place! The best part of the day may have just been slamming down a post race burrito (Thanks Foundry!) and enjoying a couple beers with Rob, Eric, Noah and Anna.

Someone didn't get the rain boot memo!
I just finished getting soaked in the rain on my bike and just as well as it's time to dial it back, get refreshed and ready to race Green Acres in a couple weeks.  Green Acres is the place to be!