Cyclocross National Championships
Every since it was announced that the 2012 National
Championships were going to be held in Madison, WI in January people have been speculating on what the weather conditions were going to be like. There were lots of different thoughts on this ranging from single digit temps to multiple feet snow and of course ice. I venture to say that no one expected the weather that what we got. The temps hovered around freezing most of the weekend and even got up to a near record high on Saturday. Combine this unseasonably warm weather with all of the pre-riding and age group racing that occurred during the week and the course had transformed into a three to five inch thick layer of mud on top of frozen tundra.There were spots where you could see the rock hard ground under the mud was polished from the racers, and it was as slick as polished marble.
The Baby Master’s
Other than starting the race a couple of seasons
ago in order to check out the course and get opened up for the Elite race I have never fully raced the Masters race before. I figured that since this was my last year to be in the “Baby Masters” age group, 30-34, I should give it a go, not to mention the fact that I was coming back from Europe and I needed to push the reset button in order to make sure all systems were firing. The race quickly split up on the first lap. After about a lap and half I was comfortably in 3rd position. I wan’t really making up any time on 2nd place, but there was a group behind me that had me in their sights. I came around with three laps to go and I felt the oh so familiar twinge of the cramps creeping in. By the time I started my last lap Robert Marion had closed to with in a few seconds of me. Doing my best to fight through the quad cramps I tried to hold him off. To no avail. With my legs seizing up, Robert made the pass just before the second time through the pits. I was able to bring the deficit
back to with 3 seconds, but I never made contact. As we came on to the pavement it was all I could do to not completely lock up. Happy to be on the podium, but more happy that I got all of that cramping nonsense out of the way before the Elite race. I don’t think it was a hydration issue or an electrolyte imbalance. More likely it had to do with all of the travel coming home from Belgium, and then back to Madison. Never the less, it was a good race, and I’m happy with the result, and felt ready to battle the next day.
The Elite Race & More
Honestly,I didn’t go into the Elite race with great expectations. I really liked the course. and I thought the conditions and the degree of difficulty suited me well. Obviously I was well warmed up from the day before and I was ready to just put it all on the line and hope for the best. To me this years National Championships were a little bit lackluster. One of my major goals for the season was to get accepted to EuroCross Camp and make that trip a reality. After a somewhat frustrating season riddled with mediocre results, I was able to achieve that goal. So, at that point, the season was a success in my eyes. This turned out to be a building year for me.
I was working less and training more and my summer of racing Mtn Bikes had been really solid. I was going better than ever before. I’m sure it is easy to understand my confusion and concern when after the first month of ‘cross season I wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for. This caused me to start refining my training and my goals. In the end I will be better off for having to make these changes and refinements. Plus the experiences I got while in Belgium were definitely motivating and positive. This all comes at a very critical time. The end of a long season. It would be very easy to become negative and carry that though the offseason, leading to demotivation for next year. But for me the season was a success on many different fronts. I had a good clean race and finished in the top 25 at Nationals. I secured a spot on a great team with amazing support from Stan’s No Tubes and Ridley Bikes. I achieved some of my major goals
of the season. And now I’m motivated to start getting ready for next season. It’ll be here before you know it.