Monday, January 16, 2012

A long CX season ends on a high note!

Carolyn thinks they used my picture on the tee shirt!
I won't try and compete with Tilford's blog but will try to capture some of the happenings of the last month or so.

Jingle Cross went pretty well considering the rain and mud. Managed to avoid any mechanicals which took out a bunch of riders. A 5th on Sat and a 4th on Sunday for my lowest points score to date. Got to get those points for nationals call up.

Now we are into uncharted territory trying to maintain fitness through Dec and Jan. State Championship was probably the coldest race since Nationals in Kansas City in 2007. The action was fast and heating up when Doc's single speed skipped a beat. Sorry about that! Some day the streak will end but I'll go for it as long as I'm able.

Went up to Madison to race the Midwest regional Championship hoping that previewing the Nationals course would be beneficial. I felt a half step slow all race which may have been caused in part by the endo I took just before the race. The Shorty Ultimates are that good but mostly I'm still trying to master the drop bars. 
 Love the flat bars in the mud. Nationals and Worlds rules don't allow them. Shucks!
Managed to hang on for 6th against Wisconsin's best for my lowest score of the year. That's why I question the ranking system. It was a good field but not better than Jingle Cross, so what gives? Was disappointed with my less than stellar performance.

Now 3 weeks of no racing, just boring practice on my cyclocross track at home or gravel or the rollers. It's tough trying to be social over the holidays and not eat to much of all the good home cooking

Thought I had to get a race effort in before Nationals so I decided to go to Chicago's New Year's resolution CX race. Probably wasn't a great idea cause the 50+ raced at 8:00. Made for a mighty short night and not very satisfying effort. But did get to see an amazing race by Trebon over Powers, Jones and Matter. Another mud race.

Only the finish counts.
Did get a front row call up which was real nice. Was hoping for a top 10.
Got a great start and was with the leaders the first time up the run-up. Hung tough for another for another half lap. I sent a message to the engine room for more power and it responded with something like "there was not enough coal". That's when the backwards slide begin all the way back to 11th. It was discouraging because 5 of the guys ahead of me I had beaten at least one before.

The mind and legs were tired. Looking back I realize we had decent conditions, better than most of the classes, and the course favored the powerful rider. I finished less than 3 minutes behind the winner which in most classes would have easily been in the top 10 and some as high as 3rd. I take that to mean we had a very competitive class and you could not be off your game and expect a good placing. 
It was fun meeting old friends and some new ones. Thanks everyone who cheered and shouted encouragement as we raced. 

Now get back home and figure out the next 10 days. Unfortunately on the way back a deer misjudged my speed and came out of the dark on the drivers side. First thing I saw was a deer head in front of the windshield and a thud on the drivers door. That will get your attention. Had a nice visit with a Mt Vernon cop who is a Mountain Biker and was interested in cyclocross. Maybe we'll see him at Bobber's or Morgan Cross next year? 

I decided probably the best thing to do was not make intense rides to long and on long rides take it easy and hopefully let the legs and back recover. Had to try something else. 

I was going to leave on Thursday for Worlds until it started snowing and blowing. Winter is here after all. Decided to wait till Friday when the roads should be better. Reading Tilford's blog I knew it could be a repeat of Nationals with the ruts freezing overnight and thawing when the sun came out. Turns out I didn't ride the course on Friday or Saturday. The conditions changed by the hour and clean up would have taken several hours. I did get an half hour ride in a huge parking lot to get the blood moving.
One bit if excitement Sat was when I took my tires to get them checked for width. The UCI official informed me they were too wide. "I don't care what it says on the tire". Now what? I remembered seeing one vender selling clincher mud tires so I grabbed them. The official said I should be fine with those. Later I was watching the officials at the start and one racer with the same tire I had came up. They had trouble getting the devise over the tire but after a stern look and a comment they let him go. Maybe I would have been fine but didn't want to chance it. I did get a good deal on the Fangos and they worked great!

Only picture I could find of me. Getting ready to lap the 75+ winner.
This is starting to look familiar.
After almost getting trapped in an accident traffic jam I got to the park late and only got a half lap of practice till they ran me off. Squeezed in another lap between races and the rest of the warm up on the trainer. Wow is anything going as planned? You just have to adjust, as the course had gotten sloppier already on top of the frozen ruts. I told Rich Pearson that I wasn't racing for position as much as I wanted to have good race with no broken bones at the finish. Maybe that took the pressure off? 

The random drawing for the start leaves something to be desired. I was ok with a second row start but the new National Champ Fred Wittwer drew a 4th row start. Might have cost him a chance at the win. It was interesting to have him come by me a half lap in and nearly go down in front of me and have to pass me again. So with getting passed by a few guys and passing a few I didn't know where I was but felt good. Harry Fortney shouted "you're in the top 10". It was nice to have a cheering section. Thanks Harry! I just tried to stay smooth and not too aggressive in the corners cause you lose a lot of time on the ground especially if you get tangled in the tape. I only tipped over once and had a pretty clean race, figuratively speaking that is. The mud caused the chain to skip when I shifted a few times but hung in there to the end. That's good because I didn't have a pit bike.
I was thrilled to see the results posted. 6th is awesome! Mission accomplished! Thanks for all your kind remarks.

No it's not Gold, Silver, or Bronze but a finishers medal. Nice touch!
I was surprised that the low key feeling of the event. They could learn something from Jingle Cross in promotion. Lee Waldman said it pretty well in his journal on . I hope they do better next year.

So it's off the bike for now and time to start training if I'm going to reach my goal of running a marathon before I turn 60. See you at the races but maybe as a spectator for a while.
Thanks again for the support and encouragement I felt as I pursued the dream. Thanks to God for health that allows me to be active as well.


  1. Landon - Very nice. Thanks for for sharing the end of your season with us. A great finish indeed. WORLDS!!!!

  2. Good report Landon. Well done with the races and being able to hold it totogether for the entire season.

    I was puzzled with the points riders earned at nationals, seems like they capped the races. It's inconsistent to see 1st place in the 40+ race with 250 points when you have guys who come in with very low averages. You can get lower points at a local level, which does not seem right.

    Enjoy the winter, if you want to talk training just shoot me an email.

    1. It seems like black magic. 6th at Worlds wasn't quite as good a score as 6th at Midwest regional. I don't buy it! Nationals scores were a joke, higher than most local races. Oh well.
      I'll try and remember to get in touch with you next summer about CX training. Thanks!

  3. Excellent report and what a great way to end the season!

  4. Nice read... great race Landon! I always enjoy racing with you.
    Dave Delperdang

  5. Thanks for sharing your story Landon. I saw the fantastic results but it is nice to hear the rest of the story.