Monday, December 01, 2008

Jingle CX recap

Well, I didn't get what I was after this weekend. I wanted the top of that podium, but you can't make mistakes and get that in the field that showed up this weekend. My best chance was Saturday, but I didn't ensure I was in the gear I wanted off the top of Mt. Krumpit when I arrived at the bottom. I thought I was, but when I mounted at the top and tried to pedal off, I was at a dead standstill and shifting under load doesn't work. The front end of that race disappeared and I spent the rest of the race trying to recover ground. A later mistake in the sand resulted in Kristin Wentworth's taking the 4th spot. Try as I might, she was not to be reeled in and I had to fight to secure 5th.

Credit: Dennis Grelk - See his other pix

Sunday, conditions were so slick with mud and I honestly didn't know how I'd do. Tilford gave me a couple tips without which I surely would have placed lower. However, I have to admit, despite knowing what I needed to do to get down the slimy Krumpit slope, it was only on my third approach to the lip that I finally had the courage to go on down and execute the plan . If you watch the video below, you'll see why Amanda won it. She just zipped down. I was careful, but stayed up. Josie won the race for 2nd with her no mistake final lap. I messed up a remount and the trip through the swamp ditch, giving her a gap I was unable to close. She might have still beat me, but I might have given her a better run for her money.

Who knows what would have happened, but I wasn't disappointed with 3rd in the least. Amanda and last year's 30-35 national champ, Josie, are good riders and most definitely earned their spots. I rode well and have a new sense of confidence in the mud.

Here in Nebraska, we don't get much practice in that type of stuff. It's usually dry and hard. Over the last couple of months, I spent a goodly amount of time riding rollers and doing intervals in the loose gravel along the sides of the roads. Both these activities helped me learn to pedal more smoothly and keep a light touch on the front end, which paid off big time this weekend.

I'd like to give a huge thanks to Marc . The periodization plan he put together is working wonderfully and I felt great both Saturday and Sunday. With 3 teens at home, a full time job and all the other stuff I do, there's no way I could ride at this level without a careful plan to help me make the most of the time I have. I don't know what nationals will bring weatherwise, but I think Jingle CX 2008 has me set for nationals. I'm feeling good and think I'm ready.

Additionally, without his help before, during and after the race, Sunday would certainly been an exercise in misery. In fact, I think my friend and next year's teamie, Jennifer, summed the conditions up after her race and before mine... Wet and covered in mud, she said any humor whatsoever, "Have fun. I am done with this s**t."

Other highlights included watching Keith Walberg's movie, "Zero Traction," where Catherine Walberg does the best job describing what being an athlete is all about. I can't recall her exact words, but in short, those times where you really fight for your win or your spot, despite the conditions and in the face of physical or circumstantial shortcomings, are the best, especially when you emerge victorious. That's why we're compelled to go to the line.

Marc and I also got to visit with Kathleen and John, a couple I've admired since I first met them, but with whom I never got much chance to chat. Why the admiration? Well, she's beautiful. He's handsome and they just seem to have so much fun together that it's infectious. Getting to be around people like is one of the reasons I dig this sport. I also have to laugh at (with? maybe someday) the young boy who tossed his specialized down and declared he needed some tires with some traction before his race. Someday that kid's going to be a champ. You can just see it. I wonder how he did in the kids race? I was busy screwing up courage for Mt. Krumpit when they went.

I'd also like to give a HUGE thank you to Jay Thomas and the Trek Stores of Omaha, Kansas City and Saint Louis. Without tyour support, I wouldn't have been on the cx courses this fall at all. The bikes are working well and I'm aiming to do your investment justice in a couple of weeks.

To everyone who hollared and urged me to let off the brakes -- THANK YOU. Your encouragement made riding in that cold and getting down that slope so much easier. The specators make this sport rock.

Have a great week!


Marc said...

Schwalbe Cx pro 30's :) Maybe not the best tires for sticky mud like Mich Mud's cause of the close gaps in the knobs. Slimmy, oozy mud where you need to get down to some solid stuff these work smooooooooth! A little heavier of a tire but who needs light when you need to go deep into the mud.

Keep your butt down, back and hands on the tops to keep your tire gripping the hard stuff. Light on the front end to float. Your rear does the work the front is for steering.

Marc said...

OOOOH! The schwalbe racing ralph tubies. Tubies with knobs. Real knobs. Never had my hands on these but I'm curious enough to test 'em out.

Dear Santa,

You never listen! Don't worry I'm getting some ralphs for myself

Anonymous said...

Cherry, you rock!! Zip

john said...

That was some great racing you put down - it is always a pleasure to watch when you toe the line. Looking forward to some fine racing at National.

Cornbread said...

Congrats Syd! You're in great shape heading into Nationals!

Anne said...

Wow, nice warmup for Nats!
Here's to an awesome day for you.

oldmanandhisbike said...

Congratulations on your podium finish! With all the mud and slop and competition, that is an awesome finish.
Looks like fun too! :^)

JuneBug said...

YAY SYDNEY!!! Great job and super great write up. Thanks for the pics those are muddy. :) You guys look all mud and smiles up on the podium.

KAT said...

So glad to see you on the podium Muddy Sunday and what a nice connect with you Sat evening. Looking forward to seeing you throw down at Nationals - epic I think it will be.

You are too kind,