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Bloomer Cross

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

With my elbow healing nicely and with some gravel racing done for the season, it was time to continue my plunge into a season of 'cross. This was my second CX race of the season and needed to generate a good race history and USA Cycling points to assure decent call-up at state championships. The last race was not ideal: the track was narrow, had 70 or so turns and I dropped my chain 3 times on the bumpy course. With my chain issues repaired and a better attitude I lined up at the Bloomer CX - interestingly the site of Jeremy Powers' first UCI win.

My focus this year is again SSCX with a goal of top 3 at "states". I lined up with my one geared colleagues and Cat 3's and was excited about an excellent course layout filled with power sections, single track through the woods, two sets of boards, a log to jump and off camber turns. At the whistle I controlled my start, slotted nicely into the mix, ready for 45 minutes of heart pounding fun. I used the wide turns to my advantage, cruised the boards,  and by the start of lap two found myself in the top 8 or so, second singlespeeder with two others breathing down my neck.

The current leader of the MiCX series had gained a decent gap on me: I counted 15 seconds or more with a few Cat 3's in-between. He was leveraging his size and speed through the roots and rocks of the single track section and gaining valuable seconds. The woods had an A and B route section and was not ideal. I'd decided to run low pressure on the slimey course and I wasn't prepared to "float" over the roots like other racers, but instead opted for grip in the power sections. By the start of lap three I had to make a choice: defend second or race for the win.

As others mentioned later in the day, I opted to burn some matches and used laps three and four to make up the differential and race for the front. My lungs burning and a commitment to the front I mixed it up with those in front, dropped those behind and made the match burning worthwhile. My Stages power meter displayed the effort and gave me an understanding of the wattage I could lay down when necessary. By the time lap five, of six, began I was on the wheel of our series leader and in a group of three. The pace slowed significantly as I gathered my breathe and as he waited for me to do whatever I was going to do. Unfortunately, this is where I made a few errors, perhaps due to my foggy brain from my surge and/or lack of racing.

At the bell I was sitting second wheel and had decided to wait until after the single track section to push for the front at minimum I would be ready to sprint. The first half of the lap was uneventful. The pressure was on, the speed was up and I was matching everything. I followed intently through the single track, hopped the log at the exit and prepared for some speed at the uphill barriers. Typically I'm confident on my feet and today was no different. I wanted the inside line and tried to use my size to earn it but I was a step off. As we remounted and headed towards the off-camber, 180 turn I locked up my rear wheel losing a few yards - a major error and my first of the day. I pressed to re-catch the wheel in front of me but time was running out. I pressed and pressed but couldn't make enough ground to come around for the sprint. Those seconds I lost on the hill reduced to two at the end, slightly disappointed but excited for races to come.

A great day in the tape. My Kona Super Jake was perfect and my Carver tubulars rolled sweet and stiff. Second step for Team Bikeman in the MiCX Open Singlespeed and only two seconds behind the series leader. This is exciting! Next time I'll lead through the single track.

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