Monday, October 25, 2010

USGP CX Derby City Cup

Day 2 podium, Mark Legg-Compton, Michael Wissink and yours truly
What a weekend. Thursday we made the 11 hour haul to Louisville Kentucky for the second round of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Derby City Cup. Matt and I had a light passenger load as the ladies were meeting us in St. Louis and Troy and Nate were flying straight in to Louisville. After a Thursday pit-stop in STL we only had a long 4 hours to Louisville Friday and arrived just as the course opened for pre-rides.

I can't say enough about how cool everyone was in Louisville. Every local we ran into thanked us for making the trip and seemed to at least know that in one and two years time that the masters and elite world championships would be held at Eva Bandman Cyclocross park. You read that right, CYCLOCROSS PARK! The city is giving these guys everything they need to make cyclocross a part of everyday life in Louisville. The area is in a massive drought and the course was mega dry. Dust and sand was everywhere and on everything. The course seemed a pit short and had no fewer than 4 dismounts a lap, making for a very challenging day with little space for recovering.

Saturdays race left little to talk about. I was pretty nervous on the start line and rode much too cautiously early on. Like they say, if you think it's time to attack, it's already too late. I missed the crucial move and was eventually stuck in a 5 way battle for 4th place, which I lost, taking the finally 8th place spot. Matt had a great ride from the last row moving up to 13th place as did Shadd Smith who was in our G5 and took 4th on the day. Nate struggled a little bit but still rode to a good 17th place finish. Troy was a solid 8th in the 45+ with Tom Price 9th.

5th place after lap 1 on Sunday and on the charge
Sunday would be a much different story. I vowed to ride more aggressively and the changes that were made to the course suited my style much better. Troy was first up in the 45+ and again rode to a solid 9th place points finish. Tom Price hit the podium again with a great ride for third.

The decider for Sundays contest can be seen in the above pic. The hump before the barriers would wreak havoc on the first lap. On Saturday the barriers were closer to the hump, forcing you to slow down, but on Sunday, they pushed the barriers back which really forced you to check your speed before hitting the feature.

We made our call up to the line and I got the slot on the grid I wanted. Inside of turn 1 but not all the way inside. At the gun the pace shot to a fever pitch, higher than the day before and I found myself back in about tenth wheel. Around turn two and I swooped around 3 or 4 guys before the hump and barrier run, that was when all hell broke loose. Over the hump and there was a rider down, but not just anyone, series leader Bill Elliston. The mishap allowed me to move up to 5th wheel and we were off.

Soon we were bottled up behind holeshot winner Eirik Schulz. The group was swapping positions left and right and after a few bobbles by other riders here and there, I found myself coming through with the lead after 3 laps. Mark Legg-Compton and I were away, with Michael Wissink just a few seconds off in pursuit.

Leading the race with Mark Legg-Compton in tow
After putting in a good lap at the front to establish the gap back to 4th place, Richard Feldman, I swung off and sat on the wheels of Legg-Compton and Wissink. Our lead trio was putting pretty good time into everyone else and our lead was growing with each pedal stroke. Having never been in this position before I made the decision to ride a little more conservative, letting the other two do most, okay, all, of the work with 3 laps to go. It was evident they had bigger engines than mine but the technicality of the second days course allowed me to ride a similar lap time.

The rideable sand dune made me wish for deep dish wheels

The run-up from day one was rideable the second day

Well clear with 4th place no where in sight
With one lap to go I still hadn't managed to figure out a game plan. It was getting harder and harder to match the acceleration of the other two and the final nail would be driven into my coffin when a slipped a pedal re-mounting out of the sand and the effort to bridge the small gap was too much. So third place it was. I can still hardly believe it, I thought it was possible after my close call in Madison but you just never know, standing on that podium was awesome and I'm thirsty for more.

Results for the rest of the crew would be mixed. Matt rode strong again for an 11th place but Nate flatted and had to take a bike a change, falling back to 34th.

Some cool press in Velonews...Pic 1...Pic 2.

Matt attacking the barriers early on

Nate on the Moots after his bike change

The Black Lung made it to the podium too!

6 comments:

Jeff Winkler said...

Nice work!!

scott showen said...

Awesome!

Nice work Nebraska guys...

Sean YD said...

My photographer buddy, Wil Matthews, takes great pictures, but could use a little help on his cutlines ("Saverly").

Great job, Mark. Good to see you back on the podium.

mathguy said...

Nice work this weekend-not a surprise given the way you've been riding this fall.

You were absolutely right about the Van Dorn Park course. I did not care for it-didn't even finish the first lap in the master's race. They need to find a different venue.

mw said...

that kicks several kinds of ass. nice work mark.

MOD 2.0 said...

Thanks gents, I'm looking forward to the next 7 weeks. I was lagging on motivation after the Omaha weekend but Louisville got me kick started again.