Monday, October 3, 2011

Hometown delight

I had another tough weekend of racing as expected. Matt and Jeff were on their game, I feel lucky to have pulled out the win on both days in Omaha. Neither day felt particularly good as the legs felt sluggish either from the previous weekends mud race in Sun Prairie or the unseasonable heat we were experiencing. Regardless I worked my ass off for these wins.

Sand options...run or ride
Photo: Jill Tillinghast
The plan for day one, the Omaha Opener, was to do as little as possible yet still win. I took the start pretty easy and Jeff Kluck, Nate Woodman, Paul Webb and maybe Matt Tillinghast were all in front of me. I was comfortable sitting back and seeing what happened. Nate was the first to show signs that the pace might be to high as Jeff began putting little gaps between the two of them. It was just before the the sand pit and I opted to ride it. Everyone ran it and although riding wasn't any faster, I didn't have to take the time and remount and I passed everyone slotting in behind Jeff. A quarter lap later he drifted wide in a corner and slid out on a field of walnuts.

Matt and I got by cleanly and proceeded to ride like clowns for the next lap. Bouncing off each other at every opportunity and basically making a joke out of it. Eventually Matt would slid out in 180 degree corner and I was left alone at the front to establish and maintain a gap.

The real action was behind as Jeff had clawed his way back first to Paul, and then to Matt, eventually gaping the two of them off. The entire time I was clear by 15 odd seconds and had a front row seat to the action. In the closing laps Matt reversed the deficit pulling even with Jeff and then took him in the sprint for a fine Trek Midwest CX 1-2 finish.

Day two was going to be interesting. I had a few cramps during the previous days racing and they hung around during the night waking me up occasionally. I knew Jeff was strong and I now had to deal with the fresh legs of one Lucas Marshall.

I'm not sure what got into me but I took the hole shot and forced the tempo for about half the first lap to try and open it up a little bit. Jeff passed me for the lead and really picked up the pace which put everyone including myself in a bit of difficult. It was a pretty interesting day as I felt Jeff was stronger out of the corners and on the straightaways but I could pull him back through the technical bits. With Lucas and Paul just behind us, I played the team tactics card and chose to sit on Jeff in hopes that he'd tire out and Paul and Lucas would come back to the front.

Jeff driving the pace at the front
Photo: Dan Farnham
It wasn't to be as Jeff just kept pushing building a bigger and bigger gap to 3rd and 4th place. I began to wonder just how I was going to out wit Jeff to get the win. Eventually I started to see a few chinks in the armor as he began running slower through the sand and didn't quite have the pop out of the corners he had earlier. I decided that the time to move would be at two to go. I made my pass on the backside downhill and punched it on the two uphills and straightaways leading to the sand pit. As I dismounted through the sand I heard a stumble behind and new Jeff had fallen dismounting into the sand. I punched it out of the next few turns and straights and got a good gap before hitting the finish for win number two of the weekend.

Cruising in for the Omaha Opener win
Photo: Michael Dixon
Considering Jeff is coming back from a broken back (?) earlier this spring he is riding amazingly strong. As was Matt on day one, the racing was awesome. Paul Webb is on the comeback too after a couple fractured elbows set him back this summer as well. Then there's Kevin Wilkins, who put together two super solid rides, best days he's had since injuring his back too. Lucas lost his 'cross virginity this weekend. I expect big things from him as he rides his way into better and better 'cross fitness as the season progresses.

Next up is rounds 3 and 4 of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins, Colorado. Get to stay and hang out with buddy Chris Wolff as well as see all the Nebraska front range transplants (hopefully). Time to go head to head with the number one amateur cross team in the country, Boulder Cycle Sport. Those boys F-A-S-T, FAST! They will be the real gauge on my fitness. Let's GO!

6 comments:

mw said...

broke my new fat tire not really road not really cross bike in this weekend with 85 miles of sunny neb fall gravel action and thought about you fellas out there racing

mw said...

once again, i like to read your internet blog writing and i enjoy viewing the internet blog pictures

MOD 2.0 said...

I like you leaving comments. And I like riding gravel when we get the chance.

sda said...

It'll be good to see you this weekend Mod. Robson has been throttling everyone in the 35+'s (no surprise there), the BSS guys are going good but W.Baker is rumoured to have a back injury. One new guy to watch out for is S.Stefco - he's a hard charger.

They moved the flyover to the course last weekend (its been out at the brewery getting used for the grassroots cx/short track series) so the course is coming together as I type.

Oh purdy good.

Also, I like to read the internet blog writing and enjoy viewing the internet blog pictures.

MOD 2.0 said...

For sure DAverill. Dwight and Webber are racing masters too. This will be the toughest race other than Nationals all year.

Can't wait!

mw said...

i like sda's pic. he's fukin chillin to the max