Saturday, October 15, 2016

2016 Velocross At Humboldt Park

Last year the Velocause cycling team introduced a new venue to the Wisconsin Cycling Association cyclocross series: Humboldt Park in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. It was a really fun course that featured a surprising amount of elevation change for that part of the city. When I saw the event reappear on this year’s schedule, I knew I would be going back.

This year’s edition of the race was considerably bumpier than last year’s, but my new tubeless setup allowed me to run lower tire pressure and most of the course favored a power rider who likes to stay on the gas all the time. I got another average result—15th of 20 overall and 10th of the 14 Cat 3s in the 45+ age group of Masters 1/2/3—but the race was very satisfying nonetheless. Aside from one noteworthy mistake, I handled the course well and eventually found a pretty smooth line.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not perfectly suited for cyclocross because I’m not an explosive starter. I need to settle into the race. That means guys like today’s winner, Arlen Spicer (BELGIANWERKX), are long gone by the time I hit my stride. But today I rode across a 1-minute gap to overtake the last couple of guys in the 35+ age group. That kept my head in the game when otherwise I might have resigned myself to 16th place in my age group behind John Young (Hollander Benelux Racing).

Young was inches ahead of me on Lap 1 when I overcooked a corner on the approach to a sharp uphill section, lost all momentum and had to run to the top. The seconds I yielded to him there were difficult to reclaim in the laps that followed. But I remembered outclimbing him at Cross-Shooshko, and with each little hill today I got closer. I made the catch with 2 laps to go—Young gave a word of encouragement as I passed—and I slowly stretched out my advantage to the finish line. It’s a small victory, for sure, to be 15th instead of 16th, but friendly rivalries go a long way when you’re not fighting for podium spots.

I won’t go to the Badger Prairie race in Verona tomorrow; I’m opting for a long road ride instead. But if the weather is fair in Dane County next weekend, I should be back in action at Celtic Cross and the Sun Prairie Cup.

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