Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017 Wisconsin State Cyclocross Championships

Surprise! My 2017 racing season did not end on October 21; it ended today at Trek’s world headquarters in Waterloo, site of this year’s state cyclocross championships. (Yeah, that’s the same place that hosted a UCI World Cup race back in September, and today we used most of that course.) It was my first participation at a state championship race—usually the weather is far too cold for me this late in the season—and even though I didn’t get a high finish, I raced well and had fun.

We had lots of bad weather from late October through late November. By the middle of November I was convinced my racing season was done. My training volume and intensity dropped to almost nothing, my weight went up, and I was content to be done. But the weather made an unexpected recovery late last week and I started riding with a little more interest. As this weekend’s forecast came into view—dry and 50°, more than 10° above average—I ramped up the intensity even more. I don’t know how much fitness I recovered in the last two weeks, but I was good enough for 17th out of 21 today in the Masters 35+ Cat 3 race. Madison’s Tim Vanderjeugd (unattached) took the win, followed by Brent Rohrs (Diablo Cycling) and Ted German (Neff Cycle Service).

My race was largely a duel with training partner Jeff Wren (Team Extreme), who pressed me hard on his way to 18th. I was faster on the steep hills and the flat power sections; Jeff was faster on the technical dirt sections. We were a long way from the leaders, but our friendly rivalry helped us to dispatch some of the Elite Cat 3 and Open Singlespeed riders who had started before our wave. We rode well; we simply got outrun by faster guys. The racer I was back in October might have been 14th or 15th today, but that’s barely worth mentioning. I got what I wanted out of today and out of the season generally: races that were fun and in which I always had someone against whom to test myself.

One final cyclocross race remains on the 2017 calendar: the USA Cycling Midwest Regional Championships next Saturday in Sun Prairie. As I write this, the forecast calls for a high of 17° that afternoon. You could double it and I wouldn’t be interested. You could triple it and … well, maybe.

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