Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SmartWool USGP Ft. Collins

Last weekend was the Smartwool USGP of Cyclocross in Ft. Collins. Joe and I drove out and met up with Nebraska crew on Friday afternoon. After a quick lunch we headed out to set up the TREK Camp and pre ride the course. Overall the course design was same as last year and it was just as bumpy and dry as it was then. There was some rain in the forecast but not much so we were thinking it was going to stay dry. Little did we know the the rain was on the way.

It rained some Friday evening and a bit more overnight. In the morning the course looked awesome. The rain had turned the dry moon dust into a tacky, solid course. I rode the course a few times between races and then rode the trainer before my race. During that time on the trainer the rain started again and only stopped just before my race. I rode over to the start area and not too much later we were in the grid getting ready to start. I looked over and saw Mark yelling something about tires. The race started and I soon found out what  Mark was saying. Going into the 2nd turn I found out that the rain had turned the course to a slimey, slippery mess. Not knowing that conditions had changed the first thing I did was crash. Wrong tires at the wrong pressure moved me from 3rd place to somewhere in the 20's. Here is where smart, experienced teammates come in handy. After the crash my bike was messed up from getting run over by half the field so I went into the pit for a bike change. Mark had changed my wheels to ones with Challenge Limus mud tires. Perfect tires and the right pressure and now I could ride. It was a battle but in the end I got up to 5th.My teammate Mark Legg continues to dominate the 45+ race and won again.

After my race I worked the pit for the 35+ race where Mark was 3rd and Matt was 18th.Then helped Mark Legg pit for Katie Compton's win. After that Joe was in the Elite Mens race. Whew, it got to be a long day!

Sunday dawned cool and sunny but it would soon warm up into a beautiful day. The USGP crew had made some changes to the course that were pretty fun. The mud was gone and the course was fast. From my warm up rides on the course I knew that I had some really good lines on the downhill and I was fast. I also knew that I was going to pay for my efforts the day before on the climbs. It was going to be critical to get a good start and hit the downhill section first so I was focused on a good start. Unfortunately I decided to test the theory that says 2 objects can not occupy the same spot at the same time. I was flying around the outside of the first left had sweeper and in prime position to take the lead in the tight right hand turn that follows. The only problem with my plan was that the lead rider saw me coming and chopped me into the wood poles on the inside of the turn. Naturally I lost that battle and down I went. The end result was just about the same as Saturdays race. Not quite as far back in the field and it only took a lap to bet back to the front of the race. At this point I was in 3rd right on the 2nd place riders wheel........until we started climbing. 2nd place just rode away and I knew it was going to be a battle to get a good finish. Flying down the downhills and crawling up the climbs allowed me to hold my position for most of the race but by the end I was fighting for 5th place with 2 other riders. It was close but  I managed to hang onto 5th while my teammate Mark won again.

The 35+ race was super exciting as Mark took the hole shot and built a good lead. As the race progressed his lead began to shrink and on the last lap it was down to 7 seconds. He won and Matt was 12th, in fact the TREK Cyclocross Collective had 4 riders in the top 16! Pretty happy the mud was gone as there were 2 of us working the pit for 4 riders. Next up was Katie and she again won with a substantial margin. The elite Mens race was was fun to watch while working for the 3 Trek riders in the race. Joe was out there having a blast on the downhill and just having fun.

I do love coming to Ft.Collins as the vibe is great and seeing our transplanted Nebraska/Kansas buddies is fun. So now I'm home and I guess I brought home a cold with me. Bummer but I'll get over it.

Mark has the leaders jersey in the 35 + race.

J Pow crushing the Elite field

LVB had a great weekend at the races. He led most of Saturdays race and ended up 5th. Then he rode hard for 2nd on Sunday. All while putting up with a house full of TREK guys. Thanks for putting us up!

Here's the TREK compound. Pretty fun being parked beside the big TREK tent.
Next up, heading for Lincoln to (hopefully) race. Have to see if I can shake this cold before then.

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