Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best and Worst of 2010

Greetings, suffice to say if you're reading this, you've successfully navigated your way into the New Year ! So Happy New Year ! I hope all your personal and professional hopes and aspirations are met.

With no further ado, let's dig in the past season from my view:

Best New Race Venue:
Goes to the Halloween Boulder Cup at the Dicks Sporting Goods parking lot at the mall. ( or mawl, say it with a New Jersey accent )After burying myself at the previous days Colorado Cross Classic at the Reservoir, I had doubts about whether or not I really wanted to drive back North while subjecting myself to a course that had been previewed online with very poor reviews. "too much flat pavement", not technical enough" etc, etc. We all couldn't have been more wrong and thanks to Chris Grealish for proving us wrong. In my mind this course epitomized cyclocross racing, it was the perfect leveling of the playing field and held in a mall parking lot of all places...who knew ? So caps off, I had a ton of fun racing this course and that doesn't mean it was easy because it was anything but. No, that's not a smile below.
Worst New Race Venue:
Goes to the USGP in Ft Collins. I had much,much higher expectations for this venue. Initially word was that it was to be held on the grounds of New Belgium Brewery's property. It ended up in some field behind a car dealership. Not exactly showcasing a national elite level event in my mind. The course for me, didn't flow well, the shorter second day was a modest improvement but Saturday's race felt much like a death march, many long climbs that turned into slogs, barriers that were placed where you already riding barely above walking pace (remember, I'm speaking for myself here ). I simply didn't enjoy the ride. The parking lot to the North turned into a very slippery muddy disaster and I barely got out at the end of the day without nearly sideswiping numerous other cars. If the USGP is coming back I hope some more planning is put into place to really show off what US cyclocross is about.

My Best Effort This Season:
State Championships: Yes I had better placings during the season in both the 35+4 and 45+ events but in my mind the States course really didn't suit my talents and that fact had me pretty gripped at the start. I'm typically not so good at maintaining that kind of speed during a race. I kept it together tried to be smooth and efficient and had a great day on the bike and a perfect way of ending the Colorado season.
Best Techy Bits of the Season:
Tubulars: Finally made the switch after some 15 + years of racing cross and not sure now why I had waited. The performance advantage is mind boggling and I equate it to a full suspension mtn bike vs. a hardtail. The gains in traction, control, weight are absolutely astounding. I had put this off as it seemed like Tuby's were reserved for those who take racing very seriously and certainly the cost is prohibitive. I also never trusted my ability to glue. I've gotten over that after reading Stu Thorne's instructions here . After tearing off a dead, rotted Rhino, I now have full confidence in the tires ability to stay firmly attached to the rim. The only downside...the dreaded rot that kills off a tire in the prime of it's life.

Sears Craftsmen Hand Held Air Compressor: Best Tool Ever.
I stuck the small Silca brass fitting on the end so I don't have to use valve extenders to air up tires or check pressure. The digital PSI reading is accurate, you don't have to carry around an unwieldy pump. It's not super expensive and has become an extremely useful tool in a limited bag of tricks. If you're anal about tire pressures, this tool will become your best friend when conditions are changing quickly.

Failed Policy Award:Goes to the ACA and the Colorado Cross Cup change: I'm honestly not sure what the advantages of awarding some races to be points races vs. a season long tally of points accumulation. I know that between an 8th, 12th, and 15th. place finishes in the 35+4 group, those placings still had not netted me call-up position by the time we were racing in October just because those finishes were not Points Series races. My feeling was and still is that this lead to dangerous racing and prompted my change to the 45+ group primarily because a smaller field of veterans is way safer than a haphazardly placed field of Cat 4's. I look forward to changes in 2011. Why not keep a season long tally and do call-ups based on that tally, keep the CCC and make those events double points or something ?

That's a wrap but here's some random thoughts
Did La Nina give us such a dry,warm fall ? I'm not sure but I hope next season brings some variety back to the front range. This season was dangerously dry and sparked 2 fires up in Boulder. Here's to some moisture
Lack of drama. This season for me was marked by a season without sickness,mechanicals, flats or drama of any kind even after a fair amount of races ( 15 total ) I'm not complaining it was just...weird, wierd in a nice way.
The Cyclocross Family: honestly this is why I show up every weekend, in all the years that I've been racing since starting out at a local TT series in Connecticut before I had my drivers licence to mountain biking to cyclocross I've never been part of such a strong, welcoming, supportive, tight knit community as we have in Colorado. I feel super fortunate to be a part of it so THANK YOU ALL.
Thanks for reading and again, Happy New Year!