Well, I did as much structure as I could on the bike this summer but; what with my 3 jobs and multiple crisis coming up every other day it was a challenge to do all the base miles, volume and structure I would have liked. I put together what I could. If I could do a couple more 20 hours weeks right now I would.
After busting some ribs earlier in the summer I’m still about a full month behind where I’ve been coming into the cyclocross season over the last few years. I’ve been riding cx bikes long enough to be confidant that everything will come together if I stick to the game plan. But it is damn hard riding these races with no speed in the legs and horrible accelerations. I feel so far away from where I need to be but, I’m holding on to knowing that I will be firing on all cylinders in the next couple weeks.
A small glimmer of progress was putting in my fastest lap time of the day (by a lot) on my final lap (I lost 30 something seconds and had to pit in the 2nd lap). Though it felt horrible, that was cool to see and gives me a little confidence that the motor is there. I added an extra lap after the race was over to put in some more work past the 60 minute mark.
Next weekend is the big Cross Crusade kick off weekend. Alpenrose is a very hard course, technical and has some decent elevation to it. I am hoping for a wet sloppy one that will favor technical prowess. All of the fast riders will be in attendance for the coming weekend so I’m going to have to get my shit together to put in a good ride.
This is why I can not wait for CX season to arrive. Georgia is a fierce competitor, the duel between her and Katie Compton at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships was epic and came down to the wire. But off the bike Georgia gives back, constantly.
Immediately after her 2nd place finish at #CXNats2016 she went up to a kid hanging out watching and asked how his race went. She then spent 5 minutes listening to him break it down and re-cap. It was cold as hell, she just got done racing (after not getting the result she came for), she did not have to do this, it was not a sponsor required act, not her job… but she made the time and genuinely cares. I love the people that give back.
You are rad Georgia. Looking forward to seeing you out there this year. #CX2017 can not come soon enough.
This is picking up off a facebook conversation I began which you can find here.
I’m still baffled as to why anyone thinks it is a good idea to have 2 (truly, 3) USA Cycling cyclocross racing national calendars. It has been explained that it is so USAC can keep their event qualifying process straight (CXNC first before attaining UCI status) and to market the PRO CX calendar as a product.
The PRO CX calendar is just the UCI calendar. (with a bunch of races left out)
Elites (pro and amateur) chasing points reference the UCI calendar and have an international ranking based on those points. Non-elites are not the target audience for the PRO CX calendar. So why does it exist? The UCI calendar supersedes it. The USAC PRO CX calendar points/rankings only mean anything to themself. The PRO CX races are all UCI races so, even if you are leading the PRO CX but behind riders in UCI points, your call-up for the PRO CX events are based on your UCI points. Another thing that is confusing to consumers is that there exists a separate USAC points ranking of non-UCI, USAC sanctioned races that don’t appear to have a calendar even though those very vital points count towards rider start position at USAC races and USAC national championship races, (which in my opinion is the most important audience we should be cultivating to grow the sport) they do not appear to have any USAC promotion. The one good thing for elites is, the $20k purse attached to the PRO CX calendar. Equal payout, 20 deep. Kudos USAC there. That is for the series overall and is in addition to the UCI payout schedule at each event. And hell that is fantastic for mid-field amateur elite women, the top 5 is a hard nut to crack in elite women’s cyclocross, now you can post up middling results, race enough races and get $200 for your 19th overall PRO CX result, regardless of how many UCI points you do or do not get. Seriously, women just outside of the top 10 get a nice little bump at the end of the year. But don’t kid yourself that most of the women riding outside the top ten have near enough $ to travel to all (or most) of the PRO CX calendar. It is too big of a travel calendar for all but the very well supported paid professionals. (who just race as many UCI races as makes sense) So it’s less of a focus for the vast majority of riders and more of a; “oh hey all those UCI races happened to be on the USAC PRO CX calendar too” for elite riders across the nation. I would say something like “the USAC PRO CX calendar does not matter” but, there is $40k sitting there saying it does.
These are just some of the questions I’m asked. (and I loathe that I have to justify my statements/questions on the internet with: I don’t think USAC is the enemy, I don’t suspect shady business in the background (heh heh though I should) and I don’t hate the east coast. (hell I’m FROM the east coast) All I want to see is growth and a healthy thriving cx sport. For many of you entrenched in the system, this may all seem apparent and questioning the way things are sounds imbecilic. But from the questions and concerns I hear from riders across the United States, our great Nation, many are just confused and often just default to focusing on regional events (USAC or not) while picking and choosing the UCI races they can afford to travel too. From amateur elites, to professional riders I know: all look at the UCI calendar first when planning a season of travel. We should be streamlining calendars and focusing on our core participants. Not creating a 2nd faux-pro calendar that is a mirror image of the International calendar (sans a bunch of races). My thought is: Put that $40k purse towards promoting a December age-group National CX Champs. The Professionals don’t need the $ or the incentive to race those UCI races on the PRO CX: they are going to race them anyways as they are already on the UCI calendar. Focus on keep our core of non-professional racers engaged and stop wearing out our amateur racers with offensive national travel schedules and a season that for most amateurs or age-group racers is 6 weeks too long.
(a note from twitter here) Myerson is correct; the event-qualifying step of being on (and the whole point of) the CX National Calendar first, gets overlooked or bypassed for National Championship events.
We all saw where that landed us with the 2015 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships this year in Austin.
A week ago, I was doing #CXSchool with a couple dozen riders, after things got real hard and a couple of us peeled off to ride home the fun way we came across a gentleman trying to repair his flat tyre at the top of Saltzman. We helped out a bit and he says:
“Are you Molly Cameron?”
“I read your blog… well I used to read your blog.”
Oh snap! There it is! meta-culture (and some protoculture) slapping me in the face! GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR AND START WRITING AGAIN! So here we go:
Cross is coming, you should be training. But, if you are in the hater-camp; tired of the hashtags, tired of the excitement, tired of the anticipation, annoyed by early season cyclocross races, annoyed by late-season cyclocross races and sick of all things cyclocross CX CROSS CX2016…
I got nothing for you. Cyclocross is really hard and it is really fun. It is accessible to all levels of rider and can be refined into an art form by the rare few. It is hard for people to emotionally and mentally reconcile how incredible the sport is, how difficult it is to be really good at it, how rewarding it can be and how devastating it can be. For some it is a job, for others a hobby, for others… something to loathe.
Not many things are like it. A completely inappropriate use of equipment originally intended and designed for a different sport.
No one likes pity parties, haters or excuses. Find your place in cyclocross; it is not going away and we’ve got 6 months of it ahead.
Last weekend I did a road stage race in Eugene and got completely handled. Just worked over. There was a point where I was like “what else do I have to be doing? I’m already doing 20+ hour training weeks!” I would not call it demoralizing though, it was hot and very hard.
Two days ago we did the Wednesday night CX ride in Forest park and things started to click. The climbs felt easy, like really easy. My file tread tyres hooked up perfectly in the loose dry dirt. And I felt like I could keep riding and riding and riding all night.
Its going to take a couple more months but I feel the form coming.
I just got back from China and am catching up on what I missed during the week I was out of town.
Love or hate Facebook, when you are up all night with jetlag it is very convenient for catching up with what your pals (that are on FB) have been getting up to.
A team. The team. Team mates. Your team, his team, her team. Their team. OUR TEAM.
This is often such an abstract thing with various implications and definitions. Being on a team means something different to everyone. I’ve been on, been a sponsor of and founded many, many different teams in my years in cycling. I’ve seen people come and go, teams grow and collapse, I’ve seen friendships ruined by politics and shitty behavior and I’ve seen friendships grow stronger because of cycling and our desire for something better and more beautiful than the status quo.
The best thing for me? Coming home and being pumped to see everyone, to ride with everyone and to watch my pals crush it on the bike, in races, in training and in life. My team mates appreciate the beauty in the little things, the beauty in cycling, in going hard, working hard and having fun. I love that amongst the photos of racing and riding, I get pictures of hiking epic wilderness, car engines in pieces, food and art.
This keeps me motivated, keeps me pumped and stoked to hang out and party with all of you.
Cycling is my life and I am surrounded by people that love cycling and by people that are creative, hilarious, self-aware and treat other people nicely.
I love it. I love that we cultivate this fantastic energy amongst ourselves.
There is so much momentum with the Portland Bicycle Studio team going into this cyclocross race season. I’m riding an amazing wave of positive energy and motivation here. I sound like a f’ing hippie.
Seeing all of your pictures; smiles on your faces, covered in mud and sweat and on your bikes, the photos of your cars, your pets, your pals, your lives, your travels and your adventures.
I’m gonna ride this awesome wave of stoke. Join me on it.
All pictures credit: Jose Sandoval. Great dude, fantastic photographer, good people.
This is easily my favorite behind the barriers. Some of my favorite people are in it and some of my favorite races too.
Man, that deleted scene where Thufir kills himself? That is good stuff.
I mean really?
There have been cyclocross races in the summer for as long as I’ve been racing cx. And every season people start complaining about how it is not real cx, the races are earlier and earlier every year and how is it ruining the cx season, ruining road season and they are going to protest the early cx season by just riding mountain bikes all fall.
Well, I will be riding mountain bikes and doing big fun road rides all fall too; and you will still see our team and my face at all of the pre-season cyclocross races.
These people like to make up arbitrary rules about the hows and whats of cyclocross. Their knowledge of cx is infinite, with the internet and their computers. The same people that consider tubeless wheels and box section tubular rims for cyclocross! Americans!
Ronny says: “we created this great cyclocross course in the forest and the riders will be able to test themselves in the pre-season. This is not a big race like Hofstade or Zolder, we do this because we love cyclocross.”
The early season is the PRE-SEASON. Whether you are starting your 2013, 2014 or still finishing up your 2012 season, stop complaining about having races to attend and test yourself.
If they fit in your training program, do them. If not, don’t complain. Support those who are racing and don’t whine about the conditions and the courses. Do you know how many bike races were cancelled this year? Neither do I, but it was a lot. “wah wah summertime is supposed to be crit season!” Where are your crits now? You critic, you heckler, you amateur!
Go support your local race promoter! Or put your own damn race on and stop complaining about having bike races to do. Cyclocross has created more growth and participation in road and mountain bike racing than any of that racing has been able to do for itself.
Even the best in the world fall on their face in the early season. Klass went on to win the Belgian National cyclocross championship a few seasons later. You go hard, you make mistakes, you learn from them and you take all of that and move forward into the the fall and winter.
You have to train, and practice and train. And part of training is riding the early season races, having some fun and supporting the local race promoters + giving the cycling fans something to talk about.
Contribute something to your community or find your self soon with out a community to criticize.
Strange times these. Contador becoming likeable, British riders clobbering everyone on the climbs. You gotta have hope this is all a good sign.
Watching Froome climb like a gawky bird on a bike… I appreciate the spinning, the cleat placement, the whole package. It is ugly and effective. It works for him. It is not that I admire Froome particularly, but rather… I like that he properly calls it cheating.
Quotes like this: “I’m not sure I said I was honoured, I said I would only take it as a compliment,” Froome said. “Obviously Lance won those races, but to compare me with Lance… I mean, Lance cheated. I’m not cheating. End of story.”
And I appreciate that Lemond calls it like it is. Eventually the clean performances will catch up and surpass the doped ones. This is the hope I cling to. You can stare at watts and Vo2 and w/kg and Pantani vs. Armstrongs times up all these climbs as benchmarks. But one day, legitimately clean riders will surpass these benchmarks.
“…in 20 years I am confident my results will stand.” Virenque never said that. And as far as I can tell neither did Armstrong.
Froome’s humble first words after winning the ITT today: “I did not expect to win today.”
I appreciate that.