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Thunder Mountain Enduro Race Report

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Hey, remember when I wrote race reports?  You might think that I stopped race reporting because blogging is dead (tm), but actually it's because I hurt my IT band in February and have barely ridden, nevermind raced, this year.  The cause of the injury?  I walked up a canyon for 5 minutes, rock climbed for 2 hours, and then walked back to the car.   Yeah, that's it.   Well that and 34 years of being alive and doing god knows what to imbalance my body.  But in any case... rough times for the brand.

I've been slowly returning to functionality since then and have recently got back to the point where I can ride a mountain bike for 2 whole hours straight (!) as long as I stand up a lot to reduce hip/knee angles.  And since I need to race bikes like a shark needs to swim to breathe, I signed up for the Thunder Mountain Enduro since it had less than two hours of total pedaling in it, and you barely pedal in the actual racing parts (lol jinx).

Steven Hopengarten actually races more…

U23 Women's World Championship Preview

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Hey American Cyclocross Fans!  Are you HYPED to get up at 7AM on January 28th and watch the women's U23 world championship?  YES YOU ARE!

This thing has only been around for two years, but Ellen Noble won the U23 World Cup and Emma White was the youngest woman to ever win a UCI race (take that, Marianne Vos), so you better believe that #MERICA is gonna show up guns a-blazin, sweep the podium,  and you're gonna spill your coffee when you post up in your living room watching a pirated feed early Saturday morning!  We've got the best women in the world!  We're getting our first rainbow jersey this weekend!

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Actually, let's be honest.  You have no idea who is racing the U23 women's world champs except for "Emma and Ellen."

It's not your fault.  U23 women don't get their own race at World Cups, so you know exactly one U23 woman in those races -- whomever is leading the U23 World Cup (thanks to the leader's jersey).  And that's been …

Cross Nationals 35-39 Race Report

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I haven't raced 'cross nationals in five years.  Last time I went, I drove to Madison and had what could charitably be described as a "bland" experience.  Most notably, I spent the season getting hyped for what would surely be the sickest snow/ice cx race ever, only to show up and race a 40 degree tractor pull.

So when 2017 Nationals were announced in Hartford, I knew I had to race (being an hour from home and all) but I also knew that getting myself amped with dreams of snowy CX radness was a good way to end up disappointed.  After all, it's Hartford in January. Even before global warming, Hartford wasn't exactly a hotbed of skiing.

And on the first two days of Nationals, it was mid 40s and raining and awful:
"It's like the storming of Normandy out there" #cxnatspic.twitter.com/EQFiXlc72V — Hunter Pronovost (@hunterpronovost) January 3, 2017 This video looks "rad" but every part of the course that wasn't straight down an emban…

When Do Cyclocrossers Slow Down?

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It's hard to believe, but the 10th anniversary of crossresults passed this year.   (Apparently I started Dec 2nd, 2006 according to this blog post).  One of the cool things is that now I have ten years of data to analyze.  One of the less cool things is that now I am ten years older, so I've started thinking about things like "when will I get slow(er)?"

When a rider slows down/retires is, of course, a highly personal thing.  Sven Nys won a World Cup at 40.  Laura van Gilder had her best season at 47.  Ryan Trebon just retired at 35.  Zach McDonald retired (?) at 25.  So clearly professional careers have some pretty significant variability to them -- but let's see what we can find out if we look at some numbers -- after all, the crossresults database has 1.3 million results in it by now!

And since it's January, I'm hyped out of my mind for Nationals and I actually have a little bit of free time for once.  Let's not talk about how long this took to pull…

Cheshire Cross/Orchard Cross Race Reports

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This is my eleventh season of racing cross, and I still like it enough that I have to hold myself back from racing doubles every weekend.  This weekend I failed, because Cheshire Cross is close and awesome and Orchard Cross is far and awesome.


Cheshire Cross Race Report  I've been coming here for a few years now, because there's some really unique and fun woods trail, and the best grassroots rideup in New England.

I was predicted to finish 5th out of 19 (!!), so I thought it would be a good chance try being a real cyclocross racer and start the race FAST instead of my usual technique of burying myself deep in traffic, picking my way forward slowly, and then using my steady forward progress to convince myself that I totally could have done better if I had started better.

Of course I neglected to remember that starting HARD means you should warm up for real, and maybe not panic and eat a gel right before the start.

So I blasted off the line into 3rd wheel, rode most of lap one …

Gran Prix of Gloucester Race Reports

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Obviously these are wicked late, but Gloucester is still the best race in New England (now with a more seasonable date!) and I have two chainstay cams to archive for the internet, if nothing else.

Day 1 Despite ULTRAPaully's best efforts, I got a great random draw on Saturday.  So great, in fact, that Adam Craig's lackadaisical sprinting was the only reason I didn't go into the first turn in the top 30 (when you're a cat 2, you don't pass guys who went to the Olympics in the start, there's rules about this).
This early positioning advantage was then swiftly cratered with a series of three bobbles in the beer garden section on lap one where what felt like the entire field went by me -- I got pinched into a post (2:20), then had a dead stop due to a crash in front of me (2:33), and then tangled with Radshaw when we were all flipping out trying to get going again (2:45).  
Dan Fitzgibbons was right behind me and he definitely got a worse deal, though: Day 1 at @g…

Midnight Ride of Cyclocross Race Report

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Midnight Ride is one of my favorite cross races, but I never blog about it because it comes right before Night Weasels, and for some mysterious reason I always have a lot of things that seem more important than blogging around that time.  But not this year!

(I wonder what Night Weasels task I'm forgetting right now)

The reason I love Midnight Ride, of course, is that the course is 85% turning, which makes the other 15% sprinting, and those are the only two things I can do in a cyclocross race.  Yeah baby!

This year they changed the holeshot from "sketchy gravel chicane in the dark" to "back to back 180s in the light" which was ... differently sketchy.  My scrubby third row start spot (sigh) led to frenzied sprinting into frenzied brake-jacking into frenzied argy-bargy turning -- but somehow I filtered through without incident and headed out into lap one right behind Chandler Delinks and Kevin Sweeney in the top 20.

Kevin left a 1.5 bike length gap to Chandler…