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Des Moines Doublecross#1
Ewing Park, Des Moines, September 29, 2002
Question: What kind of screwed-up, wack-a-zoid freak enjoys doing cyclo-cross races?
by Donny Quixote
Cyclo-cross (CX) is basically a MTB race on European off-road machines that look somewhat like a road bike. The course is usually flatter than an MTB course and is occasionally broken up by wooden barriers that force each rider to dismount their rig and jog through these obstacles, bike in hand. It is the epitome of why European cyclists should not be allowed to organize. I can picture them now, "Cheers William. Now what do you say we scurry through the shrubs over there on our machines and hurdle random bits of garbage?" Aarrggh!
My friend Marc Hollander has taken the Euro-bait. He has gone so far as to lead the organization of three CX races here in central Iowa. Now normally I would take my place on the sidelines where my velodrome-laden butt belongs but I can't refuse a local race. If you don't support local cycling you won't have local cycling.
I agreed to do as many of the events as possible. I made my way out with Marc, and several guys from my team to do CX practice rides. We worked on our dismounts, getting back on the bike, hurdling barriers, and controlling the urge to puke out some lung-biscuits. And while we were doing these workouts a strange thought popped into my head, "I could be good at this". Me! Me with no off-road technical skills, me who hates dirt, me who has never in my life given cyclo-cross a thought until this past month. I was stunned that I was thinking it, but I was also excited.
The race today was at Ewing Park on the southeast side of Des Moines. It was about a mile-long loop that went over two sets of barriers, onto a gravel road, up a steep hill, and across tons of unmarked grass. The field was a mass category start where all levels of competitors started at the same time but were placed according to category. Some of the bigger guns in the field with me were Terry Beeken who handed me mine own ass at the Slater crit in July, Cully Todd who is one the regions top MTBers, and John Olney who is a Cat-2 road rider and also an expert level MTBer. I had picked these guys at the line to be the boys to follow and hopefully beat.
The course had a long downhill that led into the section of gravel road. It was this section, in the week's earlier practices, that I could overwork my teammates on. So I planned my race around how well I attacked that downhill. Then hopefully hang on for dear life on the climbs and through the barriers (my barrier jumping needs a lot of work). However, a last minute decision to move a set of barriers onto the downhill screwed my plans. This would force me to lose my rhythm through the downhill and limit my attacking ability. I created a Plan-B, which was to become a climber for the day, to limit my expenditure everywhere except the climb and hopefully crack my competition when it hurts the most.
The race started off well. I had a good position at the line and was easily in the top six guys when the first set of barriers came up. I wasn't happy with the lead group however that had 3 guys from the Cannondale Midwest squad, Cully being one of them.
I opted to attack on the first few hills and hopefully split up the C-Dale presence, it worked. By the fourth lap it was a 4-man group, me and the four guys I picked at the line.
My hill tactics were working too! Without much effort at all I was able to spin up the hill and gap anybody I wanted, the problem came a hundred yards later when I fumbled over a set of barriers and they would easily bring me back. About the middle of the race I looked back to see Terry in a little bit of pain, since I still owed him one from Slater I moved to the front and picked up the pace again on the hill. Terry was dropped. Five miles later I saw a chance to leave Cully on the hill as well, he had a face full of suffering and I had to take advantage. Two more attacks on the hill and Cully was no longer a worry. John however was very tenacious, while I could gap him on the climb I was never able to really drop him. He could always bring me back on the downhill barriers which he had also realized was my weakness.
In the last 5 laps John delivered the "coup de grace" and was relentlessly attacking me on the downhill. Each time putting a little more distance on me that I wasn't able to make up on the climb. By the final lap he had 70-80 yards on me and was first across the line. I finished first in my category and second overall, not too shabby for my first cyclo-cross race ever. The top-4 overall was John, me, Cully, and Terry.
So again, what kind of screwed-up, wack-a-zoid freak enjoys doing cyclo-cross races? My kind.
Women <1 Megan Elliott 2 Andrea Mugge (Cannondale Midwest) DNF Danielle Zocks Juniors 1 Nathan Birru (Midwest Rolling Thunder) DNF Sam Grett (Midwest Rolling Thunder) Cat 4 / 5 1 Matt Kleinmeyer (Cannondale Midwest) 2 Patrick Alvord (Midwest Rolling Thunder) 3 Rob Versteegh (Midwest Rolling Thunder) 4 Joe Tragesser 5 John Adamson 6 Henderson 7 Matt Gumm 8 Ross Schuchart 9 Phil Gould DNF Laughead Cat 3 1 Donny Quixote (Midwest Rolling Thunder) 2 Cully Todd (Cannondale Midwest) 3 Joe Hetrick (ICCC) 4 Marc Hollander 5 Lane Anderson 6 Justin Hyde 7 Josh Lukins Cat 1 / 2 1 John Onley (ICCC) 2 Terry Beenken (Nature Valley) 3 Lee Venteicher (Cannondale Midwest) 4 Thad Paiser 5 Joshua Tack 6 Scott Wall Single Speed 1 Rick Hopson 2 Jim Logan