The Trek CXC cup UCI weekend is always one of my favorite races of the season. Since it’s within a close enough drive from the Twin Cities, there is always a great community of friends that I know that make the trip to battle all different categories, and afterwards hang around to see each other race. The weekend is always filled with good people, lot’s of laughter, and great family! Yes, this was another family affair this past weekend, Heather included this time around! My mom and dad (and the two dogs…of course) being the die hard CX fans that they are, took the United States by storm and drove straight from Providence, RI to the Trek Cup. Yea, must be nice living like professional cyclists, jumping from one race to the next while the rest of us have to work during the week. HA! Anyway, once everyone was settled in WI, we looked forward to the weekends racing.
My mom and dad were up first. I don’t know whether its better or worse racing early in the AM, but that’s what they had to do. My mom, racing the earliest, showed she was a dominant force in the brisk morning weather and won her first race and placed third on Sunday. Yep, she set the level mighty high for my dad and I to achieve any place higher than that during the weekend, but hey, we still gave it a shot. My dad had a great race on Saturday finishing top fifteen and working his way back into the season after chronic illness this past year. I think that is worth giving another top spot on the podium for, he’s killing it! Finally for the dogs….. don’t tell them, but they still think they raced too.
The temps were high, the sun was out and as much as we have worshipped the CX gods, cyclocross weather was no where to be found. It was a dry and dusty day, but at least we had some blustering wind to keep us somewhat cool on the first day of the weekend. It was a UCI C.1 race once again this weekend which attracted the likes of JPows and other strong riders. The field wasn’t nearly as deep as Providence but still provided plenty of competition in order to fight like hell for points in the top 15.
The Trek courses have always been some of my favorite, featuring very punchy climbs and sharp corners. The races are unlike anything else on the calendar because along with the appropriate amount of off camber, sweeping turns, and loose corners, there is all kinds of long slippery grass. Every year that I have done the Trek CXC Cup it has been dry, but there seems to be just as many crashes as if it were wet. Tire choice and pressure was still just as important as ever, and usually a medium to knobbier tire set up featured the best grip on the unpredictable course surface.
Called up 2nd row into the starting grid, I was set to be able to have a good start. Once the gun went off though, I had some problems getting clipped into my pedal and fell back a ways into the field. Racing around a prologue start at the beginning, I was able to regain control and head into the first difficult course feature within the top twenty. After a couple laps at top speed, I was finally able to settle into a group with a few others. Since the Trek courses were fairly technical, they rewarded those who rode a little more aggressive and so I consistently tried to race at the front of the field whenever we encountered a tough section of the course. In the end, after a fast race, I was able to move up into 13th position just two spots within the UCI points. Any day with UCI points is a good day, and I’m feeling like I’m starting to get my racing legs under me.
After the races we packed up and headed back. Feeling pleased with my effort, I set my sights on Sundays race and set a goal of top ten. Until then, I was going to put my feet up and chow down on some BBQ ribs that my parents had put in the crockpot before they left the house for the day. A perfect reward for a hard days racing!
As my beautiful girlfriend and I rolled up to the course on Sunday, we joined several friends of ours who had formed a small local MN community in the parking lot. We got to the course plenty early with more than ample time to check out the new course changes on the day, top off the fuel tank (that’s my stomach) with some lunch, and slowly but surely get ready to race. Sundays conditions resembled the same as Saturdays with some higher temperatures, which as a result of that, I threw on the bottle cage. I wanted to play it safe today in order to do everything to be able to land a place in the top ten where points were available.
Once the first call to staging hit the loud speaker, I finished up my last course preride to end up at the starting grid. Today was the same story, minus JPows, which moved me one more spot up in the call up to the grid. I picked my position right behind Stephan Hyde, the runner-up to Saturdays race. Once the whistle blew, we charged forward. I hit my start just right and tucked into the draft of the front row of guys. Hitting the wholeshot in the top ten, I was set for the start of the race and set my goals to hold my position as best as I could.
Not having quite the kick to get into the top eight on the day, a group of three of us formed a chase group in order to battle for the ninth spot. Trading pulls, I ended up taking the charge at the front to try and separate myself and the group from the few chasers behind. Racing aggressively once again today, I was able to separate myself with a lap and a half to go in the race. One of the competitors I was with, got off balance in an off-camber section of the course and got a little tangled in the tape giving me the advantage to make my attack. Now riding in 9th place I gave it everything to the line. During the last half lap I was being closed in on by one other rider, Mitch Hoke. The last part of the race came down to a final sprint and I didn’t quite have the punch in my legs. I pushed it as hard as possible, but wrapped up the day in 10th. Top ten was my goal, so I was definitely pleased, and it was really fun to have such a great battle with Hoke.
Full Day 2 results posted here.
So that’s a wrap! Another UCI weekend in the books. Next up is another consecutive weekend of travel for the HPCX UCI weekend in Jamesburg, New Jersey.
Big thanks to my girlfriend Heather for taking awesome photos! Also, make sure you check out all of these awesome sponsors below that make everything possible!