Posted by Ryan Rickerts
We just blasted through another two weekends of amazing cyclocross racing since my last post. I would hardly believe if you told me at the end of September that October would be a solid month of dry weather! Even with the fog banks and low clouds that socked in the lowlands by the bay for a week or more, we lucked out on race day once again at Woolley Cross. Sunshine, pleasant temps, amazing views, children frolicking & giggling in the grass and through the kids stunts, and not to forget... real hard racing! Marshall's new layout was very spectator friendly with everyone gathering in the main field (totally weather dependent). It also added more climbing to what is a deceptively elevation-laden cyclocross race! Add a stiff run-up, some slow grass, tricky gravel corners - this was no walk in the park, literally! Thanks everyone for coming out and making for some great racing.
The Cross Border Clash was just epic. I know that word is overused, but it should have been reserved for weekends like this. Huge turnouts, ridiculously challenging weather on Saturday, beautiful weather on Sunday, life changing obstacles, spirals with no end, pump tracks turned into lakes, tents lost, cups won...
That's right, despite the gigantic invasion of quality racers from up north, the good 'ol USA will be retaining the Clash Cup for 2013. Sorry, neighbors! Excellent effort. Let's do some quick analysis: America took only 66 points more than last year, a 6% increase. Canada took 153 more points than 2012 and an 18% increase. That's impressive, but a lot of this comes down to not leaving points on the table, especially on Sunday. Some categories saw zero riders from one side or the other. Other fields were stacked! But you only score 3 deep. It's all about distribution!
Well, we raised some money for Courtenay McFadden's excellent season and sent her on way to more national-level races. We put the winners from her raffle up on a Facebook post. Lucky me, I got invited to a crab feed! If you didn't claim your raffle prizes yet, please contact me, I have them. She's busy training or traveling! We've got a couple bags of Clif product and a really nice CCX Moen cowbell floating around.
So what's next? A lot of people have been asking. I'm glad you're all pumped to keep racing while the other series wind down, so I'll let you in on a little secret. Let me paint it in a picture for you: Imagine a fast-paced battle scene in an old Western movie. The lead character is flying along on horseback dodging arrows from the left & right. Then he comes under a little too much fire and bends backwards to get low. The horse hits a few bumps, jumps over a log. Our hero is caught off guard, bucked off and hurdled to the ground. He doesn't get left behind, however. His foot is still caught in the stirrup. So he gets dragged along through the rocks & underbrush, arrows still flying and the horse gaining speed with little control. He's taking some pretty big hits, his shirt is torn, he's beaten up but not broken... and he's not done fighting! It takes him a minute but he manages to sit up, starts to hoist himself up and reach for the saddle, and finally grabs back hold of the reigns. He can start to steer the horse again...
That's where we are today. If you haven't figured it out yet, the horse is this series, and the rider is me. We were going a bit too fast & furious in October and into November. It was probably fun to observe and certainly to participate in, but let me tell you, I felt every bump on that ground. I need a little rest & recovery period.
Lutherwood is a fantastic venue. We had a great time last year down there at the Thanks Given'er by Lake Samish, and we want to do it again! We want to do it right. It's got all the ingredients for a big, full weekend of riding bikes. But I can't plan & execute a fourth festival-type weekend within six weeks. I just can't do it! Maybe with better planning, better calendar distribution, better delegation... but maybe it's not humanly possible to promote this much amazing cyclocross in such a short window. We'll see in 2014 - I'm hatching plans & making deals to spread the load! Right now I just need something simple, something fun, and something close... Hey, lucky us! We've got a permanent cyclocross venue right here in town. And we only raced it once so far. Let's do it again - backwards!
I rode the Bellingham BMX permacourse last night in the rain, and it's holding up surprisingly well in this wet weather. It didn't rain there for a month after we raced on it, and the track is good & solidified in most places. There are a few problem spots that many of us know all too well, and we're going out there to tackle them starting this weekend! Thanks to Brooks Mfg. and Cascade Lumber, we are launching our bridge-building projects! Come on out on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Tamp some ruts, rake some leaves, pick up some blow down branches, fix some course tape, ride some hot laps and get tuned up for the big MFG Woodland Park finale on Sunday. We can handle a little mud. I mean after the Border Clash last Saturday, I think we can handle anything!
Lutherwood is still on the calendar, moved to Dec. 14th. This will replace Thriller Cross at Civic Fields that we've known & loved for five years. Not only did the venue not "stand up" to bad weather last December, we've also run it both directions several times and the interesting layout options are just about exhausted, including all the snowpiles, zombie shortcuts, and skinnies we've tossed in. We will still keep our Zombie Christmas costume theme alive & well! I'm working on an agreement with a local crew to lead the guided trail riding on Sunday. Not enough people took advantage of this last year! Maybe after the Chuckanut Enduro people will take notice - we're at the doorstep of an amazing trail network, and that was just a taste! Come camp out, sit by a giant fire, and go adventuring in the Chuckanuts with us.
One more thing: Tim Ross hurt himself pretty bad on the sandpit skinny last weekend at Transition HQ, but he's rallying to still be take part in this amazing cyclocross community for the rest of the season. He wants to come out and spectate on Nov. 16th. Let's show him our support and help him get back on his feet. We'll be doing a Thanks Given'er fundraiser!
Speaking of giving thanks... thanks for your understanding. Thanks for your participation & resolve to keep coming back, to finish the race no matter how tough. Thanks for your smiles and words of encouragement. Thanks for digging into an incredible five races so far and being stoked for three more! Thanks for being a part of the Cascade Cross Series!
See you out there,