Cyclocross 2016 Week #1

So it begins. CX2016

Photo by yungpinephoto 

Photo by yungpinephoto 

It seemed SO far away, cyclocross season. I mean it seems just like yesterday we were in Eastern Oregon, escaping the PNW winter for some sun and early MTB racing. But just like that, I'm standing here writing a re-cap of week 1, alternately icing my pulled groin and yellow-jacket stings, wondering what the hell just happened to Summer?

For symmetry's sake, our weeks will start on Saturdays. Today we'll talk about GPBR 01 David Douglas, PDX Trophy Cup #1 and Blind Date at the Dairy #1, all of which were a kick in the proverbial pants. If I weren't gingerly walking around after completing 1 1/2 of the three races, I'd say we were off to smashing start. 

 

First off, let me just tip my hat to the man behind these first three photos. Daniel Steele of Yung Pine Photography is top notch and he's always been incredibly generous in letting folks share his work. You see this guy at a race, be sure to give him a high five, buy him a waffle, frites or what have you. He makes us look WAY more pro than we are. Thanks Dan!

David Douglas was the first race in the Grand Prix Brad Ross Cyclocross Series, and the day started as, well, a clusterfuck. Not in a bad way, just in that general "where the hell did I put my ________, why is my _______making that noise?, what time do the __'s race?, I used to be a "B" now I'm a what? racing with who and when?!?! WHY?!?! Aw man, these first races are the ultimate shake down in nerves, organization, and patience. And that's before you've even lined up. Our numbers are on crooked, we're pre-riding at the wrong time, we can't find the start line and we forgot to eat, drink, stretch and well basically, train for this stuff. But ya know what? At some point a whistle goes off, somebody says "GO", and you're going! 

 

I have the luxury this year of a very late (3:05) start time. Consequently I get to see my crew go out and lay it down, sometimes in more than one race in a day. GPBD had Peter, Ash, Jason and Jeff all out there crushing and representing ANTHM with big smiles and deep suffering, Chapeaux Lads! Jason and I lined up for the Master 1/2 and rode to (eh hem) mostly clean finishes. We laid it all on the line and came across in 8th and 14th respectively. More than anything, we all finished stoked to get the monkey off our backs, to have ridden well and to be back in the swing of cyclocross. 

Trophy Cup would prove a totally different experience. The evening races are always a crap shoot on availability but ANTHM represented with Peter, Jeff, Chad and myself. Peter crushed the Single Speed and I stepped off course after 3 laps with the aforementioned groinage tweaking. Jeff, by his own admission, tried to see how high his heart rate monitor would go in the first two laps but still managed to recover enough to challenge his pack and Chad...well Chad walks into his first race of the season and laid down a cool 2nd place in the 1/2+ category. ANTHM's first cross podium of, hopefully, many. That first picture up above? the blurry, late night action shot? Yeah, that's Chad tearing legs off people on a frame that he built himself. So rad. #smeltzercycles

This brings us to Wednesday night and the hallowed grounds of Alpenrose Dairy. I last raced a Blind Date at the Dairy in 2009, in the first ever of, the now fixture, early season cross series. Wednesday would not see a return to the track as I recovered from the previous night's issues. But I did have the chance to lay low and get some photos of the team and the rest of the action. Click on the below picture to scroll through...

Somewhere along the line the racers scared up some Yellow Jackets and semi-mass hysteria ensued. By that I mean that Jeff risked life and limb to move the course tape to divert the racers away from the swarm and we all got stung pretty good. My right forearm looks like Popeye's with a sun-burn so hopefully everyone else is healing up a bit better. As for the racing action? Well there were broken chains and broken spirits, there were on-lookers and egger on'rs. In the end, once again the Team represented super well and had a really good time. Tuffy opened his account on the season with solid ride and Jason held on to a super fast group. The Pro's raced, I think. I'm not sure. It was a freaking blur of athleticism and expensive plastic whizzing by us, but I'm pretty sure they were out there making us all feel like couch potatoes. But in an inspiring way. 

So we mostly survived week 1! Week 2 will see a stunted group as some of the crew decided to punish themselves with the 24 hour race in Bend. But for the rest of us, the jitters are gone, we have an idea of where we stand in the pack, and we're ready to get down to the business of FUN! 

Cross is here people, long live cross.

Brian Anthony