Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 is a wrap. 2012 looks exciting.

Final cyclocross race of the year with Cap City Cross was Sunday, 11th of December at Smith Farms. As it was last year, this race was also the fundraiser for us and Wounded Warrior Project. What started out to be a chilly day turned out to be a slightly-less chilly day with sunny skies. Hey, any little bit helps!

I like racing at Smith Farms. First off, it's the closest to my house which means I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn. I can wait until slightly after the crack of dawn. It's also a more spectator friendly course and while it's mostly flat the Cap City crew always manages to come up with some great challenges for us. This year, thanks to all the rain we had until several days prior, it was a somewhat muddy race, too. Although less muddy than the Ohio State CX Championships and especially the Uncle Steve's race - Holy Wa!

As I have almost all year, I raced both the C race and the Masters 40+ race. In the C race I was duking it out with Duncan Spillman and another gentleman (man, I'm sorry I forgot his name... ugh!) for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. I thought we were further back but we had a good race going on - all three of us were trading places. Until the end of lap 3 when I bobbled on the short steep hill (both other guys ran it, I had ridden it). Those two got a small gap on me that I just couldn't close down. Yargh. I ended up with a 4th place for the day. Not bad. I had hoped to finish better, but not bad.

Good news is: with that 4th, I won the Series Champs in the Cs. Yay, me.

Then I lined up for the Masters race. I had a pretty good start, hung right with Chris Freter for the first third of a lap (I'm getting better and this start business), and then my legs reminded me of the effort I put in during the C race and I just couldn't hang on. I sure wish I could have and Chris and I have had a great battle all year. This was going to be the deciding race and I had to let him go. Several laps in I thought I could make up a bit of time on him - I was getting some back. But not enough and the last lap I was slipping back. But I managed to hold on to a not-too-shabby 5th place.

With that, I managed to card a 4th overall in this year's series. Not bad, me.

The best part about the day? Thanks to the help of Cyclocross Magazine getting the word out on our fundraising we managed to give more than $2,700 to the Wounded Warrior Project. The fact that friends, fellow racers and even complete strangers saw the value in our passion really made my day/week/month. Thanks doesn't sound like enough to say. I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed.

It was a good year of racing. I learned a lot and realized I still have a long ways to go. I met more great people to race with and got better acquainted with other folks. We have some really awesomely great people who race and are somehow associated with Cap City Cross - you guys are the reason I really look forward to each race. I have to get some real training in, too, for next year. Why? Because in 2012 I will race for the Crossniacs, a national team with local "syndicates". Wow, I was pretty happy to be asked to join the ranks there. Very stoked.  The rest of the year I will be with Cyclist Connection, which has been great to me. But part of my obligations with Crossniacs means I'll be posting my blogs over on their site, so come visit over HERE.

In the next year I will be putting my fundraising efforts towards different avenues. One in particular is the Ohio Gran Fondo, which will be raising funds for Ride 2 Recovery, a project for the betterment of our injured veterans. I am flattered that I was asked to help out here. In a roundabout way it probably means I won't be posting here much. But I certainly am encouraging you to come on out and ride the Ohio Gran Fondo. It'll be a great event that will benefit those who really deserve it. Check out this video:

In the upcoming year I'll have a lot on my plate. I'm looking forward to it. See you out there.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What a long, strange muddy trip it's been...

*Ahem*. I'd like to offer the following excuse for why I haven't been active here on the innerwebs for a while....

Yep. I don't have an one. One what? Excuse, that's what. I just got carried away doing them other things and, well... no excuse.

So what has happened since the Ohio State Championship races?

On October 29th there was the annual Uncle Steve's Halloween Race. As usual there was costumes, merriment, hard racing, barley-pop hand-ups and... mud.

Uncle Steve's special brand of mud.
Photo copyright 2011 Noah Hutson
   So how does one race their bikes in the mud?, you may be asking. When it gets thick and there's a hairpin turn, here's how:

Photo copyright 2011 Noah Hutson

Photo copyright 2011 Noah Hutson

Photo copyright 2011 Noah Hutson
 Hop on and do it again. Yes, I raced both the C race and the Masters race, which meant at the end of the Masters race, shortly after I thought I had a good sized gap opened up on Mr. Chris Freter, he jumped & went around me. By that time I just had no giddy-up left to go. Dang.  Good racing with a lot of great guys. And thanks to the unspecified-bike-store-folks for the hand-ups!

But wait! There's more!

Yes, yours truly headed down to Derbytown. Louisville, Kentucky was the host of the USGP Derby City Cup on November 12th & 13th. Those of you who are not familiar, USGP is U.S. Gran Prix, a premier traveling cyclocross racing series. Both days of racing were held at Eva Bandman park, a permanent cyclocross facility (a rarity) AND is home to the Masters World Championship in January of 2012 and then overall World Championship in 2013. What does that mean? It means if you play after-work intramural baseball, you got the chance to play at Yankee Stadium. Or if you're a Friday night Late Model stock car racer, you got to race at Daytona a few hours before the Sprint Cup guys made a few laps.

What did I think? How did I do?

I did about how I expected. Which was towards the back of the pack in my age group. Which means that I didn't finish where I would have liked but all things considered I held my own and placed a bit higher than I was "seeded." It was a longer course than I am used to and was certainly more challenging in spots but damn it was fun.

Chris Freter getting some speed

Some more Cap City locals, Doug and Derrick getting a bit blurry in a steep turn. Blurriness could be from thier hypoxia or mine. Not sure.
Thanks to Tony Viton and Chris I got down the importance of a good solid warm up. Instead of the usual falling back for the first lap or so and then coming back up through the pack, I stayed right with the guys I started with and was able to go from there. Hey, I learned something!

My lovely wife and I also took a bunch of photos and conducted a few interviews for Cyclocross Magazine.We had a good time, the weather was good (for a change this season) and Louisville turned out to be a pretty nice city.

Last race of the season is coming up! Sunday the 11th of December. Come on out and spectate, race & just have fun! Also, I just confirmed that it will the the fund raiser race for Wounded Warrior Project again this year - thank you, awesome folks at Cap City Cross for allowing me to have this opportunity! Hey, we're over $1,800 in funds raised for this fantastic charity - can you help us get past the $2,000 mark? ANY LITTLE BIT DOES INDEED HELP!

More to come after this week, I promise.

This little guy would watch the racers go by and then imitate them. Almost all day long. He was awesome!