Category: Cyclocross (page 1 of 3)

CCC: Montrose IL State CX Championships photos

Thanks to teammate Paul Decker for taking heaps of photos. If you are interested in obtaining a full-res version for your personal use, all Paul asks is to make a donation to our Bike MS fundraising page to help the fight against MS.



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Cat 1,2 & 3Women's Cat 4 & Juniors 9-14

Women's Cat 1,2 & 3Category 3

CCC Montrose Big Marsh Fundraising – DO IT!

#PutARingOnIt to win at Big Marsh – Spidermonkey Cycling is challenging ALL Chi Cross Cup teams to put your money where your heart is to build Big Marsh!
Big Marsh and Spidermonkey Cycling Challenge You!

Big Marsh and Spidermonkey Cycling Challenge You!

Spidermonkey Cycling invites all teams to compete for donor rings and bragging rights – and an exclusive party at SRAM – by raising the most money as a team by December 6’s state championships to build the park at Big Marsh.

The contest starts TODAY. To enter, go to and register your cross team. Add your team members, then use your personalized fundraising page and e-mail tools to ask your fellow crossers, your friends, your training partners to support the park with a donation. You can watch your progress and check in on other teams.
Raise $500, and your team gets its own permanent donor chain ring installed on the donor wall at Big Marsh. Raise $1500, and your team receives a larger donor ring for display. Raise the most money of any team, and enjoy an exclusive team party at SRAM’s new headquarters!
Rings are also available for individuals giving $500 or more. For more information, contact Get the hole shot – sign your team up at today!

Cyclocross Nationals


by Katie Kolon

I decided kind of last minute to go down to CX Nationals in Austin Texas. As a category 4 racer, I could only race in the women’s non-competitive and the single speed races. I chose to race in the non-competitive category, which included all categories and some big names. The women who took the podium were all category 1 elite races. Carolina Gomez Villafane took first, Katie Clouse took second, and Jenny Park took third. The race was filled with around 100 women, including tiny juniors and a woman who looked to be in her 70s.

After packet pickup on Tuesday, I pre-rode the course in warm, 65-degree weather. I enjoyed the sun while wearing shorts and short sleeves on January 6 while Chicago suffered under oppressive negative degrees. On race day, the temperature dropped to around 50 degrees, which I prefer for racing. The course was almost a 2-mile loop and went like this.

The race started with a long and wide straight section on pavement with a little uphill at the end. Once on the grass, the turns started, and there were 180 degree turns on small hills, loops around trees with shredded woodchips, and ramps up and down the curbs that we constantly crossed. I had never raced in such a big field so I got to experience the clogging of riders. Women were getting off their bikes as the race slowed because it was so packed and there was nowhere to go. It took at least half a lap before it started to thin out. I started with a call-up of 70 and managed to pass a lot of people while also getting passed.

As the course progressed, everything technical got bigger badder and more extreme. The 180 degree turns on hills turned into blind turns on bumpy off-camber dirt and rocks. The little hills turned into big hills. We ran up one set of limestone stairs so we could white-knuckle back down the hill. This was the kind of hill where, as you approach, you keep craning to see the bottom because it drops off so steeply that by the time you can see the bottom you are headed back down.

Later we climbed an even taller set of limestone stairs. These stairs were treacherous. They were uneven, bumpy, crumbling, and some stairs were as high as my knee. I shouldered my bike and used my left hand to grab on to the rocks in front of me while stepping up. I saw people run up these. I did more of a scramble and hoped not to sprain an ankle as I teetered on my cleats.


After the long stairs and some more riding around turns, there was a long weaving off-camber section followed by a steep downhill, 180-degree turn, and steep short climb. This was my favorite part to ride. If you went fast enough it was fine. It was a little muddy but hard enough not to slip. After the last little climb, which people chose to ride or run depending on the situation, there was another long fast descent followed by another 180-degree turn, two barriers on the uphill that seemed higher than 18 inches. After hopping over these barriers I had to run back up the hill I had just descended, jump back on the bike, and descend it again to the finish line.

I have never ridden such a fun and technical course and I had a lot of fun just riding it. In my second lap, I was focused on passing three women ahead and gaining ground. On an off-camber bumpy blind downhill turn I was perhaps too focused on these women that were just bike lengths ahead and I went over the handlebars. I landed hard on my shoulder and hit my head. I wasn’t sure how bad it was and the course marshals were asking me if I needed medical, but I could not speak because the wind was knocked out of me. It took me what seemed like several minutes to recover and they called medical, but I started to get up. They asked me if I was ok and I think I said, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” as I got back on my bike.

I lost a lot of time and places while on the ground and was out of my race mentality but I wanted to finish. I kept going, but slower. By the time I reached the wheel pit, which was in the last half of the course, closer to the end, I noticed I had a flat. I think it might have been leaking slowly from bottoming out on my rim going over one of the curbs. Anyway, I thought there were no neutral wheels so I asked if the mechanic would just pump up my tire so I could finish the race. He gave me a wheel in stead. I finished my second lap and was pulled. I lost a lot of time on that lap and if I had not had the mishaps, I think I would have been able to complete a third lap.

In any case, I was happy to have completed the race without breaking anything and while having a blast. There were a ton of people there saying really nice encouraging things to me even though they didn’t know me. I also wore my crazy tights and I guess because Austin has a big affinity for tattoos, several people thought both my legs were entirely tattooed and were telling me how awesome they were. That was fun.

Spidermonkey of the Week – Ian Hughes

I would like to start off by saying I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be the Spidermonkey of the Week!  While I have always been what I thought was a huge cycling advocate, my love affair with bikes is only in its infancy when compared to everyone else on the team.  I now know that I have only just seen the tip of the iceberg and that by drinking the Spidermonkey Kool-Aid, I am opening up the floodgates to all things awesome.  I have been absolutely humbled through my experiences with those of you I have met so far on the team, and have been deeply inspired in reading all of the other SOTW posts.  Because of you, my goal for 2015 is to become a stronger and more skilled rider and make you all as proud of me as I am to be a Spidermonkey!

That being said, here’s a little about the guy that may be sucking your wheel at the start of this year’s rides.  I was born in New Mexico and bounced around between there, Texas, Ohio, and Los Angeles before moving back to Ohio for college and my first grown-up job in Cleveland.  As with most kids, bikes were a big part of my life growing up but two memories vividly stand out- learning how to ride and going on bike tours with my parents.  My Grandma Joan sat me on my first bike that I received for a Christmas present in Las Cruces, NM and literally shoved me down a hill repeatedly until I could stay on without falling.  Fortunately I got the hang of it before I ended up breaking something!  As for the bike tours, they became a family tradition while I was in grade school after my parents got into riding.  They started bringing me along on 20+ mile country rides around Carey and Columbus, Ohio and it always made for awesome family time.

Ian Hughes Picture 1  Ian Hughes Picture 2

Six years ago I moved to Chicago (chasing my then girlfriend, now wife, Kelly) and left behind my beloved Ohio after 13 years of fun.  When I first got here, I absolutely hated it.  I found myself very frustrated with the noise, concrete everywhere, seeming lack of outdoor opportunities, and most of all the traffic.  For sanity’s sake I stopped driving, took to public transportation and that made things a little better, but after 2 years I was completely over it.  In the spring of 2011, I finally had a moment of clarity while we were sitting in a mess of rush hour traffic in our car- a small group of cyclists effortlessly cruised past us with smiles on their faces.  I wanted (and needed) that freedom and happiness, and later that week I bought a bicycle and took to the streets.

Ian Hughes Picture 3

What started off as a means of getting to and from work quickly turned into my escape from all of the things I didn’t like about Chicago.  All of a sudden I was happier, healthier, and felt a meaningful tie to the concrete, traffic, and noise that used to drive me crazy.  These feelings grew deeper when I began bike commuting year round and really learned to appreciate everything that all of the four seasons throw at us.  The only problem I came across was that my commute was only 6 miles each way, and I wanted more!

Ian Hughes Picture 4      Ian Hughes Picture 5

When I left my job as an Environmental Consultant and went to work for Goose Island Beer Company three years ago, I had the unique opportunity to take this newly found passion and grow it further through sharing it with my new coworkers.  Goose Island was already a strong advocate in the Chicago biking community through supporting the Active Transportation Alliance, Chicago Bike to Work Week, and of course sponsoring the Spidermonkeys, but we had some opportunities for improvement internally.  In the last three years the Green Goose team and I have made some great accomplishments to encourage our employees to ride- we started the Honking Peloton (once a month we ride to a local brewery), improved onsite bike storage, purchased maintenance supplies, and started offering employee tune up days.  Our efforts have resulted in an increase in bike commuting and have also led to Goose Island receiving a Bicycle Friendly Business Silver Award through the League of American Bicyclists.

Ian Hughes Picture 6

Ian Hughes Picture 7     Ian Hughes Picture 8

It was only a matter of time until I got to meet several Spidermonkeys at a dock party and a few other Goose Island beer release parties.  At one of these events (after geeking out over a few beers of course) I received a challenge from Fred Wu to come join the team for a Saturday ride.  Once I realized that there weren’t any Geese currently riding with the Spidermonkeys, I knew I needed to accept the challenge, represent the brewery, and roll with the team up to Highland Park.  After one ride, followed by a delicious gyros sandwich at Budacki’s, I was hooked!  Despite a busy travel schedule for work I managed to hit several other rides last year including a couple treks to Willow Springs and a very ‘spirited’ Wednesday night ride.  I am looking very forward to being even more involved this year, riding my first century, and diving into my first CX race this fall- hopefully I won’t be riding in Fred’s Divvy bike basket!  Here’s to all of you and here’s to a great year with Spidermonkeys! Cheers!

NORGE Ski Jump 2013


by Peter Monko

The leftover turkey was still moist, the parking lots at the malls were all full, and all the Black Friday deals were already sold out but I did not care one bit. No, I had an appointment with Dr. Pain that afternoon. Unfortunately his office was all the way out in Fox River Grove at the bottom of a ski jump. I loaded up the car and made the hour long trek with Lindsey Fahey and her delicious pumpkin bread to Norge CX put on by Rob Curtis and his PSIMET crew.

This was the 3rd year of the race and my first time out there so I had no idea what to expect other than some hill climbing. We got there just in time to see Lucas Seibel speeding away to victory in the Single Speed race. After getting my number and pre-riding a bit, I saw that this was going to be a difficult race. The course had a variety of surfaces and in pure Rob Curtis fashion, this course had no flow to it at all. The east side of course was in a field that was bumpy, muddy, with deep gravel/sand in certain corners and even turkey sized boulders lying around. The west side of the course included a gravelly climb, some tricky off camber turns and 2 uphill forced dismounts.

Fresh off his win in the SS race, Lucas lined up in the pole position in the Cat 3 race and I lined up behind him in the 2nd row. It turned out to be the right wheel to follow as Lucas got the hole shot while the rest of the field got held up in the first tight turn. We crossed the road and made our way to the backside of the course where my troubles began. Due to the muddy run up after the barrier, I had trouble clipping in and lost a few spots. People started crashing left and right in the technical off camber turns that were starting to get a bit greasy. I avoided most of them but on the 2nd lap I had my own misfortune. Going into the second barrier I had trouble unclipping and crashed right over 2nd set of barriers. I crashed so hard that my rear wheel would not roll anymore. I lost about a minute and at least 10 spots as I realigned the wheel. I chased hard which led to some more bobbles and a dropped chain on the east side of the course. After a while I stopped counting how many times I crashed and lost track of the leaders. I ended up in a banged up and bruised 14th place while Lucas won his second race in a row. Way to represent Lucas!

I raced one more time that afternoon with Trent Williams and Hayes Sanborn in the Cat 1/2/3 race. The course was really tore up and slick by this point so I took it a bit slower in the technical sections. Turns out I took it a bit slower for the entire race but was only lapped once by the winner, Pro CX racer Brian Matter of the Trek Collective Team. If you’ve never seen a ski jump or raced Norge, I highly recommend making the trek out to Fox River Grove next Thanksgiving weekend.

Photo by digitalcane

A Snapshot of Woodstock

by Kyle Kershasky

As I sit here writing this report with a bruised thumb and a some cross cough after racing in Woodstock at PSI-clocross for Life this weekend, I sometimes think of reasons why I like to race cross. The usual cliché answers come to mind. Gives me something to train for. Work on my bike technique. Cross train. Opportunity to invest in different kinds of tires, rims and body heat cream that randomly turns itself on when least expected. All legitimate cocktail conversations.

This past weekend I remembered the real reason why I like the cross season. You always, always learn something new. This time it was the hiz to the hoes, wait for it…..wait for it….. SNAPCHAT!!

And boom goes the dynamite.

Okay, so it’s not the ONLY or specific reason why I like cross. Meaning if you took away Snapchat there would be something else that would metaphorically take its place. Like white tigers being thrown across a sand pit or circus themed costumes and handups. For today though, Snapchat was the fun factor of choice.

Snapchat goes with cross like:

Twisted goes with Sister

Like Mack goes with Daddy

Like Taffy goes with Cinnamon


A very rough idea of a Snapchat photo

And for the purists, yes cross is fun on its own. No question. Woodstock’s course had a ton of fun obstacles. Like a big sand pit where you can post pictures with the Kid Rock lyrics “GET IT THE PIT AND TRY AND LOVE SOMEONE.”

There was also a toilet bowl section. Screaming down hills through the woods on rough terrain. A hill that takes you within feet of going directly into a pond. A barrier with a hill immediately after it where I used my Tim Johnson cyclocross camp tips and ran like Moses while shouldering my bike. Add it all up and it’s a long and challenging course.

For those of you who are still wondering what Snapchat is, let me sum it up in one sentence. One mature sentence. One G rated sentence. One day you will just have to see for yourself. But you have to trust me the sugar is just plain funny, okay? Trust me for 10 seconds. Or 1 second, depending on the Snapchat masterpiece.

To recap my race, the day was about putting an exclamation point on my week. When you’re having fun you really don’t care about daily troubles and stresses. I also didn’t really care if I would start out 70 and finish 42 like the previous week. Or if I hypothetically crash on the last lap and even though I would hop right back on with my chain off and have 10 people pass me. Okay so that sucked. However, if I didn’t have two Twizzlers in my mouth while giving some phenomenal Snapchat photo opps, then maybe, big maybe, then maybe I would have finished a few places higher up. However, I like to remind myself not everything can be perfect. Everything can be fun.

Of course being fast is always fun as Lindsey and Sophia proved by getting on the podium for the Cat 4s at Woodstock. But having their own paparazzi getting a Snapchat photo opp? How fun is THAT?!


Snapchat paparazzi

My favorite fun factor race is very soon on the weekend of December 7th at Montrose. As you know Spidermonkeys are sponsoring the race. Will you be there to volunteer? Will you be there to cheer? Will you be there dressed up in costume and cheering paraphernalia and make some Montrose Madness? I guarantee you’ll have a freaky fun time whether you are racing or spectating. Exclamation point, Snapchat!

After last weekend I decided to actually download the app Snapcaht. My username is KyleMobileKyle. And if you want to join but can’t think of a username I heard CoolCatYourName is kool. For a sneak peak of fun, check out this video I made at Montrose a few years ago.

Have some fun!

Cyclocross in Oregon

by Kristi Hanson
At the end of September, I made a big move cross country to the wonderful city of Portland. Overall it has been a good transition, but I have to admit the one thing that has surprised me the most is with a little sport we call CYCLOCROSS.

Believe it or not prior to moving to Portland, I actually thought I was some what good at cyclocross. I was not the fastest girl out there for sure but after working hard over the summer, focusing on building strength/power (Thank You Newt Cole and the Morning Bird Crew), and mountain biking to gain the technical skills, I thought I had a chance of having a really good season. That is until I did my first race in the CROSS CRUSADE series.

Holy moly they do things different out here!! I have never gotten my ass handed to me so hard. The only way I have been able to describe the difference is that they take every one thing in each of the Chicago races that is hard and put them all into one.

To give you an example, I have put together a collection of pictures and words from this weekend’s race to try and give you an idea of what it is like to race here.

The start is pretty much the same except only the top ten in each category get called up. Then the rest are staged randomly by the last digit of your number. We reuse our numbers here so it really is the luck of the draw. One week you can be up front and the next you can be at the back of the pack. Unless you are the fast few that get called up.

Also the other difference is unlike the Chicago Cross Cup series a race can have more then 100 people in it. This weekend we had over 150 women on the course all at the same time from 6 different categories. They are started about 30 seconds apart and are scored separately. How the officials do it I have no idea! They are amazing!!

After the start, the first challenge of the course were some short and punching up and down hills. That looked something like this:

Photo by Jon Fogarty

The next challenge was the coffin barriers.

Photo From Cross Crusade Crew

Photo by Chris Baker

At this point, it is all pretty similar to stuff you would see in a Chicago Cross Cup course however, things are about to get interesting.

Next challenge is hill run up 1 of 3. The steepest and hardest of them all.

Photo From Halloween Cross Crusade Crew

This is followed by some flat switch backs and then some single track before you hit hill run up 2 of 3.

Photo From Halloween Cross Crusade Crew

Which then lead us to the scary downhill. It was ridable but really no good line. You had to just trust it and hoped for the best.

Photo From Halloween Cross Crusade Crew

This was immediately followed by hill run up 3 of 3 and depending on how talented you were it was either a short run up at the top or a longer run up from the bottom. Only person I saw ride the top was Trebon.

Photo by Jon Fogarty

Photo by Jon Fogarty

And then it was on to the Fly Over which you road up and over.

Photo from Halloween Cross Crusade Crew

But there were those that truly flew over the fly over! Impressive!!!

Photo by Halloween Cross Crusade crew

Lastly the course finished up with the stair run up and it was on to the finish.

Photo from Cross Crusade Crew

And then you did it all over again 4 more times. It just so happened that during our race it was raining so it was a little muddier than these pictures show but that is pretty par for the course in Oregon where it rains a lot.

After my first race of the year, I learned very quickly I was in no shape for what these ladies can do. It was a very humbling experience but I am sticking with it. I have continued to work hard and adjusted my work outs to fit the style of racing I am doing. Hello hill running and hard hill intervals.

Each race I do a little better and that is all I can really ask for. It also helps that racing has allowed me to meet an awesome group of very supportive ladies (West Coast Women Cycling), which I now call teammates along with my favorite Spidermonkeys.

Although the style of racing has changed, one thing I can say is the Oregon cycling community is the same as Chicago!! They are very supportive and welcoming!

Hopkins Park 2013

by Katie Kolon

I wanted to race Hopkins Park because it was a course I had not yet done and there was a flyover, which sounded exciting. I drove out with my friend Sara and after getting situated and registered, we took a practice lap. The course was very different from Jackson Park the previous weekend with a lot more stretches to speed up and pass people rather than spinning yourself into delirium via switchbacks. Still, there were plenty of interesting technical parts to suit my fancy.

After cheering on some Spidermonkeys and warming up, I rolled up to the start line where I wound up right next to Liz Farina Markel. We were chatting for a while about how we didn’t understand how some people who had never raced were staged up front and that it was potentially dangerous to have newbies ahead of experienced racers. I still don’t understand how the staging system works, but as irony would have it, shortly after the whistle, I wound up in a pile up, sandwiched between Liz’s bike and my own. I felt bad because I was keeping Liz from going, but I couldn’t get up because my foot was still clipped in and my leg was pinned between bikes, with my body weight holding it down so I asked her to help me get up. She did and raced off and I followed, thinking I need to stay with her because she beat me last week.


Keeping Liz in my sights, I pushed hard to pass a lot of people and relied on my confidence in corners to pinch of several more people and keep inching ahead. There was a stretch of straight asphalt where I sprinted and this was followed by a steep, but short hill. At the top of the hill there were some off-camber turns and a barrier going up hill, followed by a switchback at the top of the hill. Once I made it to the top of the hill, I had passed a significant amount of people and was feeling like my crash at the beginning wouldn’t matter too much. Plus, a lot of people were really slow getting back on their bike after the second barrier. I jumped on quickly and tore back down the hill. At the bottom of the hill there was a muddy portion and a lip between the mud and asphalt that some people had suggested trying to hop so as not to get a flat. I tried to bunny hop this section, but I was not clipped in and therefore did not have much stability and dropped my chain. Shaking from adrenaline, I took way too long to get my chain back on and was passed by nearly everyone that I had just spent my energy passing. (Note: only a couple days later did I realize that I also put my chain into the largest front chain ring, not doing myself any more favors.)

Once again I set out to chase Liz, but also relaxed a bit because I decided I would just do what I could at this point. The course had a lot of wide sweeping turns that you could take at a fast pace, which I did. You first passed under the fly-over, near the monkey cheering section before snaking back around to go over the fly-over. The fly-over was fun and I kept Kelly Clarke’s advice in mind each time to just make sure my front wheel was straight before going down the ramp. After the fly over there was a tree splitting the course near the apex of a wide right turn and it seemed most people took the right side because there was more space, but I decided that the beginning advice of the announcer to “take the left side, but I’m not telling where” meant to take this left side here. It was fine but I don’t know if it was a better choice.

Towards the end of the lap there was a wooded trail that was narrow and very muddy, so usually people slowed down a lot here, but again I took the left side (maybe he meant it here but this seemed obvious?) because it was less sticky and was able to get through this section a lot faster than some. Later on, when passing a junior I advised him to do the same.

At some point in my first or second lap I passed Liz, but I could almost always see her behind me when I went around turns and I used this as motivation to not slow down. I also kept in mind the advice of Kristen Meshberg, or was it Sara Rice, to race the race you’re in. This helped me focus on those around me that I could pick off or stay ahead of and not feel defeated by the fact that I would not be able to catch the people further up who I may have otherwise been racing against. Luckily, at the end of my second lap I saw the two laps to go sign. I was not happy that there were two laps, but this also allowed me to mentally prepare for the last lap. I never used to pay attention to these lap signs, but then again, I always used to get pulled.

I kept sprinting on the asphalt, taking corners fast, and trying to keep going. Towards the end of my last lap, when going over the double barriers on the flat, I saw a toddler that couldn’t have been older than four point at me and tell his dad, “She’s struggling!” His dad hushed him and told him that wasn’t nice. On the other hand, it was probably the best heckle I ever got. Too bad I didn’t have the breath to shout at the kid, “You think you’re so tough, why don’t you try it?! These barriers are half your height!” It reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from Bottle Rocket where Anthony comes back to Dignan after talking to a young girl:

Anthony: She thinks I’m a failure.
Dignan: What? She said you were a failure? What has she ever accomplished with her life that’s so great, man? Nothing.

In the end, I came in 29/43, which is still better than any of my prior seasons. I don’t know what it is but somehow I’m doing much better than my past two years’ attempts. I am not getting pulled, I’m not as gassed, and I’m getting points! I might even be starting to like cyclocross. What is happening?


Trek Collective CX Cup

by Lindsey Fahey

Last year I knew I was attracted to cyclocross since I love fall in general, like the cold and love to be dirty. Cross sounded like a sport that was right up my alley, but I needed a bike which I finally purchased this spring.

After really enjoying my first two cross experiences at Jackson Park Relay Cross and then Patriot Cross in Rantoul, IL, Nate Miller suggested I sign up and carpool with him to the Trek Collective Cup in Waterloo Wisconsin. I knew I wanted to race once between Patriot and Hopkins Park to make up for missing Jackson Park (first CCC race). I was at work when he mentioned it so quickly looked at my calendar, saw I was free, checked out the website, thought the logo looked pretty cool, and registered myself.


I told the reigning Cross Boss Kelly Clarke about what I had done and she said that’s cool, but that’s a serious race……….she probably would not have done it her first year. Crap, I thought, what have I gotten myself into??? I figured I would just do the best I could and would have my usual goal in crit racing: beat 10 people, and if that doesn’t happen try (TRY) to avoid coming in DFL). I watched the official course pre ride video and thought I it was probably way scarier in person. I was right.

After making sure I had all the stuff I’d need for the day 10 times (sports bra, on body so could not forget this time, although did forget an actual bra for after race) and leaving bright and early in Nate’s fully loaded Subaru (mostly with Trent’s stuff including a bucket, scrub brushes of various sizes, 2 bags and many wheels) we arrived in Waterloo, WI. I quickly realized this was a VERY fancy race complete with huge start area and announcer booth. We went into the fancy Trek factory and got our numbers and picked up our fancy party favors for doing the race (nice glass, nice beer coozy, nice poster, a cowbell, some lube). They even had set up a bunch of sweet Trek cross bikes for racers to ooogle over as they got their numbers. This was already way different from the other races I had done. I raced first so suited up to pre ride………..and came to a screeching halt as soon as I saw the first massive downhill with a 90 degree turn straight into a muddy run up. YIKES STRIPES, I thought maybe this is what KC was talking about! Trent rode down and survived so I let go of my brakes (and quickly re clenched them) and was off, turned out to not be too bad. Very hard, but I made it through 2 pre ride laps in one piece.

I was not totally sure how to warm up for cross so ventured off down a country road, climbed a hill and sprinted around a parking lot a bit and then sprinted up and down a road near the course some as well. Feeling as good as I was going to, I headed to the staging area and got called into the start grid. I was really nervous at this point, and wondering if KC was right, maybe this WAS too big of a race for my second real cross race in life. Too late, self, I thought, it’s the same thing, you have started many bike races, this one may have fancy stuff, but you still just pedal along and try to stay on the bike like always, pretty simple. I took some deep breaths, ate a gel, said a few Hail Marys since I couldn’t think of anything else to repeat to myself, and sat there in the start grid. I was glad that Rosette Reynolds from Roscoe Village Bikes was in the field; at least I knew a familiar face.

After an eternity we were off and I gunned it as hard as could, getting a good spot mostly clear of traffic heading onto the grassy part of the course. I wasn’t sure how to take the curbs that came first with 2x4s stacked against them in a good way so just sort of rammed over them……………..nothing broke and I stayed on bike so I figured that was as good a way as any. We came to the first swirly twirly thing where you went down a steep part and had to get enough speed to wind up a quick swirly hill over a culvert. The girls around me lost control and ran into each other on the downhill, I avoided the pile up but couldn’t get up the hill right. Lots of swearing ensued, but Rosette and I scooted out of the mess and got going again. I passed a lot of people right away and then came to the drop off. Bombs awayyyyyyyyyyy! I thought and skidded my way down, hopped off (trying to avoid deep mud) and sucked it up, powering up the hill. I jumped back on my bike and clipped in ok and kept powering along into the turny sections of the course. Later in the race my cleats filled with mud after the run up so I kind of rolled around on my bike after the run up part, banging my feet on my pedals to get the mud out. I was so thankful we had practiced cornering over and over the Thursday before because I could confidently and quickly take the corners with minimal braking and kept gaining ground, passing a few more people and Rosette at one point. Dang I thought, Rosette is a beast, I won’t be DFL at least!

I kept going and hit the barriers fine every time, being tall helps a lot to get over them I have found. A while later Rosette got me again along the start area, which I was fine with. The field stretched a bit and I was alone, but knew there was a girl not too far behind. Keep the hammer down I thought to myself. It helped to see Trent, Nate and Brad cheering along the course. As the laps went on I learned (sometimes the hard way) where to shift and exactly where I needed to be gear wise or course wise to take the next tricky part the best way and where the parts were that I could go particularly fast on, so made sure to power through them as fast as I could. There was a particularly tricky off camber area into a small swirly descent that led to a short but very steep hill. If taken right you could ride it but if taken wrong you tipped over. Throughout the laps I handled this with varying degrees of success, nailing it once, scooting up a bit once, running it once and tipping over once.

Last lap things got a little fuzzy and I remember thinking that there was a dead chipmunk on the course, and at least no one had run him over again so he was still in one piece. (SELF! Who cares??? Concentrate!!!) As I came around the last winding turns I kept thinking (or saying out loud maybe), you are almost done, just stay upright, nothing new here, watch the gravel, please oh please just stay upright. I finished and heard the announcer say “Lindsey Fahey with Spidermonkey Cycling coming across the line……and she’s…….smiling?? maybe she wants to do another lap?” I was like oh crap 1) you are smiling like an idiot (should look more badass in cross) and 2) do I have another lap???? I may die. Not sure what to do, I saw Rosette stopped up ahead and decided if she stopped I’m stopping.

I pulled up by her and was like oh lord, how did we do?? (pant pant, cough cough). I looked back and saw some girls trickling across the line. She was like oh like 6th maybe? I was like WHAT??? You are nuts no way. She was like yeah we did good, great race! Not believing her we went and rode around to cool out and got our stuff to change. I got out of my sweaty clothes and checked the results. Sure enough I had come in 7th place out of 23 ladies. I was so happy I had finally done something somewhat decent in bike racing after my lack luster first road season. I immediately reported in to Capitan Clarke on how I did and that I loved cross and wanted to race it every day.

After my race more fun ensued as I cheered on the male Monkeys and enjoyed a band, some New Belgium beer and a pulled pork sandwich. I went home happy and excited for the rest of the cross season. Congrats to Trent Williams, Mark Z, Nate Miller and Brad Erickson who also got out there and did some damage in Waterloo! It is a do-not-miss race for the Monkey CX-ers next year!


TJ does it right!

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