Monday, November 24, 2008


Here's Billy Hall who dosen't get mentioned much but has been crushing the single speed B group all season on his way to 2nd. He leads the overall by a large margin.
All blue on the elite podium, HRS and Cal Giant.Sean Coffey, our man at Easton rode to a top-10 place in the A single speed catagory race. Here's Dean Poshard at the top of the runup.

The man in blue is Courtney Grossman on his way to 2nd in the 35-B group which he leads overall.

Snead off the front in the elite men's race. Josh would fight a valiant battle with Justin Robinson that ended up with Justin getting the district jersey and Josh getting his second silver medal while moving back up the standings in the overall.

Here's the elite mens start with HRS/Rock Lobster garnering about half the callups.

A rare glimpse of swigboss fighting to limit the losses after yet another stupid mistake at a critical moment early in the race....nobody said it was supposed to be easy ! Luckily, Scott Calley made the podium in the 45 B event to keep the team presence near the top of that group.

Stella in full flight on her way to second place in the women's A race. She would race her single speed in the A event immediatly following this demanding race.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 2 mud

IMG_2054, originally uploaded by ryandudek.

Sarah in Day 2 mud.

Thanks for flickin Ryan.

The only spot on USGP course without 4 inches of mud

IMG_2115, originally uploaded by ryandudek.

Sarah racing back east for USGP. Looks like nasty conditions in the mud.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Alex wins his first A race

With so many of our guys at the front it's kind of tough for any of the locals to win a race. There were four of the team for the first two laps but Alex and Josh got tangled up and the resulting damage to Josh's bike saw him have to make an early exit. From then on it was Odell, Buckethead and Alex work.......wait, Alex ? Not only could he ride at the front he won the race.....good thing as I had 25 cents riding on his win. Next time Alex, give Josh a little room and hold your hands up at the line when you come's more festive. So it was 1-2-3 with AK finshing 6th and Dean Poshard coming back from injury finishing on this hot dry afternoon.

Here's Stella finishing up for second on the day but piling on more points in her overall lead. No podium shot for Stella, just a wave to the gals up there while she races by on her single speed.

It's all HRS blue at the front today.

And mostly HRS blue on the podium.

And they said that it couldn't be done....the swiggboss himself with a puzzled look : " Is this me getting a 4th place medal and too many strawberries ?" To be honest, I still do not believe it myself....first podium spot in seven plus seasons of 'cross.

The 45 A group was handled by Steve Gile and his vicious sprint, along with Brett Lambert continuing his medal run at 5th. Courtney Grossman got a 4th in the 35 B group and has lead that class.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rock Lobster: Foreign Diplomat

I went to Canadia and all I won was a Canadian check for $53. oh, and $25 canadian cash.

So, my fellow teammates, I didn't get my UCI point. But I did get to go to an authentic Beer Store, to have my hands and feet freeze in the cool Ontario breeze, to race some seriously slick and intensely steep courses, and overall to rep for Rock Lobster with a smile and a "yeah, eh!"

Day 1 was a giant slip-n-slide, only I had a skinsuit on, not a swimsuit, and I was somehow supposed to keep a bicycle under me the whole time. I started from a crappy next-to-the-last-row position. In the first corner off the leadout, a rider slid out and caused the field to splinter. The next five or six corners were no better and by the midpoint of the lap the leaders already probably had over thirty seconds on me. The rest of the race really is a blur of trying to stay upright.

I would spend a long time trying to catch a rider, then catch them and then fall loosing all the ground I may have made up. The race was slow and there was quite a bit of running. I got lapped with one to go and that was the end. I am disappointed with 27th. I should have been way more aggresssive on the start and through the first lap, gotten in the next group and then created distance on the guys behind me. In reality, during the race, with people falling all over, my self included, and starting so far back, it is much easier said than done.

Day 2 was drier, faster, safer, and completely insane. If you took the world's smallest ski hill and tried to cram a UCI length course on the runs, this is what you'd get- up and down and up and up and down and around and up some more. The gun fired and I dug through the start group as best I could before the first turn. Kept it turned up to 11 and worked around riders though out the first lap. I rode up the hill cleanly, but not too hard and then kept the dirt caked rubber down on the downhill. Julie gave me a count and put me at 20th or so passing the pit.

And as the laps came down, I kept the pressure on. The slick corners made it so if you raced smart and conserved knowing too fast meant washing out, you had the energy to lay it down when it mattered. With two to go, I put in a hot lap, or whatever was left to make up a hot lap to try to separate myself from the couple of guys trailing me. Powered over the line and charged through the barriers. Rode through the uphill sections strong and took the downhills clean. It was the move to make. At this point, I had no idea of my placing, but felt really good. I was just racing for myself and a strong finish. And I turned out finishing in 18th, just three places out of the points.

So, that's My International Racing Adventure. The legs are coming around, I'm getting stronger while others are fading. And caving to our better judgement, I didn't respond to the boarder patrol when asked "Do you have anything to declare?" that "America is AWESOME!" Picture from here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Chicago Win- Ben Popper

Campton Cross, home turf, my third attempt at winning a Chicago Cross Cup series race. (The first attempt the car died on the way there. The second attempt I rode two laps on flat tires and took second.) I was looking forward to some hometown cheer and hopefully my first win of the year.

I lined up in the second row after the top 10 for the series were called up. Tried to pick a good wheel to follow, right behind Killjoy MTB teammate Kevin Klug. The front row launched just before the whistle, a false start if I have ever seen one, but I had a good jump and it didn't matter so much. I pushed my way to the thrid spot, maybe a little too aggressive, but I wanted to be up front into the woods and the first barrier.

Scott McLaughlin (SRAM) and Brian Conant (Pony Shop) were in front of me and almost like they wanted to give me the line I wanted, I slipped past them on the left. First through the barrier and to the top of the hill, I had started to separate from the group.

Kept it clean for the remainder of the lap. On the line I had probably about five seconds. As I rode through, the race promoter was yelling that there was a $50 prime for the winner of the second lap. I had the lead and figured I could spend every ounce of energy I had to win that second lap and still come away from the race with some cash, so I laid it all down. Came through the line next time to win the lap and double the gap.

I had definitely pushed it a little too hard on that lap and spent the third trying to get my head back into a steady and clean pace. I washed out in one wood chipped roller coaster turn and practically cart-wheeled over one of the ditches. I wasn't going to win the race falling over. I needed to keep the rubber side down.

Ben P going for the win, originally uploaded by hfpedersen.

For the rest of the race, I kept the gap above 12 seconds as the guys behind me kept trading places trying to jump up to me. I crossed the line with a healthy gap to second place, it felt good to win. Photo by Helge

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pilarcitos II

Keanu rolls while Odell drinks, the bucketman defends and Snead rolls away.

Stella gets a new jersey and keeps the series lead with the team.

Josh gets win # 7 for the season and extends his lead in the series while Scott climbs up the standings with a solid third place ride.

HRS/ Rock lobster on the podium again.

Snead savoring the moment, another Pilarcitos win coming in solo again. Schaweeet. In a day of a lot of suffering ( Alex Works half lap foot race for a tire inflation and Steven Itano's hard fall to the concrete on lap one ) the team showed how it rolls...and rolls and rolls.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crank Brothers USGP Round One and Two

Sorry it is just a little late. Day One: When we finally left the hotel room after a late nite arrival, we learned the course was 500 feet outside our door. This was rad. We all walked over to the course, I picked up my numbers and I was number 20! The course was super fun and fast with four sand pits, a railroad tie run up and the infamous green monster fly over.

With all the PRO racers converging on one venue for the race weekend I was rightfully expecting some super fast and aggressive racing. The start straight was called the "wholeshot of death" and that was because after the flat pavement straight it made a left hook and the course quickly narrowed. If I thought my start on Sunday in Cincinnati was good, my start on this first day at the USGP was great. I followed Trebons' wheel into that first turn. I was off the pavement well in the top twenty surrounded by guys I am very unfamiliar racing with. It did not last long and things shuffled and settled in, but for that few hundred feet, it was pretty damn cool to be right in the thick of it.

I really focused on riding a consistent race. And it showed. With every pass of the pit Sam was calling out 26th to me and I was riding in the same group for the first four or five laps. Then the group started to fall apart and I was riding to hold my position. With some familiar riders in front of me I kept on the gas trying to catch them. With the lap cards coming down, I could see that a few riders in front of me were slowing down and I was riding with a couple new riders. I was trading pulls with Will from the Richard Sachs team and felt pretty good to be riding with him. We were representing the two best cross frame builders in the matter of a few feet. So with two to go, I turned it on as best I could. Not a whole lot changed in the standings, but it felt really good to push the pace again at the end of the race instead of slowing down.

I crossed the line well on the lead lap at 24th. There were 56 starters, so I felt really good to finish in the top half, in the money and without having blown up at 40 minutes. It left me excited to race again the following day and maybe pick off a few guys who may have gotten tired from today.

Day 2: The course for the second day of the Louisville USGP was much the same as the first. Hours turned into minutes after a bunch of warm up laps, it was go time.

The second day always seems a little bit more relaxed. But after a not so stellar starting position forcing me towards the fence I had to back off the pedals breifly. That couple seconds was all it took for much of the field to surge ahead. Not the end of the world, as I was probably in the top half.

I was not being aggressive enough through the first half of a lap and it cost me. By the time we were passing the pit for the first time, I was riding at about 32nd. A couple of bad moves later and I was even further behind. It was time to put some of those guys behind me, so I set up to make a pass through the barriers. We all rode into them hot, and where the guys in front of me slowed a little stepping through, I didn't let up, hoping for a hole and an opportunity to slip through. That hole never appeared and I ran into the back of another rider. I tripped and hit the ground hard. Next thing I saw was the blue sky, and I had that panic... was I hurt? My bike? The other rider? I stayed down for a second and then everyone started yelling at me. "Get up! Go get them!" By their call everything was ok, so I got myself together the best I could and pressed on.

As I hit the ground one of the cantilevers released, spun on its' axis and was rubbing the rim. The design of Paul Components brakes is brilliant. Where other brakes probably would have broken completely and more than likely damaged the brake mounts in the fork, Paul designs the springs in his brakes to release when they are forced the wrong way. I babied myself and the bike the short distance to the pit. Switched with Sam again and rode out of the pit with Adam McGrath. I was pretty convinced my race was over at this point, but Adam was wearing the U23 leaders jersey. I turned around and told him that I wasn't sure how long I could go, but that I'd help him out and to tuck in behind me. It turned out he was having an even worse day than me and was not able to hold on for long.

So, I am sitting in no mans land in 36th place. But the more I rode, the more I loosened up and felt good on the bike. The course was still a super fun time to ride and there were so many sections that were meant to be railed. With five to go I started catching guys. I stayed on the pedals and kept pushing. The laps kept coming down and I was still slowly getting around riders. I finished strong and rode the remainder of the race after the crash pretty smoothly. So again, I finished on the lead lap and in 26th place. Not as good as I had hoped, but I am pretty confident had I not crashed like an idiot, I could have been more in the range of 22nd.

It was a super fun weekend. And it felt great to finish strong in such a fast field. Photo by: Amanda.