The nationals headed south this season for a rare trip to Texas. In spite of the southerly location the weather was cold and rain came for the weekend races. With the rain came the mud and cyclocross racers rejoiced. Some of the people in Austin did not rejoice.....more on that later.
Scott Chapin commandeered a van from his employer and shuttled nearly all of the team bikes to the rented house in Austin. This house was the former residence of Tommy Shannon, bass player in Stevie Ray Vaughan's band 'Double Trouble'. There were numerous portraits on the wall of famous musicians. The house was overcrowded with team folks but it served us very well.
Te first day was all about single speeds and Ellen Sherrill rode a great race to finish 3rd with the bronze medal. In the mens race nearly all of our riders had to start in the back half of the field so getting onto the podium would be nearly impossible. This said, they all rode strong with Max Judson coming in 21st, Scott Chapin 27th, Alex Work at 39th and Kailin Waterman at 49th out of a field of 135 starters.
The next day saw some masters racing with Kelly Chang riding to 19th in the women's 40-44 group. Rick Ortenblad and I lined up on the back row of 52 60-64 aged riders with Rick riding strongly up to 29th and I was able to do a bit of passing to finish 38th.
On Friday the masters racing continued , first with Scott Chapin finishing 15th in the mens 30-34 race, Kailin Waterman finishing 45th in the mens 35-39 race and Alex Work finishing 35th in the mens 40-44 race. Again, the riders had to battle poor starting positions and traffic .
Not a team member but always an inspiration, Ron Riley on his way to the bronze medal in the masters 80+ division.
supposedly because of erosion on the course and potential damage to heritage oak trees, the race was shut down for about 30 hours. This was local politics at work and I can't really go into it but the team used the time constructively in other activities-the giant outdoor chess set was one example.
Example # 2, bowing.....a team tradition since 2009. There's something very satisfying doing a sport where everybody is lousy, even the top athletes. The drinks are very affordable, too.
Another tradition-the team dinners. Austin is home to many great eateries and watering holes. This was the last night and the entire crew got out to an excellent Tex-Mex dinner and reflections on the week away from home.
The next morning a battered and weary crew got the van loaded to work the final day at the course with three elite riders still to race in the main events. First to go was Ellen Sherrill, getting 37th in the women's elite race and finishing on the lead lap. Next were Andrew Juiliano finishing 36th and Max Judelson finishing 43rd, both of whom started from the back row. These back row starting positions are a byproduct of the lack of USAC races on the west coast. This is likely to change for the next season.
Immediately after the last race the van was re-packed and driven the 30 hours through the southwest rain and sleet to Santa Cruz. Others on the team saw the southwest out of the window of a 737.
We came home to this......it is especially good to be home and for some of us , the end of a long and fruitful CX season. The season would not have been possible without our title sponsor Voler sports apparel, Capital sponsors Steven's Creek B.M.W., H.R.S. with Karen and Larry Bullard, the Jeff Traugott guitar company. Material sponsors kept us rolling and styling' were Chris King precision, Paul Component engineering, Buckler embrocation, Knog lighting, a huge thanks to WD-40 Bike for the lube and support at the nationals, Ritchey design for help with new components for the new team members bike builds. A shout out goes to Kalcic family wines for a box of some great red wine used at team gatherings here and in Austin. Thanks also to Amanda Schaper, Eric Brown, Rick Ortenblad and Eric Nelson for helping the team when you were not competing. A final thanks in a big way goes to Bob's Red Mill for keeping us fed and fast with the best stuff on earth. Cheers and happy new year !