"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Jurassic Park

(pix by the amazing Steven Vance)

No, not quite. Although I had a startling realization as I was filling out my waiver on Friday night for Coach Randy's Jackson Park race-eve skills clinic, that my cyclocross racing age is actually 39...so next year that won't be too far from the truth.

A dinosaur on a bike.

However, since this year I'm still the spring chicken in my 30s, I ponied up for the Masters 30 Plus and the 4As. You have to double up in my situation. The 4s races are too short, and when your team is hosting, you gotta be out there. Maybe next I'll do the hat trick with two masters races and the 3s.

You guys can yell sandbagger all you want, but I'm staying in the 4s this year until I'm either on the podium or forced to upgrade. I may have Cat 3 power, but I have Cat 5 handling skills, so I think the 4s is a safe average on which to net out.

Anyways, Jason Knauff hates my constant blogging and called me out on my call up...so Jason, here's to you.

I pre-rode the course - another A+ design by teammate Greg Heck - as the 40 plus men were staging and twitching to get the 2010 Chicago Cross Cup season underway. The course was long and fast - versatile, in fact - suited to both mad CX skills in the technical turns and off-camber twists; and to roadies, who could make up for their short-comings by hammering in the straightaways.

Game face


I'll keep it short and sweet for a long and bitter race. Two and half laps in I was almost puking, after having started near the back and then turned myself inside out to work my way up to 25th or so in a sold-out field of 75. Coming past the wheel pit I tried to hawk one but it got stuck halfway, stretched out between my throat and dangling down my chin. Trying to then force it out almost made everything else come up as well.

Pushing hard past David of Roscoe Village and a very determined Martin of The Pony Shop, the last two laps I could only keep the pressure up and held on to a well-deserved 23rd place. It was my best placing by far in an open field, so I was pretty happy with my effort there.


As I mentioned before, I got a call up in this race. Traditionally, and for the remainder of the season, call-ups to the line are given based on your overall placing. The starting line is ten wide, so a call-up is like gold in a racers quest for the hole-shot. But since there were no results to go on, the call-ups at Jackson Park were awarded on a lottery basis, rather than last year's placing as had been done in the past. And with 10 names out of a pool of 75, the odds weren't that bad.

And truthfully, in my second race, I wasn't too surprised to hear my name called with Sister Sprocket's third dip into the paper bag filled with names. And then to hear Erik's name right after I rolled up.

Sister Sprocket will draw 10 names

The starting sprint was madness, with two big crashes in the opening turns. My technical skills were a real liability in this race and soon the podium gone. Patty, with Jack, and her sister Rose and niece Kaila watched from the mid section where they could scream and heckle multiple times as we doubled and tripled back.

Brian's crew

I did cling to the Top 10 for most of my blazing three laps, until the very end when I was passed in a turn (where else) by Lew of Rhythm Racing. The gap closed little by little in the closing meters, but ultimately it was too late - 11th place - and I won't be getting a call-up on October 3rd in Dekalb, the next race in the series.

Brian on the slalom

The 4B started right where it left off last year, with every level of fitness and skill represented in their three laps, and more heckling than a heathcare townhall meeting in Tyler, Texas.

Huge thanks to Illlinois Cycling, Chicago Cross Cup, all the officials, the sponsors, and of course, all the teams that showed up and made Sunday such a spectacular opening to the 2010 cyclocross season.


Steven Vance said...

I thought it was funny when Jason said, "You know he'll blog about this when he gets home... Brian Morrissey."

Also, who is this amazing photographer?

brianfmorrissey said...

Why, can't you see his name at the bottom of every picture? I wonder what happens when you click on one of those pictures??

;o) fixed.