I earned some decent results last year but even still, my petition for an upgrade to Cat 2 was denied. Rules are rules. So I registered for the Cat 3 30+ race and was lucky enough to get a front row call up. With a spot like this, I had to go for the hole shot. I lead the field through the first turn and drilled the first lap opening a good gap. The Hodala sandbagging heckles were brutal but winning still felt really good. I petitioned again for the upgrade and was denied again. Rules are still rules. I’m considering expanding my schedule to include at few more USAC events to hopefully earn the official upgrade.
All barrier sections should have a beer garden, it makes me smile.
The 2012 CX season is officially long gone. The sun is out more than it's not now and many of us are toiling away on our trainers, going out on long rides on the weekends and generally trying to improve our fitness. I liked my results from last season and I'm continuing to use the coaching advice from Kenneth Lundgren at Elite Endurance. He's pushing me to race a few road races this year; I'll post my results and comments here.
PainCave Cycling also picked up Tiremaniacs as our tire and shoe sponsor. It turns out that my CX nemesis from last year runs this operation.
I'm designing a 2013 kit right now. Please drop me a line if you'd like to be a part of the PainCave Cycling non-team for the 2013 season. This isn't a business, I'm not making any money on this adventure (it's actually the opposite). I'm doing this because I love cyclocross, I love bikes and I love learning about your racing, training and bike preparation.
Bring the mud!
PS: I also have two leftover long sleeve skinsuits for $75 shipped.
The 2012 Washington State Cyclocross Championship course was at the Arlington Airport, a small regional airport with a giant, wet, soggy, field. The course looked like the organizers strapped a GPS tracking chip to a rabbit, chased it around the field then put up tape along the rabbit’s path.There were at least five types of mud on the course: grassy mud, greasy mud, dry deep mud, wet deep mud and wet deep slop mud. While the course was dreadfully slow, the field was fast and the riders were intense.
The Cat 3 races were the last of the day. During my pre-ride I found some good traction “under the tape” - way out on the sides of the course. By time I was racing, even these areas were completely tracked out.
The Cat 3 Open field started first and my 35+ field started 60 seconds later. I started in the second row and quickly hammered up near the front. There was a long straight immediately following the first turn so I lit it up and charged up to third. The pavement gave way to muddy grass and I didn’t let up…go go go. I was off the front. About ¾ of the way into the first lap I was starting to pick off open riders. The mud was so deep and slow in sections shouldering the bike was much faster (I watched Logan Owen do this in the earlier Cat 1 race) The course also included a steep dry deep muddy run-up and a death spiral with deep mud was sloppy during my pre-ride but now nearly un-rideable.
Once I established a confident gap over my field, I battled with the open field racers for “less slow” lines and hammered when I had traction. On the last lap I let off the gas just slightly to ensure a totally mistake and mechanical-free finish. I was surprised and delighted that I finished fourth overall (with the fastest time of all the Cat 3 riders), where the three faster riders started in the open field race a minute earlier than me!
The night before the race, my father-in-law asked what my strategy was for the MFG series finale at Woodland Park. I explained my plan: go for the hole shot, go as hard as I can…the entire time. He wondered if I should write it down.
The Woodland Park course is one of my favorites with lots of hills and fast single track. A steep run-up was added this year and I found that if I came into the hill just right I could ride the entire climb. Four minutes into the first lap I led the Cat 3 35+ field down to the bottom of the run up and drilled it all the way up. Most of the riders were forced to dismount and I established a good gap. I attacked every hill kept the pace fast. The field is super strong and pushed hard to keep the gap.
This was my second win of the season and it felt especially good. One of my racing goals this year was to be on the podium at Woodland Park. The extra perk is that I won the overall Cat 3 35+ series as well! Now, it’s time to refocus and prepare for the Washington State Championship on December 2nd.
Crushing the run-up (not the first lap)
The gap on the first lap after the run up
The best part
MFG #5 Marymoor Park
CAT 3 35+ Brian Bressler
Going into the final lap I had an 8+ second gap on Sally but it eroded by the last corner where I led by one second. Sally attacked on the finish straight and I couldn't answer. I feel great about the race and the spectacular competition.
CAT 3 35+ Brian Bressler
by Willem Bakker
The medical staff noticed my crash and came to check on me and after looking me over suggested I needed serious medial attention. So there we go 30 minutes into the first real cross race and I'm on the way to the emergency room. AWESOME.
Two hours, some pretty good pain killers, and two x-rays later I finally got some good news. No break (no break = no surgery, WOO HOO!), but pulled every ligament and tendon possible in my right wrist/hand and pinched a nerve to boot. But what is some good news without more bad news? Out 4-5 weeks and rocking an air cast. Yup that's right, in one, well really two, fell swoops my cross season is pretty much relegated to the December races (if lucky).
But regardless of the misfortune that happened I will be back and with vigor.
SCX Silver Lake CAT 4, Brian Bressler
I've never been a fan the USA Cycling licensing system, it seems like an expensive hurdle to keep people from racing. Therefore, out of principle (ha!) I've opted for CX races that don't require a license. The MFG series and Cascade Cross series are excellent examples and the turnout at these races is growing and the races are extremely competitive. This weekend, I happened to be in Seattle for my mother-in-law's birthday and my wife suggested I find a race. She's awesome.
The Seattle CX series is USA Cycling sanctioned so I registered for the only race available to a rider without a license: CAT 4.
The Silver Lake course is known for both the long sandy sections - yes plural - you hit the beach twice per lap and for the many very steep short climbs. Since I have no points in this series I got the "everyone else" call up that put me about ¾ of the way back. Within 15 seconds of the start we were on the 100 meter sand stretch where riders were already coming off their bikes and running. I pre-rode the course and picked out a good line to ride. Once we were out of the sand I trashed my way up close to the front and tried to ride as cleanly and smoothly as possible. When the leader slid out on a fast downhill off camber to steep uphill climb, I first asked if he was ok (he's a riding buddy) then attacked and gapped the field. This was my first win this year!
Next week, I'll be back in the MFG series and racing CAT 3 35+ again and hungry to finish without a mechanical or a crash.
Starcrossed CAT 3 35+
Brian BresslerJ) every time. By the 5th of eight laps, it was just me and two other riders with a good gap on the chase group. We traded attacks and I was deep in the paincave. With about 90 seconds left in the race I went down on a tight sandy 180° turn and dropped the chain. Irate, I picked up my bike and started running. While running I realized 90 seconds on a bike is not 90 seconds on foot. I stopped and fixed my chain and limped in for a 6th place finish.
I love this picture as I have my eye focused on my “nemesis”.
Brian Wong and I before scrubbing the dirt off.