Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships

I've been following Cyclo-Cross closely this season for several reasons. First because I bought a cyclo-cross bike and wanted to learn how to ride it. Second I knew the World Championships were coming to the U.S. this year. And third... Cross is getting BIG! I see new races popping up all around Georgia these days and they look like a ton of fun!

Shay Lindner
For those of you who don't know what Cyclo-Cross is let me tell you this way; Take your road bike and put thin knobby tires on it. Now race it through grass, dirt and mud. Oh and there might be some stairs or 2 foot tall barriers in your way so you'll have to hop off the bike and carry it. All this is done on a circuit loop small enough to allow the fans to be intimately involved in your suffering. A race lasts about an hour or less so think of it like an off road criterium. Accept in these races there's no benefit from drafting. And it's not like a mountain bike race because the effort involves more than just riding skill. You need running skills too.
What I've learned is that being smooth with your transitions on and off the bike are a key. It takes practice. Otherwise you'll find yourself red lining early and never get recovered.
I would love to see some Cross races up here in North Georgia around Hall County. I think we have many places to do it. Maybe I'll get that ball rolling this year. Hmmm.

My good friend Michel Van Musschenbroek took his son to the 2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships held this year in the United States. That's a big deal because the "World" usually goes to Europe for any cycling championships. That's just the way it is. America's love Football and Baseball... Europeans love Soccer and Cycling. So when he told me he was going I told him he had to write a story for my blog. That's just the way it is. And without further adieu I present to you...

2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships
by Michel Van Musschenbroek

Louisville KY, was the site for the 2013 World Cyclo Cross Championships and not knowing if I would ever have a chance to see them again, I seized the opportunity and bought tickets for the Saturday events for me and my son Gabriel.

We left on the Friday so we could try and see the presentation of the riders ceremony for the press.  That however was cancelled, because the Ohio River was rising so fast from the recent storms, there was a fear that the event would be washed out if run on Sunday, so all events were to be run on Saturday.  No way to say it but wow!  All four events; Juniors, U23, Elite Women and Elite Men on one day.  Our tickets were good as they were and we did not have to pay more!

So, with the presentation ceremony cancelled we thought we would still drive down to see the area and scope it out.  Interestingly, the Worlds Masters were run on Friday and we arrived just in time to see the break down of the event.  Did not see any of the action, but we did get to see and talk to some riders. They were all very friendly guys from Boulder, CO. asking Gabriel all sorts of questions about his interest. When we asked them how they did we found out we were talking to the bronze medallist and fifth place finisher!! 

Bronze medallist Peter Webber on the left, Dwight Brandon (3x National Champion) on the right.)

Dwight reached in to his bag and pulled out a beanie for the National Championships next year in Boulder and gave it to Gabriel.  They were all part of a team and they have a very informational website  :  http://www.mudandcowbells.com/

They told us they had over 50 riders from the ages 10 – 18 that ride CycloCross.
Back in our hotel preparing for the day to come we talked about how tough the course was that we saw that day.  The mud was 6 to 8 inches deep in some spots and the weather was -4 degrees Celsius ( -10 with windchill ). These guys are tough and do it for the love of it, not the money. 

So, Saturday morning arrives. Rise and shine!  Nope, rise and 3 inches of snow! This was going to be a real Belgian style day, not for the faint of heart. Having scoped out where we could park on Friday night, we arrived with plenty of time and walked our way in.  Watching the warm ups of the Juniors, we quickly realized it was going to be hard. The windchill had the temp at –12C according to the road signs. Here we are with winter coats, mittens, snow boots, touques (wool hats for those not familiar with the Canadian word), and cowbells, and these boys are riding around, warming up as if it were a spring day.

Michel and Gabriel on course and ready.

The organizers brought the official Bugler for the Kentucky Derby to play the National Anthem and Eva Bandman Park stood silent as we listened to the Star Spangled Banner fill the cold air.  A few minutes passed and then soon we heard the call to the gate by the Bugler over the sound system, a mild cheer filled the air and Junior riders were announced.  Off they went and cheering escalated throughout the park.  Methieu van der Poel was clearly the strongest and showed amazing speed when compared to the other riders and won the event with ease. 


Next were the Elite Women.  I was really pumped for this as Katie Compton was one of the favorites, and all I could imagine was the roar if she could win on home soil.

Unfortunately, this was not the case on this day.  A poor start by Katie had her in sitting behind a half dozen riders and by the time she was able to maneuver past them, the amazing Marianne Vos had such a lead, she was never going to be caught.  Coming second at the world championships to a multiple world and Olympic champion is nothing to hang your head down for.

At this point the Dutch had won both events and were looking quite strong, as the U23 race was about to begin.  Again the race proved to fit the Dutch riders well and as the temperatures warmed up the mud began to show itself.  Once hidden by snow and freezing weather the soil began to soften, and the strain to maintain a straight line became more and more apparent.  Riders began to fall more often; the lines in the corners became more critical as the slippery nature of the mud reared its ugly head.  The Dutch won the U23 event also.  Mike Teunissen was clearly the strongest and while the pursuers were a little closer than the previous two races, it was evident that he was racing with caution the last couple laps.  The color orange was being waved about more prominently after winning three consecutive golds.

A break from racing and a walk through the vendor exhibit to see some cycling products always makes a cyclist feel like a kid in a candy shop.  Wheels, frames, clothing and tires displayed for all to see.  Walking away from the vendor expo the Kentucky Derby Bugler rang through the sound system and the crowd erupted.  The event was here.  The best of the best were about to take to the course.  People ran to the various areas and quickly abandoned whatever they were doing to catch a glimpse.

The race started and the speed was incredible.

500 meters in and the Belgian squad was already controlling the race as five of the first seven spots were from the Belgium.  The pace was visibly faster and the skills incredible.  Mounting and dis-mounting with such precision and ease was incredible, realizing this was being done in mud at speeds normally for the road, indescribable.

My son was cheering for Sven Nys and who better to be with then the boys from Belgium.

Sven Nys (1st), Klass Vantornout (2nd)
Lars Van den Naar (3rd)

As the race progressed the mud got worse, but the speed remained.  In the end Sven Nys won Gold,  Klass Vantornout – Silver and Lars Van den Naar Bronze.
It was a spectacular weekend with memories to last our lifetime.  What was the best thing my son remembers; that I told him if there isn’t mud, it isn’t cyclo cross.  These world championships surely proved my point.


Big thanks to Michel for the photos and story! What a great and even historic event to be at. Maybe one day I'll get to see something like that.

That was last weekend but this weekend saw some road racing at the first of 4 Hincapie Training Series Races. Many of my peeps went up there to get their early season legs figured out. One such peep was Sean Philyaw of CAT4 fame who was even kind enough to share this video of his last lap demise. Enjoy!

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