Cyclocross Year-end Wrap-up

Cyclocross Year-end Wrap-up

Team Hungry was well represented throughout the 2010 regional cyclocross scene. Thirteen team members, some veterans and some newly joined, raced more than 85 races combined, making it to the podium thirteen times.  The main focus was the increasingly popular Ohio Valley Cyclocross series (OVCX), consisting of fifteen races from mid-September through early December, including the epic three-day UCI3 Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival, three state championship races, and two days of the USGP.  The team also dabbled in the Cap City Cross series out of Columbus, and two members even made a special appearance at the last two USGP races in Portland, OR.

We all know what CX is about, riding the orange-red heart rate train of pain for 45-60 minutes, making friends and rivals, laughing, heckling, beer, falling, getting back up, mechanicals, and most of all -fun. But it also includes a lot of travel. Long days were made out of racing in Louisville, Indianapolis, Lexington, Cincinnati, Yellow Springs, and Columbus. A summer draught made its mark on the first two-thirds of the season making for fast, dry, hot racing eventually referred to as  “dirt crits.” By December, at great relief to racers and spectators alike, venues changed over from “dust bowls” to the wet, cold mud and ice fests CX is known for. All said, it was worth it, we all made it out alive, no busted bodies that can’t be healed, no beat down bikes that can’t be repaired (except for one cracked frame).  Team Hungry members put a lot of effort into racing hard and fast -we race hungry every time. We challenged ourselves and others, made more friends, and got to have a blast in one of cycling’s most open and exciting disciplines.  A special thanks goes out to the organizers, sponsors, fans, and supporters that make cyclocross so much fun, cheers! Following are attendance and result highlights from races attended.

Kings CX Weekend: Season Opener and OVCX#1

The first races of the season were dry, dusty, and fast – characteristics that would not change for nearly two months. Michael C, Kerry N, Eric P, Jamie W, and Zach C tested the new skinsuits on day one. Michael snagged 2nd place in the Cat3’s, while Kerry took 3rd in the single speed category. In the Cat4’s , Jamie got 9th (still in QCW colors), while Zach plowed for 5th in his first ever cx race. Day two was the first of the OVCX series. Michael was labeled “sandbagger” overnight by the masked man behind the Ohio Sandbagger blog curtain. No matter, Michael was hungry, knew he had the legs, and began his non-stop campaign in the Elite123 category taking 16th. Alex S, Scott P, Kerry, Eric, Zach, Jamie, Michael S, and Matt H all raced their hearts out and tried to minimize the damage to inside 30 places.

OVCX#2 – Tour de Louisville – Louisville, KY

Alison D, Michael, Alex, Scott, Kerry, Zach, Matt, and Andrew S all threw down on this hilly hard race. Lots of off-camber turns, ruts, one climb, not a flat meter anywhere.  It may have been early in the season, but people were racing all-out. A couple of us hit the deck, but no problems overall. Best race of the day was from Ali B, rocking to 3rd place in the Women’s Cat3/4 race.  Andrew had a great first cx race, carrying his bike over the barriers like it was a full baby diaper, but using his pure power to take 12th in the Cat4’s.

OVCX#3 – UCI3 Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival – Devou Park, Covington, KY

Day one of the pro-level cyclocross festival was held at the epic amphitheater bowl course in Devou Park. Mad ruts, dusty, fast, off camber and suited for mountain biking, as Kona’s Ryan Trebon proved in the Men’s Elite race. Team Hungry represented with Michael C, Alex, Kerry, Eric, James O, Jamie, Christa Z, Matt, and Andrew.  Men’s fields were packet 100+ with racers from all over the region, so Micheal’s 8th place in the Cat2/3 race, James’ 5th place in the Cat4 35+ race, Andrew’s 8th place in the Cat4’s and Matt, Jamie, and Eric all making inside 20 places in the 4’s made the team proud.

OVCX#4 – UCI3 Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival – Sunset Park, Middletown, OH

Day two of the UCI weekend was in the relatively flat, but highly technical Sunset Park in Middletown, Ohio. Huge fields and huge dust clouds along with tree roots and fast racing mark this race. Michael C, Zach, Kerry, James, Jamie, and Matt took it all on. Michael had another strong day in the 2/3’s with a 15th place, and Matt went big in the 4’s by getting 11th place. The big news of the day came from James’ 1st place, by laying down a dominating ride in the Cat4 35+ race.

OVCX#5 – UCI3 Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival – Harbin Park, Fairfield, OH

Day three, huge fields, sun, big, fast, rolling, and diverse course, lots of spectators, two big power sucking sand pits: hard, exciting racing. Team Hungry set up camp on the hillside next to the course to offer up some motivational speech to teammates and other racers. Michael, Kerry, Alex, Zach, Scott, James, and Matt showed up to the bike fight. Biggest fields yet and Michael delivered another impressive ride for 16th in the Cat2/3’s, Scott busted a dusty lung for 7th in the Cat3 35+ race, Alex raced strong to 11th in the Cat4’s, Zach and Matt each made the top twenty in the 4’s and the hard reality of a rolled tubular shuffled James from lead spot to an honorable 21st in the Cat4 35+ race.

OVCX#6 – Bloomingcross – Bloomington, IN

The Ohio Valley Cyclocross series made its way west to Bloomington, Indiana hot off the heals of the UCI3 Cyclocross weekend. Form was starting to take place in the cx peloton and series points hunters were down to business. Matt and Andrew lined up for battle. Matt took a healthy 19th place while Andrew chased the top ten for a nice 12th place spot in the Cat4’s.

Cap City Cross #1 – Columbus, OH

While Matt and Andrew threw down in Indiana, Michael, Kerry, Scott, and Alex decided to make the shorter trip to Dublin, Ohio and race the first of the Cap City Cross series races. Needless to say, the hard competition south prepared us handily for this flatland grass crit. Team Hungry went out with all guns blazing, stealing four podium spots. Kerry took 2nd place in Single Speed (and 9th in Cat3’s), Michael snatched 3rd in the Elite123 race, Scott railed it for 1st place in the Cat3 race, and Alex schooled the Cat4’s for 1st place. Bam, bam, bam, and bam!

OVCX#8 – Derby City Cup#2, USGP#4 – Louisville, KY.

The eighth race of the OVCX series was the fourth US Gran Prix race and a UCI2 event -big time pro and amateur racing. Massive fields and an epic, world-class course (future course of the World Championships 2012-2013). Team Hungry took this weekend off. However, Matt H braved the odds and faired incredibly well with a 15th place finish in the Cat4’s. To be clear, Matt was still riding for QCW and was formally invited to the team the following weekend.

OVCX#9 – Storm the Greens – Louisville, KY

This fast and fun course had plenty of technical features including six sandpits that could all be ridden (assuming you weren’t too gassed to hit the right lines) and an existing railroad tie step runup. Michael, Scott, Kerry, Alex, Andrew, and Matt made it to the show. Scott and Kerry say “thanks to whoever handed up those great microbrews.” Best results came from Scott with a 5th place in the Cat3’s, Andrew making 10th in the Cat4’s, and Michael hanging tough for 13th in the Elite race.

OVCX#10 – Gun Club – Milford, OH

Ah yes, the beloved Gun Club race did not disappoint. Excellent racing conditions that included single track, some mud, sand and barriers. Spectators were all over the course, especially crowded around the creek crossing spectacle. Team Hungry Hecklers Scott and Kerry hung out on the 25% grade runup planting ones and fives in the dirt, the bushes, and even the trees. Dozens of riders chose to forgo the cash preems in hopes of catching wheels or were too crosseyed to see money in their face.  Lead riders eager for an extra buck snatched the cash without missin’ a pedal stroke.  Alex, James, Michael, Kerry, Jamie, Matt, and Eric showed up to the shootout. Michael bested his previous race with a 12th in stout competition in the Elites and Alex flexed his quads to a 7th place in the Cat4’s. James was crushing in the lead when his tubie spoke again and he had to let the spots slip past.

OVCX#11 – Cap City Cross, Infirmary Mound – Columbus, OH

Ouch! Headwind and singletrack called for aeropower, agility, and tactics. Scott, Andrew, and Matt represented. Andrew outsprinted junior phenome Spencer Petrov for a 2nd place finish in the Cat4’s, consoling the young champ afterwards, “I am a strong road racer who can sprint, give it time young grasshopper.” Matt got 10th in the Cat4’s while Scott attacked his way toward the front but got outsprinted for a 3rd place finish in the Cat3’s, in which his adversary explained, “don’t feel bad, I’m just faster than you.”

OVCX#12 – Kentucky State Championships – Lexington, KY

Michael, Kerry, Alex, Matt, Andrew, James, Scott, and Jamie all paid to play in the Kentucky State Championship race. Ironically, the organizers turned a couple ball fields into a fairly interesting and challenging technical course. They said it was flat, but race day proved otherwise. A serious headwind shook things up a bit to the advantage of Scott who won the Cat3 35+ race by attacking headlong into the wind out of the pace line and never letting up. Kerry took the 8th spot in the Cat3’s, James got 7th in the Cat4 35+ and Andrew repeated his magic with a 2nd place in the Cat4’s. Matt and Alex raced like they were haulin’ quarter barrels of bourbon on their backs -oh wait, could that have been the result of too much celebration of the bourbon trail in the Reser/Hungry house stay?

OVCX13 – Ohio State Championship – John Bryan Park, Yellow Springs, OH

The cold rain and snow set the stage for some classic cyclocross racing for the Ohio State Championships. This popular race offered a bit of everything and a whole lot of slick mud. Bikers down gotta get around was the order of the day. Michael, Kerry, James, Matt, and Andrew answered the call of duty. James O’hhh set the record straight and became the Ohio State Champ of the Cat4 35+’s, Kerry had a great race for 11th place in the Cat3’s, and Andrew gave a strong ride for 5th place in the Cat4’s.

OVCX#14 – St. Mary’s Cross – Ft. Harrison, IN

Snow… Storm. Cold slop and snow and Matt Harbaugh went to work. Only Matt knows as he was the only Hungrian to make it to this race, but reports suggest hard conditions and great racing. Matt apparently lives for racing in everything, as he has raced more cx races this year than any other Hungry member. 15th place in the Cat4’s, great work!

US Gran Prix – The Stanley Portland Cup #1 and #2 – Portland, OR

The last two races of the USGP were held in Portland, OR, also known as cyclocross mecca. Two hungry boys bellied up to the line to race in classic cyclocross conditions, cold and muddy and huge field of cross-eyed crazies looking to join the ranks of USGP ranks. Michael and Alex flew out to fight it out. They set themselves up with single speed machines for the two days of racing and represented the team and the region quite well. Michael raced the Single Speed category both days, a feat quite impressive, as single speed is the holy grail of cyclocross for Portlanders. He clawed away for a 31st place finish on Saturday and came back swinging for a 22nd place finish Sunday. Alex raced his single speed straight up in the Cat4 race. The boy had two loaded guns and put down enough Ohio watts to land him an 11th place on Saturday and a crowd pleasing 4th place spot on Sunday!

OVCX#15 – Brookside Cup – Indiana State Championships – Indianapolis, IN

The OVCX season finale took place under perfect cyclocross conditions. There was snow from the previous day, (St. Mary’s) freezing mud, some slick as snot, some tacky, hilly terrain, plenty of technical sections, and an epic 40+ step run up after a hard slick off camber switchback. Kerry and Scott were down to clown. Kerry raced fast and seemed to be in his element at the front, playing foot out to stay on the hunt, but he bit it hard going down the long down hill off camber section; his derailer out of commission, time to walk it in. Scott decided to play his hand in the Elite Masters category for his final race working good lines on his 22psi tubies and laid down a hard sprint attack on the uphill paved section that gained him several spots before working up to 7th place.