2014 Savage CX

Congratulations to Ben Wiegand for his 2nd place in the Men’s 30-39 class at the Savage CX. The feeling from participants is that the word ‘Savage’ is appropriately in there, while the term ‘CX’ is potentially misleading. That makes for one hard race.

Ben Wiegand takes 2nd on the podium at the 2014 Savage CX

Ben Wiegand takes 2nd on the podium at the 2014 Savage CX

 

Artisanal Trophies at the Savage CX

Artisanal Trophies at the Savage CX

2014 Jerdon Mountain Challenge – Seth Cooley, 3rd

Seth Cooley - Jerdon Mountain Challenge Podium

Seth Cooley – Jerdon Mountain Challenge Podium

 

Bike: Turner Sultan with 130mm of travel.  A bit slack and a bit heavy at 28 lbs but it climbs like no other and descends just as fast.  I truly love this bike.  It’s very forgiving in Pisgah and with long rides this is key.

Seth's Podium Achieving Turner - Available at Youngblood Bikes.

Seth’s Podium Achieving Turner – Available at Youngblood Bikes.

 

Race:

This race was a blast as I am still adjusting to this type of racing style and I knew the course well so I had a great time and a great result for my girlfriend :)

 

This season has been rough as I have had some big nutrition issues and overtraining symptoms that has really limited my ability.  Thanks to Taft Draper LD I’m getting back to where I need to be. I saw Billy and JD and was stoked as it’s always more fun to have familiar faces at these races. I knew the course and was prepared, but I asked them for tips as they both have done this race before.

Basically it was a long fire road climb at the beginning which eventually turned to singletrack up to Star Gap.  Then down lower Heartbreak and over to Kitsuma on the fire road.  Down Kitsuma and back to Old Fort.

We lined up at the start and I was a bit nervous but kept telling myself that this was my first year and to just chill out and and have fun.  The gun went off and immediately Ian Baldwin was at the front which was bad because he is faaaaast.  The police did the lead out on the road until the fire road and then the pace blew up.  Immediately there was a group of 7 of us.  The two leaders, Ian and I, a few guys that rode for Specialized Regional team, and another I used to race against in XC.  Ian did an amazing job with pace as it was steady and not panicky as we weaved up the fire road.  Two leaders broke off about half way through.  They looked back as if to say “that’s it?”  Then gone.  Ian and I were leading the rest up and down the fire road until it pitched upward for a while.  I put in a small attack and Ian joined and that was enough to drop the rest.  Ian and I stayed together for the ENTIRE race.

We began the climb off the fire road up to Star Gap.  It’s a tight and twisty climb with a lot of switch backs with some much too tight for me to ride.  I had no idea what this race was going to be like with Ian.  I just wanted to hold on.  I was feeling pretty good at this point as I cracked jokes with Ian.  Once we reached Star Gap I could tell that no one was chasing which was relaxing.  We descended lower Heartbreak surprisingly slow as I stood on Ian’s wheel.  I’m not sure if I have gotten faster or he has gotten slower but it felt slow.  We hooped and hollered down the final tight switch back and on to the fire road and picked up the pace.

Race officials kept telling us that we were only 8min back and that we could catch them – screw that.  When we hit Kitsuma I bonked HARD.  I had no legs suddenly and became frustrated and angry.  I went into survival mode and spun up Kitsuma in hopes of not getting passed.  On the way down I was okay and became excited as I saw Ian ahead.  I caught him! No idea how but I was back on his wheel again as we hit the road back to Old Fort.  I was thinking about sprinting him for 3rd but thought better as he worked much harder then me.  I let him take 3rd. Some how I got 3rd in open class, not sure how, but a podium is a podium. Overall, I finished 4th at 2hrs 9min.  I am stoked to say the least and my girlfriend was just as happy.  A great ride!

2014 AVLCX Mountain Sports Festival – Reid Rhodes, 1st

Race: 2014 Asheville Cyclocross Mountain Sports Festival
Results: 1st

Asheville is a pretty damn fine town. This past weekend was the Mountain Sports Festival, which celebrates all that is good and true in Asheville. Over the weekend there is live music, craft brews, and racing (be it on foot or by bike). Asheville Cyclocross puts on a night ‘cross race every year with the festival. It’s a great event since it kind of serves as a break from road racing and it gets everyone excited for the fall ‘cross season. I participated in the B race. There were three categories: C (beginners), B (decent), A (really fast). I knew going into the race I’d have a good shot at being competitive with all my road racing this spring.

The race: We all lined up and I believe there were around thirty guys. So off we went and I was able to position myself in the top three while going for the holeshot. We flew through a couple of grassy turns and I was able to keep my position. Then, we hit a straightaway with a tight turn into the woods and I swooped past the second place rider to get a better spot into the turn. The only problem was that he sprinted in an attempt to defend his position, so all three of us flew into that turn quite fast and barely avoided a pile up. A couple of turns later I sprinted into first to get through a 180 degree turn before everyone else and started forming a gap on my chasers. Unfortunately, a super strong racer caught up to me, passed me, and proceeded to pull away. What followed was a couple of laps of yo-yoing where his speed would increase and then I would get closer. It got to the point where I thought I couldn’t catch him, but some rowdy fans cheered me on and I closed the gap down to 30-ish feet. Quick side note, this course involved riding through a sand volleyball court, which is very difficult for racers and quite fun for spectators. I was able to gain ground on him every time we went through the sand. We approached a barrier where you had to dismount, carry your bike, and hop over the obstacle. Fortunately for me, he bobbled over the barrier and I was able to catch him. For the next few laps we jostled back and forth between him leading or trailing me. Finally, the last lap started and, in anticipation of the final sprint to win, the pace picked up. As we approached the last few turns we had one final push through the sand and I managed to get a few feet ahead of him. We rounded the final turn, sprinted for the line, and this time I had a bit more left to eek out a win.