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FLCX and MTB’s. The last word.

On November 10, 2014 by Christian

You can ride your mountain bike in any FRS-CX/Florida Cyclocross event, with tires as wide as you like, as long as you don’t have forward facing barends. Fact.


pics courtesy Vital MTB / Cyclocross Magazine

If it is a UCI race, you can not ride a tire wider than 34c, and you must have drop bars (same with a national championship, or national calendar cyclocross race).

Each race promoter decides if he or she wants to include a separate category/class/race for mountain bikes in FLCX. Not one promoter has ever specifically said MTB’s are not allowed that I’m aware of.

There are many CX aficionados who feel that riding MTB’s is against the spirit of CX racing, and they aren’t wrong, but their feelings are just that, their feelings. Those feelings belong to them and do not affect you in the slightest. Even if they say something shitty to you, it’s still them being shitty; those words have no official weight.

With that said, if you have never even tried to race CX on a CX bike, you are cheating yourself of half the fun of CX, the fun of trying to control a skinny tired bike through off camber corners and sharp climbs and descents. Yes, of course it’s easier on a mountain bike. The point is that CX isn’t supposed to be easy. That’s a lot of the fun of it.

No one who is trying the sport of CX for the first time, or indeed even the first season, should feel bad, or allow someone else to make them feel bad, about riding an MTB in a CX race. Bikes are expensive, and spending $1000 or more on a bike to try out CX before you’re certain you’re going to like CX is just plain foolish. So all you beginners out there, don’t take any crap, just run what you brung and have a blast.

If you decide you want to keep racing, then, by all means, I encourage you to borrow a real CX bike and race it a couple of times, and if you decide it’s for you, go down to your local shop and buy a CX bike. They are super-rad, and they’ll make you a better rider on all of your bikes.

If you decide the CX bike scares the dickens out of you, and you just want to keep riding your mountain bike, that’s fine, too. But you shouldn’t feel that any CX promoter is obligated to schedule a specific MTB race- it is a CX race, after all. There are many MTB races on the calender, and I doubt that any of them offer a separate CX bike category. Nor should they, it’s an MTB race.

I hope that once and for all we can move past this topic and move on to more important ones, such as “how can I sucker more of my friends into coming out to race CX” and “who can grow the weirdest beard for CX States”?

That last one is a trick question, y’all. I’ve got that one in the bag.

OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS – SPOOKY CROSS

On October 24, 2014 by Christian

As we enter the heart of the Florida Cyclocross season, we are starting to see some patterns developing, some riders emerging from the sweaty, tangled masses of also-rans and shoulda coulda wouldas. Still others are falling by the wayside, sad and sorrowful, licking their boo-boos and muttering about “jobs” or “family time” or “I gotta start training” or even “go-karts.” But the faithful, the devoted, the committed? They are present, soaking up attendance points and sneaking away to point series leads of surprisingly large margins.

The second of three Wicked Awesome Racing events last weekend was an off-camber masterpiece on a course that was arguably better than the first round. A shorter run up that was perfectly rideable if your named rhymes with “Food awl,” multiple hairpins on hillsides, and several completley rutted out corners made choosing the correct line crucial and deviating from it dangerous to maintaining flow and momentum.

That’s all well and good, because this weekend’s Second Annual Winter Garden Spooky Cross is going to be a slog through some nasty velcro grass. The grass is so thick, and there’s so much of it, that I don’t even think we’re going to use the sand pit, because I have a heart and I don’t want to kill anybody. Ok, I just don’t want to kill anybody. There, I said it. It is a power course, that much is certain. There are a couple of technical sections, but by and large it’s going to be more about watts than it is bike handling. Except for the fast sandy sections. Those will be tricky, and just get trickier as the day goes on, but dead flat.

With all this said, it’s time for the disclaimer:

These rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything negative we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you.

1. 1. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2, SS | Last Rank: 1


pic from facebook

Ryan maintains his Vice-Grip lock on the top spot with three wins and a second this past weekend. He was also riding up the run-up during the single speed race and at times carrying a sword around with him as well. Riding the run up was pretty bonkers, guys. Pro-1-2 this year has already been so great, we’ve never had two guys battling it out this hard, and now that Josh Thornton (Team Giant) has a few weekends to just race and shake off his #promoterlegs, we have the makings of some fantastic racing. And then there’s the utter demolition Ryan performed on the rest of the Single Speed field, we don’t even need to discuss that any further, it was comprehensive. A well deserved #1 for the man from Ocala.

2. Zoltan Tisza (Colavita South Florida) | Masters 45, P12 | Last Rank 4

Another strong weekend of racing (and winning) in Masters 45 immediately followed by third place in the Pro-1-2 moves Zoltan back into the 2 slot. Giving a free CX clinic before the Single Speed race on Sunday didn’t hurt him, either. Zoltan loves the sport and wants to grow it, and he does the whole walking the walk talking the talk thing. If you haven’t had a chance to talk to him, or at least study him racing- he is a magician on the bike, disappearing from the rest of the field, and an ambassador off it. We need more Zoltans.

3. Clint Gibbs M35 (Bike Works GNV) | Masters 35+ | Last Rank 2


pic from facebook

The only reason Clint fell to 3 is that Zoltan is killing it in masters and in the 60 minute race, while Clint is killing it in masters and then beating up the Cat 3′s. Trust me, it ain’t that hard to go faster than me, but it is tricky to keep the likes of Addison Zawada and Rolly Weaver in your rear-view. But for real, Clint is riding away with Masters 35, and if he keeps riding 3′s he’ll probably keep winning that, since there’s nobody on his level with any plans to do a lot of racing for the rest of the seasson.

4. Allison Linnell (all4cycling) | Women Pro-1-2-3 | Last Rank NA


pic from facebook

This one might start some controversy, but if you feel outraged, read the disclaimer again, and don’t hassle me. No less an authority than Kristin Apotsos told me that Allison hung out on her wheel comfortably for three laps and then rode away from Kristin, which is not easy to do, particularly once the officials start hanging out the lap cards. Were it not for terrible luck with tubeless tires (now where have I heard that before?) Allison would have had a dominating win on Sunday to match the dominating win she had at the last WAR event. I hope she’s able to overcome the mechanicals and race hard for the win for 45 minutes- she’s fun to watch out there.

5. Josh Thornton (Team Giant ) | P12 | Last Ranking: 9


pic from Hawkdancer via facebook.

Winning a Pro-1-2 race will move you up the Power Rankings. Being a perennial winner of FLCX races will help you as well, but the simple fact that Josh only has to show up this Sunday and race makes him the long shot gambling man’s choice to win the 60 minute race. Yes, Ryan Woodall has thus far dominated, but Josh managed to find a weakness on Day 1 of WAR # 2 Electric Boogaloo and exploit it. Can he do it at Spoopy CX? As I’ve mentioned, I think that it’s going to come down to WATTS this Sunday, so it should prove to be one of the more interesting races of the season.

6. Kristin Apotsos (Infinity) | Women Pro-1-2-3 | Last Rank NA


pic from Hawkdancer via facebook

Kristin lives the dream so hard that it’s a wonder we don’t all turn green from envy every time we see her in person. Beautiful kids, sparkling fitness, that bad-ass Airstream, the hunky husband, dominance in whatever sport strikes her fancy, and, of course, drinking slurpees as recovery fuel. Do I really need to type more words to convince you of her awesomeness? Now that we’ve hit the heart of the season, we should be in for quite a duel between her and Allison, and once Laura Parsons gets her legs back under her, look the eff out, we should have one of the most compelling battles in FLCX history.

7. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Cycling) | Masters 55+ | Last Ranking: 6

Dan maintains his “Silent Killer” persona and lead in the FRS-CX with yet another win on day 1 at WAR #2, but there are multiple guys knocking at his door, challenging his early dominance. Brian Davis (Treasure Coast Racing) won day #2 and is loving CX so much he bought a single speed bike, and Paul Schwartz (Orlando Road Club) is not going away either. Plus there’s the looming menace of the youngsters Steve Noble and Biron Keefer (both Infinity) to keep him honest.

8. Clayton Knight (Team Top Gear) | Junior 10 | Last Ranking: na


pic from Hawkdancer from facebook

Clayton and his older brother Harrison are so ridiculously good. I watched Clayton completely lock up his rear wheel and flat out drift the first off-camber 180 hairpin out of the finish line pavement area like he planned it, and even if he didn’t plan it (and he didn’t), it was so insanely smooth and so far beyond what skills any 10 year old has any right to have that I was honestly flabbergasted. The Knight brothers are going to go as far as they want to go in cycling. Great kids, great attitude, and great talent. And they were chasing Ryan Woodall around trying to give him a sword hand-up during the Single Speed race for some reason. Watch them race, it’s a treat.

9. Eric Ehrenberg (VeloBrew) | Men Cat 3 | Last Ranking: 7

How in the shit is Eric still winning cat 3 men? Seriously? I mean COME ON! In the actual races, I’m chasing him (but not catching him.) And I’m not fast. This is PRECISELY how I managed to podium for the season series last year. I guess I’m just pissed that he’s stealing my schtick, but then again, I COULDN’T CATCH HIM last week, even after I got a beautiful holeshot and stayed away from him for three laps or so. Eric is the picture of riding within himself and staying consistent, which is never going to win any races but will win a championship, or at least get him on the podium at year’s end. It’s smart riding, and it’s showing up every race, and it works. Take notes, if you have any designs on winning series honours. As much as I want to beat you, Eric, I doff my cycling cap to you. You’re DOING IT RIGHT.

10. Jason Davis (U/A) | Men Cat 4/5 | Last Ranking: NA

There’s like three Jason Davis with who I have mutual Facebook friends, so I have no idea which one is the one who has done three FLCX races this year and never finished lower than 2nd, but one of those three is my favourite to win in Winter Garden this weekend. Cat 4/5 is such a lottery on an average weekend, and there promises to be a massive field this coming Sunday, with 22 guys already pre-reged as of 10.26pm Friday night, so who exactly is going to stand on the podium is impossible to guess. Except my money is on one of the three Jason’s. I mean, just betting on the averages.

We See You:

Cat 4/5: John Vega (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law)
W123: Diane Blake (Colavita Racing, Inc.)
W123: Rebecca Laborde
P12/SS: Tic Bowen
M35:Vitor Alexandre (Colavita Racing, Inc.) (Don’t call it a comeback?)
M35/M3: Scott Atkins (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law)
M3 Joey Gilman (Locomotion)
W4: JoAn Weaver (Swift)
W4: Darla Woodal (Team TopGear/MuMu)

Sandbagger of the week: None! But we’re still looking out, so don’t try anything funny…

OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS – WAR # 2 Dade City

On October 16, 2014 by Christian

As we head into the third weekend of the FRS-CX Schedule for the Wicked Awesome Racing 2: Electric Boogaloo in Dade City, there are many conclusions one could draw, but most of them would be incorrect, because OBVIOUSLY you are reading this, and not writing it, and since as we all know that the Power Rankings are INDISPUTABLE and CORRECT the only possible conclusion is that it’s just too damn early to tell with any accuracy just what the hell is going on. This is the first of three race weekends in a row, so by the end of the three, we should have a better idea just what’s happening.

Right now the points are crazy and confused and some previously dominant riders haven’t even started their CX season, and others have been too busy promoting races to actually ride like their historically badass selves, and still others are searching for the form they enjoyed last season. FRS-CX tabulates points based on your best 8 race results, so they won’t truly paint a picture of who’s dominating whom until everyone has done at least 8 races. After just 4 races total, it’s as much attendance as it is podiums in some categories, but as my 2013 Second Place Men’s Cat three FLCX Point Series Cowbell will tell you, attendance can take you a long way towards podiuming the overall.

Early reports about the course this weekend suggest that a lot of off-camber and thick grass will combine with a classic Thornton run-up to create a tough but fun course, and there appears to be plenty of recovery for every nasty course feature to balance things out. It should be pretty dry, as well, so those mud tires can probably stay home this weekend.

These rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything negative we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you.

As always, please, no wagering.

1. 1. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: 1

Ryan is batting 1.000 on the season in both Pro1/2 as well as Single Speed. Is this a sign of things to come for the rest of the season? I somehow doubt that Josh Thornton will allow that to be the case, but since Josh will be dealing with #Promoterlegs again this weekend, there’s an excellent chance that Ryan’s streak will continue. At least until the Second Annual Winter Garden Spooky CX on October 25, 2014.

2. Clint Gibbs M35 (Bike Works GNV) | Masters 35+ | Last Rank NA


pic from Clint’s Facebook

Rocketing to the upper reaches of the FLCX Power Rankings, as well as the top of the FRS-CX standings, as well as the top of that mountain, above, is Clint Gibbs, who is quite simply having his way with the Masters 35+ category. Two firsts and two seconds will buy a lot of bragging rights in a town full of SERIOUS BUSINESS MASTERS RACERS, but thus far Clint has had the answers to all of his challenger’s questions.

3. Harrison Knight (Cycle Youth) | Juniors 12-14 | Last Rank: NR

The nicest kid who will tear your legs off? He and his brother probably fight over that title, but the Knight boys are up to their old tricks again.

4. Zoltan Tisza (Colavita South Florida) | Masters 45, P12 | Last Rank 2


Amazing pic from Facebook/Hawkdancer Photography.

Zoltan really makes it look too easy. I mean, I know it’s not easy, but he goes from winning the Masters 45 race to turning around immediately and then coming in 3rd or 4th in the Pro 1,2 race. And he’s still smiling when it’s over. Ben Smith is chasing him in Masters 45′s, but he’s got his work cut out for him to catch the Z-man.

5. JoAn Weaver (Swift Cycles) | Women 4 | Last Ranking NR


Pic from Facebook.

Joanne was dragged to enough races by Mr. Pete Miner that she got a bike of her own and started training. Now the two of them trade semi-cruel heckles and get to wash the sand off each other after the races are over. How romantic! With the departure of Rebecca Laborde and Nicole Carson to the 45 minute Ladies Race, JoAn has grabbed onto the reins in Women 4′s and only time will tell how long her reign will last.

6. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Cycling) | Masters 55+ | Last Ranking: NR


Pic from Facebook.

Even Dan’s own West Coast Cycling team has taken to calling him “The Silent Killer,” so you know that the things you read on the FLCX Power Rankings are incontrovertibly true and real, and we don’t make up any of this stuff. Dan picked up where he left off last season in Masters 55, but now he has the ever youthful but newly 55 Byron Keefer (Infinity) nipping at his heels. As the weather cools off and the racing heats up, I have a feeling that the M55 race should prove to be one of the more competitive fields- there are a lot of fast guys who are still polishing up their form.

7. Eric Ehrenberg (VeloBrew) | Cat 3 | Last Ranking: NR

Eric finds himself leading the Cat 3 point series based on the fact that he’s got two third places AND he’s the only rider to have done all four days of racing. I’m sure he’ll be as surprised as anyone to find himself on top of this heap, as these are the first 4 45 minute races he’s ever done, but hey, beginner’s luck? He will have to work pretty hard to stay in front of Bob Croslin (Orange State), Sebastian Morfin (Interactive Metronome p/b Mega Cycle), and Joel Gorman (Flying Fish), but that’s why they have the races, you never know who’s going to show up or who’s going to have a mechanical.

8. Diane Blake (Colavita Devo) | Women 123 | Last Ranking: NR


Pic by Michelle Blake

Until Kristin Apotsos (Infinity) stops her Stand Up Paddleboarding season and Laura Parsons (Infinity) gets her injury healed (I thought @ajplotz became a Doctor so you’d never get injured again, Laura?!!?!) the Women 123 race is totally and completely up for grabs. Jen KRAAAATZZZ and Rebecca Laborde are proving to be strong challengers in the mean time, but it’s the lady who has forgotten more about bikes than most of us will ever know that currently resides in the hot seat. Nice job, Diane.

9. John Vega (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law) | Mens 4/5 | Last Ranking: NR

Men’s 4/5 has seen a different winner for each of the 4 race days we’ve had so far, so picking a winner is pretty difficult. John Vega has put together the most consistently high finishes, so he gets to be the lucky guy with his name in bold. Who’s gonna win on Saturday? I have no freakin’ clue.

9. Josh Thornton (Team Giant ) | P12 | Last Ranking: 4


pic from Facebook

Based on history, Josh is due for a win, but with the handicap of the dreaded #promoterslegs, it will be all the more difficult for him. Betting on Josh at the Second Annual Winter Garden Spooky CX on October 25, 2014 is probably a safer bet, but who knows how much damage promoting two CX race weekends has done to Josh’s form? Only Josh, and he’s keeping his cards close to the vest for the moment.

We See You: Addison Zawada (P12), Tic Bowen (p12), Leonardo Sandoval (M35), Omar Machiste (M35), Ben Smith (M45), Scott Atkins (M45), Chase Forman (Junior Men 12-14), Ava Sykes (Junior Women 12-14) Mary Oneal (W4)

Sandbagger of the Week: Wes Irons absolutely ran away from the field in the Men’s 4/5 race on Day 2 in Dunedin. It wasn’t even close. Yes, it was his first CX race ever, and yes, he’s racing MTBs this weekend, but he will be doing the 45 minute race before the year is out if he keeps his current form going.

Praises from the Pastor

On October 4, 2014 by Pastor Politz

Welcome to the newest feature of FLCX.org. This regular article will celebrate the athletic supporters of each race. These people, organizations and objects may or may not race and their contributions to Cyclocross may or may not be measurable, but their spirit, drive, dedication, smile and sometimes wallets made this past weekend memorable and awesome.  Seeing as how I can’t be at both days every race or see the whole course, I am constantly looking for outside nominees and ask you the readers, racers and spectators to be quick to inform me of any awesomeness I may have missed. Promoters specifically will be left out from now on, otherwise, I would feel obligated to praise the promoter each week.  Instead, elements of your race (i.e. WAR #1 run up) will be eligible.

If you don’t know me, I am Greg Politz. I am the bearded guy offering you water during the real races and beer or root beer during the SS race. When I am at a CX race I will probably be holding a green heckle-cone close to my mouth and living by two hashtags: #handupsarenotacrime and #davetowlecanttellmewhattodo. Ok, enough introduction – lets jump into it.

Edinburgh Cyclocross Challenge 9/27-9/28

This was year 2 of the Edinburgh Challenge in Dunedin. Last year it was a one day race, the season opener, and my first exposure to you awesome people. I am really glad this race survived the guillotine, but imagine if the race had been in that rain on Saturday night as planned. Just imagine. The following honorees were not paid to be at this event. In fact, most of them paid out of pocket to be there and their impact was felt or seen through out the weekend. I could never prioritize these so they are in no particular order.

#ALLWOODALLZALLOWED

Ryan is 8-0 in 4 days of racing, but it looks like he is going to be running a 5th and 6th race every weekend. He tried the 3-fer for the first time this weekend as he jogged along side the woman’s cat 4 race while his wife, Darla, made her much anticipated debut on Sunday. Although performance isn’t a very big factor to this article, you can’t argue with Ryan’s early dominance and the overall presence of the Woodall clan. The youngest of whom looked awfully cute with a hecklecone.

Roman and Graynor Law Firm

2nd year sponsors of Edinburgh were out in full force again which is something the whole scene should be happy about. Happy sponsors create happy promoters which create happy racers. Like them on Facebook, and should you ever need the services of a personal injury attorney.  Make them your first call and make sure you tell them you heard of them through FLCX. We need more non-bike industry sponsors like Roman and Graynor.

Petra Missourai

I am not sure what title to give Petra. I guess she will be team mom soon enough, but for now she is the pregnant woman in the feed zone for over 2 hours each day supporting Zoltan and Vitor and chasing down their discarded bottles. While I would be happy to hand them bottles as well, Colavita is lucky to have Petra.

Jason Guillen

Jason gets the call up for bailing on 6 Gap to race cross. I am a fan of anyone who skips the pavement to ride the dirt. Especially if that dirt is wet and on a CX course. Jason scared me a bit when he seemingly sold off his entire bike collection, including one very poorly cared for Specialized Tricross, and then showed up in Dade City on his road bike. Thankfully, he is back.

Cabe Crisler

Admittingly, I did not witness Cabe’s selfless awesomeness, but when polling my trusted advisers on the topic of awesomeness, Cabe’s name came up multiple times. The story I heard was that Ava Sykes (you know, super rad Jr who just raced up with the woman and won!) had some kind of a catastrophic bike failure rendering it un-rideable on Saturday. Well along comes Cabe, who without hesitation, raised his seat, switched the cassette to an 11 and handed Ava his bike to race. I don’t how much of his heroics were embellished or what parts I made up for comedic effect, but I do know that the ‘without hesitation’ part is true and that’s why Cabe gets a high five. That and his goatee. B-T-Dubs, he won his race on Saturday and finished 2nd on Sunday. Hope to see Cabe more this year, but it might be tough in that camo kit.

Eric Ehrenberg

Eric didn’t have to Cat up to 3s, but he’s a competitor, so he stepped up. On Sunday, he was ahead of Michael Weimar and then got caught near the end. When the preliminary results came out, Eric took a picture on his phone and later realized he was listed ahead of Michael. Eric quickly pointed out the mistake to Michael so he could bring it to the official’s attention. This call up is easy to give and the author would like to call up #MRdoingitright Steve Collins for bringing the story to my attention. Thank you to Steve and Eric.

Jennifer Kraaz-t

Jennifer just had an awesome write up in Cyclocross Magazine about FLCX (find it in this month’s free online edition) and then followed it up with hard fought races with Rebecca and the Jr field on both Saturday and Sunday. “The good news is you’re winning the women’s race, the bad news is you’re fifth in the juniors.” -Steve Collins. Not many people embody FLCX as much as Jennifer; whether that is a good thing or not, you can decide.

Next race is Wicked Awesome Racing #2 in Dade City 10/18 & 19. I am hoping we will take over the local campground Saturday night. Give me a shout if you are interested. Hope to see everyone there.

May the shred be with you all,

Pastor Politz

Rat Pack Race Report: Wicked Awesome Racing No. 1

On October 1, 2014 by Professor Collins

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Rat Pack Race Report. Our focus here is on the men and women at the back of the pack. This report is about the first Wicked Awesome Racing (WAR) event in Dade City the weekend of Sept. 20-21, which was both wicked and awesome. A special thanks to promoters Kaleigh and Josh Thornton and all their sponsors.

Rider of the Week: Mark Schwab. A traditional back-of-the-packer, Mark made Saturday’s mountain bike podium in third place. Making Mark’s accomplishment more impressive are two important facts. 1. He completed the Cat 4/5 race moments before starting the mountain bike race. 2. He rode “Frankenstein,” a single speed contraption of his own making. Mark also distinguished himself as MC. He’s no Christian Carlqvist but who is?

Newcomers of the Week: Michelle Toth, Robert Fenderson, and Liz Hardy Addams. All three completed their first CX races this weekend and did so in style. Already a mainstay at CX races as Michael Toth’s pit chief and moral support, it was nice to see Michelle join the fun on the other side of the tape. Addams distinguished herself on Saturday by asking me if I was in fact racing (that stung a little because I was) as she passed me just before the run up on the first lap. On Sunday, Fenderson held off a furious charge by yours truly to take 25th place and the final point in the FRS-CX series standings.

Shenanigan of the Week: That would go to yours truly. Shenanigan No. 1: I didn’t realize when I decided to double up and race both Cat 4/5 and mountain bike on Saturday that the only thing separating these two races was the kids race. Shenanigan No. 2: I was still sitting in a comfy chair when I realized the race had just started. Kudos to Josh Thornton for holding the race tape above his head (which it turns out isn’t that high) so I could sneak under and join the race.

We say goodbye to: Nicole Carson and Rebecca Laborde. We’ve enjoyed racing with these ladies while they were Cat 4’s, but their respective bags called to say they wanted their sand back. As such, both ladies are moving up this weekend. They were always too fast to be members of the Rat Pack, but we enjoyed getting passed (and occasionally lapped) by them.

We have our eye on: John LaManna and Carlos Iglesias. Sandwiched between Stuart Poe and Mark Schwab in the FRS-CX rankings, these two guys have serious Rat Pack potential.

OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ – Wicked Awesome Race #1

On September 26, 2014 by Super Rookie

You have been begging for the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ for a few days and we are here to deliver. We have been holed up in our respective mother’s basements crunching the numbers and passing our preliminary ranking back and forth waiting for the posting of the official results of the first weekend of racing in Dade City. Naturally, some would say that the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ are the most important part of Florida Cyclocross.

Due to this, there is a lot of pressure on the FLCX Junta to produce 100% official, infallible, unquestionable and accurate rankings that can not be challenged, but we are cyclocross racers and we can handle the pressure. As the season rolls into the second weekend at the Edinburgh Challenge in Dunedin this weekend we now have a few questions answered and more being asked.

Questions Answered:

  1. Will Ryan Woodall actually race his bike, or just Facebook about racing cyclocross for the third year in a row?
  2. Will Josh Thorton face a serious challenge at anytime this season?
  3. Who is Zoltan Tisza and why is he hurting everyone?

Questions To Be Answered:

  1. Was it a case of the dreaded #promoterlegs, or is Josh Thorton the new Chris Slack?
  2. Will Karen Dybdahl redeem the Dybdahl family name?
  3. Is Kristin Apotsos the new Laura Parsons?

Regardless of the answers we are here for you.

XOXO,

Tim and Christian

2013/14 OFFICIAL FLCX Power Rankings™: Wicked Hahdah CX

Photo: Team Pro’s Closet

1. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NA

It seems like the local mountain bike legend is going all in on cyclocross this year. He even has a cyclocross bike! Pulled off two huge victories in the season opening race and staked an early claim to the top of the Power Rankings with that performance. Was it a case of the dreaded #promoterlegs for FLCX resident strongman, Josh Thorton? Or, is Ryan Woodall the all-new Dragon Slayer?

Photo: Dave McElwaine

2. Zoltan Tisza (Colavita) | M45+ | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NA

The real deal. Former Hungarian national champion and world championship entrant came to Florida and slayed everyone in his field, only finishing behind Tic Bowen in the Masters overall and let’s not forget racing a full 60min to take third on Saturday and fourth on Sunday. Hide your kids, because there is a new monster in town.

Photo: Winter Park Cycles

3. Tic Bowen (U/A) | M35+ | Last Rank: NA

Last year the battle for the Master’s 35+ title came down to Mr. Mystery, Tic Bowen, and Mr. September, Andy Mills (Firefighters Union). At the State Championship it was Mills who came out on top. We were so confident in Tic’s return to FLCX that we didn’t even mention Mills in the PRESEASON OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™. We are now even more confident in our decision.

Photo: S. McElvery

4. Josh Thorton (Team Giant) | Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NA

In the deep dark recesses of the Twittersphere there are jaded cyclocross race promoters who constantly complain of having to deal with #promoterlegs. It is a real thing. It happened to the King of King’s. Josh did not disappoint putting together one of the best race courses in recent memory and a top-notch event. The first in a series in three. In fact, Josh Thorton did not fall down the rankings, he just happened to promote the thing!

Photo: Uncredited

5. Kristin Apotsos (Infinity Bike Shop) | Women Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NR

Over the past few years the Women’s field has been dominated by one rider, Laura Parsons (Infinity). Kristin was the first to conquer Parsons last season at Swamp Cross in Gainesville. A few thought it was a fluke, but we all secretly hoped this victory was a sign of things to come. A serious battle of supremacy at the front of the field is in store when Parsons returns from injury, or whatever it was that kept her away from the season opener.

Photo: Photorun

6. Allison Linnell (U/A) | Women Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NR

Who? All we know is that she rode away from the Women’s field on Saturday, only to miss the bigger day of the weekend with the more stacked field. Perhaps Allison is so new to this cyclocross thing that she wasn’t aware that Sunday is when the heavy hitters come out to play. Oh, does anyone know if Allison paddleboards?

Laborde

 Photo: PHOTOSHOP!!!!

7. Rebecca Laborde (U/A) | Women Cat 4 | Last Rank: NR

Rebecca got a carbon cyclocross bike and rode away from the cat4 women setting up an upgrade to the Cat1/2/3 race to give the likes of Jen Kraatz and Zoe Mullins a battle for the podium, and hopefully a challenge to the upper ranks. This is, after all, assuming that Rebecca upgraded to Cat3. We don’t want to mention the words too early, but if the water starts to rise we will be calling on Rebecca to lend a hand to hold it back.

Photo: Unknown Twitter User

8. Sebastian Morfin  (Metronome/Team Florida) | Cat 3 | Last Rank: NR

Sebastian is a beast. He is a machine on the road and easily one of the fast riders in the Southeastern United States on the road. He is trying cyclocross for the first time and did the honorable thing of racing in the Cat3s, and not slaying all the Cat4/5s. This is the kind of thing we like about this kid. He raced in the category he belonged and put on a show and will quickly become a player in the Cat1/2s. Bravo, Sebastian. We give you two more race weekends before we call you out to get out of our quasi-old man, one-day-a-week training plan category.

9. Brian Davis (Treasure Coast Cycling) | Masters 55+ | Last Rank: NR

***STEREOTYPE ALERT*** Road racing masters have a horrible reputation, they sweat a lot, tend to yell a lot, they also charge a lot when you go visit them for a six-month check up (DENTIST JOKE!). Don’t ask any of them about their back pain, or about their favorite recumbent bicycle.

The masters racers that do cyclocross are the exact opposite. They are the dads we always wanted, especially the 55+ crew. Seriously, what a bunch of awesome dudes that are out to have a great time with us every weekend. They want to hang out afterward and give you a high-five. They also know some pretty sweet heckles referencing Bing Crosby, Tony Bennet and June Cleaver.

Brian Davis took the top step on Sunday and laid claim to the King of the old men, but watch out because there are a slew of Masters making this easily the most competitive field in Florida Cyclocross!

Photo: Gator Zone

10. Blake Norman (Top Gear / MuMu) | Category 4 | Last Rank: NR

Does anyone know who this kid is? QUICK OFFER HIM AN ELUSIVE CYCLOCROSS CONTRACT – looking at you Infinity Bike Shop – this kid had two great finishes this past weekend in the Cat 4s and if this continues to happen the grains of sand begin to accumulate and the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota comes calling (GEOGRAPHY JOKE!). Wait, on second thought, since we are both Cat3s, we would like Blake to stick in the Cat 4s and upgrade immediately to Cat1/2.

We See You: Bob Croslin – M3 (Orange State), Rolly Weaver – P1/2 (Pioneer Mortgage), Todd Leedy – M3 (352 Racing), Clayton and Harrison Knight – J10-12, J12-14 (Top Gear), Nicole Carson – W4 (Pinnacle Wheelworks), Jo Weaver – W4 (Swift Racing)

Falling Off This Week: N/A

Sandbagger of the Week:

Tic Bowen (M35+)

Us: “Hey Tic, have you been riding lately?”

Tic: “No, haven’t really be riding much,” or, “you know I have ridden a few times these past few weeks, but not much.”

Sorry Tic, but we are onto you and your schtick. It is endearing and it is something many of us have experienced and we are jealous. Congrats, sir.

Ripped from the pages of MYFBRA.COM

On September 26, 2014 by Christian

FLORIDA CYCLOCROSS SEASON IS IN FULL SWING!

The Florida Bicycle Racing Association, as the recognized local association of USA Cycling in Florida, is proud to announce the 2014/15 Florida Ranking System for Cyclocross.

****Updated to add 11/1-2 Tally CX in Tallahassee****

Upcoming Races:

For complete calendar of races and more information on Florida cycloscross races visit the cyclocross page on FBRA.org


There are a few changes for the 2014/15 season. Junior age categories have changed to 9-11, 12-14, 15-18. FRS-CX awards will be 3 deep for individuals and 1 deep the overall team across all categories. The number of races that count for an individual is set at 8 and for a team 10.

For more information on categories, race requirements and points system click here.

A Guide To Cyclocross Fandom

On August 30, 2014 by Super Rookie

Cyclocross is a unique cycling discipline. It tends to be a more open and friendly environment than road racing, and a better spectator experience than mountain biking. This isn’t to say that road and mountain biking are less superior, they just aren’t on the same level of awesome.

That said, if you are new to cyclocross, or if you have experienced the rush and excitement you may find yourself getting yelled at by a complete stranger. This stranger probably is someone that raced in an event earlier and they are there to support you, but also to make you feel like their kid brother. It can be confusing at first, but here is a handy guide to fandom in cyclocross.

The OFFICIAL Rules Of FLCX Fandom:

1. Cyclocross Is Fun, But It Is Also A Competition

People are racing bikes. It is still a competition. Do not alter the course (read: dumping water on the run-up, moving course tape after the race day starts etc…). If you see someone doing this call them out on it as they are probably unaware since everyone is having a great time and this whole thing may be new!

2. Heckling Is Encouraged. Being Mean Is Not.

Cyclocross at its core is about being fun and having a smile on your face. This means that you do what you can to bring that fun atmosphere to everyone, including the racer that has their heart rate pegged at 194 while hitting an off-camber turn. They may be in the ‘zone’ but it is an appropriate time to tell them that they should, “go wicked hardah” or that they should “work together” with the ride in front of them. Get the riders off their game. Make them stop and do pushups, or maybe stop in the middle of the race and get their autograph (thanks Chris Horner!).

The general rule of thumb for heckling is that it should make the rider laugh. You should never under any circumstances say, “you suck,” or be a complete jerk. If that happens don’t be surprised if someone does their best Bart Wellens to your noggin.

3. Handups Are Not A Crime, Unless It Is Illegal And Against The Rules.

Cyclocross is so much fun that from time to time the racers want to get involved with the party on the other side of the course tape. They request pieces of bacon, coca-cola, or even a piece of Laffy Taffy. The general rule for handups is don’t be an idiot and put the promoter, riders or other fans at risk with your behavior. You know, act like an adult, well at least one that knows how to sneak food into the movie theater.

4. Cyclocross Is One Big Family.

We are all in this together. If you are out walking the course and you see a little course tape on the ground tie it back up, if the race is over see if you can pull down some of the tape and help the folks clean up the party. At the end of the day tell your friends to come race with us and have some more fun.

5. Don’t Be A Lemon. Be A Rosebud.

At no time is it ok to be a complete jerk to the officials, promoters, riders, or fellow spectators. This isn’t road racing where you can get away with throwing your bike to the ground and yelling at your friend standing in the feedzone that missed your bottle feed. This is the place where you work as hard as possible to win your race and do as well as you can, but go have a high-five with your competitor immediately after the race.

TOTALLY NOT THE PRE-SEASON POWER RANKINGS*

On August 29, 2014 by Christian

*except totally the end of August Power Rankings.

As always, these rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong. If you are angry that you weren’t mentioned, or angry that you were mentioned, we suggest that you take a deep breath and remember that we’re totally kidding about pretty much everything we say here. This is for your amusement as much as ours, and when I say ours, I mean every one of you. As always, please, no wagering.

1. Josh Thornton (Giant USA/FLCX BADASS) – P12 – Pretty much nuff’ said. He’s promoting a series of WICKED AWESOME races this year, increasing his rating even higher. You want to get ranked higher than him? Promote a race, and then beat him on the bike. The most powerful man in Florida Cyclocross. Just try to unseat him. Good luck.

2. Laura Parsons (Infinity) – P123 Women – She is already claiming she’s injured, but as the most dominant woman in FLCX history, it’s virtually impossible to count her out. She will win at least 6 races this year. She is the reigning queen, best of luck to you if you plan to unseat her.

3. Zoltan Tisza (??) -Masters – We don’t know much, but his name is Zoltan and if that doesn’t scream “I’m faster than you” than I don’t know what does.

4. Vitor Alexandre (Colavita South) – Masters – Was untouchable last year in the masters 45, and damn competitive in the masters 35′s as well. Engaged in some epic duels with Steve Noble (Infinity), and ultimately emerged triumphant the vast majority of the time. So strong, so fit, so many expectations for 2014, and already claiming that he’s coming into the season undertrained. Yep, sound like an elite Master’s rider to me.

5. Tic Bowen (B3 Cafe) – Strava king of the Greater Orlando area. Man of mystery, be afraid 35+ dudes. Two words describe him. FA. Ast.

6. Dan Sullivan (West Coast Wheelman). No stranger to the FLCX Power Rankings, the 55+ champion figures to continue his reign. The silent killer, he doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s always at the front of the race at the 45 minute mark, when it counts.

7. Ryan Woodall (The Pro’s Closet/Felt/Top Gear Cycles/Chris Kyle) NO WOODALLZ ALLOWED*

8. Ava Sykes (Outspoken?) Ava had an amazing summer, standing on the top step of the podium at the National Crit Championships, and on the lower steps of the podium of the road race, and the time trial. How did your summer go? That 15th at the industrial park training crit highlight suddenly doesn’t feel so special, does it?

9. Keith Richards (Swift Cycling) Won the single speed category based on showing up. MEH.

10. Rich Dybdahl (Pure Cycles) The single most enthusiastic CX supporter in the entire state of Florida. Rich backed up his entirely lackluster race results in 2013 with an undying commitment to the bringing new friends to the sport of Cyclocross. Seriously, love you Rich, don’t ever quit.

11. Mother Effing Beardo (All City/Ritte Racing/Puerto Rico) Dude showed up one weekend and owned it. Even though he finished near to last against the elite FLCX category 4 field, he still managed to podium in nearly every PRCX event he entered. Weird. Love that dude, hope we see more of him this year.

Dis-Honourable Sandbagger Pre-Season Award: Michael Cedeno is so much faster than all of us on pavement, and yet he’s yet to enter the 60 minute event. Being funny on the internet is all well and good, but stealing candy from the kids in the cat 3 race is just mean. See also: Alexander Gil and his world class track sprinter thighs.

On the cusp:

John Paul Russo – This year has got to be his year. Right? Right? COME ON!

Jennifer Kratz Hoyle – Garneau – Killed it in the 4 women, has a tougher row to hoe in the big girl’s race.

Erica Richards – Orange State – When she’s not sueing people, she’s dropping them on her bike. A full season may be just what she needs to get to the top. Recently spent time in Colorado altitude doping- look out.

Brian Davis – Village Idiots – Anyone who drinks as much Duvel as Brian does post race deserves mention.

John Kingham – Swift Cycles – John was one of the best cat 4′s last year- how will he handle his step up to the big kids in the 3′s?

Michael Mace – First Place Racing – Junior National Champion on the MTB has got to count for something on the CX bike.

Kristin Apotsos – Infinity – The only woman to beat Laura Parsons last year is now Laura’s teammate- it should be intriguing to see how team orders play out.

How do I do the Cyclocross: Early-Mid August Edition

On August 14, 2014 by Christian

No. 3 of several in a series hyping up the 2014-2015 FLCX Cyclocross series

Ok, we’ve already discussed getting a bike for a reasonable price, and then we talked about some best practices for CX race promoters. Let’s talk about getting into shape, and what exactly kind of shape you need to get into to race CX.

First of all, if you are the type of person who wants/needs/desires structure and planning in your workouts, there are some great coaches in FLCX. Off the top of my head, I can think of, in no particular order, Josh Thornton, Ben Smith, Zach Fout, Vitor Alexandre, Eric Stubbs, Drew Edsal Jeb Stewart, Zoltan Tisza, and Vincent Cook. If I’m forgetting anyone else, it’s purely unintentional and if you contact me I’ll be happy to add you to the list. There are a lot of current and previous state champions in this list. These guys will make you faster than you currently are, as long as you take their advice to heart and eat right. They can teach you how to eat, train, sleep, and ride like a champion bike racer, and help you with technique and even make sure your bike fits you properly. It’s a relatively small investment to gain a vast amount of knowledge, and if you take your cycling seriously, it makes sense to hire one of these guys.

For the rest of us, who are perfectly happy to finish in the latter half of the standings after we take multiple marshmallow and Fat Tire Amber Ale handups, here’s what you really need to do to get ready for CX season.

First of all, you need to build some base fitness. This requires little more than time and the determination to follow a general plan. It helps if you have at least a small amount of current fitness, like the ability to hang on to a group ride for 30 or 40 miles, but this isn’t an absolute requirement.

To build a base for CX, you should probably start today, if you haven’t started already. If you wait another week, it will probably be too late, and you’ll end up with a palmares like that of Tim Hayes circa 2013. (Yes, I KNOW you beat me the one time we raced head to head last year, TIM.) So, to build base fitness, you need a road bike, or road tires for your CX bike, and you need to ride for 2-4 hours at a time at least twice a week.

Currently, I have Thursday and Sundays off, so my weeks look like:

Monday: 1.5-2 hrs (25-30 miles) recovery ride, easy but steady pace.
Tuesday 1-1.5 hrs (15-20 miles) informal efforts ride- moderate pace with accelerations or CX Skills Practice.
Wednesday: Rest day or easy spin
Thursday: 3-4 hours (50-70 miles) steady pace at the edge of discomfort- look for 19-21 mph on your computer as much as possible
Friday: Rest day or easy spin
Saturday : Easy spin or group ride, 1-2 hours, (15-30 miles), or CX Skills Practice
Sunday: 3-4 hours (50-70 miles) steady pace at the edge of discomfort- look for 19-21 mph on your computer as much as possible.

This is just me, customize it to fit your schedule, and obviously with all the rain we’ve been having it won’t always work out. If you have to miss a day, that’s ok. If you’re tired, skip a day, or cut back the time/distance. You’re an adult, presumably, so listen to your body. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is probably more important than hitting a mileage goal, make sure you’re getting as much as you can. Recovery rides are equally important. Beat yourself up when you feel good. Give yourself a break when you’re exhausted. Be honest with yourself about how you feel. Often, your brain (my brain) will feel like drinking beer and playing video games, and try to fool your body into feeling tired. You (I) should try to tell your (my) body that it can play all the video games it wants after the CX season ends.

I will follow this schedule through the end of August. Once we hit September, I’ll start to dial back the long days, and start to do a little more intensity, maybe even some intervals. Ugggh, intervals. They hurt, but they do so much good. But you need a fitness base before you can take advantage of the physiological benefits of intervals, so you have to put in the saddle time first.

So my weeks in September will look more like:

Monday: 1.5-2 hrs (25-30 miles) recovery ride, easy but steady pace, on pavement.
Tuesday: 1-1.5 hrs (10-15 miles) CX Skills Practice with shorter intense intervals, preferably on a CX bike on grass or dirt.
Wednesday: Rest day or easy spin on pavement.
Thursday: 2-2.5 hours (30-40 miles) fast-ish road ride. A group ride is fine, if you get out in the wind. Sitting in at 18mph does very little for your fitness.
Friday: Rest day or easy spin on pavement.
Saturday: 1-1.5 hours fast group ride, at the front, in the wind.
Sunday: CX Practice Race/ simulation. Find some local guys, and go out and beat on each other for 45 minutes, or two 20 minute sessions, or whatever you all agree on. Warm up properly before hand, and make sure to practice barriers and running steps both before and during the practice race.

CX intervals come in a wide variety. They range from the “sprint out of the saddle out of every corner interval” to the full on 20 minute “Oh my god I want to die because there’s 18 minutes to go interval”. One I’ve always “enjoyed” was finding a 1-2 mile circuit with regularly spaced street lights, and sprinting from one streetlight to the next, then resting til the next, then sprinting again, basically until you want to throw up. Hopefully, this will be after more than 3 sprints. Shoot for a whole lap of this misery, then take a lap off to recover. Then, if you feel like it, do another lap of intervals, or just call it a night. Longer intervals are necessarily less intense, but they hurt more because they last longer. You should rest longer after long intervals than you should after short ones. There’s a whole internet out there with opinions and advice on intervals, so if you want more detail, let me google that for you. Remember, CX is what you make it, and the harder you train now, the more you can slack off once the season starts and you can rely on races to keep you fit.

Some of you are saying, “Christian, surely you can’t be as slow as you have historically been if you are actually doing all of these workouts, and to those of you who are saying this, I can only say that you are very mean-spirited and unkind, and probably correct. But while I feel I corner and handle most of the technical sections as well as most people, I really struggle at the whole pedalling really hard parts of CX, and that’s where I watch people ride away from me.

Also, you should probably keep an eye on what you eat, cutting out a lot of the fat and junk sugar, and adding as many fruits and vegetables as you can stomach, but hey, you’re riding your bike a lot, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Remember, as long as you can zip up your skinsuit and/or jersey past your belly, then it still fits you fine.

Follow these most of these steps between now and the first races at the end of September, and I promise that you’ll be at least as mediocre as Tim and Rich Dybdahl and I.

The next volume in this series will contain advice on what a proper CX skills workout should consist of. Look for it this weekend!

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