Stuff is happening too fast to keep up with it all, so I better get this written before I forget all the good stuff. Ocala Cross, promoted and sponsored by the fine folks at Brick City Cycles, was December 30, 2012, a day that dawned sunny but cold. When I arrived in Ocala, I checked the temperature and it was 37 degrees, and it’s been a while since I had to race in those temperatures. I put on pretty much all the clothes I had in the car, and walked over to register. That was done quickly enough, then I played grab-ass with Rick Bunnning and Keith Richards (352 Racing) and Drew Smith (Velo Brew) and of course Rich Dybdahl (Pure Racing) and probably a few more people for a bit, because we’re doods and that’s what we do. Soon enough it was time for the Cat 4 race, so I snapped a couple of pics of the start, and then headed over to my car to put on my kit.
As I headed out for some warm up/practice laps, I was struck immediately by how RAD the course was because it was pretty much FLAT but it had a lot of OFF-CAMBER as well as some short steep DROPS and CLIMBS and a sweet RUN UP that wasn’t too long and a STAIRCASE and some MINI-BARRIERS and I’m probably getting ahead of myself because just remembering it all makes me EXCITE. A great course design that Todd Frobish and crew threw together literally the week before the event, after the city of Ocala got cold feet and changed their mind on the original location. Todd didn’t freak out, he called up the local YMCA and they were cool so he laid out a superbly fast, fun, challenging course.
The start finish was followed by a sweet lump of terrain that you could get boosty on without a great deal of effort, which then led into a fast series of switchbacks on grass that was fast enough to let you carry gobs of speed, but grippy enough that traction was never an issue. Finally, a hairpin led to the first steep drop, which was followed by an equally angled climb, a 180, and a drop, a 180 immediately, and then a mini barrier that forced you to run back up the bank. A long, un-even gentle 180 led down to a small mud pit and an awkward climb back up to the field level, a long straightaway into the wind, and then the barriers. These led to a couple of short straights, a 180, and a super nasty section of VERY exposed roots that had one not very obvious line thru it, followed by some slightly off camber, a few fast corners, the mini barriers, and then a corner around a tree with a huge root blocking the apex. Then there was a choose your own adventure with a slow but safe line or a technical, rooty line in a sort of tunnel between a few trees and bushes- the rooty line was faster. Then a nasty false flat, a 180, some wicked off camber, a 180, back down the false flat, a dive down and up and around and back down, a blast up and down a bank, a long curve, and then the run up the staircase. After the remount, a bit of sidewalk, a 180 on dirt that was loose but developed a nice rut by the Pro12 race, a loop around a soccer field, a 180, and the finish line. All in all, it’s a course that is technical enough to require some bike handling, but fast enough to reward the power guys too.
They made Josh Lehmann (Boston Bicycle School/Pure Cycles) race in the threes, because USA CYCLING, so you probably know what happened- they said go, and Josh went, and pretty much gapped us by the first run up. The real surprise was I was sitting third at the first run up, leading to Drew Smith heckling me from the back “Have you been training, Gob?”, and rubbing elbows with Dybdahl. I lost a position or two on the flats leading into the barriers, and lost a bunch more when I completely missed my seat on the remount and hit the floor. Naturally, Dybdahl’s wife got it on camera.
Dybdahl and his wife are jerks.
So I passed a couple people back when I ran the roots while they all lined up and bounced slowly over the roots on the outside, but meanwhile, Josh was just flying, with Brent Bell (Compass Cycling) and Jerkface Dybdahl chasing at a distance. On the last lap, Josh would lap me, but he was stopped before the line by the 352 guys and forced to do pushups, so I had to stop too so I wouldn’t unlap myself and have to go around again. In the end, it was Josh, Brent, and Rich in that order in the 3’s, Steve Noble (Infinity) besting Robert Reineke (AAA) in 45 plus, and John Torrey (Springfield, MA), Paul Schwarz (ORC), and Michael Cooper (Unattached) in 55 plus.
In the 4’s it was another Pure Cycles ringer, Mark Pettengill taking the win, followed by Anthony Hutton (Cycle Logic) and Rob Hennion (Brick City?). In Single Speed, noted Canadian Keith Richards (352 Racing) took the win from Andrew Mills (Compass Cycling) and Rick Buning (352), although Bunning did take the holeshot, Naturally, I tweeted about it immediately.
— Gob Carlqvist (@GobCarlqvist) December 30, 2012
In the Pro12 race, what should have been a battle between Eric Stubbs (352) and a U23 from New Hampshire (Lehmann) turned into a battle between Stubbs and a U23 from Pennsylvania. Thomas Schubert (Amoroso’s Cycling) pressured Eric for a lap or two, but the elastic between the two riders began to inexorably stretch until Stubbs was irretrievably out of reach, although to Schubert’s credit he never gave up, and rode a strong race to finish second ahead of Mills. Mills rode a strong race, where has he been hiding himself all season? We hope to see him at states in Dade City…
All in all, it was a fantastic race, particularly for a first year event, major kudos go out to Todd Frobish, Brick City Bikes, and everyone else who helped out.
Complete results are located here.
Ocala was another one of those races that if you missed it, you missed out. The course was fantastic- a fast, fun grass crit with a lot of elevation change, fast corners, a spot of mud, and some stairs. The organization was just as good- everything started and finished on time, registration was painless, and custom made trophies to boot!
I’ll have a full race recap later today, but for now here’s the results:
Here are the results for Ocala Cross on 12/30/12
1. Michelle Blake #233167
2. Diane Blake #239640
John Torrey /one day license
Michael Cooper/one day license
Ralph Cole/one day license
1. Steve Noble/#0222335
2. Robert Reineke/#182268
M Cat 3
1. Joshua Lehman/#0208018
2. Brent Bell/#278661
3. Richard Dybdal/#358668
4. John Hovivs/#306148
5. Quang Nguyen/#337466
6. Christian Henrich/#15838
7. Richard Benton/242529
1. Brent Bell/#278661
2. Joel Rierson/#0029856
3. John Hovivs/#306148
4. Jay Fratello/one day license
1. Eric Stubbs/#255870
3.Andrew J. Mills/#159112
4. Keith Richards/#222964
5. Rick Buning/#297424
6.John Paul Russo/#0219827
M Cat 4
1.Mark Pettengill/one day license
2. Anthony Hutton/one day license
3. Ron Henion/#246602
4. Mark McBroom/#46806
5. Greg Hodges/#242262
6. Michael W. Toth/#349112
7.Travis Scrambling/one day license
8. David Martin/#381772
9. Sverre Falck Penderson/one day license
10. Scotty Lusk/one day license
11. Jay Fratello/one day license
12. Andrew Lusk/one day license
W Cat 4
1. Leah Mantle/#381731
2. Jody Alexander/#183977
3. Mary Oneal/one day license
1. Lachlan Hovivs/#331438
2. Joel Hovivs/#392644
1. Dylan Drake/#382577
1. Keith Richards/#222964
2. Andrew J, Mills/#159112
3. Rick Buning/#297424
4. John Hovivs/#306148
5. John Paul Russo/#0219827
6. Drew Smith/#309110
A View from the Pit – Swamp Cross 2012 (Gainesville, FL)
Not at all surprising that the 2012 Swamp Cross course proved to be one of the most challenging thus far in the season. This was also made evident by the volume and varying nature of mechanicals and other issues we witnessed in the pit. Once again, with some of the largest attendance numbers of the season, we are thrilled to find our pit management and neutral race support efforts are proving valuable to the overall success and enjoyment of the race.
We were thrilled to see the Swamp Cross organizers had a well-planned course, with the pit area being properly sized and centrally located. However, to our surprise the pit had three (3) entrance/exit points. This made for a super-accessible pit and plenty of room for the growing number of pit bikes and wheel-sets. The size and accessibility of the pit even provided a certain racer the opportunity of cutting the course during Sunday’s SS race… he will remain nameless to avoid further shaming and ridicule prior to his move out of FL.
The most significant mechanicals we dealt with during the Swamp Cross weekend were related to sand/mud/gainesville grime getting packed into shift levers. Most noticeable were rear SRAM shift levers getting jammed towards the lower gearing positions. With sand packed into the shift levers from crashes, sand-pit gymnastics and berm shredding, the shifters would lose any gear return spring tension. This issue was witnessed all weekend on at least 10-15 bikes. In fact, several race leaders all weekend experienced this wonderfully frustrating problem. Ideally, this issue is addressed in the shop and the lever disassembled and cleaned. None-the-less we managed to take care of these issues in the pit all weekend.
The other note-worthy mechanical from the weekend was constant pinch flats. Most issues were seen with clincher tires/tubes where tire pressure appeared low. Once again, keep that tire pressure up. Especially those running clinchers. There were only a few tubular tire issues, and this included a handful of rolled tubular. Infinity Bikes’ Michael King wins the award for best rolled tubular at Swamp Cross 2012. After rolling his rear tire, he went ahead and removed the tire entirely, carried the tire and rode into the pit on his bare rim. Hey, it beats running the bike into the pit!
We’re still seeing a fare amount of cleat/shoe issues coming into the pit. Loose/missing cleat bolts and broken buckles were dealt with all weekend.
Most memorable mechanical came into the pit on Saturday during the Cat 1/2 race. Keep in mind, our neutral race support brings several common brand/model of spare pedals as part of our comprehensive spare component/parts inventory. This proved valuable when one super cool team member came into the pit with a pedal issue. A lap on a spare bike, along with some karate bike mechanics, and the rider was back in the race.
Finally, here a few recommendations for race participants, teammates, family members, and race promoters:
• Communication; clear, intelligent communication with the pit is paramount. If you need something from the pit, make sure you are clear with what you want/need.
• Spares; if you bring a spares into the pit, and would like our help during the race, be sure to introduce yourself. If we know who you are, we can better help you in the event of an issue. It also helps us better identify which spares are yours.
• Borrowing tools; if you ask to borrow a tool, we will assume you do not need our help. Also, it is not a problem to borrow a tools as long as they stay IN THE PIT.
• Attitude; don’t be a jerk. During the race, we expect riders to be a bit frustrated coming into the pit, and even curt in their exchanges. However, being a complete jerk will not get you very far.
We’ll see you in Clermont!
Beardo’s video recap features plenty of crotch dollar hand ups, mud and sand. What more could you ask for?
Ed: It is amazing what one can do when they try to avoid thinking about a pending move to Cleveland, Ohio. They are able to tally up the team point standings in record time! Here is the latest update from our Team Point Series coordinator, Dr. Ryan Fisher.
FLCX Team Points Update: Swamp Cross – In which 352 Rightfully ascends to the top of the rankings*
The FLCX series descended upon Gainesville this past weekend for Swamp Cross 2012, with great courses on both days featuring a mud pit, a stair run up, a challenging sand pit sitting diabolically at the top of a climb, and probably the most elevation in the series this side of Clermont. The heckling was fierce, and the hand-ups were multiple and sometimes of questionable legality & quality, but at the end of the day on Saturday, a massive team showing and plentiful podium placings propelled (mad alliteration, yo) 352 Racing p/b Bikes and More to a commanding hometown victory over rivals representing Infinity Bike Shop, who placed second on the day. Tallahassee outfit Gulf Coast Velo rounded out the team podium, anchored by strong finishes in the 3’s and Masters 45+ categories.
Sunday’s racing saw none other than Santa Claus getting down and dirty in the Southeastern Single Speed Cyclocross Championship, which brought a slightly longer single-speed race with the accompanying points bump. Santa didn’t need his list to see the pink and black all over the podium of multiple categories, ensuring another 352 team over Infinity. Rich Dybdahl rounded up a crew of ringers who put in strong enough performances to put Pure Cycles on the 3rd podium step.
Heading into the final weekend of racing for the team series, 352 has taken over the top place in the overall points. Will their 59 points over Infinity be enough to take the overall? That might depend on whether Chris Slack was able to find his way back home after the SESSCXC race on Sunday…
*Let the record show that the team points were updated prior to Tim finishing the individual point update. Eat it, Tim.
As you may or may not know, Bob Croslin not only races CX, he’s also a professional photographer. Click that link if you want to see more, and trust me, you do. He’s good.
Here’s a few images he got from the Pro12/Master’s 35 race on Saturday. Amazing stuff. Thanks for letting us publish them.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, DO NOT republish these on your cycling website without express permission from Bob Croslin. If you want to put them on your personal Facebook page, it’s ok, but you should give him credit. If you want a hi-res version, please contact him for pricing.
It’s only fitting that a race that was run as efficiently and smoothly as Swamp Cross gets a race report posted on the next evening after the event. Major kudos to 352 Racing in general and Tim Hayes and Keith Richards in particular for their tireless efforts in every aspect of their promotion- from course creation to prizes to a keg of root beer for the kids (and two kegs of real beer for the adults) to the smooth timing and lightning fast results posting, every aspect was top notch. If you skipped this race, you picked the wrong weekend to quit racing bikes, because this year’s Swamp Cross was certainly the best yet.
Saturday’s course was probably the toughest we’ve raced on all season. It featured five climbs to the top of the hill; none of which were particularly steep, one of which was paved, all of which were painful, grating, and sort of mean. There were two standard barriers, three 2×4 mini barriers, a wooden bridge between two dirt jumps that was much faster to dismount and run, some bumps and jumps on a pump track, a mud pit which refused to dry out, and a dump truck load of sand which had been semi-smoothed into two 2 foot tall lumps, the first of which was about 10 feet long, and the second of which was about 20 feet long. The sand stubbornly refused to settle into anything like a rideable line or rut, adding to the difficulty.
There was also a staircase, with un-evenly spaced steps this year. In short, there were a lot of technical features packed into it. The downhills were mostly bumpy, and all featured a chicane of some sort to disrupt any recovery you might have been getting. It was pretty unforgiving, really.
They started the race at the bottom of the hill on the paved road, pretty close to on time, with 39 riders in Wave 1 (Women 123, Men’s 3, Masters 45, Masters 55). Since the climb was paved, and we were all fresh, it was an express train to the top of the hill, and I surprised myself by hanging in the top 10. Once we arrived at the top, we did a hairpin to the left onto the grass and back about halfway down the hill, then through a sweeping right, another right, and straight up the incline, left, and the the mini-barriers. Some people dismounted for the mini-barriers. This is a mistake. Pop a wheelie and maintain momentum and you’ll get over them, I promise. Then we descended a little bit, entered the pumptrack, went through the mud puddle (I had to dismount and run it on the first lap after someone balled up the entrance to the track, it was awesome to fill my shoes with disgusting, muddy water at the beginning of the race), and then went over a couple more jumps up to the top of the hill, then another hairpin, a loop around a tree, and then a very tight 180 leading into the wooden bridge that was barely rideable with there was no one around you, and was always faster to run. Then another 180 and remount, and descend, over a jump that you could get boosty on, a rough, rutted descent onto some grass, a big curve leading into another trip up the hill, a hairpin at the top, and another descent, with a fast chicane 3/4’s of the way to the bottom to make sure you were paying attention. Then some turns in the trees on pine needles, and an increasing radius corner out of the trees that led toward the barriers. A bit more flat, and then a climb up a good portion of the hill, another hairpin at the top, and then a curve that lead into a bit of a decent and then the stairs, followed by the climb up to the finish line. Once you’d gone past the finish line, the fun wasn’t over, because then came the sand pit, and you were already gassed from the climb. So if you’re anything like me, you ended up running at least a portion of the sand pit more often than not. Then you had the longest descent of the day, through a chicane, into the woods and some singletrack, finally bringing you back to the bottom of the pave climb. Dizzy yet? You would have been if you had to race on it.
Anyway, I went backwards a lot when the course went up, and regained a bit on the technical stuff and the downhills. I was hanging out with @aheymee(352 Racing) for a little while, but my nemesis Michael King (Infinity) started catching us, so I had to go. I caught and passed Todd Leedy(352) who managed to grunt out some french at me (jour sans, jour sans), but Paul Schwartz(55+ Orlando Road Club) caught and passed me, which pleased him to no end I’m sure, as he’s been threatening to pass me for weeks. At the front of the race, UF’s Dustin White used his local knowledge to turn in the 7th fastest lap times all day, which is impressive considering the full racks and panniers on his mountain bike he was using to carry his bags of sand. Taylor Norton (Orange State Cycling) outkicked Ed Dunne (Cycle Logic) up the final climb to take second by three seconds in a nail-biter. Amy Horstmeyer was first in the Women’s 123 field, with Jennifer Talley and Kristen Apotsos finishing second and third. Kristin was racing with the big kids for the first time, and suffered a flat, and fell in the mud pit, so she had herself quite a day. Masters 45 was won by Timothy Shank, who was a couple of minutes up on Tom Gillis (Gulf Coast) and Scotty Graham(West Coast). Dan Sullivan (West Coast) won 55 plus by a couple of minutes ahead of Ted Hollander (Florida Masters), who outsprinted David Norman.
Wave 2 was again dangerously close to going off on schedule. Pro 12 Open and Masters 35 plus. The 60 minute main event. Hammers were dropped from the get-go. Robert Rimmer (Virginia Intermont College), Eric Stubbs (352), Martin Cox (Super Cool), and Chris Slack (Infinity) hammered each other for two or three laps, trading attacks and covers furiously. Cox was first to fall off the pace with mechanical issues with a pedal, he would get a replacement pedal from Velo Champ’s neutral support and would rejoin the race, but too far back to feature in the action at the front. Slack would be gradually distanced a few laps later, giving in to the inexorable pressure from Stubb’s and Rimmer’s attacks and chases. With one to go, the two were still together, but Stubbs looked and more importantly felt a lot more comfortable than Rimmer, and a hard attack by Stubbs sealed the victory. Rimmer was second, Slack finished 90 seconds back. In Masters 35, it was the Jack Rich (Infinity) show- he led from wire to wire. Ben Smith (352) was second, followed by Tony Timonere (Team Top Gear).
Wave 3 was the cat 4 Men and Women as well as the first timers. Beardo was 13th.
If you don’t know why we love Beardo so much, do yourself a favour and hang out with him for 15 minutes or so. The dude gets “it”. So much love.
As if it really matters, I guess some other people raced, so we should recognize them, too. A large MTB contingent showed up, including some suspiciously fit looking doods. A guy on a full suspension bike took off like a rocket and put a huge gap into the field, but detonated in true Cat 4 spectacular fashion and fell back into the clutches of the field by the end of the second lap. Leif Stringer, Tom Lowery (Bike Works) and Mike Mace (Brick City) were the podium, and all three were on MTB’s. Dan Doan (352), riding Ryan Fisher’s old disc brake Cannondale, was 4th, and the first CX bike. In the women’s 4’s, in the absence of the upgraded Kristin Apotsos, Jennifer Talley beat out Nicole Carson (Slacker Racing) and Kristen Sauby (352).
In a small Single Speed field, Cabe Crissler (Super Cool/2Hip/FlatstateBMX.4t.com) launched off the front for the first half a lap, and then plummetted off the back almost as quickly. Yes, his gearing choice was way too big. A lead group of three developed, with Rick Buning (352) dueling with Taylor Norton and Christian Ahrens (352). Bunning got a bit of a gap, and then Ahrens made the critical mistake of smacking Taylor’s bottle hand up out of Taylor’s wife’s hand. Hulk Taylor quickly emerged, sprinted around Christian, and dismounted in the middle of the sand pit and ran with his bike at a 90 degree angle to the course, forcing Christian off his bike as well, and clearly demoralizing him. Christian was never to recover from his fear, and who could blame him, because Taylor was 6’2″ and 157 pounds of aquamarine and Orange fury, and who wants to chase that down? So that’s how it ended, with Bunning winning from Norton and then Ahrens. In the Juniors race, James Mertens (Colavita) showed up and won, which is super easy when you’re the only junior 15-18. Lochlan Hovius (AAA) toyed with Jackson Mehr (Outspoken) for much of their race, but like Lochlan does, he put in a huge dig when Jackson was hurting most and got the winning gap. For an 11 year old, Lochlan is pretty savvy as far as race tactics go.
So that was Day 1. 87 unique riders makes it one of the biggest races so far this season. Many thanks to the sponsors, Smith Optics, SRAM, Grilled Cheese Wagon, Shimano, Velo Champ, Thompson, Lazer Helmets, Bikes and More, 352 Racing, Courtney, Catherine, Jason, and Jenn for scoring assistance, and whoever else I forgot. More pics and coverage to come!
Check out all of Larry Grimm’s photo’s on his Flickr HERE,