I missed last weekend’s races in Tallahassee, so I have no idea what’s going to happen in Alachua this weekend for Swamp CX. Yes, this year’s Swamp Cross is happening in Alachua, FL, rather than Gainesville proper, because we lost the usage of our previous venue at The Rock because people who run can’t park their cars in assigned parking areas or something. So we have a new venue, change is good, I don’t fear change, I love lamp.
There is a whole bunch of fast dudes who inhabit the greater Gainesville area who don’t really travel to many of the rest of the events in the FLCX events who show up at Swamp CX and dominate. Dudes like Pete “The Volume” Jones and Dito and Dave Lavenhagen. (We keep hoping on the last one. #LAVENHAGEN2014). So this makes predicting race winners extremely difficult. So I’ve enlisted the assistance of a growler of Ross Glass-Vega’s home-brewed Black IPA as well as a great deal of wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ to make this week’s edition of the OFFICIAL FLCX POWER RANKINGS™ a reality.
Swamp Cross is a pretty big deal as far as race weekends go. If you haven’t gone before, and weren’t sure about going, allow me to tell you that you need to get to Alachua/Gainesville this weekend for the festivities, because the course will be great, the nightlife will be hoppin’, and the South East Cyclocross Single Speed Championships on Sunday are not to be missed under any circumstances. Yes, they are 45 minutes in length. It will totally be worth it to you to do the race. I promise.
As always, these rankings are 100% officially unofficial, infallible, unquestionably questionable, and obviously 1000% accurate. If you disagree, you’re probably wrong.
2013/14 OFFICIAL FLCX Power Rankings™: Tally CX
1. Laura Parsons (Rose Bandits) | W123 | Last Rank: 1
Laura is such a badass that she retains the top spot even tho she didn’t make the ten hour drive (each way) from Miami to Tallahassee last weekend. She’s been that dominant this year. Seriously, who’s gonna show up to challenge her at this point? There are some strong lady MTB racers in Gainesville, but I’m pretty sure that Laura’s diabolical drive to win will be more than enough to overcome all challengers. Plus, it’s Laura’s charming gal pal Amy Plotkin’s birthday on Sunday so Laura should go extra fast. Amy enjoys good beer and toys for her vast collection of kittens if you wanted to get her a present, AND WHY WOULDN’T YOU GET AMY A PRESENT?
2. Ed Dunne (CycleLogic) | M35 | Last Rank: 4
Ed continues his domination of the youngest class of old farts with another strong weekend in Tallahassee. As Andy Mills (Saving Lives/Love It or List It) fades further and further into our collective memories, Ed gets stronger and stronger, and his brogue is still cooler than your southern twang all week long and twice on Sundays. As a Gainesville local, he’s certain to show up this weekend, and thoat ought to just about sew up the title in M35 for the season. Unless it doesn’t, in which case all bets are off.
3. Vitor Alexandre (Colavita) | M45 | Last Rank: 3
To paraphrase the above old Nike commercial with Spike Lee as the legendary Mars Blackmon, almost nobody has been as dominant as Vitor has this year. If he was a younger man, he’d be ranked even higher, but let’s face it, youth sells, so 3rd will have to do for the guy who is running away with the 45 plus points. Yes, Steve Noble (Infinity) is still in dogged pursuit, but he’s gonna need to pull a rhino out of his hat to catch Vitor at this point of the season. And everyone knows that rhino’s are way more difficult than rabbits to remove from headwear.
4. Josh Thornton (Giant/Pioneer Mortgage) | p12, SS | Last Rank: 5
This might seem like a controversial pick, considering that Josh was beaten in his last SS race in Ocala by a handsome rapscallion with a debonaire mustache, but we’re picking Josh for the South Eastern Cyclocross Single Speed Championships this year, and we’re basing it on two things, and two things only. Josh is pretty damn fast, one, and he has no problem whatsoever with getting another tattoo. Yes, he got beat by the aforementioned rapscallion in the SS race in Ocala, but the rapscallion is notably reluctant when it comes to the body modification department. Josh is a mortal lock to win the Pro 12 races, as well, which is reason enough to place him this high in the rankings.
5. Ryan Woodall (Team Top Gear/Biemme) | P12, SS | Last Week: 2
As Ryan, the aforementioned mustachioed rapscallion, gets closer to his money-(sort of)-making season of professional Mountain Bike Racing (This is no knock on Ryan’s ability, rather on the meagre pay-outs at the top levels of domestic US MTB circuit,) he is getting stronger and stronger, meaning that by January we should be in for a whale of a race between Ryan and Josh, which is really pretty much all we’ve wanted to see all season. Josh was still able to ride away from Ryan in Ocala at their last meeting, but a lot can change in three weeks, particularly three weeks that have Thanksgiving dinner and the beginning of the Christmas Cookie season.
6. Tony Sigrist (UCF) | M3 | Last Week: We See You
pic from the google/ucf cycling
Tony showed up basically out of nowhere in Ocala and made the rest of the pitifully few Men’s Cat 3 field look like tree stumps as he rode away from us. I like his chances in Gainesville, unless the usual bunch of Gainesville sandbaggers show up, which will almost certainly happen, because college students are lazy and only make road trips for spring break. Right?
7. Josh Lehmann (NECX) | P12 | Last Week: Freezing his ass off in New Hampshire
Total Long Shot pick of the week. Josh is back down here to show us how they do in NECX by saying “Wicked Pissah” and “Holdjya line, ya friggin tool!” He is fast, young, and under the evil influence and tutelage of the greatest finder of talent in FLCX, Rich Dybdahl (Broken Ritte, Pure Cycle). He had to take root beer handups last year at the SECXSSC, and he probably will have to do the same this year, but his northern form will take him far, look for him near the top of the field.
8. Jennifer Kraatz-Hoyle (Garneau FL) | W123 | Last Week: 9
Jennifer moved up to play with the elite women and showed that she was completely at home racing for 15 extra minutes, duelling with the very fast Jennifer Talley of Dustin in Tallahassee. We’ll see how she fares against the South Florida Rose Bandit onslaught, as well as the assumed return of Ms. Consistant Apotsos.
9/10 Cliff Kugler/Kyle Casteline/Joey Gilman/John Kingham | M4 | Last Week: All over the place
This has by far been one of the fairest seasons of Men’s category 4/5 racing that I can remember, with no one rider truly dominating, no one obviously sandbagging, so I’ve decided to add some pressure to these four guys to finally step up and seize the title of biggest 30 minute sandbagger for the 2013/2014 FLCX Season. Enough screwing around, you guys, you’ve all been on or near the podium, all of you are fast enough to be there, we just need for you to put together one friggin hour (over two days) of dominant racing without crashing, breaking your bike, or having a mental meltdown and throwing your bike into the weeds. Is it too much to ask of one of you? Get it together, be the champion sandbagger you were destined to be, and crush your competition as badly as you possibly can this weekend. I believe in you. You can do this.
The racing this weekend will almost certainly have tall barriers, a set of stairs, and the return of the dumptruck loads of sand. There is also a pretty good chance of rain showers, particularly on Sunday, so bring an umbrella. And some xmas decorations. And handups. Lots of handups. This is the weekend to get creative with the handups, so do us all proud.