2015 FLCX Power Ranking™ Edinburgh CX

On September 25, 2015 by Christian

Holy Moly, W.A.R. #1 in Lacootchie last weekend did not disappoint, and not only because I ended up on the podium. See, Hayes, I told you I’d find a way to mention that in the first sentence. You owe me a trip to the tiki bar. Actually, as an aside, Tim is getting ready to do his podcast live onstage in front of actual people as I type this, so he’s probably super nervous and awkward with flop sweats right now, so you all owe me for painting that mental picture for you. You’re welcome.

Wow, there was a lot of digressions in that paragraph. Where were we? Oh yeah, Lacootchie. So Josh Thornton managed to top himself again with one of the best courses ever in FLCX. It was simply brutal. And not just because of the heat, which was bad, but not as bad as the first week. The course was a masterpiece of bumpy grass fields, tricky downhill to uphill zig zags, more grass, some super sticky sand that was alternatively rideable one lap and then quicksand the next, some more grass, some more downhill, the best run up in Florida, (which was almost a non-factor this year) some super bumpy lumpy woods riding, a ditch crossing with a little mud at the bottom, a little deeper mud that kept getting deeper, some shallow but sticky and thick mud for about 20 meters, some soft grass, another muddy ditch crossing, a 100 meter SLOG/run/waddle through ankle deep cowshit flavoured mud, some more soft grass, another short section of soupy mud that was ridable if you hated your drivetrain, then this crazy toilet bowl off camber sequence that ended up forcing you to driveside dismount, some more slow lumpy bumpy woods, finally coming back out of the woods and dropping into and them popping back out of the ditch, all super off camber, then back onto the grass, out onto the pavement for a second, over the barriers, and finally back to start finish. I know I didn’t break 10 minutes a lap, and it probably took me less time to ride it that it did to write it, so you get the idea. I thought it was too much during my pre-ride. I loved it at 20 minutes into the race. It was hard, it was tricky, and it made you drive your bike a lot. Kudos’s, Josh.

Looking back at the volumes of data, one thing becomes clear, and that is that the Power Rankings™ have utterly failed to predict who will even show up that the next race, much less who is going to win, other than Ryan Woodall, and how hard is it to predict that happening right now? Historically, we’ve based them on the previous weekend’s racing. But that only paints a picture of the past. We’re trying to look into the future. What I do know is that the data is gibberish. Guys who were cat 3 last week are racing P12 the next and then back to Cat 3, Ava Sykes, a 12 year old girl, is winning the P123 woman’s race and coming in third in the Men’s 4/5 race, I can’t even figure anything out anymore. But I will pull out the magic Power Ranking™ eight ball, drink the blue juice inside, and give you my predictions.

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. Ryan Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | Pro1/2, SS | Last Rank: 3

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Two convincing wins over Josh Thornton at Josh’s home course are more than enough to vault Ryan back to the top of the heap. Still the nicest guy out there. Still our best hope at Nationals…

2. Ava Sykes (Wizard Racing Development Team P/B Wizard Coaching Services) | Junior women, W123 | Last Rank: nr

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Except for Ava, who might be an even better lock for a stars and stripes jersey in Asheville. As mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, I have no idea how Ava did what she did in Lacootchie, winning her own category and coming in third(!!!!) in Mens Cat 4/5(!!!) on Saturday, and following that up with a win in her own category AND Women’s 123 on Sunday. That’s four races on the toughest course we’ve ever raced on, and four podiums. And she just adopted a greyhound. D’awww.

3. Clint Gibbs (unattached) | Masters 45, Mens 3 | Last Rank: NR

12042830_10205941560111720_5585841923194988050_nnot Clint Gibbs.

Clint stacked up a couple of more wins this past weekend in M45. He only needs 5 more for a perfect season… If anyone can do it, it’s Clint.

4. Steve Noble (Sarasota Cycling Club p/b SeaSucker) | Masters55, Cat3 | Last Rank: 8

11260351_992020930839080_3402677048331210810_n pic by hawkdancer via facebook

Two more wins in 55 plus makes Steve the second most consistent Master’s racer so far. Don’t look now, Steve, but your nemesis Dan Sullivan was second both days.

5. Tic Bowen (B3 Cafe) | Master35, Pro1/2 | Last Rank: 1

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Tic missed out on Lacootchie, so he plummets down the rankings, but he’s pre-regged for Sunday, so I’m still predicting great things. And he makes sweet art you can buy if you like it!

6. Reed Legg (Unattached) | Junior 12-14 | Last Rank: NA

Reed showed up and beat the usual strongmen on both days in juniors, and that’s good enough for me. Is he related to Mr. Katie Compton?

TIE 7. Chase Forman (Colavita) | Junior 15-18 | Last Rank: NA
TIE 7. Thomas Barbazuk (Unattached) | Junior 15-18 | Last Rank: NA

Chase and Thomas are mostly just beating on each other so far this year. Chase won on Saturday, and Thomas on Sunday. Thomas also beat me on Sunday. I passed Chase on the last lap as he was suffering from a nasty asthma attack, and he sounded like a million times worse than I did, wheezing and coughing and I pretty much figured once I went by him that he was gone. Alas, he wouldn’t let me go, and indeed began pressuring me on the few remaining corners of the course. I led him through the concrete and over the barriers, and figured that as long as I got out of the final corner first that there was no way he could hang with my hopefully semi-impressive 42-11 sprint what with all of the hacking and choking and coughing and wheezing there was going on over my shoulder….

Sure enough the little jerk came around me with 10 feet to the line. Yeah, it wasn’t for position, but still. Jerk Junior kids. This is going to be a fun race to watch the remainder of the season.

9. David Hahn (Steady Spin) | Cat 3 | Last Rank: TIE 5

So David was racing and winning/coming in second in the Cat4/5’s the first weekend, and made the barest mention of sand when I included him in the power rankings, and then the guy just goes ahead and upgrades to 3, and then he even wins on Sunday! Impressive, in a field that has suffered from lack of interest the past couple of seasons. Seriously, guys, I’m a cat 3. You can beat me. It’s not that bad.

10. Darla Woodall (Top Gear / MuMu) | W123 | Last Rank: NA

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Up and coming. Fast connections. Nice.

We See You: John Will Tenney (god, do we see you); Stewart Mackie; Josh Thornton (sick, just got braces (how old is he?)); Mallory Bryan; Mark Chandler; Vitor Alexandre;

2015 FLCX Power Rankings™ Week 2 – W.A.R. #1 Dade City CX

On September 18, 2015 by Christian

The Josh Thornton promoted Wicked Awesome Racing CX series is a 4 weekend, 7 race series series within the larger FLCX point series. The first weekend’s racing will be held at the familiar Stanley Park in Lacootchie, just outside of Dade City, home of one of the greatest run-ups in the entire FLCX series. The course will be great, Josh is a master at finding off-camber corners and every inch of elevation change available.

What we learned in the first installment of the FLCX season up in Hudson was that it is silly hot, first of all, so you’ll probably need to use a bottle cage and bottles and get fed. Since the silliest rule in cycling is still being enforced with the intensity of a laser beam, the only legal feeds are thru the pits, and woe to anyone who the official observes taking a feed from somewhere other than those self same pits. Luckily, there are many places at Stanley Park where one is out of the sight of the official, if you know what I mean, and you ought to, since I’m being about as subtle as a seven year old boy with a new fire truck siren.

We also learned that last week’s Power Rankings were pretty accurate, if you squint real hard. This week’s edition is going to have to be an abbreviated edition, as I’m rapidly running out of daylight. Sorry kids.

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. Tic Bowen (B3 Cafe) | Master35, Pro1/2 | Last Rank: NR

Saturday Tic won Master’s 35 and then turned around and won the Pro race immediately afterwards. On Sunday he was second to Woodall by about 30 seconds. This is a massive weekend of riding. Respect.

2. Clint Gibbs (unattached) | Masters 45, Mens 3 | Last Rank: NR

In researching Clint’s results last weekend, I discovered that somecrazyhow the results from Zach’s race are all screwy. Not blaming anyone, so don’t start freaking out all you usual freaker-outers. In any case, it appears that Clint won masters45 both days and podiumed in the 3’s on Sunday, so he gets to hang out on top of the Power Rankings.

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

Ryan only did one race, which he won, so he drops in the standings but not too far. Still a sweet dude. Also podiumed the Gainesville-Atlantic 75 last weekend, so his form remains intact.

4. Josh Thornton (WAR) | Pro1/2, | Last Rank: We See You

Promoter legs have been a minor factor for Josh in the past, so my prediction is a win on Saturday in P12 and a 2nd on Sunday. Happy to be wrong here.

TIE 5. John Vega (Gearlink p/b Roman & Gaynor Law) | Cat 4/5 | Last Rank: nr
TIE 5. David Hahn (Steady Spin) | Cat 4/5 | Last Rank: nr

These two guys traded wins and second places on Saturday and Sunday. It’s far too early to start talking about sand, but then again, this is the Power Rankings…

7. Ava Sykes (Wizard Racing Development Team P/B Wizard Coaching Services) | Junior women, W123 | Last Rank: nr

Ava is multiple time State champion in just about every discipline, and she’s on an even nicer bike this year than she was last year, so I see no reason for her to not dominate.

8. Steve Noble (Sarasota Cycling Club p/b SeaSucker) | Masters55, Cat3 | Last Rank: nr

Won Masters55 both days, and beat me in the 3’s on Sunday. That’ll do, Steve, that’ll do.

9. Brian Davis (Compass Cycling Team) | P12, SS | Last Rank: nr

Second to Tic in P12, won SS both days, and his “kid” is fast too. Look out.

10. Mark Chandler (KBS) | M3 | Last Rank: nr

Lapped me. Jerk. Still somehow slower than me through the sand pit.

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.

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.

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!

How do I do the Cyclocross? (part one of a series)

On August 19, 2013 by Christian

You’d be surprised how many people ask me that question. Well, maybe not just me, but people of my ilk, ie those who have been telling any sentient being within a 12 meter radius just how great CX is and how they should try it immediately. Florida CX is actually a good place to learn CX, because our mild fall and early winter weather makes it much easier on you, your equipment, and the terrain we regularly ride on, so you’re not constantly falling over in mud pits and tearing rear deraileurs off your bike because they’re coated in 47 pounds of mud and various grasses, like you would be in New England or Oregon. Of course, there are people who will insist that the terrible conditions are what makes CX what it is in the first place, and while they are at least half right, they are also masochists and very likely partially insane. All that being said, we live in Florida and we make do with what we have.

The image most associated with CX is usually riders carrying the bikes over barriers or running up a steep hill, and many beginners are most concerned with “how do I dismount?” and “how should I get back on?” Let me tell you: Don’t worry about it. Yet. Dismounts and running are at most 30 seconds of each 5-9 minute lap. We’ll cover those later.

The first thing you’re going to want to practice is riding your CX bike in the grass. There’s a lot of different types of grass, and there’s grass on pretty much every single CX course I can think of, so knowing how your bike handles in the various types of turf is going to help you. The first thing you’re going to notice is “Holy Crap, I can go 20mph all day on pavement, and now I’m dying to go 9mph.” You’re probably pedaling in St. Augustine, which is the thick-bladed spongy rooted stuff, that people like for their lawns. St. Augustine grass just seems to suck your tires into it, and you can literally use it’s insanely high level of friction instead of your brakes when you’re diving into a corner. Bahia grass is faster than St. Augustine, it’s thinner and much less dense. The bulk of the grass we encounter in FLCX is Bahia, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to locate a park or a school or a soccer field to practice on some Bahia. As the season goes on, and the rains become less frequent, Bahia thins even more and gets faster and easier to pedal through. Both Bahia and St. Augustine have extensive, durable root systems, which means you will rarely slide out while cornering, unless the grass is exceptionally damp. There is also wild grass, which we encounter in Clermont, Gainesville, and Melbourne. It tends to grow in clumps, and is exceptionally lumpy, particularly in Clermont and Melbourne, so you really have to pay attention and keep your hands on the bars lest a particularly nasty clump grabs your front wheel and sends you to the ground.

All CX courses are mowed prior to the race, so you’re never going to have to navigate through knee high weeds, unless you have an off course adventure. Grass of any type is going to provide more traction than sand, and usually more than packed dirt as well. It’s the rare (for us) occasions that we have a lot of moisture on the grass that it can get slippery, but even then, running a tire with widely spaced knobs is usually enough to keep your bike heading the direction you want it to go. A semi-slick or file tread tire will work in dry grass, but will slide around a lot more in the wet.

To practice riding grass, you should focus first on just getting used to pedaling through it without going anaerobic. Ride around the perimeter of a soccer field for 20 or 30 minutes, for instance. When this gets boring, add some corners to your route. Loop around trees or benches or bring out some cones. Practice the fastest line through two or three corners in a row. Try it from both directions. Trust your tires, but learn where the limits of their adhesion is. You’re going to want to use your brakes as little as you can get away with, especially on a flat course, and you’re going to use a lot less front brake than rear brake than you do on the road. Try using less and less brake. Momentum is everything- the faster you get through a corner, the less the need to accelerate out of it. Since accelerating pretty much always involves you sprinting, or at least pedaling harder, it’s also going to involve pain. Obviously, it’s a great idea to practice accelerating out of corners, over and over again, because that is a skill you will absolutely need come race day.

Once you’ve worked on the basics of just pedaling in grass, and then cornering and then accelerations, you can put it all together and set up a little course for some hot laps. Some advice for that: if you’re sharing a park with other users, respect them, and don’t run them over. Dog walkers and soccer parents are super touchy about their pets/children, and really don’t like you buzzing around them when you’re drooling from pedaling so hard you can’t see straight. Set up your course to interfere with their comings and goings as little as possible. I know the sand in the playground seems like a great sand pit, but not if there’s kids playing on the jungle gym. Use your best judgement, so you can continue to use the park without hassles from the MAN.

Now that I’ve got the warning out of the way, here’s how to set up your course. Find a complex of soccer fields or an un-fenced public school or a larger public park, preferably one with lights, since the time change will affect us eventually. Then ride around the perimeter of the property. Weave in and out of trees, slaloming and creating hairpins and long, lung burning straightaways linking up the curvy sections. A course length anywhere from 6/10th to one mile in length is ideal. Try to have some pavement, some dirt, and well as some grass on your loop, most likely it will mostly be grass and that’s ok. Here’s a course we used last year at Puryear Park in St. Pete to give you some ideas.