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…