Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Cyclocross Season - Race Report

Racing Category 3 Men Aged 45+

NW CX Cup Series
1st - Series Winner
WSBA Cyclocross State Championship
2nd -  Silver Medal
MFG Cyclocross Series

Season Summary:   After being forced off the bike in June 2016 due to a medical condition that still persists.  I was given permission by my doctor to return to training 10 months later.  It was a gradual process of riding checking in with the body and increasing the effort.  I discovered that I was able to maintain the level of pain whilst increasing effort and power, enabling me to set my sights on the 2017 Cyclocross season. 

Having only raced one full season in 2015 returning from a near death mountain biking accident whilst training for the 2014 season and going on to win the CXR Cyclocross series and placed 3rd in the MFG series I had no idea how I would perform in 2017.  As a USA Cycling Category 3 I decided to race Category 3 men in my age group 45+ in the MFG series, self seeding   I decided not to race the CXR series and to target MFG as my B race series and the new NW CX Cup as my A race series.  It was a hard decision as I really enjoyed the CXR series in 2015 however the season schedule favored MFG. 
with the goal of upgrading to Category 2.

With Nationals returning to Washington in 2019 the NW CX Cup series was setup to help riders earn USAC upgrade points and ranking, this aligned with my longer term goal to race Cat 1/2 at Nationals and I know I am going to need a couple of years to be competitive in what is a very competitive and fast field of riders.

The season was without a doubt hard work not to mention long spanning September to December especially having to manage injury recovery on almost a daily basis as I coxed my body onto the bike each day for training.  I used an indoor trainer exclusively so that I could monitor my body and mitigate any warning signs.  In the end despite a couple of hiccups my results surpassed my expectations and I achieved my goal of winning the NW CX Cup Series and earning enough USAC points to upgrade to Category 2.  In addition I placed 2nd in the WSBA Cyclocross State Championship, with a frustrating crash in the last lap and 3rd in the MFG series.   You can follow the link for Race Videos.

Now my sights are turned towards training and the spring and summer efforts that will help get me ready for 2018 and my first Cat 2 races. 

MFG #1
Lake Sammamish GP
MFG #2
Moor Cross
MFG #3
Tall Tyler CX
NW CX Cup #1
MFG #4
Magnuson CX
NW CX Cup #2
Deschutes River CX
MFG #5
North 40 CX
NW CX Cup #3
Ridge CX
MFG #6
Woodland Park  
NW CX Cup #4
Fort Steilacoom Park (Nationals Preview)
NW CX Cup #5
Kayak Point Cross
NW CX Cup #6
States Warm-up
NW CX Cup #7
WSBA Cyclocross Championship

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gear Talk: Rapha Repair Service

Hitting the deck hurts and invariably results in road rash, and to add insult to injury shredded clothing.   That insult is magnified when you are wearing your new kit.  I am sure you know what I am talking about.

When I purchased my shorts from Rapha, I saw that a repair service was available but I have to be honest I did not think much about it until reviewing the state of my new Rapha shorts a few days after crashing in California.  I had literally worn them twice and here they were with holes in them.

When I got home I decided to try Rapha's repair service and I have to say I am a happy customer. Apart from the cost of shipping them to Rapha the service is free.  Sending them was easy.  From there it went dark, I was not sure if they had even arrived so I called Rapha.

Calling Rapha is never the experience I expect from a premium brand but it always works out.  I would like to see Rapha invest in their customer service training in the same way they have invested in their packaging experience.

I finally got put through to the guy who manages repairs and he was really helpful.  He confirmed they had arrived and that they would be sent to me shortly (no pun intended).

He was not kidding, two days later they arrived in the post.  One of my favorite things about Rapha is the attention they place on packaging.  It just feels special opening the packets and the repair was no exception.  It came in its own accident repair musette, a really nice touch.  The patching is well done and best of all I get my shorts back.

While it is not a service I want to make much use of, it is comforting to know that Rapha understands the impact of crashing and is there to support its customers by making the experience easy.  Thank you Rapha.

Until next time keep it Rubber Side Down and MaxLifeOut.