Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a Family Affair - Charm City Cross 2011

First weekend of cross season 2011 (for me) is in the books!

Feeling very reflective on my wonderful cycling family today. Someone told me once that after college it's pretty much impossible to make new friends. As someone who doesn't really have any college friends that they keep in touch with, I call bull on that. The people I've met through cycling, primarily cyclocross, are some of the funniest, kindest, smartest, most generous people I've ever met. These are not people that I would likely cross paths with in any other facet of my life, but there's a bond of friendship that's formed during those fall weekends that is pretty significant.

The races were interesting this year; the European pros in town to get some early UCI points really ran away with things, and it was pretty awesome to watch. Helen Wyman, the British national champion, just destroyed the women's elite field with style and skills. The European men dominated the men's elite field and had some pretty fabulously bright kits too.

Since Steve isn't racing, I didn't get there until about halfway through the day either day, which was a different experience from being there for the whole day. I think that there was also more socializing than watching on my part, with it being the first race and all. Saturday was the first time in five years of attending that I've ever seen Charm City WET. The chill in the air was refreshing, and I suppose the clouds and drizzle were appropriate for a cross race. Sunday remained cool, but the sun dried out the course enough to make it a little more "normal," except - it was run backwards! Very cool, but so different to watch.

I feel like my thoughts are a little lacking this week, maybe I'm not fully into race mode yet for the year or something, not sure. I'm still struggling a bit with the "fancy camera" and probably focusing a little more on it than on watching the races at this point. I'm ending up with a lot fewer pictures this year, and even though the ones I have are nicer quality, I feel somewhat frustrated. You can check out my C3CX galleries for Day 1 and Day 2 if you like.

No race for us next weekend, but should be back in full force for Winchester and that epic "Belgian wall"!

Monday, September 12, 2011

While y'all were at Nittany this weekend...

...we were at the GP of Montreal, and I was hanging with my homeboy Johnny Hoogerland!

Yes, that is really him and not a cardboard cutout as some have suggested! And yes, I am wearing my awesome "Welcome to Hoogerland" shirt from Stomach of Anger in the picture.

Montreal was really an amazing experience, a beautiful city with very nice people, for the most part. Seeing the pro tour teams in person was pretty awesome, the kits are ridiculously bright and colorful and the riders and insanely fit. Their riding is also, of course, unparalleled and to watch them ride is really quite beautiful.

I took more than 600 pictures and will try to cull them down and get the highlights up on Picasa later this week. We stood in a couple different places around the course so I have some climbing pictures, some sprinting pictures, group pictures, and individual pictures. I didn't make it up to the steepest part of the climb, but even the part where I was standing was pretty tough. And since the race was a circuit, they had to climb each of the hills 17 times!

But as much as I enjoyed my roadie adventures this weekend, I'm definitely looking for ward to Charm City this weekend. And it sounds like Nittany Cross started off the season with a successful bang; wish I could have been there to see J Pow racing, plus the elite British ladies.