Repetition makes things get a little old. Unless, of course, you’re repeating that walk to the top step of the podium. Just ask John Craychee. By winning the 60+ at DRW today he was forced to make that long climb for the 9th time in the last calendar year. He had an incredible year last year, and he’s off to a better start this year. He may be tired of the podium, but we’re not tired of seeing him there. Keep up the great work, John!
Speaking of the top of the podium, John wasn’t the only one there. Eric Christ made his first, and certainly not his last, trip to “victory lane” in a thrilling Cat 3 race. You might remember how Eric came on really strong at the end of the year last year. He had a great ride at the State Championships, and then went up to Nationals for his best ride of the season. This year, Eric took a completely different approach to getting ready for cross. Rob Kelley and ROK coaching worked with Eric to develop a plan that had him cutting road season short, and trying to maximize Eric’s cross talent with a better cross base. While the Cat 3 team missed him on the road, it’s all coming together for him on the dirt. Eric works his tail off, and we couldn’t be more proud of him for what he did today. Congrats on your first cyclocross win, Eric!
Speaking of Eric’s race… Eric, how did it go?
We also have this girl on our team named Ashley. Perhaps you heard of her. Ashley got herself a new cyclocross bike. Despite the DRW course being one of the absolute most challenging courses on the circuit, Ashley decided to give her first cross race a try. We had an awesome video of Ashley to post, but for some reason it won’t upload. Long story short, though, she started in the third row. If you know Ashley, you know she didn’t finish there. In her first ever cross race she finished an amazing 5th. Not so bad for somebody who picked up a cross bike about a month ago! It’s going to be fun to watch Ashley progress in this discipline.
It’s not all about top finishes and epic races, though. One of the best things cross in the Chicago area has going for it are the juniors races. It’s fun to watch the younger racers get better race after race, and year after year. Today, Andy Heuser had another great finish for the team earning a 6th. In the same race, Katie Paradis made a welcome return to the cross course. Both of them raced hard in a very deep Junior 15-18 field. Both will be tearing up the adult and category races before too long.
Those are just the highest of the highlights for the day. If you check the score sheet you’ll see that we had racers in just about every race, many of whom nailed career best finishes. We’re coming off our most successful road season ever, and happy to see how the momentum is carrying on to cross.
And now, for the low-lights.
Somehow Mara managed to start the race in a shiny white jersey, clean BH bibs, and with an unblemished face. 30 minutes later, she rolled back to the team pit with dried grass on her bibs, a dirty shirt, and a dust-covered face. Plus, she was angry.
Mara, why are you so angry?
Oh. That’s why.
With that, we congratulate every rider who raced Dan Ryan Woods… regardless of how many times you fell. Thanks also goes out to our friends from Beverly Bike/VeePak who put on another great race despite limited access to the park (and fed each racer an outstanding meal… nobody makes a sausage like the folks on the South Side).
Other random shots from the day: