Nowak Report: Chicago Cross Cup #5- Lansing/SCW

It's been awhile since I put in a report, and for some reason I can't sleep so what better time...

I'm sure most of you saw Gina's report for the Women's race. Sue was on fire today! Great Job. Also congrats to Gina on her upgrade. Careful what you ask for.

Lately I have been racing two races and today was not different. In the 40+, Ed Bartley, Ken Krebs, and I lined up with 36 of our best 'cross friends. The typical players were there, and it would be again another Verdigris House of Pain. Personally my race could be summed up in one sentence. Bad start with a good middle to a terrible end.

For some reason, today I couldn't get off the line, and found my self WAY back in the field. I worked hard in the first lap to make my way to the front, but there was too much congestion, and the lead group was already gapped. So it was settle down and ride with the group. I ended up riding with a few guys and through the sand pit (which was the difference maker today) some guys would get a gap, others would loose out. I mostly rode the pit, but sand would get in your eyes, hair, mouth, etc. I think I'm still picking it out of my ears.

I maintained contact with a group for most of the race and then with 2 laps to go Mike Jones (who did the 30+ just prior), ratcheted the pace up and dropped me and Hank Saha. I tried to drop Hank as he was not having the best day a few time, but he always seemed to claw his way back. On the last lap, I really messed up the sand pit, and he got a gap on me to finish just ahead in 11th and I in 12th. Hopefully good enough to keep a top 10 placing.

After the 40+ I was pretty frustrated as I thought I would go better, but just never seemed to get the engine going. I was thinking of heading home and blowing off the Cat3 race, but I changed my mind and decided to stay. It was a good decision on two parts, 1. I was able to watch Sue and Gina race. and 2. I somewhat redeemed myself.

I got a much better start in the Cat3 race and was near the front for most of the first lap. Small little gaps began to open between riders and I continued to close and/or pass people. I was riding in a small group that was probably about 8th to 11th and feeling pretty good. However that sand pit again gave me fits as I almost endo'ed going thru and lost contact with the group. I chased for almost a lap, but couldn't get back on. At this point it was damage control, and the efforts from the 40+ were beginning to take effect. There was a group coming up one me, but they split apart and only one made it up to me and passed me with 1 lap to go. I ended up 14th, so not a bad race.

Well 1 more to go. Also, for those of you interested, it looks like there may be a bandit next weekend. I'll let you know when I get more info.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see some of you on Thurs.


Gina Kenny Report: 3 is the Magic Number for the Day

Lansing Cyclocross race report

ABD had a pretty good showing today. Jim Nowak raced both the 40+ and the Cat. 3. Eddie Bartley and Ken Krebs also did the 40+ race. Sue Semaszczuk and I did the Women's Cat. 4. I believe Jim did well. I, unfortunately, am not sure how anyone else did besides Sue and I.

The course was extremely flat. There was one barrier and one set of three barriers. There were some turns but nothing really technical except for one large sand pit. So, probably a good course for the rest of our team but not good for me. One of the usual fast girls wasn't there which was good for us standings-wise. After the first half-lap, I was fourth and Sue was fifth. Sue caught up to me and said we should try to catch Imelda March, a Team Kenda girl. We worked together and reached her. Imelda bobbled on her mount after the sand pit and Sue sprinted past her. I went to do the same to the right and she swerved right, next to a tree, so I backed off. We traded spots a few times, but I may have gone too hard to catch her and am just not as fast on the flats as she is. Sue, on the other hand, was faster than Imelda. Imelda started catching up but Sue held her off and beat her by less than a bike length taking THIRD!!!! The best she's done at cross and the best either of us have done at the Chicago series. I came in after Imelda, taking fifth.

I talked to one of the officials after the race about upgrading and I am now a Cat. 3 cyclocross racer! Yea for me! I plan on racing at the Wisconsin state championships in Hales Corners on Dec. 2. They have a separate women's cat. 3 race and I don't expect to do good but I don't expect to do horribly bad either -- well, I hope not anyway. Then, I'll do the Women's Cat. 1/2/3 race (where most of them have been Cat. 2's) at the last Chicago cyclocross race on Dec. 9 where I will get annihilated and wonder why exactly I upgraded. -Gina Kenny


Nowak Report: Busted At The Bandit Cross

Busted by the Police is a bit of an overstatement, more like a security guard. The "course" that was laid out was actually pretty nice, but not feeling my best that day I knew it would be a long day at the "Boundy and Lombardo House of Pain". I rode to Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates (who can tell these days were these town start and end) from home which took about 40 minutes. The last week was a rest week for me and Sat. was the first day in the new cycle. Anyhow, back to the action... I was able to hang with the lead group until about the end of the first lap (or was it the second?!?). There was a nice mix of pavement and grass with a baseball field crossing as well as a frosty little hill climb. I slowly kept loosing ground to the leaders but the others that were unlatched were also coming back to me. After 30 minutes, I came to the start area and there were a few people talking to a security guard. Apparently, someone called the park district and complained of people riding their bikes in the park (really!!!). He came out and was actually pretty cool about the whole thing. He really didn't have a problem with us there. So after a brief conversation, we all gathered for a 1 lap run off. Needless to say Krebs got me at the line!

Overall, it has been a good 'cross season so far for myself personally. I have been trying to double up on race weekends doing the 40+ and then mixing in either the 30+ or Cat 3. This year I'm really trying to focus on States and would like to get top 5 which is possible if I have a good day. The Bandit 'cross stuff has been really fun. The interesting thing is the except for probably 2 guys in the Cup series, most everyone that has come out to the Bandit stuff are 40+'s.


Gina Kenny Report: Flying Viking Cross

I did the Women's 3/4 Flying Viking Cross Race in Stoughton, WI on Sunday. I was very excited about this race as I want to upgrade to Cat. 3. This race had a Women's Cat. 4 race and a Women's 3/4 race. So, I had decided to skip the Cat. 4 and race the Cat. 3. Then, last Monday evening I felt a cold coming on. It hit me full force Friday and is easing up but, unfortunately, I still wasn't quite fully back. Decided, what the hell, I'll race anyway. Turns out there were only 6 of us and I was the only Cat. 4 so I figured it would give me a pretty good idea how I would do.

The course was somewhat long -- about 1.7 miles -- flat with us riding through a "sand pit" that was actually a small beach that they sent us across once, turned around in the grass and then went through it again. The rest of the course had a lot of tight turns, a few pavement sections and two sets of barriers.

I started out pretty well. I was 4th and stayed that way until about the last lap. I felt okay although I noticed I was more jogging through the sets of barriers as opposed to running and I was still pretty congested. The last lap, or maybe with two to go, sixth place dropped out (which I found out after the race). Last lap, I knew I had to ride the first part of the sand pit cleanly as a girl was right behind me and I usually gained some time here. But, I ended up putting a foot down after trying to save it, then started running as she passed me. I started catching up during the second part of the sand pit but she started pulling away and beat me by probably about 30 seconds. So, it was kind of disappointing. No one actually showed up at the Women's 4 race -- I could have won a shiny medal. = )

BANDIT CROSS??? Someone posted on her blog "AND, on a sadder note, I hear the underground cross series race yesterday got busted by the police." I'm hoping that Jim and/or Sue were there and can please tell me this wasn't the Bandit Cross race.



Keith B's Marathon Report

I know it's a bit late, but last Sunday 10/28, I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon to try and redeem myself from what happened at the Chicago Marathon a few weeks prior. I have spoke with some of you about my results, but others I mentioned that I would post something. So here I go...

It was a clear cold 32 degree morning the day of race. Frost on the grass, but the daytime high was in the upper 50's, low 60's. Like the recent we've been having here. Well I felt just great from the start. What a difference running in the cooler temps. It was a much different run than Chicago as in the scenery around. Most of the run was out in nature along the river and such. Well I'll get to the point. At the beginning I started the race with like 6:40 mile then realized I must slower down. So I settled in a very comfortable 7:10 pace. So there runners were passing me up, but I knew I would see them later at mile 20 or so. Which was the case. At mile 20 I felt strong and passed some of the people that I saw earlier. I finished running a fast pace arms in the air. For I knew that I was going to Boston. I qualified with a 3:06. That's a 7:07mile/pace.

I praise God for the strength he gives me. The days that followed, I was honestly not that sore. Obviously, some soreness, but not over-whelming like in the past.
See ya Boot Camp...
God Bless,
Keith Borkowicz

Gina Kenny Cross Report: Campton Park & Estabrook

Saturday Sue Semaszczuk, Jim Nowak, Brad Dash and myself raced at the cross race in St. Charles. Sue & I scored free socks, as did all the women racers, which was a nice perk. The course was similar to previous years although the start was a short straight area to some tight turns, to a set of barriers, a ditch-like drop and another set of barriers. I started out fifth and stayed there the whole race. I kept with the lead group 'til after the second set of barriers where there is a short incline on grass to an asphalt climb. Speed not being my strong point, the leaders pulled away at that point and I never recaught them. After the climb, we rode around a baseball diamond with a off cambr part, a very short steep incline, another asphalt area, through a very small sand pit, some dirt to a sharp left turn, a gravel road with wood planks to prevent erosion, some grass and then the last set of barriers before the lap finish. As I mentioned, I took fifth with Sue taking 6th in the Women's 4's. Jim took 8th in the Masters 40+ and then took 9th in the Cat. 3. Very impressive. Brad finished right behind Jim at 10th in the Cat. 3.

On Sunday, I trekked up to Milwaukee for the Estabrook cross race. I got there with more than enough time for my husband & I to get ready when we forgot to set the clocks back an hour. This course was also similar to last year's but with more turns and more barriers -- yea! They have all of the women and juniors start at the same time in one mass start. I had a crappy start as the officials gave no warning and all of sudden just said go. An asphalt section led to a right turn and the first set of barriers and then a bunch of tight turns. A bunch of juniors got ahead of me on the pavement which I then had to get around some of on the barriers and turns. After the tight turns, there were more tight turns then a second set of barriers, immediate tight turn and soon thereafter a third set of barriers. That followed with a long pavement stretch to some singletrack, a big log with a hill runup, a downhill tight turn, out of the singletrack to some more tight turns and another pavement stretch before the lap/finish.

This race was different for me in that I actually rode with three girls the entire race. We traded positions the entire time with them being quicker on the pavement, the one woman being a little faster on the run-up and me being quicker on the turns, singletrack and a little quicker on the barriers. The one girl, who ended up being a junior, just disappeared near the start of the last lap. She later said she was tired and just gave up. That left me and another Cat. 4 woman. I passed her on the second set of barriers and kept her behind me a short period until the long pavement stretch where she sped past me. I passed her in the singletrack and gunned it 'til the log and run up. I could hear her catching up on the run up and I gunned it again for the last bit of singletrack and turns knowing I had to get enough space between her and I so she couldn't sprint for the win. And, I actually managed to do it and got third out of 6, with one DNF. = ) Of course, I should have probably did that sooner and tried to catch the second place girl which I would see occasionally, but I'm new to this whole racing with other people. I'm usually in no man's land out there. I also actually got some compliments on my dismounts and mounts which was quite nice. = )

I had wanted to also do the Men's Masters 30+ for more practice but it was colder today than yesterday and my 15-month-old was getting pretty cold and cranky so I called it a day. (Wow. Long race report. Sorry about that.)

FYI -- They announced at the Estabrook race that there will be a race in Stoughton, WI on Nov. 11. Flyer:
https://www.usacycling.org/events/getflyer.php?permit=2007-2676 I plan on racing the Women's 3/4 race to see how I'd fare since I plan to upgrade to Cat. 3 at the end of the season.
I am sorry to say that I neglected to mention that Eddie Bartley also raced in the 40+ race last Saturday. He placed 18th and would have been the second guy if they had a 50+ division.

There are at least four separate cross events taking place this weekend. There are races in Moline, IL and Stoughton, WI on Sunday. There is also a Bandit Cross on Saturday morning and a winner-take-all cross event going on in Milwaukee on Sunday. I'll be racing the Women's 3/4 race on Sunday in Stoughton.
-Gina Kenny