Since last December I've been waiting for the return of the cyclocross season. I lust for this. Mud. Cowbells. Pain. Erin and Nordyke on the megaphones. Today we got to dive back into it all down in Jackson Park. The unofficial start of the season proved a good day for the Cuttin Crew.
After Jamie and Christina took down a 2nd place finish in the women's field, Brian Ellison and I were poised to follow suit. The race had a Le Mans style start, with racers sprinting to the hand off area where their partners were waiting with their bike. As we all lined up for the whistle, the familiar jitters of alleycats and CMWC's past returned. I killed that sprint. I was on my bike and into the second turn before most people had even gotten their hands on their whip. The course was fast. Not super technical, but the off camber turns by the harbor (where the Cuttin Cruiser and its minions were posted up, couches and all) were gnarly. The one lap at a time format allowed you some breathing room, but it also meant that there was no pacing yourself. Each lap was a time trial. By the end of the Cat 4 race, Brian and I had opened up such a huge gap that 2nd place was well over a minute behind. It was the man's first cross race too. I know he's got the itch now.
Christina and I went into the co-ed field with great energy coming off of the last races. I knew most people weren't too stoked on the Le Mans start, so I opted to take the first lap. I think Teeners was fine with this. I remember feeling a little cocky about getting out front first again until I saw the blur of a Johnny Sprockets jersey fly by me shortly there after. My first lap was spent fighting for fourth wheel with this cat from Wisconsin named Christopher. After Teeners finished her first lap we had moved up a wheel. Lap 2 was spent trying to hold place up front and it was a fight for 3rd place. By the start of my last lap Teeners had moved us up yet another wheel to duke it out for 2nd place. Somewhere along the line in her last lap the leader flatted out and Teeners crossed the finish out front. Crushed it. I didn't realize we had won it. I thought we were fighting for third that whole last lap but Teeners (also in her cross debut) was passing people like they were traffic downtown.
At the end of the day the Cuttin Crew took 3 podiums! 2 firsts and 1 second place finish. Also, our good friend Kevin Sparrow from MKE was down, with James Lalonde, riding single speed in a Cuttin Crew jersey, finishing just off the podium in the 1/2/3s. We also got to race along side Avi and Ella in the co-ed field! Though it hasn't officially started yet, this season is going to be a blast. I. Love. Cross.(Photo swiped from Nikki Cyp!)