24, September 2007
Okay. Cyclocross season has really started atmo*. The Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team
has had an excellent weekend of racing. We had events both days. On Saturday, the race was
in New Boston, New Hampshire. At the Molly Stark Cyclocross Challenge, Justin Spinelli
started his 'cross season right where he left off in '06 when he was 11th in the Elite Division of the
National Cyclocross Championships. Late on Saturday night, I received an email from Justin
containing a single attachment. Click here to see what that was. The RS 'Cross Team gets its
first victory of the season.
I asked Justin to write a few words about the day -
First race, first win. After pre-riding the fast but twisty course, I was fairly confident of my skills and
fitness to go for the victory. I had a fast start, went to the front and didn't look back. My skills in the
corners were surprisingly sharp and I was yo-yoing the guys on my wheel . Eventually after 2 laps
the elastic snapped and I had over a minute gap by the finish iirc. The one bike that I have built
responded perfectly to the course and in my humble opinion, you just can't go wrong with a steel
lugged cross bike paired with nice tires at the proper pressure...just felt like I was floating around
the course and never bogged down when sprinting out of all those hairpin turns. Anyways... it was
a nice way to start the season and very satisfying after the long and challenging recovery from my
nasty crash in and it's ensuing surgery some 3 months ago. Cheers, Justin
And while Justin was taking care of it all in the Granite State, our Matt "Pookums" Kraus
along the the A Team, Amy Wallace and Alie Kenzer - the three of them were in Falmouth,
Massachusetts for the 5th Annual Corner Cycle Coonamessett Eco-Cross. The trio had
the surprise pleasure of running into, and racing with, Katrina Davis. Katrina was a full time
stalwart on the RS 'Cross Team for years and is now the mother of young twins. We miss her
and her smiling face and are glad for the times that she'll join us at the race venues. Regarding
the event, in the Elite Women's race, Amy-issimo was third, and Alie and Katrina were ninth
and tenth respectively. Matt (er, Pookums...) was fourth in the Elite Men's race. As with Justin,
I received lots of text from the A Team and Pookster about what went down.
Amy wrote -
Alie and I drove down to Falmouth with our professional race-cheerleader extraordinaire,
Darcy. The race was at a neat little co-op organic farm, so the course was very unique;
weaving up and down tight rows of blueberry bushes, gravel roads, single track, laps
around fenced enclosures of donkeys, llamas, pygmy goats, and even a barrier section
in front of the buffet area with rows and rows of spectators in a pavilion. The single track
sections were pretty technical and often pretty narrow, which resulted in huge gaps between
people as the technical parts were the biggest factor in separating out the fast kids and the
not-as-fast kids today. The race started with Rebecca Wellons getting a good start just in front
of me and the rest of the girls behind us. I maintained second place for the first half of the race,
but then things started getting sloppy... sliding out in the dirt here, messing up a corner there,
running into fence posts and chicken wire and riding off course in fast narrow sections. I was
passed by Perri Mertens of Harris Cyclery halfway through the race andthought maybe i was
making up some time with one and a half to go, but then with a mistake in bike handling through
some loose gravel, i dumped over my handlebars and skidded to a stop on the ground by
knocking my head on a stone wall. I got up and reoriented myself, and stayed in third place
through the finish line. Thanks to the weaving and winding of the course, I got to see Alie and
Katrina riding together through lots of the race, and they finished in 9th and 10th places.
The men's race was a good one to watch... those boys have got some good technical skills!
They fly over some things that the women can hardly attempt to ride. The race of the race,
however, was the battle for third between Kevin Wolfson, Falmouth-native Toby Marzot, and
our own Matt Kraus. At first it seemed that it was only a two-way battle for third with friends
Toby and Kevin seeming to push their own pace together, but Matt was inching ever closer
through the middle of the race. By about 40 minutes in, Matt had closed the gap and was
riding comfortably on the wheels of Kevin and Toby. They rode like that a few more laps, and
all of them were looking like they were working hard. When they came out of the woods at one
to go, it looked as though Kevin had attacked on the back of the course and put a 15 second
gap on Toby and Matt. Barring disaster, Kevin seemed to have sealed up third...Matt plugged
along in fourth, and Toby was looking a little worse for the wear of Kevin's attack, behind Matt
in fifth. Matt cruised across the line a lap later in fourth place, chalking up another (american)
podium finish the Richard Sachs squad today.
And Alie wrote -
So - my two cents from Saturday's race: Riding with Katrina made it loads more fun than
zenning to the beat of my own drum. It was great to feel that camaraderie with another racer
out there. (by this point, Ms. Amy Wallace had already flown to the front with a vengeance).
With about two laps underway, I saw Katrina up ahead of me, slowing up around one of the
many tight corners of the course. I cheered from behind, a bit out of breath, and i think she
may have laughed and said, "Thanks, come on up!" I can't quiteremember her exact words,
but I put a little more oomph into my pedal stroke and went upahead to take a pull. Right at
that point, we approached a slightly scary ride/run up that Idecided to try riding up. I made it
about half way and dismounted, but she still seemed impressed, which helped encourage me
even more in the laps to come. We took turns pulling each other around for the remainder of
the race, and ended up finishing 9 and 10th. A solid comeback race.
And from the Pookmeister -
This is not a race report; it is an animal watching parade and a fine test of the stuff that brings
my RS frame to life. Coonamesset Eco-cross, aptly named for the organic farm/petting zoo
that hosted the venue. I was there with the A-team teammate cheery cheeriest contingent. In
a good show and nod to the future of the sport, the promoter put all the juniors on the front row,
I liked that sportsmanship.
Why was Coonamesset a test of hand strength, blister resistance and equipment?
Simply, it was the most unboring course imaginable. Seriously, not a straight segment to
open up the motor, every inch of the course was bumped, turns, sand, twisty forest,gravel,
180s, incredible. It really tested the stuff that makes the bike go and stop. I used my dry
conditions tires which I heart more than anything and they hooked me up through all the
sifty Cape Cod sand, dirt and gravel. We raced through neat orderly blueberry bushes, past
llama's, pygmy goats (for really real) and donkeys. I think the pygmy goatsfigured out the
deal that day, as they were attracted to the shiny red bike and the hot blackkits. Can you
blame them? The reason blisters and hands happened was due to being on your hoods and
brakes almost the whole day. The brakes handled it superwell, better than my hands, I was
sporting a few band-aids on Sunday atmo. The bars, stem and seatpost managed to hold
their positions through repeated thrashings, and the wheels took all dishing I could serve
them and stayed in good form. For real, I felt safe on all of this stuff, and that rocks (thank you).
Holeshot withstanding cause of the junior staging element, I managed to end up in fourth on
the day, with some dusty legs and a smile. The best part of cross are the puzzles we have to
figure out each weekend; the courses that present the challenge of speed deflection. Well
actually, the best part are the people we get to do it with and the stuff we do it on, and this team
is not the exception to the rule, but how the rule should be.
All great stuff according to my opinion.
As far as today, Sunday, goes, all of us met in Bedford, Massachusetts for the Bedford Springs
Cyclocross Race presented by Quad Cycles. As far as I know,this is the first time for this race
at this venue. Atmo it was a remarkable event and a perfect setting for cyclocross. In the Elite
Women's race, Amy rode to her second third place of the weekend, and I believe Alie snagged
her second ninth. Matt got the holeshot in the Elite Men's event and came home in ninth place
after a series of mechanicals reared their heads mid way through the race. Pals Justin and Brian
Hayes (the latter returning to racing after graduating from UConn and taking a full time job in the
web design sector) both had great starts but found out early that it wasn't mean tto be. Justin
t-boned a barrier on lap one and was decidedly shaken up, and Brian was a victim of the heat and
fast pace set by the first group, and left the race with about ten minutes left. A smart decision on
such a demanding course. And to be consistant with this email, I received a message a moment
ago from Alie.
She writes -
Sunday was another really fun race. Man, this is a great way to spend the weekend. At the
start line, I leaned over to Amy and said, "Ok, you've gotta get the hole shot here." She turned
me, smiled and said, "we both will!" I smiled a "Thanks-but-you've-gotta-be-kidding-me" smile,
but inside, it made me feel like, "well, why not?!" So, I put my best effort into it (my "B.E" as
Amy calls it), and after the whistle went off, found myself sitting third or fourth wheel, very close
to Amy! Neither of us won the start, but it felt great anyway. I knew I'd need to remember to
conserve energy in the beginning, something I've been trying to figure out how to balance
lately, so I settled in and rode hard. Overall, the race went well today. It was really motivating
to hear the cheers coming from every angle of the course.We are a very recognizable and
very loved team. With two laps to go, I could see Lynn Bessette closing in on me, but was
determined to not let her pass. I was NOT going to lether lap me today. As I approached the
finish with one to go, I turned and saw that she was about ten seconds back, I pushed harder.
Allen Atwood watched me cross and said, "Oh you should have waited, now you have to do one
more lap." Have to? I GOT to. Extra workout, extra dignity. I'll take it. I finished 9th, very happily
the last "non-lapped" rider in the field.
Are you still there?
Thanks so much for reading. I realize that the word count in this email is nearing the legal limits,
but this team has so much to share, and I want to share it all with you. This was the first weekend
since last November that nearly all the Northeast RS 'Cross Team family members were in the
same place at the same time. Soon we will be seeing Dave and also Jon and Alicia. My weekends
with all of these cats fuels me for the work week sandwiched in between. We live for 'cross, and
for spending time with each other. I love these people. I'm so glad that we are full swing into the
best season of the year.
Next weekend we race in Amesbury, Massachusetts on Sunday. After that, our road trips to
various UCI events begin.
I'll leave you with this link to a video shot at last week's venue at Auburn, New Hampshire. It
shows the start of the Elite Women's event and you can clearly see that Amy and Alie rip the
holeshot. The A-Team gets it atmo. Note: exceptional race footage couretsy of Henry Jurenka.
'Cross effin rules and so do these.
'Til next time.
*according to my opinion
Thank you for your interest and support.
The Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team is sponsored by RGM Watches,
Rex Chiu, Radix Group LLC, Ozell, Stankus Architects Associates, as
well as by Cane Creek, Crank Brothers, Rudy Project, Oval Concepts,
Challenge, VergeSport, Selle San Marco, JB Custom Paint, Nelly's Deli,
and The Wheatmarket
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RICHARD SACHS 'CROSS BLOG
24, September 2007