10, November 2009
Wow. WOW. What a weekend of racing was had by the Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team atmo. We all were in
Northampton, Massachusetts for both days and competed in the 19th annual Cycle-Smart International UCI C2 event.
These guys, Pookums, Will, Dan, and Josh can all be relabeled - and tenacious is the word that best applies. All of
us had top 10 finishes both days (me - or is it myself - as well...), but the manner in which these cats attacked the
courses and their fellow competitors was high art. To paraphrase some text from Josh below, if the season ended
Sunday, we'd owe nothing to no one atmo! All of the men left a mark, and the people who watched the races, as
well as those who rubbed elbows with us, all took note of our tenacity.
In the 35+ Masters races, Pookums was 3rd on Saturday and 2nd on Sunday. Both days saw Matt riding off the front of
the field and finishing in a small group of four or so. A double podium weekend for Matt Kraus with one S. In the 55+ Masters
races, I had my worst finish of 2009 on Saturday with a disappointing (atmo) 9th place. I was sitting in 3rd place overall in
the Verge Points Series and knew that spot was in jeopardy so I did all I could to put in a great race on Sunday. Despite
wanting more, I'll take the 6th place I ended with because I know I had nothing left to give. My overall is now at 4th in the
age group and I have a two weekend gap before the next series races.
In the Elite Category, Will Dugan, Josh Dillon, and Dan Timmerman animated the racing for 60 minutes on both days. Du had
great finishes of 7th and 6th respectively. Josh was 14th on Saturday and then 4th Sunday. Dan was 3rd Saturday with a 7th
on Sunday. Those results are not truly telling of the efforts put in my these cats. I asked Josh to write about the weekend and
his words will speak to this, but let me please leak some of the important material. Within 50 yards of the start on Saturday,
Josh snapped a chain. It was so early in the earliest part of the race that it happened in the first 10 seconds of the gun's blast.
Some would accept defeat. Others would take the event and make an excuse-fest out of it - woulda', coulda', shoulda'. Josh
started what may be the longest stretch in cyclocross: from the starting line to the first pit. He arguably gave all other 50 racers
a two minute (or more) head start. Shouldering a bicycle and running that much is not easy, even on the run ups we normally
get at the 'cross venues. Compounding this with the distance involved surely is a test of one's mettle. Josh ran through the pits,
dead last of course, took a bicycle change, and continued his pursuit for another 52 minutes. One by one he picked off riders
until, with a lap to go, he was nearly seeing a possible top ten finish. At the end of it all, he sprinted for 13th place and conceded
the dash to Jake Keogh. That's victory in itself atmo. In chatting about this later with Jake's brother Jesse, the sibling remarked,
"...well 'cross may be his hobby (Note: Jake is an accomplished road pro), sprinting is his job." That said it all. Josh's 14th is a
win in my book. And - AND - if lightning can't strike twice in the same place, at least it took a 24 hour hiatus. On day two, the
race, already broken down on lap 2 into what may well have been the finishing order, Dan, in a secure 2nd place for the day, hit
a pedal in a turn and fall down go boom. With a rolled tire as a result, Dan had to run to the pit and, like pal Josh a day earlier,
lost at least 30 places along the way. Dan pits, put head down, and GOES. This all happened about 18 minutes into the race.
Where would fate have Dan finish with only 40 minutes of real estate in which to pedal? Dan is leading the Verge Points Series
in the Elite Category and is cut from the same bolt of cloth as Josh (who is in 3rd). Lap by lap, Dan clawed his way back into
the race, and then into the top twenty, and then finally was sprinting for his 7th place at the end. Man, if this tenacity could be
bottled, it's sell better than Charlie did back in the 70s at a perfume counter near you.
As noted, Josh's words about the weekend, particularly Saturday:
Richard kindly asked me to write a few words on day one of the UCI double race weekend in Northampton, Massachusetts...of course, I
did not hesitate to oblige. It was, however, a unique request as compared to my previous 6 seasons of crafting race reports for my road
team [i.e. preseason atRo (sic)] where often I was the highest placed rider on the day and it was a noteworthy result, neither of which was
even close to being the case this past Saturday. I came into that particular day sitting just one point out of 2nd on the overall Verge series
standings, which Dan was leading, and just outside the top 50 in the world rankings. Clearly the best cross season I have ever had even i
f it ended today.
So then Saturday's race wrapped up with me rolling across the finish line a disappointing 14th, not even close to scoring any UCI points and
in the process coughed up a few places on the overall Verge series standings. On a day where I was looking to go head to head with a couple
of the best riders in the U.S. (and world) I was a non-factor. No one will argue that a broken chain 50 meters into the race cost me the aforementioned
level of competitiveness. I came off the line well, slotting into 4th position, stepped on the gas and...boom, race over. And it was a long ways to
the pit. Definitely the longest run I have done since college soccer days. I would guess that when I finally hopped on my pit bike, I was starting
the race with at least a 2 minute deficit, and some fully loaded legs from my unanticipated (and unwanted) jog.
Obviously, I thought about calling it a day to have fresh legs for day two of the weekend. Even once I started going and slowly picked off a couple
of riders it still seemed like a waste of time. And then I picked off a couple more. And I remembered that the season is far from over and it was
a good training opportunity. And I also recalled the one time i was taken down in a crash at the start that prevented me from continuing and how
incredibly unsatisfying that was. And I also am not a quitter. My parents have taught, and demonstrated to me, how to persevere when things don't
go your way. So I gave it hell.
At the end of the day I was 3 minutes down from the race winner (4 seconds out of 11th). Not bad, since I had to go it alone and was held up in
traffic from time to time. I also scored 14 points towards the Verge (as opposed to 0) which, combined with Sunday's 4th place ride, held my 3rd
place standing coming out of the weekend. I was definitely feeling the comeback effort during the race on Sunday, but every race weekend is two
days so it was good training and what I should be accustomed to feeling like on a Sunday race.
An awesome report atmo. Thanks to all of the riders for representing all of us so well. I label you a success story!
Here are some related links mined from the recent event and from the internet:
Dan Timmerman Speaks Part One
Dan Timmerman Speaks Part Two
Will Dugan Really Speaks Atmo
I (me, e-RICHIE) Support The Men's Cabal
Awesome Pic Link One
Awesome Pic Link Two
Awesome Pic Link Three
Awesome Pic Link Four
Awesome Pic Link Five
Awesome Pic Link Six
Awesome Pic Link Seven
Awesome Pic Link Eight
Awesome Pic Link Nine
Awesome Pic Link Ten
Awesome Pic Link Eleven
Dovetailing off of the above link-a-thon, I want to paste in a beautiful email text that Will Dugan sent over after the Noho weekend:
Salut. This one’s from me to you. Everyone, this ‘Cross season has been one to remember. To Deb’s husband who’s learning the ropes of
what it is to live in the wilderness and to Deb who’s been e-RICHIE’s professor, I must recognize their attentiveness to our team schedule,
team individuals, team equipment, team attitude, and overall team support. As I always try to say, our performance is in direct correlation with
your efforts. We are a proud team. Another twist and shout out is a must for our sponsor groups who’ve been there and stuck it out thick and
thin this season. The support this season has been BAR NONE for the RICHARD SACHS – RGM WATCHES – RADIX squadron this 2009. It’s
simply no comparison, no contest. For that we are grateful and pour our hearts out with real love every weekend.
I’m proud to say that with the help of the above-mentioned as well as Tim Johnson and Lyne Bessette who held a roof over my head into the
fall season (and helped me get rid of an old brown shoe or two when a new pair of sandals showed up in a package just for me), I have improved
to exceed my goals of this ‘Cross season. Oh darling, last year UCI points were a misery to come by and this year I feel that I’m magnifying the
race and playing integral roles into how the “race up front” unfolds. But the excitement doesn’t end. We’ve got half a season left. Mercer Cup is
around the corner and I hope to build to a crescendo in time for Nationals in Bend, OR.
The RS 'Cross Team has really made use of its talent this season from the sponsors to Richard, and the boys. Each of us have improved as riders and
I feel compelled to share with you that we are not a couple of day trippers that meet up to race each weekend to give a quick hello, goodbye and a
carol of good luck. When it’s been a hard day’s night, we are a clan, an altruistic tribe poised to catch the other when he stumbles. I can always trust
one of these guys to stand by me.
A few weeks ago a certain Lady Madonna e-RICHIE knows how to remind me of often waited on us in Freeport, ME. Though I insist that she’s not
my baby, he incessantly repeats ain’t she sweet until I capitulated to agreement. Burlington comrade of mine Josh and I wrote heart-warming notes on
our receipts (seriously they were heart-warming, but Josh still wishes she had come in through the bathroom window). We left without even a taste of
honey, but giggling nonetheless. When it came time to use the old charge card again I realized my $h!t had been helter skelter and I had to disguise
myself to retrieve that pesky plastic. See, we’ve got stories one might say there’s a place and a time for – I’ll stop now before I turn sixty-four.
The season’s been very exciting and the beat goes on. We’ll never have to sing “Don’t Let Me Down” because we know you never will.
Last order of the day is some sponsor news courtesy of Roland Murphy from RGM Watch Company in Pennsylvania. Roland's
eponymous ( I LOVE that word) firm is the title sponsor of the RS 'Cross Team and has held that position for the past 4 years.
Here are 3 key links to click through and bookmark for routine updates:
RGM on Twitter
RGM and 'Cross Atmo
RGM's Interview of Interviews
That's it - tired. Must rest.
Next weekend the men go to Trenton for the USGP of Cyclocross.
Relabel that event "grand" atmo - it surely will be!
Thanks for reading.
10, November 2009