Story by Kirk Morrison: The course conditions for my Saturday championship race had changed dramatically since the qualifying heats on Thursday. The 2-3” of mud on the flat sections had frozen solid as the temperatures dropped below 20F for two nights. Unfortunately, this left the course completely covered by deep, tire width grooves that were frozen as hard as concrete. These grooves proved to be very difficult to ride as racers of all levels were constantly falling and taking out course stakes and tape as they lost control. The consensus was that the only way to ride the course was “newsboy style" ; riding diagonally from edge to edge as if delivering newspapers to houses on opposite sides of the road.
The officials were continuously working to improve the rideability of the course by moving stakes and tape to try to include some grass lanes. They also removed 3 of the “run up / run down” hills since they were so deeply marred and iced as to be unrideable (and barely “walkable”).
I started my final race in 59th position (based on the finish positions from Thursday’s Heats). In light of the adverse course conditions, I was fairly happy with my racing speed and bike handling (there were some great crashes as we entered the “grass” section of the course). We were starting to see some mud since the temps reached 30F by race start (11:20am). Pittsburgh racing friends Todd Schoeni, Steevo Cumming and Mike Mihalik were kind enough to pit for both Gunnar and me. This was my first chance to execute a running bike change (I didn’t fall !). Unfortunately, there wasn’t any bike washing going on since the water hoses were all frozen.
I ended up being lapped by race leader Stephen Tilford at about 30 minutes (of our 40 minute race) and was pulled at that point for a Finals finish placing of 56th place
Gunnar Shogren and Kevin Hines battled the entire race for 2nd. After lots of back and forth as well as several crashes, Kevin ended up getting a small gap on Gunnar before the finish stretch. Gunnar ended up with 3rd (the only podium finish for racers from our area)
Betsy took 4th in the W35-39 (finishing on her SS after mechanical damage from a crash on bike #1), Steevo placed 5th and Mike Mihalik took 8th in the M30-34, while Todd placed 23rd in the M35-39 class.
While this was a big time commitment, I’m happy that I traveled to this world championship event. I’m hoping to head back to Louisville for next years races as well ! Now for some “offseason” !
Below are a few other links....
Today Kirk Morrison will be sending updates and photos (while he works "Support Crew" for other Pittsburgh Racers). Watch FaceBook for those updates!
---------------------------------- From: CX Worlds. Thanks for racing in the 2012 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships. Please guarantee that you are in compliance with all policies and procedures. The Doping Control Station is located just after the finish line, on the right. It is each rider's responsibility to check immediately after the conclusion of the race whether he or she has been selected for doping control. From Kirk: It’s cold enough today that the specimen might freeze and crack the cup! No tests for me so far.
Now, some pics!
A result of the course turning from Mud to Ice...
Officals checking tire sizes.
Fly Over Steps.
Three Cheers for our Local Boys!
Steevo = 5th Place
Mike = 8th Place Mike Jernigan = 13th Place
While the rest of us (coasted) into the off season, Kirk Morrison stayed on the GAS with a focus on the 2012 Master's World Championships being held in Louisville , Kentucky.
Here is a (Thursday) Race Report from Kirk, direct from Louisville!
------------------------------- Today was the 1st day of racing at the UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships and the event was kicked-off by my age group (50-54). Our group was scheduled to race 2 “heats” to determine the placings for the Championship race on Saturday morning. The course conditions had deteriorated considerably since my pre-ride on Weds morning. The 1.5” of rain over the last 24 hours turned the flat sections into 2 to 3” mud so even these have slowed considerably. Conditions at race time were 40 degrees, a moderate breeze and a light rain. The course includes 2 sand pits, a staired bridge over the course (with a steep downhill), a set of barriers followed by a definite run-up and a single section containing about 5 steep “ups and downs” that are impossible to ride (with the slick conditions). Everyone is running !
The start order was determined by random draw and I ended up in 31st position (out of 35 starters). Ours was the first heats of the day with heat 1 starting at 9:30am and my group (heat 2) scheduled for a 10:10am start. However, based on the slow lap times from the mud (3 laps were scheduled) my heat started almost 15 minutes late. As a side note, all of the subsequent heats for the day were reduced to 2 laps.
I experienced some mechanicals early in the race as a rear brake pad kept slipping inside my wheel. These required some stops to repair at inconvenient times. The alignment looked OK but the slick mud must have provided enough lubrication to allow the pad to slip to the inside. A lap later I was able to switch bikes which fixed this problem.
I was able to pass a few racers and ended up in 30th place. I would have liked a better result but was happy that I didn’t get lapped (!).
Note: I see that the results see me finishing 1 lap down. In reality, I wasn’t lapped or pulled (and I rode the entire 3 laps). I believe that the finish line officials just stopped recording our finishes since they had started the next heat before we came across the finish line. Oh well …….
Next up is the finals on Sat at 11:20am. The conditions could be totally different since the temps are dropping and it’s snowing (as I write). Tonight we are under a winter weather advisory with 40mph winds forecast and low temps of 24F. Things stay cold and windy on Friday and low temps for Fri night are forecast at 21F so we may have more frozen ground (which could be an improvement …….. as long as there’s not too much ice).
Tomorrow I’ll plan to spectate and perhaps help “pit” for Todd (M35-39 - heats) and Steevo (M30-34 - Final). The UCI officials have been very helpful and reasonable. Disappointingly, my name didn’t come up on the “post race drug testing list” that was posted after the race.
For the 4th year in a row, the Murrysville CycloCross Race was Promoted by Ag3r-ButlerHealthSystem and the Freddie Fu Cycling Team.
What this means is that we show up on Saturday to set up the entire course, then return on Sunday to make any and all final preparations before the first race, handle all course marshalling duties during the (6) races, assist Team Fu with various race administration duties, (hopefully get to race?!!!), then after everyone has gone home for the day, tear the course completly apart and clean up.
A long weekend, to be sure....for Brian Hopkins, Dan Schar, Hannah Brewer, Steve Brewer, Kirk Morrison, Mark Briercheck, Mike Maher, Rich Allen, Steve Marlette and Henry Dimmick.
Below is a collection of photos from the day. Thanks to Fred Jordan, Suzanne Atkinson and the Allegheny Cycling Association and Sonic Imaging for the photos.