A @rockthemohawkcx Race Report!
(Haven’t done this in a while, running a bike shop and all, but want to thank the VillainCX Sponsors for being incredible support for us as a team this year. Physician’s Optical, Caviness Lanscape and Design, Carinos and Soigneur. All of them ride, race and love the sport - check them out!)
Rock the Mohawk was a race I was looking forward to for three reasons:
- It has the best name of a race for CX I’ve seen so far (and it’s not just to sound punk the park it was in was called Mohawk).
- Team Tom’s was running in from Tulsa. The last race of their’s I went to was the Jenks Criterium and it was VERY well done. Team Tom’s team tackle’s their race’s and it always comes off classy feeling pro for a local race.
- It’s cyclocross - who doesn’t want to go race it!
Prepping for this race was a little different then others in the season. October had me traveling a lot and for a couple weeks I had more time on the bike racing then training! So, when there was a couple week’s gap in races due to thanksgiving I decided to try and ramp some base/build up again - trying to tune up the “engine” for the remaining races in the Oklahoma season.
This had the 2nd and 3rd weeks of November dialing in 34 hours on the bike and then dialing it back heading into this race weekend. I don’t know how “wise” some might see that but I knew I had to get the stress levels back up again.
Sunday of the race my family and I woke up, had some breakfast, then loaded up and headed to tulsa for the race. It’s a lot of fun when races are close enough, and in a good space for it to be a family afair. I’ve mentioned it before but it takes a lot of time to train for cycling - so it’s nice when you can include your family to join you. Plus, as many guys in my race saw, my kids are champs when it comes to cheering racers on! My one daughter would run beside me with our Flanders/Villain Flag cheering me on through the barrier section every time. Not even Sven Nys gets that.
The start of the race was on a nice paved road about 100 meters long before taking a right turn into the grass. Starting on pavement is nice but it can lull you into thinking you’ll have the same traction once you go off road so I was sure to watch the Cat 4 start (cause if a crash is going to happen it will be there) to see if anyone slide out or what the bottlenecks might be.
The only prep miss I had was not getting to ride the course before hand. I was going to get a lap after the 4 race but as I went I saw guys already lining up for the 3 race and thought a good start position would be better.
The Cat 3 field in Oklahoma is getting pretty strong - often on the podium as they race in other states (Kansas, Texas, etc.). So, even though we had 30 guys, I looked at the front row and all those guys are getting real strong. This all meant I’d better be ready for a thrown down. The course was mostly flat and did a good job of always having you putting on the gas. When you’d get to a section you thought you could back off and then you’d hit the sand pit or have the barrier section or killer stairs to kick your heart rate back up. This race gave me the highest max and average heart rate of any race this year - it was a sufferfest.
The start went okay, I got stuck a little behind a guy on the front row and entered the grass section in about 15th. It was wide so it didn’t bottle neck much and I spent the first lap doing what I could to pass guys and try and get into the lead group with guys like Troy Cowin, Jess Parker, Sammy Davidson, Chris Siemens, Brian Mackey, et al. I was on Jess’s wheel when he had an unfortunatle slip going up the stairs. It took him a second to get to his feet and my momentum carried me almost right on top of him. But we gathered and continued the chase of the lead group.
I say “we” cause I was able to stay with Jess for at least another 200 feet - LOL! Jess definitely pulled away and the rest of my race was spent racing to hit the top ten between a Tom’s, Soundpony (Shane?) and Hammerhead (Bill) guy. About half way into the race I started to get that lactate tingling in the lips and nausea in the belly. That is okay to feel with 2 or 3 laps to go, but getting it at the half way point just sucked.
I was just able to gap the Hammerhead guy with Soundpony having a great last lap and getting me by a good gap placing me in 10th - happy to be able to stop pedaling. I felt good with the result, though disappointed I couldn’t get onto the wheel of someone in the lead group and hang.
Big thanks to Seth and Glenn and the Tom’s crew for doing a killer job. The race felt pro, was a good course, and was a blast join. Next week is another Cyclocross race up in Tulsa with the 360 crew from Owasso. Then it’s the CX state championships in Oklahoma City.