2009 Jackson Park Cross – Photos

I won’t be taking as many pictures during cross season, but I will still try to catch pics of Pony Shop riders.  I’ve posted the pictures that I took at Jackson Park, but keep in mind that I only caught the first race, and maybe one lap of the second race.

“Team”

We had a fabulous team dinner at EJ’s Place last night.  EJ and Luca are members of the Pony Shop cross team, and EJ has been a fantastic sponsor of many local teams and races.  His sponsorship of ChiCrossCup enables juniors to race ‘cross for free!  While I can’t say for sure, anecdotally, it seems that this sponsorship has led to an increased number of juniors racing this season, which is ultimately good for the sport.

As we sat around, waiting for Mark, we were joking and reliving some of the various races and mishaps from the season.  Then, Roman presented a great video that he’d created using some of my pictures.  During the dinner, Lou made a comment that people are already starting to ask about next year’s team.  Lou made a comment that it’s not difficult to choose who to ask to be on the team, because you just look around and the people you see and ride with every week are your team.  That statement rang really true for most of the people around the table.  With the exception of the people like Mike who live far way because he’s still in school, or Devon who’s racing in quite a few higher level races, we see the same people every week at both practice and the races.  

We’ve got a great team, and even better sponsors!

Local celebrity.

That’s how I felt on Sunday during my race.  As I worked my way around the course, I could hear people calling my name and cheering for me at almost every corner (even Luke was cheering me on through the mud).  It’s great to be a part of a team and have teammates on the course, but it’s even better to have relative strangers cheering for me.  (I somewhat teased the Cuttin’ Crew at the bus on the first lap because their cheering was very subdued compared to previous races.  They’ve developed a reputation that we – or I – now expect them to live up to!)  🙂

I’ve always cheered for Cliff as he raced, but he often told me that he couldn’t really hear me above the sound of the wind rushing over his ears.  I’m not much of a yeller, so I never really bothered to cheer above the wind (besides, I was always too busy trying to catch the “money shot”).  I often heard Hank yelling at June to “get up there” and “catch her wheel” and wondered why she didn’t just tell him to “FUCK OFF!”  I always thought I’d probably say that to Cliff that if he yelled at me.  But, once I started racing, and could hear Cliff, Mark, Lou, Jim and Roman SCREAMING at the top of their lungs for (and at) me, I realized how motivational it is to hear people encouraging you to work harder.   I now understand why Hank yells, and why June doesn’t tell him to F- Off (or, as she says in the comments, sometimes she does tell him off, but she knows it’s out of a good place that he cheers her on).  The screaming and cheering gives you a little but more “get up and go” than you might have otherwise.  (Since June is kicking ass in the Women 1/2/3 races, she already has “get up and go”, but I imagine that little extra motivation has made a huge difference, too!)

I owe a huge “THANKS” to my cheerleaders!  Honestly, it’s YOU who keep me coming back week after week, because taking photos from the sidelines is WAY easier than this cross racing stuff.

Wanted: Housewife.

I need a housewife.  I spent all weekend doing family related stuff, then racing today and pictures, so I never got around to doing laundry.  Thankfully I put together the makings of a meatloaf in the crock pot before we left this morning, so dinner was practically waiting for us when we walked in the door.  But, I really don’t know when I’ll find the time to do laundry, go to the grocery store, find a halloween costume (!).  I really do need a housewife to take care of these things for me.  🙂

So, the photos from today are uploading right now.  I’ll link as soon as they’re finished.
EDIT: SORRY it took so long to upload that I left it overnight.  Photos are now uploaded. 

Today’s race: I hardly rode this week, in the hopes that time off the bike (and out of the cold!) would help me get rid of this stupid cough that I’ve had for several weeks now.  Fortunately, the cough started getting better, but unfortunately, I have a feeling today didn’t do  me any favors.  However, the cough didn’t get in the way of my race.  I pushed hard, and did okay, finishing 9th.  There were fewer women out this week, but my top ten finish should keep me in the top ten (hopefully!) for the series.  

At one point, I probably could have caught the woman in front of me, but I was pulling so hard on the pedals that I managed to pull right out.  I guess it’s finally time to tighten up the pedals so my feet don’t pull out so easily.  The cheering all around the course helped me keep going, and was motivation to push harder than I might have otherwise.

Congrats to all the other Pony Shop riders who finished so well!

Cross practice!

I stopped by cross practice today on my way home from work.  I watched the group go through the course a couple of times and then Lou stopped by and offered to set up some barriers for me to practice on.  PVC barriers are so much LESS intimidating to me than the wooden barriers that they use in the races.  I was surprised to find that I did okay getting on and off the bike and I even managed to run over the barriers.  Last year, I was lucky if I could lift my bike high enough to get it over the barriers!

It’s rare that I’m in front of the camera, but Lou took a picture as proof that two girls showed up to practice on the same day.  🙂

Photo courtesy of Lou Kuhn, Pony Shop

On my way home from work tonight, the Wednesday night group ride rode by going the other way.  I was surprised to see one person without a helmet.  Why anyone would ride a bike without a helmet is beyond my comprehension (especially when riding on the road and at the speeds that these guys go!).  I hope he rethinks that in the future, but somehow I doubt it.  I remember when Cliff and I rode a few times in Michigan (back in the day) and he made fun of me for wearing a helmet.  Eventually, he, too, got a helmet and now can’t believe he ever rode without one.  People!  Wear helmets!

Cross Season – Just around the corner!

Cross season will be upon us before we know it.

Lou Kuhn (Pony Shop) celebrates his win

Lou Kuhn (Pony Shop) celebrates his win

2007 St. Charles Cross

2007 St. Charles Cross

The new kits came in and they look awesome. Thanks, Lou! Unfortunately, my new commute will prevent me from attending practice, so I’ll have to make time to go out on the weekends. My goal for last year was just to finish the races, and I’d say I met that goal (for the most part). This year, my goal is to not finish last. 😛

2008 Chicago Cyclocross Cup Schedule

Sat September 13 – CX Clinic (TBD)
Sun September 21-Jackson Park
October 5- DeKalb
October 12- Hawthorn Woods
October 19- Carpentersville
October 26- Bartlett
November 2- St. Charles
November 8 – TBD
November 9- Northbrook
November 16-Lansing
November 23- Woodstock
December 7- Montrose – IL Cyclocross Championships