Tuesday, November 29, 2016

AZ Cross #7 - Horse Lover's Park Day 2

We were back at Horse Lover's Park for Day 2 of CX racing.  The fields were a little smaller for the 2nd round, but still with some tough competition.  Back for day 2 of racing for junior boys 9-14 was Giovanni, Luke, and Liam.  For the girls we had Bella, Emma, and Avery.  After some epic battles the previous day, everyone was excited to get started.  It was much colder on Day 2, so everyone was thankful that the water feature had been removed.  The course direction was also reversed, making for a fast course.

The boys were off first.  The group stayed together for the first half of lap one.  Liam had a small lead, but crashed in a corner, dropping him back to 2nd.  He was quickly able to recover to overtake the lead.  He was able to build on that lead to take the win.

Luke has his best race yet on day 2.  He was locked into a battle for 4th place, but was able to break free and build a solid lead, coming in 4th place by almost a minute over 5th.

Giovanni had another clean race and is getting stronger each time.  He finished in 6th place overall to cap off his weekend.

The girls were off next.  For much of the first lap, the group stayed together.  As the race went on, Alyssa was able to distance herself to take 1st followed by Emma, with Bella close behind in 3rd.  Avery took 4th again for day 2, but looked much stronger and more confident.

It was another great weekend of cross racing in AZ!  Everyone is excited for a double racing weekend coming up in 2 weeks in Tucson.  Stayed tuned....

AZ Cross #6 - Horse Lover's Park Day 1

It was another full weekend of CX racing in Phoenix.  We headed up to Horse Lover's Park in north Phoenix for back to back racing days.  The course was changed up quite a bit from last year, including tight, loose turns, several difficult barriers, and a cold and messy water feature.  It was shaping up to be a fun day!

First off were the junior boys 9-14.  Toeing the line for DD was Liam, Luke, Giovanni, and Barrett.  This was Barrett's first race this season after battling illness.  Everyone was very excited to get the day started.  The boys faced some tough new competition on Day 1 from Kardon, a former CX National Champion out of Colorado.

Liam was locked in a battle for 1st place for the first half of the race.  Kardon lead for the entire race and pulled away from Liam to snag the win, with Liam coming in 2nd.

Luke found himself in a tough battle as well for 6th place.  He fought hard and come across less than a second behind to get 7th.

Barrett rode a solid race, especially considering the rough few weeks he has had recovering from pneumonia.  He had a crash mid-race, but was able to soldier on to finish in 8th place.

Giovanni had a solid race, free from crashes.  He took 9th on the day in a large junior boys field.

Taking the line for the girls 9-18 was Avery, Bella and Emma.  Emma quickly found herself dueling Alyssa for the lead.  They traded back and for some, but Alyssa led for most of the race.  In the final turn, Emma was able to come on the inside line to out sprint Alyssa for the win by a tire width!

Bella had a solid race.  She looked strong from start to finish, taking the final podium spot in 3rd.

Avery also rode a clean race today, just missing out on a podium spot and finishing 4th.

It was an exciting day of racing on a tough and messy course!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cranky Cross/AZCross #4 - Mooey Cross - Superstition Farms

The 4th CX race of the season took us out to the countryside and down on the farm.  The course proved to be challenging, with many steep and loose hills and lots of wind.  Toeing the line for the boys 9-14 was Liam & Luke.   For the girls, Emma and Avery raced in the 9-18 category.  Newcomer to CX Taylor came out to race boys 15-18.
Junior boys ready to go
Junior girls waiting for the start

Liam and Luke were off the line first.  Liam was locked in a battle with Randy for the entire race.  They traded leads back and forth until Liam made his move on the last lap to break away for the win.
Liam making the move to take the lead

Luke rode a solid race, powering through the steep, loose hills to come in 7th in the largest boys field yet this year.
Luke looking strong from start to finish

Emma and Avery were up next.  The girls were off to a fast start.  Emma was battling Alyssa for lead, and was able to overtake her early on in the race.  She was able to hold and build on that lead, coming in over 2 minutes ahead of 2nd place.

Emma working hard on the loose run-ups

Avery nearly missed this race after being sick all week.  She rode her heart out, crashing a few times, but never giving up.  She came in for a 3rd place finish!
Avery heading over the log barricade
Taylor was the last of the juniors to suit up for the day.  This was his first ever cyclocross race, and he was very excited to be a part of the fun!  Although riding unopposed, he put in an all out solid effort to complete the race and snag the top step.
Taylor handled the course like a champ for his
first ever CX race

Junior boys 9-14 podium

Junior girls 9-18 podium

Junior boys 15-18 podium

It was a fun day out at the farm!  Next up...Crossroads Park in Gilbert!

AZCross #5 - Crossroads Park, Gilbert AZ

It was another back to back racing weekend with day 2 taking us back into the city to Crossroads Park in Gilbert.  The crew raced this venue last season, but the changes to the course made it completely different and significantly more difficult.  There were tight turns in loose gravel and on wet grass along with 3 steep hill climbs with barriers on each one.  We were in for a tough battle!

Boys 9-14 race start
Up first for the boys 9-14 were Liam, Luke, and new to our team Giovanni.  The start was fast, with Liam taking the lead.  The tight turns proved difficult for even the most experienced riders.  Liam was able to emerge 1st after lap one and continued to grow his lead.  He was able to take the top step again!
Liam remounting after a tough hilltop barrier

Luke was locked in a battle for 4th place for the entire race.  He battled hard, pushing himself to the limit.  In the end, he came in just 1 second behind for a 5th place finish after a very impressive battle.

Luke powering over the barricade

Giovanni rode a solid and clean race.  His comfort level with CX racing is growing each week.  He took 7th overall on the day.
Giovanni coming through the straight away at
the bottom of the course
The girls 9-18 were up next.  Lining up were Emma, Avery, and Bella, who is also new to our team.  Emma was again locked in a battle for 1st with Alyssa.  The two traded the lead on and off for much of the race.  Alyssa was able to pull away on the grueling hill climbs to snag the win by 12 seconds.  Emma came in a solid 2nd after a most impressive effort.
Emma going strong midway through the race

Avery was feeling better, and it showed today.  She attacked the climbs each lap, landing herself on the podium again for a 3rd place finish.
Avery powering up the steep hills
Bella also rode strong today on and incredibly tough course.  She came in not far behind Avery in 4th place.
Bella heading into the first barrier
It was another fantastic week of cross racing!  We have a week off before heading back out Thanksgiving weekend for back to back races.
Girls 9-18 podium

Boys 9-14 podium

Thursday, November 10, 2016

AZ Cross #2 & #3 - Ft. Tuthill - Flagstaff, AZ

Ft Tuthill - Day 1

After a 3 week break from cyclocross, the crew was back at it up in the high country this weekend.  The combination of near freezing temperatures and high altitude made the race weekend a challenging one for our kids.  We had 3 juniors make the trip to Flagstaff - Liam for boys 9-14, and Emma and Avery for girls 9-18.  Day one's course gave us some interesting obstacles - a steep rocky drop right at the start, followed by a maze with 4 barriers in a row, and ending with a steep and sandy run-up.  It was an exhausting course, but a fun one!

Liam got a slow start, finding himself towards the back of the boys field.  He was able to work his way through and had a commanding lead after lap one.  He was able to build on that lead all the way to the finish to snag his second win of the season!

Emma and Avery battled the entire race, with Avery leading for most of it.  Emma was able to overtake her in the last lap to snag her second win of the season.  Avery came in close behind to grab 2nd.

Ft Tuthill - Day 2

The temperatures dropped by about 10 degrees for day 2, leaving the juniors to "warm-up" in sub-freezing temperatures on a course covered in frost!  The course for day 2 was reversed offering a steep and loosed decent to start off the race and a steep, rocky run-up to finish.  The barricade maze was reduce to 2 versus 4 from the previous day.  The set-up for day 2 was faster, but the cold weather presented some unique challenges to our young riders.

Liam was able to get off the line faster for day 2, catapulting into first place right off the start.  He continue to build on his lead each lap, coming in an impressive 1 min, 30 seconds ahead of 2nd place!

Avery had a rough start, crashing early in lap one.  She hit her knee hard on her fall, but got up and soldiered on.  While it wasn't the result she was hoping for, her determination to finish the race was awesome to see!  She came 4th overall.

Emma had difficulty dealing with the cold on the morning of day 2.  She fought hard to catch the 1st place rider, but fell short in the end.  She found herself locked in a battle for 2nd with Bella.  Emma was able to dig deep to keep 2nd place.

There were many lessons learned after our 2 days in Flagstaff.  Racing in the cold is hard!  Getting warmed-up and staying warm was very challenging for the kids.  Racing at altitude (Flagstaff sits at just under 7000 ft) is also hard.  The combination of the cold, dry air and the high altitude created tough conditions that these riders hadn't seen before.  In spite of this, they raced their hearts out!  And they had fun doing it.  There were smiles for miles up in Flagstaff this weekend!!  We are all excited for another fun race weekend next week!