Louisville UCI World Masters (My race Sunday 15 January)
Venue Eva Bandman Park (approx. 2 mile out of town on side of Ohio River)
Newly crowned world cyclo-cross champion (70 plus age category) John Ginley put together this excellent blog after his great ride out in the USA last weekend. We’re grateful to John for sharing it with us.
Arrived late Thursday knackered and it was snowing. Friday got a lift from a local cross rider to the venue, freezing 22F ( - 7C). Seemingly on Thursday heats had been held in mild wet conditions leaving the course on Friday with frozen bent tramlines from the wheel indentations and big rock shoes holes on the plank and the steep climb sections. Some descents were very dicy?
The course his around 2 mile long (on Friday I noted the leading 50/54 masters were clocking around 10min laps). A scanned course plan is attached with the section close to the tarmac start finish area being on a hill side having steep climbs and descents with a pre made bolder climb.
The manufactured fly over has a steep metal step climb with a short platform and a steep acute decent the sand section was moved but ridable if you took the compacted line.
Saturday I rode out, getting lost coming out of downtown Louisville these dam American cities are nearly all one way streets need to sort out for Sunday? Meet the Brits
Phil Roach Rugby CC a top vet rider just finished 2nd in V45 cat in nat. champs and under the UCI rules was in the 50/ 54 cat finished 2nd in his heat on Thursday and was grided on the front line for the final at 11.20.
Ben Roach won the U23 nat champs 2years ago but having a year off and supporting his dad with nephew Chris.
Completing the party were old vets (like me) Mick Ives and Vic Barnet with his wife. Phil Roach an ex bikes trials rider had a great ride but unfortunately finished 4th the American champion won.
After this race I got a chance to practice on the course my main problem was staying upright and I didn’t like the flyover you had to jump on as soon as you got onto the platform otherwise you would be running down the descent not recommended. The hillside descents were well- keep to the edge and prayer. Still we were promise 38F on Sunday? I rect. a quick bike lane route along the river road ending close to my hotel so hopefully I wouldn’t get lost on race day?
After breakfast I venture out 22F light snow and ice all over. Changed into race gear, with 3 base layers below my skin suit, arm warmers & full length tights topping this off for the ride out & warm up with bib tights, heavy duty jacket race gloves and twin finger gloves with hat & helmet and I’m still cold.
Road out on the ice cycle track under clear blue sky. Meet up with GB guys and we go over to Sram neutral service and arrange for a spare race bike which is set up to my height (one of my better decisions) unfortunately it has just big flat pedals no spd’s otherwise looks ok .
Warm up on cycle track below start gate. Called to grid, strip off Bens collects our gear & we are ready to roll.
Commissiares advise us we are at the back of the grid and the 3 age groups (about 50 riders in total) e.g. all those over 60 will start together at 11.20. We start downhill for approx. 500metres through the finish area and then sharp left.
I am on the LHS and manage to move through too I think just into the top half of the field. First lap mission is to stay in one piece and not fall off. We swing round into the first loop over a ramp and round a sharp bend and over the planks. I pass a few and then it’s over the flyover bonce down the decent and safely pass the pits taking care to stay on the rideable sections. Swing round into the sand section but driven off the best line via a fallen rider. The next section takes you into a wooded area which twists back and forth with rideable sections on different sides requiring a diagonal route across the tramlines. So far I have managed to stay upright with just the occasional foot dab. But riders are falling and some just go off the course I pass the other side of the pits and go under the flyover taking a sharp left. Ben advises me I am already 30secs down on my age group leader and to get the hammer down- me thinks I’ll be lucky to get on the podium? I’m slowed by riders going down but try to stay calm.
It’s into the hillside section up a short climb but descend ok keeping to the inside line and its run up the next incline jump back on to the steepest descent keep the inside line and its up the bolders. Ahead I see Mick Ives who obviously had a better start than me I catch & pass him just as he stumbles commenting on his excellent start, it’s through an S bend and onto the tarmac finish. Unlike the nationals I am feeling good and because the elastic in the pack as broken we are well spaced out.
So I see what’s in the tank and push ahead. I am in the zone keeping smooth lines and finding when I pass someone they don’t come back this is better than any drug? The Brits particular Ben is shouting support and running back and forth even pointing out the best lines which I take and so far no falls. I push on through the hillside and back onto the finish with 2 to go. After the planks Bens going mad saying I’m leading I respond are you sure? I keep pushing but half way round the penultimate lap bang I roll the back tub but I’m around 300m from the pits to my surprise I manage to run to the pits ( this weeks park training as paid off) and eventually find Phil who gives me the Sram bike meanwhile I can see the guy who was leading our age group just behind me. So I go into the red to my surprise the bike seems to corner better than mine due I think to the narrow section tyres which give me more space in the tramlines, never used Sram gear before but soon get the knack ½ way up shift full way down or was it visa versa? But I’m slower on the fast sections with the flat pedals its up the hillside whoops this his heaver to carry and back onto the finish for the bell.
I push on and thankfully manage the flyover ok and pass the pits, Phil says bikes fixed so I only have to get to the other side of the pits. Ben’s still urging me it’s through the sand and I’m still passing riders back to the pits and I’m away, gears change ok (Phil’s loaned me his wheel) so it’s just up the hillside to the finish. Sprint to the line, Vic’s there and Ben, advised Vic’s won the Over 65’s and I get Ben to check with the judges that I have won the O70’s its verified and Mick comes in about 90 secs after me to take 2nd place having just passed the 3rd & 4th placed American’s. It’s a great day for the Brit’s.To cop it all in the next event the ex pro world mountain bike champ is it Ned Overran wins the 55/59 race still riding for Specialized.