Homeboy Espaсa: Cross Season Takes Off
Checking in from his winter base in PA, our Homeboy Espaсa finally wrapped his season ‘o road, and barely blinked before starting his season ‘o cross. Time off? Fuhgeddahboudit until at least Christmas…
Last Gasp On The Road
Over the Labor Day weekend I went up to Vermont for the Green Mountain Stage Race. I had never been to this race, and I’m glad I went. It was a very well organized weekend of some great racing with one of the hardest and best road races I’ve ever done. I was really happy to finish 4th (actually tied for 3rd on points) in the G.C. at such a big regional race in the CAT 3 field. This gave me enough points to finally request my CAT 2 upgrade. After that I thought I had only one more race to wrap up my ’04 campaign on the road.
You hope the cold weather keeps the odors at bay in the farmers field.
The last race was supposed to be a local road race called the Nutcracker. It’s a 50 mile Pro/1/2/3 race with a decent amount of climbing on each of the five 10 mile laps. Not so many Pro’s this year since it was the same weekend as San Francisco but still a tough field. I was really psyched to finish 10th in only my second 1/2/3 race.
So now I thought my season was finally over untiI got a call from my coach asking if I would do the Univest Grand Prix race the next day. Even though I hadn’t trained all week and the fact that there was going to be some of the top talent in North America and Europe on the start line, I figured it would be a good experience and that I should do it considering it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest amateur race in the U.S.
Thanks to hurricane Ivan the road race was seriously shortened from its 100 mile route to just the finishing circuits. It was cold and rainy and my lack of a good warm up probably had something to do with it, but I had an absolutely horrible race. It wasn’t how I really wanted to end the season, but it was a pretty good year after all.
Are those guys laughing? Who says ‘cross ain’t fun?
And BLINK! – You’re into “Cross Season Now!
Well, that brings us up to the beginning of October and like any sane person who started their road season in February most would expect that I’m sitting on the couch relaxing at home. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, as October means only one thing in my book, it’s cyclocross season so here we go again.
As I’m writing this, the season here in Mid Atlantic has just started but I did a “warm up” race two weeks ago to see how my form is. Other than having some trouble getting back in my pedals after the barrier, things went ok the first weekend. I finished 5th, while Greg Marini, an ex mountain bike pro won the elite race. This past weekend the Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Series started, and this will be the meat and potatoes of my cyclocross season this year, taking me right into December when I can finally take a break before getting ready for my 2005 road season.
There’s Nate (center) working his way through the pack at the Blue Diamond race.
The MAC, as we call it in the Mid-Atlantic, started with the Blue Diamond race in Delaware this past Saturday. I got there late thanks to everyone and their brother being on the road in southeastern PA and Delaware. So, I got about 10min to warm up and didn’t get a preview lap on the course either. The course wasn’t really suited to my style of riding as there was no place to really get a good rhythm going. The ground was very soft and it just felt like I was having all the power sucked out of my legs. I fought my way through the race to finish 17th.
The podium was covered by some of the usual favorites, Ryan Leech, Kris Auer, and Joe Reynolds. I wasn’t very happy with my placing, but at least I finished and picked up some series points. Saturday night was no fun either. I got home late from the race thanks again to all that traffic and then proceeded to spend most of my evening cleaning all the mud off my bike in order to get up and do it all over again the next day.
The looks on their faces says enough, don’t it?
Sunday took me to eastern PA, just north of Philly to the Evolution Cycles race. This race was held on a horse farm and the course was much more open. To make things better for me there were two slight uphill sections on gravel/ asphalt road. I was feeling really beat up from the day before but I had a much better warm up and was able to check out the course beforehand, so things got off to a better start.
The race started and I felt like a tractor trailer going uphill but when I finally got going I started reeling guys in and pulled off a decent finish coming in 11th. As I was driving home I felt like I had salvaged something from the weekend with the result.
Going forward the season is only going to get tougher as the rest of the races are UCI sanctioned which means more money on the line and stiffer competition. Not to mention two of the races are part of the U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross, which as automatic qualifying implications for the U.S. team for worlds. So, as I said before, here we go again. Let’s see how much longer my legs will hold out this year. Hasta la prуxima.
P.S. For those of you who were also following my personal life and my relationship with my girlfriend Irene in Spain, things are going well. However, she has asked me not to write about us anymore because apparently some of our friends in Spain who don’t read English so well misunderstood some things I wrote last time and for some reason got upset.
Nathan Deibert is a 27 year old young American back home in PA for the winter. Next year he hopes to return to Sevilla, Spain, riding for the Campos Lorca Elite-Sub23 cycling team, and living the dream every day. Drop him an email at [email protected]
Gratuitous Sponsor Plug Thanks to:
Campos Lorca-Miсa Car: My new team sponsors. Campos Lorca is a great local bike shop in Mбlaga, Spain.
Mike Kuhn: My coach for the last 3 years and counting. If you’re looking for a great coach in the central PA area or around the world, send him an email: [email protected],
or take a look at the website: www.endurancenetwork.com
Holmes Cycling and Fitness: The best bike shop in all of central PA. They’ve got everything you need from serious race equipment to great recreational equipment. Check them out at: www.holmescycling.com
My Parents: for never telling me I was crazy through all the years of chasing this dream.