söndag 1 december 2013

Flying at GöteborgsSuperprestige

This whole SM and national cup thing is fine but we all know that the real battles take place at our local series. That is precisely why I keep saying GöteborgsSuperprestige instead of the more offical name Introcross which just lacks the same importance. And of course recognizing this importance I needed a new chain so I could ride my Ridley again. And of course I first put the chain on last night and had no time to test it out until I rode off towards Skatås today, with the whole drivetrain crunching and grinding away with all of this fall's collected mud, sand and water.

When I got to Skatås I remembered once again why my Ridley is so much better than my no-brakes Merida and I was ready for battle. We did the usual warm-up ripping nice holes in the football field and dodging the goals and I was already feeling fast and powerful. I had a good flow and was passing lots of people in corners and handling the bike like someone with far more skill than I have. Of course this overconfidence would come back to haunt me soon.

Lasse set up the classic grass corners with the wrong angle and also found a hole which is an old favourite for many's front wheels. But he was disappointed that it was not wet enough to cause any challenge. There was another steep up and down on some kind of manmade hill thing next to the volleyball courts but that was also just a matter of having enough speed to float up and then turning and dropping. So far so good.

Then came the sand. Someone seems to have placed more sand than there use to be so the long stretch beside the football field is suddenly a challenge. The first time through I went it with speed just like I always did before in this spot and did extremely well and made it all the way through despite a few wobbles towards the end. What a day! What a cyclocross master I was feeling at this point!

I have already given away the ending here and obviously the next trip through the sand was different. This time so many people had been through so the tracks were all over and crossing. That I noticed after accelerating massively so I could hit with even more speed than last time. I made it about 25 m or maybe even less before my front wheel got caught on something and I was airborn....

Of course we all remember Patrik E's masterpiece of a picture in Lidköping when Jens Westergren went flying over his handlebars in the sand. Lasse and Håkan said it was great to be so close and watch me do the same thing. Of course I like to please the public, like at SM when I broke my chain clear in two pieces.

Oh, right, I am still in the air...but not for long and I certainly did not get a chance to say WOOHOO before I landed hard on the front of my left shoulder with the bike on top of me. It may have been sand that I landed in but I new directly that this was a "season ender". In fact this is precisely how I ended my MTB season in Uddevalla except there I was going very slow and this time I had speed. I didn't move right away because it was a hard hit but eventually I got up, moved the bike and went over to see if I could move. Luckily there were many experts there in injuries (both treating them and getting them themselves) and apparently because I could move that meant it was not broken. Björn F checked a few times and said it was fine but tomorrow it would hurt. It already hurt som %&# then so I am not looking forward to the continuation.

My current state is semi-painful and I think something is dislocated in some way. So I guess I will be visiting SportRehab again very soon. To be continued...

söndag 17 november 2013

SMACK crossen race report

I moved my wheels with the Tufos over to the only bike I had to race with today and took a less than satisfying test lap. The warmup lap later on felt a bit better but basically my bike had no brakes and not so much feeling but it would have to do for this cup finale. I started next to Lars E but after my attempt at some pre-race psych he took off like the planes leaving from Arlanda near the track and my body was in shock. The start was fine but my lungs were dying. I think I need to get this asthma thing checked again.

Anyway, there were a lot of grass curves so I was right everyone over the löphinder and even up the hill of death. The gap opened a bit after that but by the slalom I was still in it and had one person behind. I think I actually made it half a lap before the space in front was at where it usually is. Due to chain noises I did basically the entire lap on the same gear and only shifted down two at the seg uphill before that little tricky climb which I ended up walking anyway. Fixie Chris was doing well.

I had opened a bit of a gap but it wasn't enough so, inspired by the 'Kötta' sign at SM yesterday I pushed and could see a bit of what was happening in front...Lars battling with a CK CX guy. And my lead was growing so the singlespeed thing was working and I had no brakes so that was not slowing be either. I had made a bit of a jump on the sand piles they had built at one point and decided to not do anything stupid. But the slaloms also went fine without brakes. But I was dying and hoping for the 2 laps left sign which came soon enough.

Okay, time to end the season well. No saving now. Full on. Give it my 150% since that is the amount of points I would get. All in. So while I was doing this Benny A came flying passed me looking like this was not even causing a sweat at all. Hmm. Anyway, that meant it was my last lap so I pushed on without changing gears at all and sprinted to the finish like which was an uphill nasty little affair. But it was done and I could finish the season with a bike in one piece, some lungs that hurt and a rider way behind me.

And with that I managed to finish every single cup race this season despite sickness and sometimes quite tough and scary tracks. And that has to be worth something given that so many only did a couple and then lost interest. 
lördag 16 november 2013

H30 SM race report

First I have to say what a great job CK CX did with the advertising. Tons of people were there watching what became quite a few battles. And that would be great if it weren't for the curse I seem to have with this track. Last time I dropped my chain twice. And during my 3 test laps my bike was not behaving very well.

Thanks to my current place in the cup I was yet again seeded into the front start row and was prepared for a good start. And it was good except that I only had one pedal clipped in even at the first corner but once it did clip in I was attacking since yet again I was at the back. By the time everyone reached the far end grass curves I was right there på rulle and even over into the amphitheatre part I was still in the game. I lost a bit of ground by the second run hill but I could still see two guys. I would pass this CK CX guy. It was battle time. But he was good in the forest so I was a bit behind at the hill section where the crowds were cheering like crazy.

And then in the toughest and last hill where the whole crowd was standing I could feel what I was dreading...chain drop. So with a loud 'NEJ' and a less family friendly word from my mouth I looked down and saw that I had in fact broken the chain. So I ran or actually slid down the hill to the pit and grabbed the other bike. It felt strange to be on the Merida but actually the XKing tires felt good so I could manage. But for Lap 2 I was annoyed and can't say I did anything fast. But Lap 3 I could see the CK CX guy and tried to close the gap. It was way too big though.

The track was really muddy and slippery since we were the last SM class. The downhill before the pit was catching my front wheel in scary ways but I managed not to fall. But on my 4th lap the fun was over because I was lapped but to be honest I was disappointed and wanted to stop.

I tried my best and that was good enough for 19th place in my last H30 SM and thanks to 2 DNFs I was not really last. But I had a chance to be two positions higher.

So lets see how the cup finale goes tomorrow with only one bike. Running anyone?
söndag 10 november 2013

Karlstadcrossen Day 2 race report

I could say that Day 2 of Karlstadscrossen was pretty much the same as Day 1 and the track did have the same characteristics in the reverse direction. The only difference was the freakin' metre of rain that had fallen since yesterday's race which left the track so wet that I immediately took out my paddling gloves and prepared to swim. I have never had a race this wet...and yet it was okay.

My 2 laps of 'warming up' was mostly to avoid getting completely soaked but also to see where I was going. Check. Start time. Check. Standing in the line and the starter says '15 sekunder'. FUCK! No warning at all, just KÖR and I actually had a decent start today but it would have been better if I had been awake. So by the slippery grus corner and the first löphinder I was back to last and holding on all I could. I was with the group for awhile again because of my direct path straight through the water while others tried to avoid. Coming off the short straight section I hit one "puddle", or should I say Lake Vänern, with speed and made a massive splashy splashy which covered my entire body with ice cold water. Aj. After this was the forest section which was tricky in this direction and none of the banked curves worked. It was just slide along and try not to mess up. But every puddle was killing my body temperature and I was cold as hell.

Out to the pit area and the grass and I could push along nicely and have a great rhythm. The tires were perfect and I was getting warm and also could start to see what was happening in front of me. I had caught up to someone temporarily but that was, as I said, temporary. Then the second time into the forest I could see someone from Västerås CK but, again, they took off because I was having trouble in the mud corners.

I think it was only 4 laps today because my next time passed the line I got the '2 laps to go' sign and at that point I had two of the P15-16s and Lars E in my sight so now it was time to give it everything. Somehow I managed to catch up and by the next time across the line I was together with one from OK Tyr and Vallentuna CK. I took a chance at the löphinder and it kept me within reach but I didn't attack yet because it was took soon in the lap. It was funny because we all took completely different lines, mine being the most splashy.

I had lost a bit of ground but in the slippery entrance part of the forest they slowed down a bit so I could catch up again. I messed up the hairpin corner but was still within reach and the next part I just went straight through every bit of water I could find and I was back with them again. Vallentuna was ahead of OK Tyr at this point and out on the pit section with the long muddy straight I made my first attack and passed OK Tyr and even tried for Vallentuna before the corner to the bridge but I didn't succeed there. I was behind a bit again but caught back up because the grass was my friend. I tried to be smart in the corners and that was smart because at the far end near the fence I was almost beside. Quick glance ahead and it was a long watery bit before the sharp left corner towards the sand. Hmm...now or never. So I attacked again and passed and was well above max at this stage. Could I hold on?

My acceleration towards the sand was perfection and I glided through nicely and now just had the stadium part left. Now I could also see that Lars E was quite close and looking tired so I kept on pushing in the longest sprint possible. I thought I was fairly comfortable but OK Tyr and Vallentuna were together and fighting.

So I rolled across the line just 11 seconds after Lars and just 1 and 3 seconds behind me were the other two. Wow! What excitement we had at the back of the pack today! And so much mud! To perform this well on a day like this is beyond my understanding. But it was wonderful!

lördag 9 november 2013

Karlstadcrossen Day 1 race report

And so it was time to visit Karlstad for the third time this year. From my test lap I could see that the course was basically flat with few crazy things so this could be a day to go all in and test the form before SM. During my last test lap I could see that it became slippery if I sped up too much and right about then the rain started and continued through our entire race.

Because I am 15th in the cup I was first row again but they had messed things up a lot. The P15-16 class was in front and this could have been a perfect start. I was in the pedals direct and had good speed...enough speed to drive directly into the back wheel of one of the kids who was braking for some reason. So this was a mess and I was last along the start straight once again.

But then came a change. The field part was the fastest and I was still with everyone the whole way. At the short sand section something strange happened and everyone jumped off their bike to run. Why? I just rode directly through and passed a couple of people. They passed again at the löphinder but I was  still in it despite this. Someone from MTB Täby had trouble and was off so I passed him and went into the forest part with the superb banked curves. These were slippery if you hit them wrong but I seemed to be hitting everything right except for a few little slips here and there. In the middle of that section where there was a small drop a guy from OK Tyr was off te bike so I passed him and took my first trip directly through all of the mud puddles. What a feeling! So much splashy splashy!

Next in front was someone from CK Master and I was almost på rulle but he took off on me in the longer straights so this is how Lap 1 ended. Strangely enough, in Lap 2 I was catching up again because I was faster through the banked curves and splashy part but again I lost in the part after. I was pushing on but I could feel company behind me and near the start of Lap 3 the guy from MTB Täby passed and OK Tyr was right behind. So then it was psychology time. Should I rest a bit? Nej nej.  I held him off until one of those forest corners over towards the end of the lap and then I just had to try and catch him. But that was tough.

Now this is a serious 'race face'. Watch out...Chris Cross is on the way! Foto: mjonssonfoto.se
It was actually Lap 4 and there was still no sign of any fast people so my focus now was to not get lapped. Luckily in this lap there was also someone else in front that seemed to be slowing down. Or? I went all in to catch him because he wasnt slowing down at all. By the forest part with the banked corners I was på rulle but because of a few risky corners I lost a bit of ground and was a bit behind when the track headed over to the pit area. But then the guy seemed to take a rest so I passed and took off. I could hear that he was right there all through those tricky grass turns in the forest. And when i slowed down in the grus corners near the start he was back. But then I took off at max through the start, along the field and back and that opened the gap. But what sealed the deal was when I rode through the sand and accelerated like mad away. The gap was comfortable but I pushed on and suddenly realized that for the first time this year I was not lapped. So this is what Lap 5 feels like. Cool! But I did not to mess up so I kept on at a controlled but fast pace and crossed the line in a beautiful sprint.

And this all happened in the rain. The fact that I dared to do this is a great sign. The SM course is very similar to this...

Edit: Apparently the one I caught up to was in P15-16 class so technically I was last. But those details are not important.
lördag 2 november 2013

GöteborgsSuperprestige race 4 report

It felt very strange to be able to roll out of bed and almost jump directly on my bike and head off to race. GöteborgsSuperprestige (or Introcross if you really prefer that...) was at Hästhagen today in Skatås which meant I could ride over and warm up on the way which was needed because I felt so slow and seg in my muscles. But that disappeared once it was race time. Today's track was shorter because of the cars parking for a running race but it still contained all the special corners, sand parts and mud sections spread out over some nice long and fast parts. To win here you need to be good at pretty much everything in cross. Perfect training.

Heat 1
This was going well and my start was greatish and quite a few people were behind me. After all the start stress was done and things had spread out a bit I could see that a woman on an MTB was the next person in front of me so I pushed on and tried to catch up and pass her. There must have been some parts of this track that were better for a CX but those parts were not really long enough. I got kind of close down at the far end which had the slippery mud/grass corners but on my way out of one my back wheel just stopped dead. I had to get off and see if something was stuck in it and I could not see anything. So I flipped the bike over and then Hanna and Laila passed and when I opened the quick release it started moving again. So I closed it and it seemed okay. Not a good sign but it seems fixed now. But I was passed by another two but obviously I looked eager (or pissed off) so they let me pass and I charged on to try and regain my lost positions. And FAN did I ever charge on. Not a sign of any cold in my body this time. Just full speed when I could manage it and hold on when I was sliding (which was pretty much everywhere). Laila was ahead of Hanna now and I knew I was running out of time in the 20 min heat but I managed to get within maybe 30 m of Hanna and I would have passed if I had had another lap. Technically we were all lapped so this is a time when having the extra lap would have been a good thing. Anyway, bad luck race but I gave it a hell of a try.

Heat 2
Now I was hungry for revenge but all of those who I was racing with positioned themselves nicely near the front so I had to work harder again. The start was kind of okay but since I ended up on the inside near the horse fence I was squeezed in and had to brake and let all of them roll by. That part was one of the very slippery mud corners so I just took it easy and waited for a moment. Right after that was the sandy part which again I took it easy on but somewhere in the part from here to the grusväg straight I passed Hanna, Laila, and someone else. In front of me again was the woman with the MTB and I could see that my CX was superior on those grass up-and-down hills. Or maybe it had more to do with the fact that I was not using my brakes at all. So by the end of that I was på rulle and passed her on the grass in perhaps a slightly aggressive way but if I didn't pass there I would have been stuck behind for the rest of the lap. So then it was time to charge on at full speed and build up a lead so I could mess up again. That was going well and on the next lap, again down on those grass/mud corners at the far end, I slipped and fell and was running a bit to get going before I made an unusually good remount and powered on. This is when I started paying attention to what was happening behind. The one with the MTB was gone, Laila was where I thought the one with the MTB should be and Hanna was battling to catch Laila. And that is how things stayed the rest of the race. I was doing the best I could to be fast and build up a lead on Laila but it stayed exactly the same no matter what I did. And, to top it all off we didn't get lapped!

And this is precisely why the national cup series does not work. I have no one to race against so I get a bit of excitement for the first couple of minutes and then I am on my own for the rest with zero motivation to push on or try. If there is someone to catch I am very motivated and much faster. I try and push myself during the last lap but it doesn't actually help me because the next person is so far ahead. The beauty of cross is when you can battle with someone who is your equal regardless of their age or gender. Battling with equals makes everyone work harder and we all get faster.

I am still planning to finish the national cup but when the number of riders drops so much every week it is obvious that my chances to race an equal are basically zero.

söndag 27 oktober 2013

Åstorpscrossen race report

And so after another hotel breakfast and 2 trips to the car with all my stuff it was time to roll off to Åstorp. I had never raced there before but I have heard a lot of good things about it...and they were all true! Today was the finest CX course of the year! There were approximately 4003 curves and most of it was grass but not wet and sucky like the last three times. There were still hills but they were not as steep so it was possible to keep on the bike and 'gasa på' if you happened to have legs for that.
A great view of CC Lasse, the track and my ass... (All photos by Anki Eriksson)

Since seeding for the weekend was based on last week's points and many DNSed again I actually had Startled 1 next to Philip King (who later went on to a superb 3rd place!). The only time I have ever had front row is when they choose randomly or when CC Lasse reverses the order in Introcross. Anyway, no one was behind me because they knew and at the start I was actually fine but by the end of the start hill I was back to my usual last. This start was a massive shock to my body and I fought and fought to get back to the group and I did by the time the corners started. Okay, Patrik's wheel...nej, he jumped up a position. Who else? Hmm, by the time we reached one of the tight curves Lars E was the nearest in front again so I battled on until the slalom down to the mud hole part (which was fun with splashy splashy) and then he took off in grand style.
Otto having a small problem with his tubdäck...

But this was a race of the unexpected because after I chickened out and ran down the drop (it had a hard-looking fence at the bottom) I saw someone from CK Master ahead of me carrying his bike. FIGHT!! So I accelerated and passed him at not the best point but if I had waited he would have blocked my way up the fun little bridge section. So I tried my best to get a good lead because the pit was just after that and he could change wheels So for a first lap this was quite lively. And then just at the start of the second lap I saw someone from CK CX also running with his bike so for the second time today I could say FIGHT!!! and pass someone else. So I continued to power my way through Lap 2 obviously not feeling near as sick as the last two races.

By the end of the start straight and into Lap 3 I was obviously feeling the aftermath of my attacks and I could sense company from behind. I held on about another quarter of a lap before being passed by Otto from CK Master but to make me feel better I looked forward and saw that I could see Lars E again and if I believed hard enough the gap was shrinking.

Seriously, where was Lars???

I had already calculated that it would be a 5 lap race and I would be doing 4 but since the day was going well and I actually finished 3 laps without a sign of anyone behind I decided to push on and see how long I could hold off. I was on the grass part heading back parallel to the grusväg start section and could see that they were coming like a bullet so I think I was somewhere around the löphinder when I started getting lapped. Still, 3.5 laps was not bad at all and I still decided to give it everything I had once I was lapped because it would be over soon. It is good to test myself when I am that tired and it shows that I am capable of it if I could just get a better start. That seems to be the missing link...

Anyway, since I was not passed by that guy from CK CX I assume I did not finish last so that is a wonderful end to a weekend that could have been a disaster. In fact I finished 22nd place which is way higher than the 42nd I started the year with. With all the points I will get from all the DNS I might just even visit the top 20 of the cup.
lördag 26 oktober 2013

CKXCrossen race report

And so it was time to try out some cross in the deep south and Helsingborg is a good place for that. I was still partially sick this morning but my body felt better than a few days ago so I gave it a try. And from my two test laps I knew I had to start because they used everything the Dalhem park area had to offer and plenty of cross curves and almost 100% grass. Of course it was also the hardest track of the year so far which again may be evidence that my brain was not working exactly right.

At upprop it was obvious that many who signed up did not start because of sickness, again a reason for me to wonder why the &@!? I was starting. Startled 2 was also rather strange. Anyway, I coughed up a nice slembit, spit it out and was ready to start.

The start went as most starts go for me and because there were so many corners I could catch up by braking late. But the first part was the seg grass hills which killed me direct so there was already a gap of a few metres. At the monster hill of death I was actually running and caught up to Lars E and tried to  stay on his wheel for a bit but he flew away pretty fast in the tung mud grass just before the finish line stretch, a place I got better at with time. So because once again there was a shortage of bad cyclists I was left to battle myself and this evil cold.

Once I got to about Lap 3 I was getting a flow and could push on surprisingly well. Of course pushing on the long grusväg and paved part meant I was punished badly when it shifted back to the seg grass hill up to the first running hill. Actually I had to stop there for a second and cough up my right lung. If anyone finds it just let me know because I could probably use it.

I was actually worried that I would be lapped before half the race and get a DNF but then I heard two laps to go for those that were coming after me so I obviously managed. But a lot of people lapped me there even though I was seriously giving it everything my sick body could manage. My last run up the death hill was actually more like a run than a painful pathetic walk. And I flew through the last mud section and across the line. So the capacity is there, somewhere.

Anyway kids, do not try this at home. Racing while sick is not good and I knew that the worst of my cold was already over so today was for stimulating my immune system. I also know that the work I need to do this week can be done from home in bed. And I got my 24th place which is lovely!
torsdag 24 oktober 2013

Sick with hope

Part of the challenge with cross season, especially when all the races are so close together, is to manage to stay healthy while the rest of the population is sick constantly. This is unfortunate for the coming Skåne weekend with the double blow of being the farthest away for most people and being in a sicky week with crazy weather. My own story started last Friday morning when I woke up with a sore throat. By the time I arrived in Norrköping I still had a sore throat. After a long sleep and a yummy buffet breakfast I seemed to do away with the sore throat and my race on Saturday went extremely well. Sunday was another story since my body had no energy to give. By Monday night I was losing my voice and Tuesday I was home feeling crap. But by the afternoon I felt better again and went out for a walk because it was sunny and 15C. But after that and all of yesterday I was sneezing and coughing. Normally this is a good sign that I am almost through it and today I have felt much better. But the coughing is still there and does not sound or feel very healthy. So with my plan to sleep in and work from home there is still hope for being reasonably healthy and I am sure I will go anyway. Of course the hope is that I can race both days because much less have signed up and even if I finish last I will get more cup points for my efforts. And then I am free to have the flu during the Karlstad weekend... But we all know that flu season is guaranteed to start in SM week this year. And one more thing...this season has been very bad when it comes to pictures of Chris Cross. I know people have taken pictures of me and I know I had something which was either a race face or a pain face. I would like to see these...
söndag 20 oktober 2013

Kolmårdscrossen race report

Okay, here comes a race report different from my usual ones just in case anyone was getting bored. Today Söderköping was rainy and very wet so things were not going my way at all. Johan started right next to me and I had a perfect start for once except Johan was way ahead. Huh? Already on the first sand part I had trouble clipping into my pedals so at the hill I had already lost a lot of ground. By the top I had caught up again and was there down the slippery grass slaloms down to the start area's hill of death. But this time the downhill was slippery and scary because it turned a bit at the bottom.

Anyway, things were okay passed the pit and I was right behind Erik from Master who must have had a very bad start considering where he finished. Anyway, the problem today was that it was so wet and slippery everywhere that every time I tried to speed up I was sliding all over. Also every hill was just pure mud so running up meant sliding mostly and then a battle with the pedals. So I had kind of lost hope pretty early on.
The look of relief to reach the top of the muddy hill of death. (Photo Per Engström)

I could see Johan ahead looking back a lot but I just could not make anything work. The longer the race went the more slippery it got and the more frustrated I got. The start area hill was very bad and I hit a bush twice plus always missed the first slalom curve because I was not braking enough. I had a front wheel slide I managed to save and then the last two times down the hill to Göta Kanal were seriously scary. This was cyclocross in every way but I could see my lack of training and skills today. It is incredible how far behind I could get on a bad day like this.

But I am still continuing and will have to see what I can do about my technique. Because the fact is I finished on a day when many did not even start. I think I was 34th or something so this means even more cup points than last week.
lördag 19 oktober 2013

Ramundercrossen race report

Who can forget this race in 2010...nothing is more epic than a super lap of wet mud that drops the average speed to slower than walking. Today was much drier but overall this track has a bit of everything that is CX. It had so much that I counted at least 3 things that could go wrong with my bike and decided to ride with my old Merida in the pit.

I had a great plan of dismounting early and running passed people in the sand part but there was no room for that and I messed up on the little ski bridge hill and ran down it again which cost me a ton of time. I was already behind by a lot and after like two minutes of racing.

A determined run up the hill in the start area. I will not get passed again... (Photo Per Engström)

Ahead of me again was Johan from Söderköping SK and I assumed he had been training here a lot to get home advantage. The only place I seemed to be closing any gap was on the grass part around the pit. But with 5 dismounts per lap I was in bad shape and seriously hurting and my pedals were full of mud so I couldn't clip my shoes in. And yet by some miracle I was getting closer by taking more chances in the corners. Suddenly I was på rulle and trying to figure out if I could pass in a corner but he was tough today and leaving no room. So in the section at the pit I set in an attack and passed at a useless spot since it was just before the slaloms and log/stair part. But I held on a bit, ran up the huge hill and took a chance downhill and could be more comfortable when i got to the sand. But my pedal problems were slowing me and I was worried with two laps to go that the vurpa monster would appear.
Another ass shot for this year. With the attack I had just put it I the word fartvind seems correct...

I dont know how I held on. I was motivated by the fact that I might not get lapped and pushed on and that apparently opened the gap more so I could see a guy in CK CX in front. But just when I reached the log I was lapped but I still sprinted my way in and pretty much collapsed, again 2nd last. Perfectly fine for me.

Once they correct the results list it will be a fine 36th. The organizing club seems to have put their own guy above me...
söndag 13 oktober 2013

Göteborgscrossen race reports

It felt good to finally get to race after covering most of the forest with my rake and taking care of so many leaves that I could change my name to match the Centerpartiet leader. So many leaves, nuts, rocks, glass and even a golf ball. But we cleaned it all and made an almost perfect track.

Day 1

So show precisely what Day 1 looked like here is a share of a great video by Åsa Erlandsson. If you look closely you will even see me with my rake in a grass corner up near the road section. But that was Friday and now I am sure you want to know how the race went. The random seeding put me kind of close to the back and after all the work with the track my body was completely dead. So the start went as expected and I was last instantly and struggling to keep up. It was fine at first but things spread out quickly and I changed my perfect race plan to the usual of trying not to be last.

Ahead of me was someone from Söderköpings SK although I didn't realize this because there was already a gap. But I caught up when he took 'my line' down the hill after Sven's super stairs of death and went kind of straight and was stopped. So I managed to slide passed and floored it. The next two laps was basically me giving it 120% trying to get away, mostly because I knew that I would mess up sooner or later. But the gap back was equal and I felt like this would just end with some kind of sneaky sprint. Then all of a sudden the gap was bigger and it grew and grew so I was safe. But forward I could not see anyone so the race ended this way. So that was 42nd out of 43 that started which was above expectations considering my muscle status. And I did a flawless race too...no mistakes.

Day 2

There was much less rake work the second day because we had prepared everything on Saturday and it was not windy. So after removing more leaves, glass, water bottle tops and all kinds of crap it was race time again. My seeding put me in the second last row which was fine because this start was insane as someone two rows ahead was sloppy and almost took us all out. I was last on the road straight but took a wide line and braked late and passed two people on the outside. The one from CK CX stayed behind and the other was the guy from Söderköpings SK again. But this time he seemed eager for revenge and passed me on the grass at the löphinder and I was behind him almost på rulle. He was doing very well and kind of forced me to take the bad line up the hill of death (immediately next to the stairs of death) but I was still på rulle down the other side. I made a move on the inside to pass but he did well in the outside line and I was again på rulle on the tricky part of the course with the slippery corners. And since I was putting the pressure on he fell in one of those corners and I kind of had to jump way up to the left to get passed. So now it was race time again just like Day 1. Around the forest corners and out on the road straight at my max ability and I had a gap. But just like yesterday it was not really growing much until the grass corners at the far end and then again at the hill of death. It hurt so jävla much on that hill and I am looking forward to seeing the pics of me where I know I have a race/attack face. And CC Lasse said that I actually opened up the gap a lot just in that hill. My body felt fine so I kept on at max for the rest of the time. But just like yesterday I could not even see the next guy up but I must have been getting closer. So again this was 42nd place but there were 2 behind and one DNF. Progress is good.

And so the fun continues next week in Söderköping where I suspect there will be some home advantage things playing in. Just think if it will be the same as last time...the most epic cross event I have ever done. So much wet grass...so slow...
fredag 11 oktober 2013

Welcome to Göteborg CX Sweden!

And so it is the night before CX Cupen for 2013/14 and probably everyone is eating special food, studying every curve in the bankarta and planning when they will make that attack over last year's main competitor. Isn't it great? Cross is back again!

I can tell you that we have worked hard on the track and it is in superb shape. Actually we have never had it so dry and the grip in the corners is massive. It will certainly make for some speedway turns. I have been over most of the forest part with my rake and I know every part that is going to be fun once a few riders have been through. And most of the best riders in the country were already there tjuvträning. Darvell & co were very interested in our banked curve and kept trying different lines to see how it went. There is an inside and an outside track and there is a trick to it. A hint would be to think that this sport is called cross. We have this right next to Sven's stairway so all the action will be here on Saturday.

In terms of my own top form it is worse than ever. Every muscle in my body is dead from all the work and I suspect many leaves will be back again tomorrow morning so I will have to repeat. But we will all be there so it should go quickly and I think I have done more than enough.

CC Lasse and Björn have put together a wonderful track so come and watch or race. Missing this would be worse than missing CykelVasan...
torsdag 3 oktober 2013

Your CX Cup is saved by my top form

With just over a week to go until the start of the finest cup series in all of Swedish sport we still only have 21 people signed up for Superklass for our premier races here in Göteborg. Then I started to worry that maybe this is partly my fault. I mean I have been very secretive about my month away in France and my race reports from Tidan and Vallen were a very clear sign that Chris Cross is in top form right now. And of course I can understand the potential humiliation it would cause to be beaten by a Chris Cross in top form. And this fear seems to have scared away every single rider from Dalarna.

I definitely am in top form but perhaps I should define it for everyone. The only top form I have had at the moment is that it is especially easy for the top riders to lap me. My top form was so complete that this lapping occurred 3 times in Tidan and twice at Vallen. So seriously, I have a very strong claim on last place and there is no risk for humiliation. Hopefully after this confession Darvell & co will join in on the fun and come to Sveriges framsida. I mean we even have a bridge in addition to Sven's stairs of death. You know you can't miss this...
söndag 29 september 2013

My GöteborgsSuperprestige premiere for 2013

And so it was time for another attempt at finding some form although I felt pretty tired after the race in Tidan. The first thing I did is change the pedals to the latest XT I have on my MTB and that made a world of difference compared to their older pedal. Clipping out was no problems and I was free to take some nice foot out MTB corners which at Vallen there is plenty of opportunity to try out.

Jumping right to the race the start was very aggressive and with a sharp left it was especially 'nice' although people were being a bit too pushy today. At the end of the grass section where there was a little trail up around a tree someone on an MTB decided to pass me in a very unpleasant way that almost sent me into the tree. Hell, this is for fun.

Anyway, since there were a lot of cyclists around me today's race had a very different character than yesterday's and I was max in many spots just trying to either pass or stay ahead. And there were a couple of these incidents with someone from Alingsås who I would pass and then he passed me and then I passed again. Eventually after a lap or so of this I could end it. Over at the easy section around the fountain I surprisingly opened up a gap and could look ahead to the next guy.

I had just caught him at the stairs and I was going to pass at the top but my remounts had been shite all day. Except I kind of ran into him since his remount was also far from perfection so he was still just ahead on the way down the hill. Then, somewhere here I got really pissed off because a couple of people that were lapping me did so in a way that sent me clear off the track. Normally I am nice and give enough space for passing but for once I was actually racing someone and now that was messed up. Come on guys...let me also race! Anyway I had lost a lot of ground and was far behind again but I was apparently much faster on the grass and managed to catch up again at the stairs. This time I did run right passed him and got in the way nicely while I remounted and with a little sprint up the hill I had a comfortable gap. What I did not expect was that all of these I was racing decided only to do the 20 min race and all stopped at the end of that lap. So then it was me on my own for the next 20 min feeling seriously tired...

Focus Cross Race 2013 race report

Bonjour as they say in France and as I have said to a few people since returning to Sweden on Friday afternoon. So how has a month of fine cuisine and very little exercise treated me? Well, at least an extra 0.5kg has appeared somewhere on me. But it was not completely without training because I needed to ride a very old Giant MTB to get food. But this had a basket and quite the wobble and was seriously around 20kg which may have been why I was so surprised at my own bike yesterday in Tidan.

Yes, shock my system with a 45 min + 2 lap race in Prestige at Focus Cross Race. What could possibly go wrong??? Well, I took two test laps and felt kind of like I have never ridden a bike before but luckily the feeling came back over time. The course was much the same as 2 years ago with a slightly different hill part in the grass. It was dry but very bumpy so it was hard to get any flow at first. And on those test laps I never did make it up the last of the hills. So with all this experience I was obviously ready for start. Or should I say ready to wander around and socialize with most of CX in Göteborg.

The start went as starts normally go and I was fine at first except the grusväg section right at the beginning was slippery so I ended up losing a few metres already there. So all the way down the long straight I was trying my best to keep contact with the last 3 who had obviously done quite a bit more training that me. By the grass section things were already looking bad and I had to focus on actually staying on the bike. But staying on the bike was not always possible and I discovered that my pedals were shite and I couldn't really get out of them. Since this was also where everyone was standing it was the makings of a nice fall sequence. But I didn't fall, surprisingly.

Already in the first couple laps others were having technical problems so if I could hold on I would not be last. And I am pretty sure I passed one person and I think a second also who passed me again. But mostly I was just looking ahead to the gap and I could see that when I entered the grass section the closest in front of me was already heading for the tricky slide hill...quite the gap. But the 45 min passed and I felt okay and suddenly confident on the bike so I decided to go all in and accelerate som fan. This obviously led to a touch of heavy breathing but also it was working and I had flow and power. So on the last lap I could actually see Ida who was ahead of the person I thought was ahead of me and I knew I had to try with half a lap to go. Around this start of the grass section a group of 4 lapped me and 3 of the 4 had passed Ida before the slidy hill part. The 4th will not blog about this but the slight slowdown here was enough to get me på rulle and after surprisingly not messing up I could pass her before the löphinder and build up a 9 second lead before the finish. A finish that was still only good enough for 24th place in Prestige but considering my preparations I am very satisfied with the day.

But now to continue the shock training it is time for Vallen and GöteborgsSuperprestige...

onsdag 18 september 2013

Where is Chris Cross???

Maybe some of you have noticed a slight disappearance of Chris Cross and I haven't really been updating much here. What I could say is that I am currently on a top secret training camp and am poised to completely shock Superklass with my stunning ability. And, yeah, why don't I just say that. It sounds nice.

But seriously I am working almost double in September so I will have the time to do the entire CX Cupen without any excuses this year. So the plan is to shock-start at Focus Cross Race in Prestige class (why would we choose Sport???) pretty unprepared with taped tires and clinchers. So the same as every other year, basically.

I will unfortunately miss GöteborgsSuperprestige this Sunday also but that only makes me more motivated to race. I also need to resist the temptation for a new Ridley X-Fire which for 2014 is available in GCK colours...
fredag 12 juli 2013

Mörksuggejakten 2013 race report

When one signs up for a race a 4th time it must have something special and for me this is Mörksuggejakten. Although after my success in Ränneslättsturen and enjoying the nice trails there I was going to change my favourite. Or maybe not.

I was training on Lugnets röd 15km trail both days before the race and seriously that is a nasty 15km. The singletracks are tough and the hills never end. Of course you do get rewarded by their handbuilt trails which are fun but the rest of it really tests skills. The plan again was to empty my muscles and then fill them up with Enervit presport and other food but I was kind of worried that I was pushing my body too hard the night before the race.

It wasn't my body that was feeling pressure though because when I woke up race morning my back tire was flat. This is the same tube I had just replaced the day before because the valve was doing funny things. Two brand new tubes immediately thrown out...talk about pissing away money. So my morning before start was not at all relaxed.

Everyone knows and fears the first hill in this race and it really is a lovely one. Everyone started together so there was no motionär delay this time. But that hill really divided people so it was an entirely different situation from the week before. I was sitting there keeping up nicely with the competition class and I knew they would drift away on the grusväg hill at the top. But actually they didn't. I was just fine there also. Last year I remembered how tough the initial singletracks were (wet, actually, not tough) and it was a bit wet in one section but the 25C weather otherwise meant it was very dry. So I was feeling extremely good at the Nedre Gårdsjö stop where Mörksuggan is always waiting. And just before that someone else had yelled 'Heja Chris!' but I was already passed so I didn't see who it was. This is the true charm of this race...everyone is out cheering you on and it really does feel good.

After the bridge over the water the longest singletrack section starts and I remember last year I was kind of dead halfway through this and had had enough. This year it did become tiring also but that was more because people wanted to pass me. It wasn't near as bad as last week and I wasn't really holding people up so much so I didn't feel the need to change my strategy or make any clear path around me. This was one of the few races where I didn't get stuck in any queues either. Things were always flowing along nicely so I could keep my pace.

When you look at the höjdprofil there is this big hill at Östbjörka which I never seem to remember or realize when I have done it. I know now that it was a grusväg hill which ends in a singletrack part the rest of the way up. It wasn't so bad as it looks so that is why I have no real memory for it. At this point I seemed to be jumping positions a lot with those around me. I felt good so why not have some fun, eller hur? As expected I was passing people on the easier doubletracks and grusväg parts and then they were catching up again and passing me on the singletracks. But I was also stopping at the food places for a drink refill so I had to work to catch up again but after a 1km or so I was back in the same position with those who didn't stop. There was one in the women's class that I jumped positions with a lot but eventually in the last 15km she passed me for good.

There is a hill at Backa which everyone fears. Actually, there are two hills which are always full of people. And somewhere around here was that guy yelling 'Heja Chris!' again and I still don't know who it was! But there was a whole group of people that just started an enormous cheer after the heja Chris and it was wonderful, especially since I was starting to fall apart with energy. My Squeezy gel liquid had an effect for a little while during the next 10km which again is when I started passing.

Once again I could start writing about my finishing sprints and I will. But seriously it is not me that is getting any faster. Others around me are just getting slower. But I am also getting slower even if I suddenly wake up and start passing people. This is good psychologically but still I need to work on my race plans. I noticed this clearly after the race because that woman I was swapping positions with actually finished 10 minutes ahead of me.

They had changed the last 5km a bit and this is one of those parts that is not easy to have a mad final all-in approach like I usually have. There was talk of a new hill but when I got to it it was not much but people were walking. I was in the middle of my adrenaline kick but some shady motionär from Uppsala and his friend were blocking the entire path and walking slow so I had to kind of shove my way through and run up. They didn't think that was very nice. But I kept accelerating so I would not have to listen to them complain but it was a tough singletrack so I had to brake for a downhill and the two idiots decided to fly passed me (one on either side) on a freakin singletrack! What the hell?!?

This is the first time I have entered the finish field in a group of cyclists and it wasn't all that pleasant at all. After the long loop there is this one steep little hill and I decided that this would either work or I would die in a cramp. It worked and I could pass two or three more...including at least one of those Uppsala guys. But after that there is a grass corner and then another steep hill but it also went well and I could shift down for the bridge drop and a sprint. But a finish sprint coming off of a downhill is hard because everyone has speed but still I was determined and ended up bascially equal to another two plus I kept Uppsala behind me by enough.

My time you say? It was 3:21:46! For the first time in any långlopp I averaged over 20 km/h! 20.8 km/h to be specific. Not even in the grusväg rallys (Dalsland X-Country, Den Långa Dagen, Grenserittet) have I managed this speed! And again this meant crushing my 2012 time by 22 minutes and finally some improvement.

Doing this race 3 times and getting essentially the same time is not encouraging. I broke the curse. How? Well I have to thank my Allebike Ipsum 26 for this and my training/comfort on the singletracks. Training where you are slowest is the key. But overall I have felt better in these last two races and this probably has to do with eating and preparations. Still, I can be better. Many of those I was battling with had 3:10:00ish times. I have thought about cutting out my stops altogether because in total that probably costs me 10 minutes. But a stop does give me new energy and like I said I catch up again. Of course all of you are probably just thinking 'Buy a 29er' and everyone is telling me that. If anything I will put 650b wheels on my current bike because they will fit. But psychologically I needed to get rid of my old bike which was so wrong for me. The evidence is clear. So with my carbon 26 MTB and trails have become fun again. So why should I dump fun immediately for yet another new bike?

Ränneslättsturen 2013 race report

As you can see I am a bit behind with my reporting but now you can get a double report in one day. It is MTB långlopp season and I chose to stay in Eksjö rather than panic-drive on the race morning. And as soon as I arrived the rain poured down, I mean seriously pouring. Lovely. This in combination with not getting any sleep due to the noise of the Eksjö nightlife scene, which apparently was more than a couple drunk guys on a scooter, meant I was not at all positive to my start. I have mentioned many times before that this is my bad luck race and I have only managed to start it once, the rest was riddled with injuries or car trouble. So my plan was simple...just see this as a nice little training pass in singletrack. Afterall half of these 78km were singletrack.

Last time I went out way too hard and was ready to die after the second loop heading north. But my start may have been a slight bit relaxed since I was dead last in the competition group immediately.
Something which I realized shortly after this picture was taken. I looked back and said 'WTF???' and wondered where the motionär were.

But I got better after that and kept a fairly steady pace with those around me during the first grusväg sections. I was not surpassing my ability which was something I appreaciated later. The problem was that there was so much of a delay between the starts that the motion group caught up to me just when the singletracks were starting. These were not too serious trails but still the leaders in that class are not the least bit kind and they want passed immediately. Honestly what is the point of this class anyway because they are just as fast as the competition class. I suggest a change...why not charge motion cyclists more than people supporting the sport.

Anyway, the rest of the first loop (section 2) and most of second loop (section 3) I was being constantly passed by literally hundreds of cyclists. Section 3 is the toughest part of the race and I was doing just fine on the singletracks but I was getting frustrated with all those trying to pass. At the times I could be on my own my technique was fine and a reasonable pace. So my training pass was going just fine so far.
One of those motionär types that passed me.
But here I still look like I am enjoying my training pass even though I am blurry.

So then it was time for section 4 and the Eksjö training track which is fun but it was here I started to feel a bit tired. It was after this part last time where I suddenly woke up and started flying along. But this time it was not quite the same case because it was wet and I kept having this feeling that the worst part was coming next.

Everyone had been talking about the skidstuga which is section 5 and I had this faint memory of it being really horrible. And apparently last year when it was really wet this was basically a walking section. I didn't see any problem with it at all. Sure, the grass hills were wet but I had just changed to a brand new set of Conti X-Kings so I had tons of grip everywhere despite the mud. And I think this was what made my day.

So then, as you know, it was time for my final 'all-in' method which it a common part of all my race reports. Because in section 5 among all those grass hills things changed and my uphill skill could finally come to use and I could start passing people. Section 6 is pretty technical but I was on my own and trying pretty hard at this point to go fast on the trails. I knew I was over my normal level and that this wasn't a training pass anymore but I also know that I was swearing a lot when I did make mistakes.

I had already been in some type of mini-sprint for the last 2km and through that little grassy part just behind the water tower. So once I did get up the last little hill to the finish area I kept at it and accelerated more even though no one was around me at all and no one was watching or cheering. I have to sprint into the finish line and fall over. If I don't the training pass would be a waste.

But to my surprise this took 4:25:05 which doesn't say so much until I compared to my old time and realized I crushed it by 26 minutes! What I thought of as a training pass was almost half an hour faster than my old time which, really was okay too. So this was good for 425th out of 584 which is still kind of low but was far from last.

Finally some improvement. On a 26er. Maybe my stupid old bike really was the problem? Or maybe this was a fluke?

onsdag 19 juni 2013

Karolinertrampet 2013 race report

And so it was time Karolinertrampet, my 3rd 'långlopp' of 2013 up in Dals Rostock. I have been having trouble with my stupid neighbours again. Seriously, starting to drink on the patio at 00.30 is not okay in anyway way. So when I woke up on Saturday it was clear that I would need to spend the night at Kroppefjäll Hotel right next to the track if I would have any hope of arriving in a rested state. So my tjuvträning was punished by mosquito bites and I kind of got lost on at the last part of the lap and ended up back in the middle again. My general lack of energy was also a problem.

This race is 3 laps around a 10km track which has basically everything you would hope for in an MTB course. Last year when I did this race I had a complete energy collapse on Lap 3 because I got the idea that this distance should be a sprint. But my practice laps made me realize that this is anything but easy. The first part was all singletrack and then when you do get a break the uphills start. There are 3 significant climbs in the second part of the lap so that means conquering it 9 times. And the sections in between were also hilly.

I chose the 2nd start line just to get a good shot at maintaining some sort of position. Of course it went quick and the little hill after the start kind of stopped the group. So I did manage to pass a few but was also passed once it sloped downward. The pace in the group I was in was not super high so I was kind of wondering what was happening and made a few more passes just so I would not get stuck in a slow group. And then came the singletrack which I did at a constant yet slow pace no matter who wanted to pass. Being consistent at these sections was my race plan, especially since the track was muddy and slippery. Over in the second part of the lap the hills were already a challenge and I had a steady position in the field.

For Lap 2 I had someone from Uddevalla CK in my sight and was trying not to lose time. There was also someone just behind me who didn't seem to be so keen on passing. Last year I also had a shadow like this. There was one part of the trail where this little tree seemed to have this unimaginable attractive force because on both Lap 2 and 3 I fell in precisely the same spot at that tree. It was amazing because other parts of the trail were much more probably in terms of fall risk. But, no, that tree had something. And that fall led to getting passed both times. Actually the 2nd lap was one of those 'why am I doing MTB anyway???' kind of laps. 

So by Lap 3 I was thinking that my plan would be just to maintain my current position and I was lucky to pass several who had flat tires. I could just see the guy in front but the gap was too large. Behind me was quiet but my slow pace on the singletrack and falling at that tree meant that I was passed again. But on the section after that with the grusväg that sloped up I could see the guy who just passed me start rubbing his leg so I knew it was attack time. That was massive and successful and suddenly I was on fire and glad to be riding my MTB again. At the toughest of the 3 hills I passed a couple people who were walking up and but I lost one more position (someone else with a strong finish) at the muddy section after that. But by the last hill I was all in and it was only then I could feel an energy crash. So I saved that crash until I crossed the finish line.

This was good for a 37th position overall and a time of 1:54:11 which is definitely good in a group of 63 cyclists. The times were 6 minutes slower than last year so I basically kept consistent despite having a completely different race plan and feeling. Strange.

This race is really a hidden gem in that grey area between XC and marathon and I do like the 30km distance even if my performance doesn't necessarily show it. And the proper lunch at Kroppefjäll Hotel after made this a superb value for only 200kr!
måndag 3 juni 2013

Nya Långa Lugnet - race report

As you can see I have been putting zero priority on writing here and 100% on actual training. And that led me to a fine time of just over 3 hours in Dalsland X-Country which gives me startled 15 in Grenserittet halfway through the field. So this season is going well.

But now for the real test of my Allebike Ipsum 26. The very first MTB race I did was Långa Lugnet the year it was in the World Cup. I had a Peak hybrid and no clue what it would be like nor any skill at all. After the first loop of 40km DNF was the only sane choice. Shortly after that I bought my Trek which was actually heavier than the Peak but still an actual MTB. It was 2008 when I tried Långa Lugnet again and I believe it was one year after Öijer's legend...wait for it...dary hopelessly difficult course. It wasn't much easier then and I was like 2nd last. The only one behind me was an american who was way back. I was even in contact with the motorcycle the follows at the back of the pack to check on everyone. But I finished the 65km in a truly pathetic 4:43:54.

So yesterday it was time again for Nya Långa Lugnet 61 km which was advertised as an easier variant on the past. Nja, not much easier if easier at all. This was part of Falun's new Scandinavian Outdoor Games which is a great concept. On Saturday I was in an MTB clinic on how to save time on långlopp races and Lars Bleckur guided us through some of the track with some tips here and there. We ended with the red downhill and everyone else in the group looked at me with my 26er and was shocked when I flew down the track full of confidence. What a freakin bike! So much better than my old one!

It was time for start and I was in HSport which is a silly class really but it got me just in front of the HMotion group. The start went around Lugnet and over to the first hill which is not exactly Mörksuggan like but it had many people stuck already. What the hell? It was a little speed bump compared to what was coming later. So the lefthand side and floated my way passed probably 50 or even more cyclists. The problem was I think I lost many of those positions shortly after that when the road turned to a very dusty gravel downhill and I couldn't see anything at all. The first loop went pretty fast but was also quite boring with all that grusväg. So I think that is how they made the race 'easier'. But I went out hard and would pay for that later on.

Back towards Lugnet there was an uphill singletrack I had seen before and it was a great one. There was also one point where someone was directing people to the left and there were all kinds of cyclists off their bikes. Öijer called this punkasten. So then it was down Mördarebacken on that useless slalom grusväg where I had zero grip and was basically stopped. I would see this one more time later. Then down to the ski stadium for a refill and a little drink of Squeezy gel.

Loop 2 was out towards north and was the shortest in actual distance plus I had already seen the first half the day before. But this is when it got pretty hilly and Falun hilly is even worse than Partille hilly once it gets going. Things were going well with the grusväg and the 26er but also during the 2nd loop the singletrack became longer and longer. There was one stretch that was like 2-3km and seriously tough. It was cracking me ever so slowly because this was what they call Dalateknisk with a lot of stones, roots and, in my case, off pist because I kept missing corners. So I was more than happy to finally roll down for the second and last food stop down at the ski stadium. I drank a lot of Squeezy gel this time but I left some just in case.

Loop 3 started with Lugnets blå/röd and a little sidetrack before the superb little hand-built trail which I had done twice the day before. Seriously it is wonderful! But after that it got serious and I remembered 2008. They called it VM-1993 spår and it is a nightmare of hills. Now...enter Allebike Ipsum 26...and Mr. Iskallt from Göteborgs CK. I don't think I made any friends at this point. Every single uphill I was passing people who were seriously dropping like flies in the last 15km. But I was getting even more iskall because, for once, I had no sign of leg cramp at all! There was one from Eskilstuna I was battling with for awhile because he was faster downhill but eventually he let me pass and gave up and I beat him by 6 minutes. There was also another group I had been with for awhile there and it was the same thing...I kept on going and left them behind. Now I was more confident on the singletracks so I kept my position fairly well give or take a couple. Then there was a sign saying '3 more hills to go' and I went mad and was even shifting down before I reached the top. After that was their other handbuilt trail which would have felt better if I hadn't already done the rest. So my upper body was dying and I felt the first sign of cramp. There was two på rulle and I knew what was coming so in an insane move I shifted down and attacked when we hit the grusväg and sprinted away as well as I could to get some space because I knew the slippery Mördarebacken was coming. This time it was okay and I flew down towards the stadium to go over their newly-built ski corner where one guy managed to get up the hill quick, I was useless and another was seriously high on adrenaline and actually fell off trying to miss me. =) So anyway I outsprinted him because he didn't even try and I could finish in grand style.

This 61km took 3:37:47 which is a whopping 1 hour faster than 2008 and yet I feel like I could do even better. If I had been in HMotion that would have placed me 149th of 223 which is a clear improvement.

The question remains how did this work when basically everyone else had 29er and were floating along downhill and on the singletracks??? Well, the time I lost going downhill I could make up when it became flat again. I proved this over and over. On the singletracks I could not do so much but it went way better than on my old bike. But I can slow people down here. So that leaves uphill. The time the 29ers were losing uphill was far more than what they won going down. I don't get it...but I like the result!

torsdag 2 maj 2013

A sporting attempt at 1:a Majloppet Kvänum

Thanks to my stupid neighbours I didn't really have all that much sleep on Tuesday. But I was determined to get up early on Wednesday anyway to drive to Kvänum for 1:a Majloppet. Yes, it was time for my race premiere of 2013 and also the first race for my new Allebike Ipsum 26. Because I have the cheap licence and am generally chicken at XC I started in HSport and was far from winning this 'beginners' class as usual. But my goal was to get some kind of training before Dalsland X-Country on Saturday.

I had the worst possible start and could not get my shoe into the pedal at all and once I did it was extremely crowded and I couldn't get any space anyway. So I was last and the pace was already high. By the end of the start loop I was down on the grass where the GCK cheering section was waiting and I could do my first massive acceleration and close the gap to nothing by the time the singletrack started. In fact I kind of didn't brake that much and pretty much ran into the guy who really slowed down.

The pace was still higher than I am use to and all of the roots were on an angle so during my test laps I was sliding on everything. This first lap was not much better but by concentrating and staying on the bike I was able to pass 4 people in this first part and at the nasty wet rock hills. I passed a fifth in the mud after that section in a beautiful acceleration moment which was perhaps kind of mean. But it worked. And then the rest of the lap which is MTB perfection in every way.

Sadly enough on the second lap I was passed by F13-14 riders that started 2 minutes after and getting out of their way did cost some time which is a shame because I was almost caught up to the guy in front. I must have passed others here but there were DNFs and people standing around all over. Towards the end of the lap the fastest 3 in P13-14 wanted to pass and in a sneaky move I took that chance to slip by a guy in front. But I think he returned the favour on the last lap when I messed up on the rock hill and had to walk a bit and someone passed on the section after. So it was attack time and I was keeping up okay except that he was from Kvänums IF and knew the course very very well. I was in good position but in the very last uphill before the grass he was better and my sprint became fairly useless but spectacular as always.

So, a hardtail 26" is not at all appropriate for this race but it was so much better than my old one. On these perfect trails it was a dream. See you in Bengtsfors for the race that this bike is perfect for...

söndag 28 april 2013

Last minute attempt at finding some kind of form

Well, this is the week I make my tävlingspremiär with my first race in HSport in Kvänum on Wednesday and then it is time for 60km of fun for Dalsland X-Country on Saturday. The first race is mostly just to get some kind of feel for XC and I can only race in HSport with baslicens so it will be the easier course. Good good.

To prepare for DXC I decided for a longer trip today with more typical långlopp things like grusväg and a pile of hills with a few rideable singletrack along the way. And my 47km of pure hell was certainly the best option for this. Ouch. Today was a combination of two of my usual routes from last summer and it had 10 proper nasty hills. I only remember a couple of nasty hills in DXC so this was overkill.

I went over to Jonsered and then up into the part with what is currently the best trail I have been on this year. I thought it would be muddy but it was superb! This cuts over to those logging 'roads' above Aspen which go back and forth essentially up and down the same hill. And those downhills are still full of large rocks and scary as hell. So after that adventure you end up right down at the shore of Aspen and can ride around the waterfront walk and enjoy the sun before ending up at the road back to Partille where all the LVG people are. Actually that is the worst road to choose because if you turn left just after Aspen station and head up a true monster of a hill you end up at a perfect idyllic little road that ends up at the top of the hill above Jonseredkyrka, another fine hill.

From there I went up to Knipavägen which was a bitch of a wet sandy grusväg that had my legs burning quickly. I missed a turn and ended up all the way at the end and then turned back to check another traktorväg which was actually shite and I won't be doing that one again. But that got me back up to Tahult in Landvetter for yet another massive hill back up to Kåsjön. Then I ended with a nice little downhill back to home. So this was basically a whole långlopp on one serving of sportgryn, 750ml of water and a 100g Maxim gel. Imagine how much better it will be when I prepare properly...
lördag 20 april 2013

A pile of training

As you can see I haven't exactly been ending every training pass with a blog entry and that is probably a good thing because they are mostly the same. Since picking up my Allebike Ipsum 26 I have been adjusting and perfecting what I now see is an absolute masterpiece of a bike! My first full carbon frame works just perfect with Sid and it is actually front heavy which keeps the wheel on the ground going uphill. I am just flying up the Kåsjön hill and I have about 7 easy gears I haven't even needed yet. A slightly smaller frame is precisely what I needed to regain confidence in the technical parts of the forest and I have already tried trails I would never have dared on my old bike. More on that later...

This is the 3rd weekend in a row now where I have had a tough and quite mixed pass on both days. And I should be able to add in a Tuesday training with GCK or the Göteborgsserien races which start up soon also. Dalsland X-Country is two weeks away so I am doing what I can to get in some kind of form.

The terrain is pretty muddy now and I was looking into the course for GöteborgsGirot MTB. I wasn't entirely thrilled to mind my lovely Puketorp trail there and today it was certainly full of tire tracks from the 100 cyclists that tested the track last weekend. I had already been out on Saturday so I didn't feel like it Sunday also. I like the idea of a race in my backyard and I am giving it a chance. But after the grusväg that heads south towards the golfcourse the trail heads off towards Ugglemossen which is a serious mess. The mud today was horrible and even without mud this is a tough trail. And I think it is brave of me to even try this trail with a 26" hardtail, tires from last year that are worn out, a shorter travel length on Sid and tires that are only 2.2" wide. The last part means I can't ride on any of the wooden bridge sections which I personally think are wrong for a race. In fact I thought I was on the wrong trail because it is marked with IFK colours and GAIS is behind this race.

GöteborgsGirot will be a long XC race, not a marathon. That distinction has to be clear. From what I have seen there will be many people walking and it will be wet and frustrating. Which is fine if you like XC. But this is no motionslopp in any way. If they want something more like a marathon they should be up in the Partille/Landvetter forest part and over into Lerum if needed. No cars...no problems. So as much as I would really like to support this race I am going to have to choose Billingeracet the day before up in Skövde which, actually, is cheaper and 75km instead. That race has some great trails that are in fact possible. And I bought this particular bike just so I could race on a course like Billingen or Mörksuggan.

lördag 13 april 2013

Dalsland X-Country now SCF-approved!

Well sometimes it pays to just send an email and ask a question. Because I have been wondering whether I should risk svarttävling fines and all that kind of thing. So I emailed those at Dalsland X-Country to ask if they were purposely running this without SCF-sanctions because it would scare away all the Elite riders.

The answer was not surprising. Föreningen DalslandsTurism is, in fact, a member of SCF and they had started the process of getting the race approved but it got stuck along the way. Which I am not at all surprised about now that I have inside info on how things work in this lovely organization. So anyway after a few days the deal was done and now Dalsland X-Country is in SCF's calendar and officially approved. It was always seedningslopp for Grenserittet and now even for CykelVasan. So there is no excuses...4 maj it is time to visit Bengtsfors again!

I have actually sent one of these emails before the first year Hammarby Hill XC was run. It was the same answer then. And from my experience now at Göteborgs Cykelförbund there is a real problem with communication between the clubs and SCF. Actually even the local clubs in Göteborg completely ignore when GCF sends emails. We are trying here. And we are not spending 250000kr on a website either. So just because the CF part is the same we don't have to act like SCF. Give us a bit of a chance to help. We are certainly not standing in the way of the process. Changes are happening at www.göteborgcykel.se

MTB marathons 2012

  • Dalsland X-Country
  • Karolinertrampet
  • Farrisrunden
  • Mörksuggejakten

Ski marathons 2011

  • UlricehamnsLoppet 40km

CX races in 2010/2011

  • 25 sept - Tidan
  • 2 okt - GBGcrossen 1
  • 10 okt - GBGcrossen 2
  • 16 okt - Falun
  • 17 okt - Ludvika
  • 23 okt - Lidköping
  • 30 okt - Stockholm Kungsan
  • 31 okt - Stockholm Frescati
  • 6 nov - Borås
  • 7 nov - Göteborg Slottsskogsvallen
  • 13 nov - SM Kumla
  • 14 nov - Söderköping
  • 28 nov - Luciacrossen
  • 8 jan - Södra Sandby

MTB marathons 2010

  • 29 maj Den Långa Dagen 90km - Ludvika
  • 5 juni Raumerrittet 84 km - Oslo
  • 12 juni Farrisrunden 70 km - Larvik
  • 11 juli Mörksuggejakten 70 km - Rättvik
  • 14 aug CykelVasan 90km - Mora

Other races 2010

  • Hökensåsracet - Tidaholm (H sen)
  • Högaliden race - Hjo (H sen)
  • 1:a maj loppet - Kvänum (H sen)

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Chris 'Cross' Pickering...elitmotiönar cyclist. Svengelska blogg on cycling from a Canadian point of view. I race for Mölndals CK at the elitmotionär level and especially love MTB and cyclocross. So join me for plenty of CX links and stories of my journey throughout the year. Du kan skriva på svenska om du vill kommentera. Or you can email me at hejchris2 @ gmail.com if you have something to ask but would rather not comment.