Monday, November 16, 2009

DeStad Cup: Kansas State Championship

On a wet, windy, messy Sunday at St. Mary’s, I earned the Cat.3 Kansas State Cyclocross Championship. In doing so, I learned two things: First, I’m clueless as to how to train for a race. And, secondly, I absolutely cannot judge my own fitness level.

I’m sick of talking about it but I’ll mention my sore achilles one more time only for context here- I’d been nursing a sore achilles for a few weeks and during this past week I stayed off the bike completely exept for two mellow 20 mile rides. So, going into the DeStad Cup, I figured my chances of really making a go for the podium were about as good as flagging down an ice cream truck in hell. Nevertheless, I decided to race and have fun- after all, it is cross! So, I relaxed on the sidelines and watched all the other races in the morning and even enjoyed a few frosty beverages.

The morning races were wet but not sloppy. But the rain picked up around noon and by the time the Open class started, the course was well on it’s way to slime. I knew whatever small patches of traction left for the Opens would be chewed up and regurgitated back onto the course by the time the 3/4s started, and that got me thinking I might actually do alright. I love mud. I love rain. I love sleet. And I love the cold! As we lined up, I was giddy with excitement- It was still raining, there was standing water everywhere, and the temps had dipped into the upper 30s with a stiff NE wind.

The start was typical of my meager sprinting ability. I lined up front and center but went into turn one in 8th or 9th. Eric Stull faired better so I quickly went around a few riders to get onto his wheel. I followed him through a few turns and then he let me go around. Once in front of Stull, I zeroed in on Doug Stone and passed a few more riders to get onto his wheel. I followed Doug for awhile and finally squirted (literally) around him on one of the sloppiest corners on course. I kept accelerating down the long wet straight and when I looked back after a few more corners, I had a gap. Well, there was no letting up after that!

Chris Hershey was the only rider still ahead of me and I breifly entertained thoughts of corraling him. But after I slid out and went splat trying to get through the soup down by the pond, I gave up on that. Instead, I settled into a rhythm that would allow me to hold off Doug. Hershey was riding strong and I thought another effort to bridge up to him would risk me blowing up completely. Hershey was from Missouri, you see, so I was fighting for the KS State title at this point. We finished up in that order: Chris, Me, Doug. Chris got a great win, I earned the State Championship, and Doug sealed first place in the series.

I had completely surprised myself. And I’m sure a few of my competitors were surprised as well. I actually felt bad b/c I had talked to Rob Schultz before the race and I acted- honestly- like I wasn’t going to be able to do anything. Lesson: STFU about injuries. Just go ride- everyone has their issues.


  1. Nice work all series long and congrats on the state title.

  2. Great job Dan, not to mention you did that without much of a warm-up either.

  3. Dan.. Good job.. That was the best race I've seen this season.. You and Chris really had a great day...
    Thanks also for encouraging me up that hill..

  4. Way to go Dan! Jaime got some good shots of you in our race recap video: