4th at Kirtland Park

Last battle in Cleveland for the cross season would be a classic battle again with Paul, John and Steve. Course was the typical layout for the venue, with a few new twists added by incorporating a jungle gym and a different set of stairs. Classic.

Gun goes off and I somehow manage the lead position going into the first corner. Through a few more twists and turns, I was still at the front but I wanted to get out of the front as I could see things had immediately got strung out.


On the straight, up the stairs and up to the sketchy section of stairs I was making the majority of time up in practice and I run into the tape trying to see who was still on my wheel. Dah. I loose three spots and I am immediately go from leading to chasing.


Steve would take the lead. Paul and John would sit in front of me for a bit, and I chased.

4 to go and I was closing after we had gapped off most of the field. Seeing me coming, John and Paul up the pace a bit.

Going onto the sketchy steps, Paul dabs and John takes off. We are now 4 riders alone.

The gap to Paul shortens, but going up the stairs with 2 laps to go, I make a pretty serious dab and have to dismount after nearly whipping out falling backwards.

I would hold on for 4th for the day, about a minute separating the top 4 again.

Would end up 6th in the series despite having only race 6 races. Bummed out I could not have raced more, but pretty happy with how things went this year and was glad to see some good hard racing go late into the year.

For now, I'll take a bit of a break and then plan out the rest of the cross year. Will be hitting up Nationals and possibly Masters Worlds, but I also have to think about a duo 24 hour race in February.

Ernesto out


3rd at Willoughby

Past Sunday was the next to last race of the NEO CX series - here's how it went down.

Got there early to pre-ride = aweosome.

Got there early to take a spill on the first warm up lap and break my brand new Sram Red front shifter = Not awesome.

Course was a tough one, the wind was bad and the run up was going to be hellish. Other then that, a few turns and a dismount and a lot of wind.

Gun goes off. I get punched in the gut and elbowed in the face to in the fight to win the first sprint up the climb to take the Oakley sunglass prize at the top to the first one to round the corner.


John takes the shades at the top. (It was a clean battle all the way to the top - but there may have been some elbows in there somewhere)

Things spread out fast as Steve and Paul put the hammer down. I get pinched a bit as I try to make my way back up to John as I battle the wind.


I push on, and soon I am by myself about 50 feet'ish behind John when I start to see we are pulling back Steve.


Just as I near John and Steve, John speeds off and I catch Steve. Steve is immediately on my wheel as John continues to sit just in front of me. I figure Steve is not going to chase so I try to bridge the gap.


John is holding the gap as I am battling back and fourth with Steve. I sit back a bit and let a gap get in between Steve and myself, hoping that he would try to get to John - with a plan that I would a big jump on the last climb of the day.

I would close the gap back down with 2 to go and Steve would take himself out in the same corner I bashed my lever up on in warmup.


I would take home 3rd on the day - Paul took a hard fought win in the wind and John would take 2nd. Guessing maybe a max of 30-40 seconds separating the 3 of us at the end.

1 more NEO race to go, bummed I am not going to be in the overall as I missed too many races. Will be the first time in a long while where I haven't done enough Cleveland cross races to get in the overall.

Ernesto out


3 days in Cinci

Here it is - better late then never, still trying to finish up some bike work and figure out if I want to glue up some tubulars or not.

Day 1
As usual, I was running late getting over to Shawn's place. Running an hour late, we made our way south towards Cincinnati. Soon we would run into traffic several times, putting us even later the expected.

The course was soft and muddy, lots of climbing and throw in a couple sets of barriers. One lap of warmup, some hill sprints to warm up and to the start line.

First muddy corner, everybody going for the win right there, and a huge crash. One guys gets up to see a frame broken in half. I get around it, but loose time in the process.

Immediately, the burn starts coming into my lungs and it is pretty obvious I did not warm up enough. Soon, the leaders would catch up to me and I would get yanked.

Very disappointing day for both Shawn and I which was a bummer as it was mostly caused because of me running late - but I would wind up with some cash for the day, so it was not a total loss.

Day 2


Day 2 brought the Java Johnny's course, a course which I did decently on a few years back so I was looking forward to racing the mostly flat and fast course.

Gun goes off and I have a decent start, sitting mid pack.

Soon, we are going by the pit. Another rider in front of me suddenly slows and swings far right and looks right and starts waving and yelling "hi" to his buddy in the pits - totally looking away from the upcoming left corner.

I continue on with the gas, pass him and go into the corner and then wham - the idiot looking the other way hits into my rear derailleur super hard as he didn't see me. Nice. He says something to me, I pedal away not noticing he bent the rear hanger.

3 corners later, I take a corner wide and sweep in tight - just like i did every time in practice as it was the fastest and safest way to get around it. but - the same idiot that hit me before, hit me again. this time, intentionally. it sent me flying, i tried to counter steer and partially rolled the tubular. Great, 2 minutes into a race and this jack ass takes me out.

I climb back on, try to catch on after pulling the tubular on and pedal on.

20'ish minutes later, I am nearly catching the back of Shawn's group and my front tire washes out and the tubular completely rolls off. it also snaps the shifter clamp band.

Game over.

Great. So much of these races are the first 4-5 minutes and needless to say it is very frustrating to get behind an idiot. And when you finally get around them, they intentionally take you out. I don't understand that logic at all.

But - hats off to Sram Neutral support. Free upgrade from a Sram Apex front shifter to a Sram Red so I could use the bike the next day.

Day 3


The last day of racing would be a tough one, the course was all soft and muddy and had a decent little climb in it. Lot's of power would be required.

We get to the venue about 3 1/2 hours early. The organizer was running late on time, so he cut ALL pre-riding of the course. I was NEVER able to ride a full complete lap during warm up as the officials would start yelling and blowing there whistles. Was a total FAIL in all of the riders minds to not let us ride all of it - especially considering they were cutting us off from riding the last 1/2 mile'ish of the course when the next race had not even started - even with lap times running over 7-8 minutes. Unreal.

Gun would go off, and I took off from the last row. Super awesome. Not.


The first few corners I get pinched, pinched again, and then I am at the back with the majority of the guys faltering on the twisty section by the road that I had cleared every time in warmup.

I play catch up, picking off a few riders here and there. I feel like I am riding the best of the 3 days so far, but soon the leaders are catching up.

I get yanked again, but end up with some cash for the day.

All in all, good eye opener for me to get my attitude adjusted before nationals, but I wish things had turned out a bit better.

Time to glue up some tubulars.

Ernesto out

Photo credit - Julie Lewis