The Bethlehem Cup 2008: A Muddy Run-Up And Free Chili

We are starting off 2009 by catching up with some racing we missed at the end of 2008. Upstate New York features a great CX community and a competitive season of racing. The NYCross.com Cyclocross Series held its finale November 9, 2008, in Bethlehem, New York. The Bethlehem Cup featured a notorious muddy run-up for racers and free beer and chili for the gawkers.

2008 Bethlehem Cup. They're Cross Bones ... Arrrgghh.
2008 Bethlehem Cup. They're Cross Bones ... Arrrgghh.

We got the Mens Elite podium out of hibernation to see what they remember about the day.

How were the conditions on race day? Did you have to do anything special to prepare?

JUSTIN LINDINE (TARGETRAINING), Mens Elite First Place: Conditions were good on race day. A little on the cold side so warming up was trickier. The course however was a little drier then it had been in past years.

MARK STOTZ (Corner Cycle, Guerciotti X-Crow) Mens Elite Second Place: It was pretty muddy but nowhere near as muddy as the previous two years. I thought it really had everything good to go for the race.

WAYNE BRAY (Syracuse Bicycle / Spokepost.com) Men Elite Third Place: Fairly dry …except for the couple of very muddy sections… fairly cold.

What was the best part of the course? What was the hardest part of the course? Anything you would change?

WAYNE BRAY: Fast downhill gravel road section with the “berm.” I don’t know if it was necessarily the best but it was certainly interesting… I don’t think I’d change it but the runup was absolutely murder…it was more like a climbing wall.

MARK STOTZ: I like the section after the brutal run-up. It’s always rutted and slippery. Takes some power and finesse to manage. The hardest part of the course is the run-up previously mentioned. It’s fairly long and steep and always very slick. The approach to the run-up is nasty and means you can’t go into it with any momentum which makes it even tougher. I really enjoy this race and wouldn’t change a thing. Chuck [Quackenbush] and his boys do a great job.

JUSTIN LINDINE: I always like the top section of the course that runs through the woods. It is often muddy (though not so much this year) but still a little technically difficult. The long run-up into that section though is probably one of the more difficult and deciding factors of the race. It is incredibly steep and slippery and a good spot to attack either while running or immediately after remounting. As far as changes go, I don’t think I would change much, although personally I don’t care for the second set of uphill barriers. But that’s more my feelings on having to do as little running as possible.

Describe the decisive moment or moments in the race. Did it play out the way you hoped?

JUSTIN LINDINE: The race played out fairly straight forward. I got a gap after the first lap with Mark Stotz and we held that until the end. I put in a surge after the last run-up to gap him and take the win.

MARK STOTZ: Two of us got away from everyone really early. It was fun but coming into the finish I was pretty spanked. Justin got the jump on me and I didn’t have much left.

WAYNE BRAY: The decisive moment was during registration when I realized that most the the fast guys weren’t racing! Followed closely by when one of the faster guys crashed pretty hard during the first of the muddy sections… and he couldn’t follow my wheel (since he was laying in the mud and all).

Do you have any pre-race rituals? What kind of a warm-up did you get in? What did you eat before the race?

MARK STOTZ: I drink a Coke before every race. It settles my stomach. If it wasn’t for that I’d quit. Throwing up after a MTB or cross race isn’t fun. Need a good warm up nowadays. Basically rode the course several times and then did a few intervals in the area before the race. I keep my diet simple. No heavy meals, basically oatmeal, yogurt and lots of bananas for later races.

JUSTIN LINDINE: I don’t have anything too specific. I was actually a little tired that day so I didn’t warm up as much as usual. I always like to get a couple of laps in on the course and make sure I have a GU on the line just before the start, but that’s about it.

WAYNE BRAY: I don’t have any pre-race rituals…but I do like to get there plenty early to spend as much time possible riding the course. I have pretty poor technical skills so repeatedly crashing during the pre-ride gets me ready for the day… I think I had a bagel and some peanut butter, but I don’t remember exactly…maybe a gel scrounged out of the console of my car…oh and coffee…lots of coffee.

What tires and pressure did you run? Do you think you made the right choice?

WAYNE BRAY: First race on newly built tubular wheels (Ultegra/Kinlin rims) with Challenge Fango 32 tires. Pressure was enough to bottom out a few times a lap but not too much…not sure what PSI that corresponds to. I gotta say for those conditions they were perfect…a lot of fast firm sections…a few greasy corners and a couple mud bogs…and the Fangos were good in them all.

MARK STOTZ: Warmed up on a Tufo Flexus and nearly killed myself when the front end washed out. Ended up going to a Dugast Rhino 32 C. Ran probably about 30 psi. Perfect tire for the conditions. Thank god my teammates finally convinced me to run lower tire pressures this year. Nothing like trying to corner on 50 PSI in the mud.

JUSTIN LINDINE: I ran Michelin Mud clinchers because the course was a little slick and ran them at about 29lbs or so. I think this was a great choice because I seemed to be hooking up in the turns a little better than some other people on less aggressive tires.

Anything out of the ordinary or remarkable stand out?

MARK STOTZ: The neutral support guy was awesome. Saved my ass. Had a cassette problem that he fixed about 30 minutes before the race.

Do you work with a coach?

MARK STOTZ: John Verheul is my coach. The days of racing totally overtrained are over.

JUSTIN LINDINE: I don’t currently work with a coach. I develop my own training plans and try to listen to my body.

WAYNE BRAY: No coach… but my results haven’t been that great either so…

Is CX your main focus? If not, what is? If it is, how long have you been riding cross?

JUSTIN LINDINE: Road is my primary focus but I try to be on good form for cross. I take a little time off after the road season and try to come back around for cross. I have been racing cross for 3 years now, but this is the first season that I’ve put in a full season worth of racing.

MARK STOTZ: It’s not my total focus but close. Also enjoy racing on the road and MTB (okay sometimes on the MTB). Racing cross 6-7 years.

WAYNE BRAY: I don’t think I have a main focus…I race more road just because the season is longer. I just like riding and racing my bike.

Any words of wisdom for the aspiring cross racer?

MARK STOTZ: Have fun -it’s hard to go that hard if you’re not having fun. Enjoy it while you can.

WAYNE BRAY: Ride so hard that you completely blow up to get to know how it feels…then you’re ready to go race ‘cross.

JUSTIN LINDINE: I’ve found that it’s really important to recover in cross racing. If you race both days of the weekend that’s a lot of intensity work. Make sure you’re not doing too much intensity overall or you will burn out before the end of the season. Also, work on skills….those are precious seconds dismounting, remounting and running.

Other than race, what do you do?

JUSTIN LINDINE: I work in a bike/ ski shop called Windham Mountain Outfitters.

MARK STOTZ: I work as a Physical Therapist. Hike with Bubba the black lab.

WAYNE BRAY: Well I work, I train, I ski a little bit, and I eat…alot.

What are your goals for next year?

WAYNE BRAY: Not be OTB/DFL when the freaks show up to race.

MARK STOTZ: Keep having fun. It’s pretty easy with my teammates and support from George Sykes at Corner Cycle.

JUSTIN LINDINE: I will be riding with a new team this year, BikeReg / Cannondale so I am looking forward to doing well with them on the road….maybe winning a race or two, getting some good NRC experience and then in cross season I would like to again focus on the VERGE New England Series where I podiumed in the overall this year with third. Hopefully I would like to improve on that for next year. We’ll see. That all being said, I like to play things by ear a little in terms of goals….you never know what’s going to come up.

What are you currently doing for training?

MARK STOTZ: Drinking beer. It’s early January and laying pretty low right now.

WAYNE BRAY: Currently just tempo and threshold work to get ready for the road season. Unfortunately here in the Upstate NY Snowbelt it’s exclusively on the rollers or trainer.

JUSTIN LINDINE: Right now I’m back doing base miles getting ready for the upcoming road season.

Anything else you would like to say?

MARK STOTZ: The guys at NYCROSS put on some really fun events. I think we’re lucky that they do.

JUSTIN LINDINE: Ummm.

Give a shout out.

WAYNE BRAY: Tons of credit to the NYCross folks for consistently putting on well run local events…good courses, prizes and atmosphere.

MARK STOTZ: Thanks to George Sykes at Corner Cycle for all the help.

JUSTIN LINDINE: A shout out to my sponsors at TARGETRAINING for a great two seasons and Kyle Wolfe the team manager for doing such a fantastic job.

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