I admit it. Of all the great ‘cross racing that takes place each week in the Mid-Atlantic, I’m a bit biased toward the masters 3/4 field. This is my race and the one that is featured in most of the videos on this site.
The podium at this year’s Tacchino Ciclocross was made up of five super-strong riders. These guys went hard all day and had a great battle at the end. At least that is what I learned by doing these interviews. The last time I saw them, as illustrated in the above image, was about 200 yards into the race.
Having the top five weigh in gives us a great look at the decisive moments of the race. We not only get a peek at the winner’s strategy but how the other four reacted, and in hindsight, what they would have done differently.
Thanks for reading.
Under ideal conditions (you arrive on time, it’s not pouring down rain), how much time do you spend on the course before racing? Do you walk the course? Do any hot laps? What are you looking for during this time?
Jay Morali (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes, 1st Place): I ride the course once when I arrive. I warm up on the road and then try and ride the opening sections of the course once more before the race. I am looking for the best lines since the start is so important and chaotic.
Neal Sapp (Ben’s Performance Bikes, 2nd Place): I ride 2 laps. The 1st lap is slow just looking the course over and trying too find good passing zones and too figure out where I will be fast and sections I will be slow and what tire pressure I will use for that course. The 2nd lap is with some speed too see how it will all come together and flow.
Jeff Anderson (HPC/List, 3rd Place): I get out on the course right away and do 2-3 laps but at Tacchino I ended up doing 4. First lap is slow to ‘see’ the course and then the other laps I will go at a quick pace but not hot. I sometimes even go back and redo a section if I didn’t like the feel of it the first time through. I pay attention to not only what looks like the primary line but any secondary lines that I might be forced to take to pass or due to traffic. I also watch others ahead of me. Sometimes I ride with another rider I know too. I am glad I did a 4th lap at Tacchino as they moved the course, so I knew what the change was. After that off to registration and the trainer.
Scott Thompson (Squadra Coppi, 4th Place): With our race starting at 10am, I like getting to the venue at 8am and riding the course for a solid 30-45 minutes before the Cat 4 men start at 9am. I find this is a much more mentally pleasant way to warm up than spending the time on the trainer in the parking lot. It lets me get very comfortable with the course and warm up physically at the same time. I have been doing progressively faster laps to warm up, and I’ll usually test the key turns at speed. I’m looking for less bumpy lines, the fastest lines through turns, and also for places where back-ups may occur.
Thori Wolfe (Route1Velo/Arrow Bicycle, 5th Place): I focus on the first turn or “bottleneck” after the start; the best or most challenging lines or turns throughout the course; and points along the course where wind, power, or passing (getting passed) will be a factor. Standard stuff. With respect to arrival time and time on course, I used to arrive about 20 to 30 minutes before the start, so I guess I’ve started putting a little thought into my arrival times … about an hour and a half seems enough to keep me busy the whole time and on a timeline to include bagging a couple laps and sitting on the trainer. Continue reading “Tacchino Ciclocross: Masters 3/4 Podium”