This post has been a long time coming, mostly because I didn’t want to do it without the incredible video from Shelby Smith. (If it’s running slowly, simply click HERE to watch the video straight on YouTube)
The races were held in the “heart” of LA, if there is one, on December 3rd and 4th. While not USGPs, they attracted a good number of heavy hitters (Tim Johnson, Ben Berden, Chris Jones, etc.) and the extremely windy conditions made for interesting racing.
Tyler and I flew into LA from Salt Lake City and Denver, respectively, and were excited to spend the weekend with our good friend and former teammate Ivan “the Cuban Missile” Dominguez. If you haven’t met him, he’s one of the nicest, funniest, most gregarious people I’ve ever met–any time with him is a good time.
I got Tyler’s Boo cross bikes set up and picked him up the day of the race. We scouted the course, did some fine tuning of tire pressures and derailleurs, and prayed to the God of Cyclocross (Sven Nys) for good luck.
You’ll see from the video that Tyler was in the front group or leading the front group throughout most of the two days. The Enve 1.25/King wheels with Challenge Fangos (26-28psi for the bumpy, dry conditions) simply ripped, and Tyler’s mentioned to me just how much improved the frames are with the FAT 1.5″ straight head tubes, Enve tapered Cross forks, and huge Press Fit 30 BB shells. I felt like a proud father.
Sven came through for us on Day One, when Tyler fought for all 60 minutes to take 6th place, just behind the front group of five. The windy conditions meant the racing looked like a circuit race more than a cyclocross race, and Tyler couldn’t hold onto the train through the tight corners…and fighting a headwind while closing gaps throughout the entire race takes a toll!
I guess Sven punished us on Day Two for not paying him sufficient respect: Tyler had a front tire roll halfway through the race, while he was leading the front group. The legs were there, the luck was not. He came in to pit and raced the second half on the B bike, which is identical to the A bike except for one key piece: wheels/tires. We didn’t have time to get another set of Challenge tubulars glued onto the other set of Enve wheels, so we had been using tubeless Hutchinson Bulldog tires with cheap Ultegra training wheels on the B bike. And, while excellent for training, they are horrible for UCI-level racing. Tyler had no hope of catching the charging front group, which was shattered by Ben Berden shortly after Tyler got onto the B bike.
It was a painful sight, a sad fall from grace, but I got video and photo evidence of the excellent ride he was having before Nys took his pound of flesh.
There are many, MANY more photos from Chris See to post…these will go up later this weekend. There are some great close-up shots of the bikes, and after a full season of ‘cross racing we have them totally dialed and I’m sure you will be interested to see the details.
Until then, enjoy the video!