Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holy Haleakala: All-roading in Maui

I've been holding this post in the que since writing it in April, seeing as trips to Maui don't seem so relevant when spring classics are kicking off. Today a fellow rider asked about Haleakala via Strava, so I figured the time was right to unleash this. I hope you all find it interesting, and perhaps even helpful if you are planning a trip to this incredible little island.

A nifty heat map of all the rides I did in Maui, via Strava.

When choosing our family's March Break vacation destination, tropical was at the top of my daughter's list of criteria, my wife...same, and both adults were keen on keeping the total time in the air to a maximum of 12 hours, and no vaccinations required for our 11 month-old son either. Being able to drink tap water would be good, and we were hoping to steer clear of getting robbed. Having clearance to bring a bike, I wanted to land somewhere with lots of climbing close to where we'd stay. In the spring, I find climbing time is what I need most to form my foundation for hard efforts come April's Spring Classics. Iain and I got our gruel-fest ride out of the way the day before we left home for our destination, Maui.

Maui has it all. Family criteria; check. Climbing; check. The weather is about 24 Celsius each day, maybe up to 26. The air is relatively dry, the sun shines most of the time, and the people are friendly. Sea turtles, colorful fish, black sand beaches, lava rock, luaus...and Haleakala.

I learned of Haleakala a little over a year before planning this trip. Its a dormant volcano, and it constitutes most of Eastern Maui. One paved road forges a path all the way to the top, summiting at 10,023 feet above sea level. One can begin at the ocean in Paia, and ride the 60km to the top in one go. This thing is a beast. Turns out our very own Ryder Hjesdal bested Jonathan Vaughters' record up to the top a couple years ago, in under 3 hours. Yikes.

I knew I'd ride Haleakala, maybe twice. So I packed a pair of tubeless Hutchinson Atom tires in 23c (gasp!) to run on my Stan's Alpha rims, holding up my Steelwool all-road bike, the Secteur 18. A 34x28 low gear would have to do, generally it's fine. I kept my shaved down Stan's Raven 35c tires on my wheels, expecting to ride a mix of surfaces before hitting, or being hit by, Haleakala.

After day one, mostly spent shopping for groceries (at Costco!) and getting oriented, I headed out of North Kehei around 5:30 pm to check out a dirt road running up the West Maui volcano I'd seen from the shuttle we'd taken from the airport. No go, private property. Heading west, I encountered a dirt road running to a trail head, so I have it a shot. After about 500m, the trail became full on Mtb gnarly, so I turned back and followed the red dirt road West until getting dumped back onto the highway, from which point I looped home. Without daylight savings, it was getting dark before 7, and I mean dark.

Ride #1. Whoa, volcanic rock.
Before long I found that the dirt roads I'd seen on google earth are virtually all private. Like most American states, Maui is dominated by fences and 'No Trespassing' signs. From North Kehei, one might think it would be easy enough to connect to the Southern end of the Road to Hana, which features thousands of turns and beautiful dirt sections. Over an open wifi network, I downloaded the google map for the island onto Galileo, a free app that lets you cache maps and navigate via gps. According to the map, I had a few options for connecting to the RtH. In reality, none of these were practicable. One was a gnarly trail along the coast (I mean GNARLY, as in lava boulders), the others old dirt roads thought private properties. One such property Is home to a US military laboratory, so I learned from a security guard I prodded nearby. If I wanted a confrontation with an armed soldier. I could hop the fence. Uh, no thanks.

Bottom line is that one can either ride paved roads or full on MTb trails in Maui; there isn't much middle ground. One exception, which I wasn't able to explore, is the dirt road extending the road up to the Polipoli Forest on Haleakala. I read in our guidebook about a redwood forest up on mountain, and a paved road switchbacked up. Fat tires mounted, I checked it out.
One evening, for my second crack, I parked at the base of the climb.

OMG, I need a 32t cog.
I parked here while I tried to recover from the ass-kicking I was taking up this brute.
Holy crap. After climbing for a while, having ridden from Kehei, I hit the Waipoli road and was slapped in the face by a 20% grade. My heart rate spiked and I literally had to do the postman as I struggled in my 34x28. At the top I slumped against the shady bank, collected myself, and prepared to continue. 

The grade mellowed to the teens from there, ascending through woods and open alpine-like pastures steep enough for paragliding. Running low on time, I turned back before reaching the summit. 

A week later, I returned and reached the end if the paved road. From there there seems to be a couple more kilometers (on top of the 10k of Waipoli Rd.) to go, traversing into the redwoods. From there, one can ride trails through the forest, and even connect to the summit of Crater Rd, which summits Haleakala. So the Polipoli forest might be the best place to do some monster crossing on the island. A couple things are certain: it's a brute of a climb, and the descent is MENTAL. The upper section rides like a roller coaster, and the lower section is rough and steep. Lots of braking is required for blind turns, enough that my brakes actually squealed as the rims heated up considerably, something I've never had happen on a road bike before. Pretty phenomenal.
The view from the top. If I return, my priority will be to continue from here to the redwood forest. 30mm or larger tires would be the ticket, it gets rougher from here. This photo was taken looking back in the direction I came from.
Another approach up Haleakala can be taken from the northern stretch of the Road to Hana. Starting in Paia, probably the most down to earth town on Maui, I battled strong winds along the coast until reaching the 16 mile marker, where I headed inland. Redwoods loomed overhead as a steadily ascended Haleakala, stopping for lemonade after an hour and a half or so, chatting with a local about my route, and striking back out. 

The store, really friendly people here.

The climb up Makawao Ave. was steady and calm. Piiholo Rd. attacked Haleakala directly, heading straight up in steady switchbacks. Steady as she goes, the road was in great shape most of the way, the air fragrant with the scent of a multitude of flowers and the redwood's oils. Cresting at the junction with Olinda Rd, I transitioned to the descent back to town. Many a blind turn, peppered with heaves in the road from massive tree roots proved exciting. Airing off one massive heave, I found myself running out of road to turn, a little hairier than planned. All ended well though, and I logged the ride as one to recommend for certain. Just stay on your side of the road.

Single-lane gnarliness on the North-West road.
On the west aspect of Maui, there is a road that circumnavigates the mountain that dominates the landscape. I rode almost all of this loop over three rides. The whole loop is said to be 100k. 

I can attest that the northern stretch, from Kapalua to the 5-mile marker on the 340 (the Kahekili ) is incredible. Fat tires come in pretty handy for the single-lane sections one will find north of the 5-mile marker end. 

I think it's fair to say this is the gnarliest road I've ever been on. Heading in the counter-clockwise direction, you transition from State Highway to rural road, complete with one car-width sections, blind turns, sheer drops, and few barriers. Despite the life or death quality of the road, or perhaps because of it, the route will make quite an impression. Once it returns to State Highway, safety goes up, and so does one's speed. Quite a ride, one not to miss if you visit the island (unless you are timid).

Official start of the climb in Paia.
Finally, returning to Haleakala, I'll convey my experience of THE climb. I rolled from Kehei at dawn, 6:30 local time. 20k to Paia, I dipped my feet in the ocean to properly begin the climb from sea level, despite what my Garmin read. 

The beach at Paia, home of the BIG waves. 
Up Baldwin road, steady grade, no issues. I likely made a navigational error and added a few kilometers, but wound up on the Haleakala Highway, then Crater Road before too long. 

The store on the way up. Not the friendliest staff, but they sell water.

My impression of the route was then, and remained consistent: bleak. Essentially, you ride up a road through a desert. I tend to be energized by forests, no open spaces, so I found the climb boring. On top of that, it became petty painful around the 5500ft mark. Legs? Nope. Lungs? Nah. Neck, shoulders, and chest. I can't say whether it was the altitude or the days of
long descents in the drops prior, but my upper body was in agony. To add insult was some of the most intense wind I've encountered on the bike, enough to blow me into the gravel at one point around 8000ft up! Ok, so a 60k climb, plus brutal wind. Sweet. All there was to do was pump LCD Soundsystem out my iPhone in my pocket, and climb the final 1000ft to the summit. 

Wanna talk about wind? Holy Haleakala, it had to be near 80kph at the top! 

See the jacket on the lady? Insanely windy up here.

The view from the top.

Time to don arm warmers and vest, down a bar and some liquid from the shelter of the building up top, and hit the longest descent ever.

80k into the ride, time to drop for 60. Numb hands, sore neck, whatever, this is epic Rapha merino wool stuff. Yet the wind I battled on the way up was still swirling, perhaps more now, slowing my progress while providing the illusion of excessive speed in my ears. 60kph sounded like 100! A tourist in a rented Mustang let me pass, freeing me up to ride my own pace. Well above the treeline, I could see traffic coming from aways, and used all the road I needed. On twisty descents, I found I was always faster than the cars; most let me pass, but I was going slower than I wanted to. Damn wind. The klicks flew by, and back in Paia I made a b-line to a burrito joint before riding the final 20k home. Gawd yes. 

A little under 4 hrs for the ascent, I didn't post a fast time at all, but I did what I wanted to: stay aerobic and ride the whole route well. So early in the season, going hard was not on the menu, just getting up that beast was enough. 8hrs all in, it was. Big 160k day (in my mind, it was more like 180!). While I'd thought I might want to do the route more than once this trip, I  found it too desolate and uninspiring to tempt me. This is a once-a-visit ride for me. Maybe the same now for Steve, a Vancouverite I rode with for a while who was taking in the climb for the first time in his 35 years visiting Maui! He rode up on a 39x26, what an animal! Well done Steve!
Riding the South-West side of the West Island.
Driving the Road to Hana.
Near Paia. My wife snapped this out the car window on my phone!
Riding West through the lava fields on the South side of Maui. I spotted a family of matching brown goats in here one day, completely camouflaged. Incredible adaptation.
Heading up to the Iao Needle, a historic site. Quite a story of carnage here.
The Road to Hana, North side.

As the photos show, the scenery in Maui is spectacular. Haleakala is a bucket list ride many will want to check off. With friends, it could be fun. Solo, it was a grind. But a satisfying one, at that. I don't by any means regret doing the ride, it was a special experience. However, the most inspiring rides were those on the West island, and the Waipoli ascent up Haleakala. These are the rides I would most like to share with friends. The climbing is beautiful, and the descents are beyond exciting. Those who can't understand why mountain bikers like me bother with road riding might get it if they rode roads like these once in a while.

During our stay there was little rain, and average temps were about 25 degrees celcius, very nice. The wind was indeed strong. I would not bring an aero frame or deep wheels to the island. Ditto carbon rims. My bike was near-ideal, offering me almost low enough gearing, and good tire options. Grand Bois in 30mm (actually 32mm) could be the perfect tire for all the riding I did, since they roll fast and provide excellent security and comfort. For bikes with less clearance, perhaps Schwalbe Ultremos in 28mm, or Challenge's Parigi Roubaix (labeled 28, actually 29mm). One has to vie toward descending safety on the island, ATMO. The roads are certainly rough enough to warrant voluminous tires. If you can, equip your bike with a 34x32 climbing gear and enjoy yourself.

Here are the greatest hits from the trip. Please feel free to comment on Strava or here if you have questions or anything else to share. If you are looking to rent a bike, or guided on a great ride, visit Maui Cyclery. I stopped in one day and chatted with the owner, Donny Arnoult as he was about to take a client out for tour. Great rentals, and a great guy, this is the place to go for road stuff. South Maui Bicycles is the mountain bike shop, friendly guys.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A bit of what you want, a bit of what you need.

With this past Sunday's cyclocross finale in Almonte, the Ottawa area's mainstream cycling season comes to a close for those who have not already packed it in. Racing is done. I've been looking forward to calling it for at least a few weeks. I don't think that indicates I was worn out, just that the season is long, and it feels good to let go.

Let go of what, one might ask? In a word, the tension. In response to this reply one might counter: 'tension, why bother if racing is about that?' The answer to this question is one that every racer must confront, and continue to confront, each season. For those of us with families, this is question that often brings internal struggle. For some, including myself, the 'why bother?' question is answered simply: racing presents the opportunity to strive, to experiment, to learn what it means to push our physical and psychological limits, to try tactics, to experience camaraderie, to travel to locales off the beaten track...and perhaps, the odd time, to realize our potential. Few things are more satisfying than putting all the pieces of the puzzle together correctly at the right time, on race day. After each season comes to a close, the first question that comes to mind is: how can I improve next season?

That's the why bother part, but how might I break down what I mean by tension? I'll begin small, at the base: bicycle racing is about pain and suffering. I am by no means unique in stating this, everyone who writes about racing acknowledges and delves into the pith of this truth.  'Cycling' is not about these, racing is. I did not fully grasp this truth until I got into road racing. Having raced mountain bikes from the age of 14, I knew racing was hard, it hurt, sometimes it sucked. But I pushed myself, I raced the pace I chose. In road racing, pace was often inflicted upon me, and I came to know suffering. Hold the wheel or fail. I do not like to allow myself to fail. Cyclocross is pretty much uncomfortable to outright painful for an hour straight....unless you are so much stronger than the rest that you don't have to push. I wouldn't know that feeling.

Ok, so racing bikes is about pain and suffering. If one does not accept that, one is not racing. Fine. With  this reality comes baggage: emotional investment. This is, I believe, the primary reason Lance Armstrong feels (from what I observe) that he legitimately won 7 Tour de France titles. He put in the time, the pain, the suffering. He earned those yellow jerseys. This is not the place or time to debate LA's case, I merely raise it to illustrate how powerful the emotional investment of training can become. The utter truth is that training often sucks. The things racers have to do to glimpse their potential are generally not fun. Intervals are not fun. They must be extremely uncomfortable if not painful in order to be effective. If one is a robot, or at least robot-like, the solution is clear: do it. For those of us who are, let us say, more philosophical, there is tension: should my cycling be all about mean to ends? Or do I need to preserve an approach where I take rides as inherently valuable from an experiential point of view (granted, one might say this is a rationalization for not being strong willed enough to just do it)? In practice, I think a commonality Tall Tree riders share is a careful balancing of the poles of this tension. From where I'm standing, we all seem to find our own ways to ride our bikes for fun and put in hard work judiciously. Some are better at the latter part than others, but 'better' sounds value laden, and that's not what I want to do. Simply put, some are motivated to do the robot work more than others. Different strokes for different folks; you get out what you put in.

The robot work is taken up as an investment. Its for later. Its for the Almonte Roubaix. Its for Battenkill. Its for the Grand Prix, Sutton, the Tremblant Canada Cup, Crank the Shield....the list goes on. While our group training rides blend fun and suffering, the interval work is solitary and devoid of beauty. Its slobbering-all-over-yourself-agony. Consequently, the racer feels s/he is earning results down the road. Pain now, good sensations later. Please, let that happen.

Here is where the tension really manifests: the rest of life. This is why cycling is referred to as a 'lifestyle.'

Here's how it breaks down: Racer-X puts in time over the winter on the trainer, the fatbike, xc skis, yoga, hockey.....etc, etc, in an attempt to retain base fitness, unwind a bit, and perhaps improve some areas of weakness; say, core strength. When February 1 hits, its time to get serious. More trainer time, threshold intervals....things start to get painful. Strong in April, that's the mantra. March 1 hits and its 'spring.' I'm not kidding, regardless of what the weather is doing, I call March 1 'spring' because it has to be. As in, the races in April fall when they fall regardless of what its doing outside in March, so March 1 is 'spring.' Better find a way to get out there and put in some serious rides. That means hills. And that means shit weather on roads with holes everywhere, numb nuts, and embrocation on my face. Emotional investment: check.

Ok, so Christmas time was all about damage control (minimizing weight gain), January was about getting on track and into a routine, February was about putting in some quality work, and March was about suffering in crap weather. One might call all this 'sacrifice;' I call it 'the lifestyle.' It just doesn't make sense to undo or undermine gains clawed into being with weakness for wackloads of sugar, kegs of beer, and midnight poutine. Yes, there are times when one must allow for such 'slippage,' but the pain and suffering motivates discipline. Eye on the prize.

I personally believe the general lack of understanding around the core of bike racing - pain and suffering - prevents our colleagues, uninitiated friends, and family members from understanding us. They perceive dietary discipline as odd, perhaps eating disorder-like behavior, possibly founded upon vanity. I, and I believe many racers, view this as merely prudent. After all, the equation is simple: power:weight. That's what it is. How much power can you deliver in relation to your weight? Weight less, retain the same power, and you are faster. Simple. 5 pounds off the body could come at zero cost financially, but be worth more in speed than $5000-worth of upgrades. Recall, Tyler Hamilton stated he'd drop 3lbs rather than take EPO any day; the benefit was that much greater.

Tension inheres in the usual stuff, holidays, family time, all the moments where it would simply be easier to do what everybody else seems to do: let go.

The elephant in the room is of course the tension that resides in the parsing of time dedicated to cycling. At once, we read of training plans, how much time we should spend doing this, that, the other thing. We are bombarded with mixed messages in popular culture: live every day like its your last; don't live a life of missed opportunities, etc., while also: be involved in every aspect of your child's lives; keep your lawn pristine; be a good neighbor; be selfless in relation to your spouse and kids; have a good job; be awesome at your job; make a lot of money, etc. The racing cyclists constantly confronts tensions between these ideals, casting off some as trivial (keep your lawn pristine), and weighing others heavily (don't live a life of missed opportunities, and be selfless in relation to your spouse and kids). Oops, do those jive? The short answer is: it depends. If one is as lucky as me to have a spouse who understands my psychology pretty well, this whole 'racing bikes and having a family' thing is workable. But there is always tension. 'Should I ride for 1hr, get home sooner?' 'Eeee, 1hr is kinda short, I can't really accomplish much in that time....I won't be making doing justice to that shit I went through in February and March.....' Herein lies the primary tension I experience as a bike racer, and its one I have to assume most in similar life arrangement undergo: commitment to family versus commitment to one's sense of what constitutes sufficient effort, dedication, discipline, and toughness. This balancing act - always trying to do the best thing, the right thing - is what leads many of us to virtually give up 'pleasure riding.' We just can't afford to spend time during the season doing rides that are not contributing something to what we've set our sights on. Doing an easy 3hr ride feels like an offense to one's family and one's own sense of dedication to racing. In short, we just can't afford to do that. We are invested.

So we find ways to have fun while making it really hard at the same time. This is the joy of having riding partners who are on the same wavelength, and are able and willing to share the pain and suffering.

I think I have sufficiently established the sorts of tension racers, particularly Masters racers, deal with over the course of the racing season; so, essentially, from February to the end of November. That's ten months of the year. The end of the season means the tension is off, its sidelined, its merely a potentiality. Family time stacks up above riding time; no tension. Riding can be easy, just for fun, no strings attached; no tension. One can let the diet slip a bit...just a bit. Enjoy not caring if that's what you want.....and need.

Next post: the season in review.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cyclocross Omnium Report

file treads!
Jamie OTB - Photo by Rodd

The Omnium is a traditional track cycling format, combining various events into one overall competition, similar to a stage race. Nick Vipond and Warren McDonald, Ottawa's two cyclists most into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, put out a call mid last week: race thrice, transcend the ranks of mice.

Its not that it hadn't been done before. Over the last couple years a number of Masters racers had omniumed. But they didn't know it, because the trio had not yet been named 'Omnium,' and thereby lacked the immense weight of intercred (internet credibility - yes, I just invented this). Our Omnium would be Epic-Rap-Battle-of-History-awesome (featuring Stephen Hawking). And I would be Stephen, with 12 inch rims. 

There are a 10-million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million, million 
particles, in the universe, that we can observe,
your mama took all the ugly ones and put them into one nerd.


Saturday's Anvil race, thrown by Ride with Rendall, Glenn Rendall at the helm, offered the requisite dose of goose poop and turns. In truth, the goose poop seemed isolated to the not-race-course-area, which was nice, as that stuff can be slippery. While on paper the track might have seemed to favour riders who like turns, and not so heavy on power requirements, on tires the race was demanding in every way. The start was a short punch, followed by many turns, many of which had to be sprinted out of. The Master 1 and Elite fields started together, so I was following the likes of Derek St. John and about 7 other guys as they punched like it was election day.

first lap

Jamie Pold! Soon to be Papa! Givin' 'er!

Matt givin' 'er first lap with Imad hot on his heels...

Jamie Pold! and Peter and Nick

Filtered Jamie!

Matt on a borrowed bike, still givin' 'er

It didn't take long for me to start suffering, opening the door for Kris Westwood and Steve Proulx to pass and ultimately triumph, with Steve on the top step. I wound up in a tactical battle with the ever strong (and father of two) John Fee. After following/sucking his wheel for a couple laps, I took up the lead (John 'forced me to') and attacked as often as I could. I wanted to make it as uncomfortable for John as possible, and it worked. He was right on my wheel turning into the finishing straight, but I was able to hold on by 4 inches for the third step on the podium. It was a fun battle.

A freezing rain warning for the Almonte area had us all on standby for the morning's race. I figured I couldn't lose: race or have breakfast with my family. As it turned out, the freezing rain never came, and the volunteers were out dark and early to set up. It had rained all night though, and continued to do so as we prepared for 'warmup.' The course was laid out a little differently than usual due to lakes forming, but the result was much like previous years. Being waterlogged, the track was very slow and 'heavy' to ride. A good start at 9 a.m. (thanks to Bob Woods et al accommodating those who wanted to race again later on in Nepean) had me positioned behind Matteo dal Cin. My strategy was to secure the win in the Master A category with as little effort as possible, conserving for later on. Staying with Matteo was more work than I was interested in doing, and hard charging Arno Turk (Master B) and Colin Funk (Master C) caught up before long and powered away. A couple of fine riders there, impressive! Imad El-Ghazel regained his composure, got comfortable with the ample supply of mud, and chased down Marcel Vautour, who'd come up, riding strong. There was no free speed on hand; this had to be the most physically demanding cx course I've raced. The descending turns that required foot out technique were a blast. Jim's family cheering us on was even better! Thanks McGuires!!!!!!!

Post cafe stop and failed attempt to wash bikes at a car wash, we were en route to the Nepean Equestrian Park for the Omnium capper, the Anvil. Alerted to the fact that the stables had a bike wash set up, we enjoyed warm water lavage, aided by my Pedros bike brush, booty from Saturday's Hammer. A few Dark Horse Flyers gents showed up and were keen to hear about other races in our area they might hit in 2013. I was happy to convey details about the other venues, as well as plug the Almonte Roubaix, Clarence Rockland Classic, and our Ride of the Damned. With luck, we'll see some of the Toronto guys at a few more of our Eastern events next season. We're already mapping out our 2013 season!

Camera Roll-48
My Steelwool is out of commission after an incident involving a stump and 35kph. Jamie kindly loaned his Salsa  frame to get me through the rest of the season.
Camera Roll-47
Imad wasn't so elated after realizing the shower featured cold water.
Camera Roll-41
...or the fact that a glass bottle broke in his bag, wetting his clothes for race #2.
Camera Roll-44

Camera Roll-38
Nick brought the right hat, but the wrong footwear. I left my Bogs at home in favour of my Birkenstock clogs. Also brilliant.
Ready to roll, skinsuit applied, back over to the race zone to see our own Anna O'Brien take third in the Master A women's race. Way to go Anna!




Jamie showed up just in time to not do a lap of the course (a series of unfortunate events...), then we staged for the start, this time Elite and Masters divided. I considered this advantageous, as it would mean I could pace off Steve and Kris, rather than the guys at the front of the Elite group. As luck would have it, I became detached from Steve and Kris anyhow, and once again found myself with John Fee through the back half of the race. This time I played my cards differently, knowing John would expect me to do the same as Saturday. In the lead with two to go, I punched hard as I passed an Elite, then took an off camber corner running, rather than riding. I pictured how Sven Nys does it and went for it. The turn had been so slow on the bike, I figured I could open a gap by running. It worked. Being pretty well recovered, I was able to attack hard and keep on the gas, taking chances in the turns just shy of flat out. The gap held and I ran the turn again on the last lap, John following suit. From there I was able to roll in solo, again securing third behind a reversal, Kris on top, Steve on the second stop. Congrats gents, fine riding. Same to John, always a formidable foe. It feels much better to secure a third spot when you have to work really hard for it.

Andy snapped these, nice work.




For the record, Sunday's course seemed to flow more than Saturday's, requiring fewer sharp accellerations. Perhaps this is just the impression I got as I was too tired to ride as hard as I could on Saturday. Anyhow, it was fun.

Given the fact that Warren had bailed o Saturday morning's race (though it might not have mattered for the results), the Omnium podium was topped by Doug van den Ham, followed by Imad and myself. Doug was the proud recipient of the winners jersey, a relic from Nick Vipond's tickle trunk. Congrats on three fine races, gents!

A big thank you goes out to everyone who made each of this weekend's races not only possible, but great. Thanks to everyone who came out to spectate and cheer, it really does make a difference for the racers, even if we don't show it. And thanks to Rodd and Andy for snapping photos. Click through any of them to see everyone else.

Two to go, and remember to sign up to help set up a course if you have not yet this year (but have raced), or just love being helpful early in the morning. http://cyclocross.org/page15/page15.html