Velocity Cross Video and Race Report.

It’s often said that the riders make the race. This was definitely true at last weekend’s Velocity Cross race in Chino, CA.

Held at Prado Regional Park next to manmade lakes and cattle farms, the conditions were pretty nice for a bike race. It had rained earlier in the morning but by the time the race went off the sun was shining and the temperature was hovering in the 70’s.

The race course is actually pretty flat. In fact it’s most unique feature is probably long grassy straights and turns with tons of bumps and divots in the ground. But the lack of elevation can also make for some very dynamic racing. For about 85% of this race, I was always racing with at least one other person. I was never by myself for very long.

The focus of the video above and my main take-away points from this race are related to group racing and pack dynamics. Here are some of the main things I learned this race.

1. The importance of getting yourself established in a group. The first couple minutes of the race you really want to get yourself in the best spot as possible. If you’re in the group you want to be in, like the lead group, you have to either hold your position or find places to move up.

2. You should at least be aware of who’s up the road and how many people are currently in your group. Use the information to calculate your possible finishing position and see if those fit your race goals.

I’ll give you an example. For most of the race I was in a group of 4 riders with two riders up the road ahead of us. That meant that if the groups stayed the same, the BEST I could have gotten was 3rd and the WORST I could have gotten was 6th. If I was fine with those odds, then I should work to stay in my group but conserve energy whenever possible.

But if I wasn’t fine with those odds, for example if I really wanted to get either first or second, then I would need to work with my group to effectively chase the leaders or else attack the group and try to bridge up.

As it turned out, two of the rider in our group of four attacked and I ended up in the third group. So the BEST I could have gotten was 5th and the WORST was still 6th. I was OK with 5th so I did my best to race smart to get that placing. You’ll have to watch the video to see what happens though!

3. You can also use your perceived effort in the group as a gauge on how to race against the riders in that group. For example, if you’re sitting in the group and you’re breathing pretty easy and you find yourself soft-pedaling through sections, then maybe you should think about attacking that group. But if you’re barely hanging on and you’re giving your all just to stay on the tail end of the group, then conserve your energy and let the riders up front pace your effort.

4. Drafting in cyclocross is NOT like drafting in road racing. In a road race or crit, you’re pretty close to the rider in front of you to get a draft. But in cyclocross, being too close is not a good thing. Being too close means that you might not be able to hit your lines at the speed you want. It also means that if the rider in front of you makes a mistake, it could slow you down or even worse, cause you to crash. Since there are so many line options in cyclocross, you have to give yourself a little escape route just in case the rider in front of you messes up.

Well, those are my take-aways and tips from Velocity Cross. This blog is really just as much for me as it is for you the reader. Those pointers I wrote above are all things I SHOULD have been doing and I can learn from.

Thanks again for reading. Subscribe to the blog and the YouTube channel and feel free to share any posts or videos you find helpful.

Next up, Spooky Cross!

Another excellent photo from Phil at I'm  smack in the middle of a chasing group. I felt like I was in a group the entire race. Definitely different from the last race at Storm the Beach.

Another excellent photo from Phil at I’m smack in the middle of a chasing group. I felt like I was in a group the entire race. Definitely different from the last race at Storm the Beach.


Storm the Beach CX video

Here’s my video from last weekend’s SoCalCross race, Storm the Beach, which was just north of Oceanside, CA.

As you’ll see in the video, the big take away lesson for me was the importance of keeping the bike moving forward. I noticed there were little sections during the race where I was coming to a complete stop before starting up again.

Even if that complete stop only happened for a split second, I was still slowing myself down.

Even so, I was stoked to race on a course that was new to me and have my family there.

The next race should require some different skills and tactics. Velocity Cross in Chino is generally flatter and it’s a power course. Think grassy turns, bumpy terrain, and faster average speeds. I’m curious to see if we’ll stay in a group, if we’ll have a sprint finish, or how the weather will be.

Thanks for reading and watching!

These excellent photos were taken by Jeff Urban. Check out his stuff at

These excellent photos were taken by Jeff Urban. Check out his stuff at

These excellent photos were taken by Jeff Urban. Check out his stuff at

These excellent photos were taken by Jeff Urban. Check out his stuff at

CrossVegas 2015

Check out the video I put together from CrossVegas 2015.

If you’re a fan of cyclocross, or just like spectating awesome cycling events, nothing beats going to world-class level CX race. And nothing is at a higher level than a World Cup. OK, maybe a World Championship but a World Cup is pretty up there. CrossVegas this year was World Cup #1. The first time a World Cup is being held in the US. And that meant all the top riders were there. Honestly, I think the fields were only missing Mathieu van der Poel and Marianne Vos.

I spent 3 days in Vegas and it was jam-packed with stuff: Meetings for work, time at the Interbike trade show, racing the USA Cycling event, racing the Wheelers & Dealers event, and spectating the Women’s and Men’s World Cup races.

Here are my take-aways from the trip.

1. Traveling for races is an additional element that needs to mastered. You’re not at home so you have to bring everything you might need, like clothing and gear for a wide range of temperatures, tools, spare parts etc. You’re not in your own bed. You have to find where to get a healthy pre-race meal. You have to get familiar with driving and navigating the area. These factors all affect your racing.

2. Having a routine and sticking to it pays dividends. Having a routine for how you warm-up, how you pre-ride, what you eat. If you master these routines so that it becomes second nature, then it won’t matter if you are away from home or not. As you can see in my video above, I didn’t do any of that.

3. Pacing can be a very valuable skill in cyclocross racing. I’m not a top racer so it’s not like I’m battling at the front. Plus, at CrossVegas, I was starting in the 100’s in fields of about 150-160. So my goal should have been to get the best possible time for me, and this is key, over the entire race. The first race, the USA Cycling Cat 1-3 event, I was focused on getting to the first feature, a stair run-up, in top position. I tried to pin it off the line but all I ended up doing was making the 2nd and 3rd lap super painful. The second race I still went hard but I kept it at a level I was able to sustain the whole race. I finished 1 minute faster the second time even though I was tired from the previous race.

4. If you’re a spectator, nothing beats watching a cyclocross race. Try going to a Cross-Country MTB race or a road race. Fun for participants, can be a little boring for spectators. At CrossVegas, I watched the start, then ran over to the barriers, then walked over to the sandpit, then back up to the lip of the bowl to watch the race. I was able to take in a lot of action just from walking around.

5. And finally, my last take-away from Vegas: Don’t forget that there’s a reason why they call it “gambling.” Oh, and there’s a reason why they call also call this place “Lost Wages.” Hahaha!

Here are some of my favorite images from Cross Vegas.

IMG_5689 IMG_5710 IMG_5782 IMG_5819 IMG_5843 IMG_5846 IMG_5870 IMG_5983 IMG_5993 IMG_5996 IMG_6151 IMG_6214 IMG_6243 IMG_6259 IMG_6287 IMG_6338 IMG_6395 IMG_6398 IMG_6404 IMG_6407

Thanks for reading! Our local SoCalCross series kicks off this Sunday. Cross is here!