Tim tries to rally the group to get back on the road after a quick drink break. Cyclocross Magazine

Johnson led 20+ riders from Boston to DC this past week. © Cyclocross Magazine

by Kat Statman

For all of you die hard cyclocross fans out there, this is certainly the time of year that you should start getting excited about other forms of racing. First and foremost, it’s the off-season, so other than a good solid training ride on Saturday and Sunday, you don’t have anything better to do than to sit and find a Sporza feed of some road racing right? Well, I hope not anyway, because it’s Classics season! But not only is it Classics season, it’s also the beginning of World Cup mountain bike season. If you’re a dirt lover (hmmm … dirt hater and cyclocross does not go hand-in-hand), you should probably be tuning in to Freecaster every couple of weeks to check out the World Cups, especially in an Olympic year when some federations (*cough* US *cough*) are using the first set until May to determine our Olympic team.

Ok, so what do we have for you this week? Well, Todd Wells took a tumble in South Africa. Sven had some cyclocross legs that didn’t quite suit, but is he coming to Louisville now? Marianne Vos has to have won something, because, well … she’s Marianne Vos. Katie Compton heads to Pietermaritzburg to chase some Olympic qualification points. Then there’s Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington. In some massive news, our very own Molly Hurford signed a contract to write a book on cyclocross!

Todd Takes a Tumble
Definitely not happy to have to report this, as I’ve been gunning for Todd to make the Olympic team this year (for the third time!). In training on the Pietermaritzburg World Cup XCO course, Todd came off one of the log drops and crashed, injuring his foot and ankle. Reports are that it is likely just a minor bone bruise, but that he needs to be on crutches for six weeks. This messes up his plan for his first crack at the ABSA Cape Epic (read: seven days of craziness through S. Africa on a fat-tired bicycle) and instead, sent him flying home to heal up and prepare for the next World Cup in Houffalize. So, here’s hoping Todd can get healed up ASAP, grab a podium spot at the next World Cup and secure a spot for the London 2012 team.

Sven Starting Off Slow, but Gives Some Love
Sven’s run at making the Belgian Olympic Mountain Bike team didn’t start as he probably would have liked. Coming off a long and hard winter probably isn’t the best way to go about chasing another Olympic berth, but you would hope that some good miles and the “late” season intensity would help him get ready for whatever those World Cup XC’ers can throw at him. Turns out, it didn’t quite work out that way. He’s still got a few more shots, though he did indicate that if he doesn’t make the team, he will regroup quickly in the summer and start preparing for the winter ’cross circuit.

Which brings up a more important point. Apparently word of our little US petition to get Nys to come to Louisville this winter has gotten around, and Nys indicated that he was much more inclined to come and that “he would not disappoint” the American fans. So, did we persuade him? I sure hope so.

Marianne Vos Has to Have Won Something
Sort of stupidly, I have not been following women’s racing as well as I should be, and unfortunately, all of my resources don’t highlight it very much either. Rather, they talk about every little thing professional men do, even the mundane. So I’m going out on a limb on this one, but it seems fair to assume that Marianne must have won something since our last post, and hats off to her. So young, so fast, so unbeatable. Can’t wait to see another match up between her and Katie this winter!

Katie Chasing an Olympic Dream
Speaking of Katie … I think you would be hard pressed to find a professional athlete in the world that did not desire to make it to the Olympics in whatever capacity they can, hence so many ’crossers are gunning for it on either the skinny or fat tires. Katie is doing that as well as she, like Nys, made a trip to South Africa to chase an Olympic berth. Well, how’d she do? I’d like to say she got off to a smoking start, but I think a long winter and coming into the season a little on the low side of form (to be expected and not a knock on Katie at all) didn’t quite get her where she wanted to be at the front of the running. But she is darn close, finishing as sixth American in very close proximity to Mary McConneloug (two-time Olympian) and Georgia Gould. So, with a few more weeks and a few more races, you never know.

Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington Another Massive Success
I mentioned this last week and it really does need to be mentioned again, Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington. If you don’t know what it is, go check out the site: www.rideonwashington.org and learn more. You might also want to check out www.bikesbelong.org and learn what they are about, since they co-sponsored the ride. As Tim said, bike advocacy is important for anyone who rides a bike and we are all affected. The groups rode through D.C., getting split by lights because they were so big. With some major support from various politicians, things are looking good, but the advocacy is not done yet!

Our Very Own Molly Is Writing A Book
You’ve all probably encountered one of our online editor Molly’s articles on the web or in the print mag. She writes about all sorts of cyclocross-related stuff. Now, at some point in the near future, you will have the chance read Molly in hardback or paperback form, as we just heard she signed a contract to write the book on cyclocross. Congrats, Molly, can’t wait to read it!