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Dr. Barry Wahner wins the 2011 Pennsylvania State Championship Race!
Shaking the winner's hand.
To see full size photos, click here or click the Photos link at top of page.
Paul Wahner late October, 2011. Racing for the
Cross Blog 2011
It was the second weekend of December and cross racing was still going strong. This weekend brought us the final two rounds of cyclocross for the Mid Atlantic Series (midatlanticcross.com) with two new courses. The promoters of the races were inspired to organize these late season events to give athletes the chance to stay fit and prepared for the National Championships scheduled for the first week of January and for the World Championships the following week. The promoters did a terrific job with two very different courses and the athletes showed up ready to compete.
My goals continued to be finishing the Mid Atlantic Series in the top 5 and getting on the podium for one of the series races. After last weekend’s big win for me at the State Championships I entered this weekend with a ton of confidence but I still had a big hurdle to reach my goals because of the quality of the field I was racing.
Saturday’s race in Fairhill, MD, the Geler Votre Cul Cross (translated as the “Freeze your butt off cross”) was appropriately named as cold and windy weather moved in to force us to dress warmly for the event. The course today was very different from anything we raced thus far due to the multiple obstacles we had to cross and the very long sand section, all of which forced us to dismount from our bikes 5 to 6 times per lap. Add to that the soggy ground and some mud and we had long lap times allowing us to only complete 4 laps.
I started the race exceptionally taking the front from the gun, staying in the lead for the opening twists and turns. I felt comfortable and was rolling along well when on a dismount section I tripped over a log. I only fell to my knee and was right back on the bike in the lead group when shortly after a rider ahead of me slid out on a tricky uphill turn slowing me down and forcing me to chase back onto the leaders. At this point Jeff Appeltans had escaped and was alone off the front but we had a strong group so I stayed with them. After the first lap I started to lose contact with the leaders. I was feeling good today, but not great. I kept battling but a rider from behind was able to come past me and I just could not stay with him. This was unfortunate because Al Blanchard had fallen away from the lead group and may have been in reach if I was on a good day. I put in an effort to catch the two just ahead of me and took some risks through the turns, but I slid out a couple times and it was clear they would stay away. As it was, I was able to keep myself going steadily and finish up in 8th place (once again).
So on this day I did not reach my goal of a podium AND I fell out of 5th now trailing Ron Huebner (Saturday’s winner) by 5 points. I certainly was not making my goals easy to reach!
Sunday’s race in Emmaus, PA (the Limestone Cross at the Kiln) started off very cold with temperatures in the low twenties when we arrived at the venue. It may have warmed up to 30 degrees at race time but the ground remained frozen. This course was very different from Saturday’s with only one set of low barriers but with three hard climbs and challenging descents. When I pre-rode I was encouraged as the course seemed suited to my strengths. This year I have been climbing this type of steep, punchy hills powerfully .
My start went smoothly and I was rolling along with the leaders into the first hill. I took a different line than the riders in front and I was able to easily pass several guys. On the next hill, a longer steep hill, I went up well. After the descent I started to fall a couple of yards behind the lead group but I kept charging. On the next short tricky hill the riders in the lead group bobbled and I was able to simply ride up and past them and moved into second place behind Jeff Appeltans who was in the lead again today. Now I was feeling good and I kept the pressure on. Blair Saunders and Al Blanchard came around me and I stayed right with them into the first hill where I again took my different line and went right past Al. After the longer hill the four of us (Appeltans, Saunders, Blanchard and myself) must have created some space as we were clear from the chasers. At this point Jeff and Blair were a little bit ahead and Al and I were together trying to claw our way to them. We stayed that way for another lap and a half when Al attacked past me and I could not respond. I kept pushing forward but it became clear that unless one of those three had a crash or mechanical problem, I was not going to catch them. I was able to ride smoothly to the end finishing off the podium but still with my best finish in this series at 4th place.
This was a terrific race for me. I felt strong and rode aggressively. I did not reach my goal of a top three finish in the Mid Atlantic Series, BUT I did score enough points in today’s race to finish 5th overall in the series. Overall, this was a successful weekend and a great finish to my 2011 racing season.
December 4, 2011
I won the Pennsylvania State Championship Race! I still can’t believe it. I’ve been training hard all year and working on my skills aiming for a podium finish and today it all came together! This is truly the highlight of my racing career. After a season of good form but bad luck, poor decisions or sloppy technique, I had a terrific race on a big day. I am a Pennsylvania State Cyclocross Champion!
The day was made even more special because my teammate made his return to racing. Paul had a bad crash on Labor Day weekend, breaking his femur and requiring surgery. Exactly 3 months later he finished the State Championship race! For those that saw him in those early days on the walker or with crutches, you should have seen him finish this race.
Race Notes: The day started out cold but sunny. When we arrived at the Phelps School in Malvern there was still frost on the grass. The preview of the course revealed off camber turns and twists, heavy mud and long climbs. I wasn’t sure about my legs as my quadriceps felt “heavy” and sore on the warm-up but I was able to work out some of the kinks with stretching and myofascial release. By the end of my warm-up my thighs felt okay.
At the start, my position was in the third row as I did not have many points in the Pennsylvania race series. The start went off well and after the first turn I was in about 20th position but with a long straight away to move up. I knew I needed to get to the front before Jeff Appeltans or Martin Mrugal took off so I moved to the left and accelerated forward moving past the line of riders. By the next turn, through a muddy section I was with the front group. At the next turn I made a mistake when I crossed wheels with a rider and fell but I was able to quickly remount and get back to the leaders for the long hill. As we came over the top of the hill we had a strong group of 5 with Appeltans, Mrugal, Bob Reuther, Mark Featherman and I riding smoothly.
Everything stayed that way until a half lap later when through a slippery series of turns, Appeltans slid out and lost contact and Mrugal got a gap. Reuther and I continued on together until back at the muddy turns I bogged down, fell and had to run a few steps to get going again. At this point Jeff made it back and he and I continued on together with Reuther a short gap ahead and Mrugal still further ahead. Over the next lap we brought Reuther back but Mrugal was staying away. The effort that Jeff put out to get back up to us and then work to catch Reuther must have hurt him as he lost contact.
Bob Reuther and I were finally able to reel Martin Mrugal back in and the three of us battled it out. With two laps to go I took the lead. Through the turns I was able to take my time and then accelerate out. I was feeling strong! On the long back straight I used a big gear and I could tell I was putting pressure on the other two. They came around me through the muddy turns but I easily followed them up the hill taking the lead again a little later. When we came to the barrier at the run up I put in an effort and I think that is where I created some space. Going into the final lap I had a gap and decided this was the time to go for it.
Reuther and Mrugal were together chasing but I knew where I was stronger, so I pushed it on the long straight away and again on the long hill trying to create more space. The two of them were not giving up. It was now that I started to realize I might win the State Championship! As I made my way through some of the twists and turns I was feeling the effort but continued to push even harder. Over the barrier I sprinted up the hill and glided through the off camber turn. At this point I knew I would win! I had just a little further to go. I kept the pressure on the pedals and crossed the finish line the WINNER!
This past weekend I traveled to New York for race number 11 and 12 of the Mid Atlantic Race series. Dave Lowe and I traveled together which made the drive much easier especially since we were on the road by 5 AM. An added benefit is that Dave has a relaxed personality to balance out the hyperkinetic style of New York City drivers.
SuperCross Day 1
Saturday was cold and windy and with the fast, open course design, riding in a group was helpful. The field size was smaller than normal (27 finishers) but the quality was there with 8 out of 10 of the top ranked athletes present. From the gun the racing was on and we quickly strung out into a line. Dave Lowe had a terrific opening and led the race for awhile. I, however, made a mistake a half lap in when I slid out on some gravel and lost contact with the leaders. I tried to chase back on but they were too strong and had the benefit of riding in a group to shield them from the wind and so I was left out in no man's land in 6th place. In the last couple of laps, Dave lost contact with the leaders and I pursued him hard but lost all chance of catching him when I took the barrier section too aggressively and dropped my chain. Dave finished in 5th place and I in 6th for the day.
I am battling to finish the series in the top 5 and Dave is one of my top competitors. Because of Saturday's finish Dave inched closer to me in the overall standings and Jeff Appeltans (who finished 3rd today) leaped over both of us to move into 5th place pushing me to 6th with Dave 5 points back in 7th. It is going to be a fight to reach my goal!
SuperCross Day 2
Sunday was a beautiful day: Warm, sunny and less windy. I had to get a good result today to have a chance at my goal. The field was very small today (where have all you racers gone?) but the top guys were all still here with the addition of Scott Wilson from Evolution Cycling (he's a tough competitor). The course today was in the same park but ran in the opposite direction.
The start was aggressive as we all wanted to be in the front for the early turns and twists. I found myself in 6th place but directly in a line of the 10 strongest when on an off camber, bumpy section I struck a bump badly and dropped to the ground. I lost contact with the top 5 (again!) AND I held up the racers behind me. Scott Wilson was right behind me at that point and I felt terrible for knocking him out of the lead group. I jumped back on and told him to get on my wheel, then I just drilled it! I wanted to get back to the leaders. I closed to within a few seconds and kept taking risks and pushing my limits to bridge all the way across when I took the off camber downhill turn from the road too aggressively and went down AGAIN! I hopped right back on and punched it even harder but the leaders were gone. I was one lap in and already out of the running.
I kept the pace up with the hope some of the lead group would have their own problems and give me an opening. Unfortunately (for me) they were riding very well. †I just kept after them and finally I started to bring Dave Lowe back. After chasing for three laps I finally caught up to him with one lap to go. I tried to attack past hard but Dave came right back and fought past to retake the lead. We kept after each other trying to find each other's weakness. Finally on the back section I jumped around Dave again and hit the gas hard. My plan was to lead through the final corners and hopefully hold Dave off in a sprint finish. Out of the final corner I did just that: I sprinted out of the turn and just wound it up fast going for the finish. I was able to gap Dave to finish 5th. My best result so far in the MAC series.
This weekend was "interesting". I had good results and had excellent battles with Lowe which really made me push my limits. But I am frustrated by early mistakes that took me out of the lead group. I want a chance to ride with the leaders for a longer time as I think I have what it takes to stay with them. I am running out of races to prove that theory. I either need better skills or maybe just better luck. Either way you can be sure I will be giving my best efforts in the final races this season to see how good I really am, and to reach that goal of top five in the overall.
In my previous update I mentioned how perfect the Fall weather was; this past weekend of racing was the polar opposite! Polar described the weather well; I can’t recall any other time it has SNOWED in October in the Philly area. Some people say that rain, snow and mud is “real cyclocross” weather. If that is true, we had THE BEST cyclocross weather this weekend!
This race has a long history and the course has not changed very much over the years. It is generally very fast but has elements that cause short legged guys like me big trouble. There is the long run across the beach that finishes with a very high concrete step up at the end to drain the legs. Later in the course is the run up the amphitheater which is a series of pairs of steps each about 24 inches high which leave me at a stumbling pace by the top. And we get to do this for several laps!
At the race start we had gusting winds of 30+ mph, temperatures in the mid 30’s and heavy rain. I had a terrific start today and followed Jeff Appeltans and Al Blanchard into the trails and down onto the beach. I actually felt very good running across the beach and I remained in the top 5 for the first couple of laps.
But about half way through the race my bike’s shifters clogged with sand and mud and I could not change gears. I made the switch to my spare bike but in the transition I lost time on the group I was with and had trouble making it up. The efforts and the cold weather started to lock my legs up and the run up the amphitheater became SLOW. I was going the best I could but two more riders were able to catch me and leave me behind to finish in 8th place.
At the finish my heart was racing and I was plenty warm so I rode around for just a few minutes to recover. This was a mistake because by the time I made it back to my van I was hypothermic and shaking crazily. Paul had the van on with the heat rolling and with his help I was able to get my soaking wet racing kit off and into dry clothes. It is amazing how luxurious an old pair of jeans and a sweatshirt can feel when you are that cold and wet!
After yesterday’s race in the rain I was looking forward to Highland Park’s snow. At least it was sunny out (but not yet warm as the temperature at race time was still in the 30’s). I previewed the course to find a good tire pressure and to figure out what the snowy conditions would be like. The course was going to be challenging but did not look to be muddy (although I knew when the sun warmed things up it would turn to mud). I thought it would stay cold enough to remain firm for my race. I was wrong.
My start today was not so great and I quickly fell back to around 10th position. I was moving along okay until another racer slid out in a corner in front of me and caused me to fall too. I splatted flat on my stomach in a big muddy puddle and dropped my chain. After getting back on and moving forward I took another turn poorly and fell again.
By this point, still in the first lap, I was soaked, my hands were frozen and I was wondering if I would be able to finish. I pushed onward and the efforts thawed my hands out but I was still sliding in turns and slipping a lot. When I passed the pit zone I called to Paul to lower the pressure in the tires of my spare bike and on the next lap I switched to that machine. This made all the difference. Suddenly my tires were hooking up through the turns and I had traction to peddle through the slippery mess.
I rode faster and was able to pass several riders and move up. In the last half lap I was caught by Ray Zeimet of Guys Racing Club who was riding so smoothly and perfectly that he left me behind with ease. Another racer was hot on my wheel and we came off the final slippery turn together, but I bobbled and he went away to take the spot from me. I finished 12th which was not where I wanted to be but honestly it was all I had in me for the day.
The cleanup from this weekend of racing took several hours and some of my clothes and equipment will probably never be rid of all the sand and mud. All the same it was fun and I’m glad I raced.
My decent results this weekend moved me up to 6th place in the MidAtlantic Cyclocross Series in the 45+ Category. There are some terrific people in front of me AND some great ones behind me too.
My goal is to improve my finishes and get into the top 5 in the overall. This will be a tough challenge with guys like David Lowe (Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon), Jeff Appeltans (Mambo Kings/Go Cycling-D&Q) and Ron Huebner (Evolution Cycling Club/Long & Foster) all fighting for the same spots. We have 5 races left so there will plenty of battles between us and many others.
(Go to www.midatlanticcross.com to follow all the results and see where we race next).
Wow, this weekend was the reason I love the Fall! The weather was perfect and it was also race weekend at Granogue Estate in Delaware. This race has a long history and is well known by cyclocrossers in the United States. Some of the best have come here over the years looking to win what is claimed to be the Hardest Cyclocross Race in the States. I don't know if this is the hardest race but I can say it is a very well designed course which has several challenging features that guarantee the best athlete will win.
I came into this weekend unsure of my condition. A couple weekends back I was sick with a fever and head congestion. The initial problems passed but my head congestion and fatigue persisted and as a result I cut back on my training volume and tried to rest a lot. As a result, I arrived to Saturday's event without a race or much high intensity training in me for three weeks. My goal was to try to open up my legs and my lungs and get a hard effort in and hopefully get a good result.
The race got off to a fast start and I was in a top 10 spot at the first run up a slippery hill. I was feeling good and able to move up higher for awhile. As it turned out some of my strongest elements were my speed on the steep run ups and my ability to recover over the top of the hills. That is where I was able to pass riders. My problem was on the more level areas where steady power was needed. I could not maintain my power very well and so my competition was able to ride away from me in those sections.
In the early part of the race I was staying close to Chris Long and fighting for position with Al Blanchard and Shawn Downing. Shawn is riding exceptionally ¬†strong this season plus he is a smooth bike handler so I knew it was going to be tough. He and I battled back and forth numerous times both pushing for an advantage. Al continued to ride with us and waited for his moment. Finally, on the paved section through the finish straight with 2 laps to go, Shawn was able to drop me. He and Al Blanchard continued on in their battle with Shawn out sprinting Al for 7th place.
Meanwhile I was fighting a new battle with prior National Champion Fred Wittwer. Fred is tough and he relentlessly hunted me down and immediately flew past. I tried to get on his wheel but couldn't. I continued to push hard because I knew Kevin Saint Clair and Dave Lowe were not far behind and they too were hunting me. In the final lap I was able to close the gap to Fred but he was too strong and too smart to let me get too close. Fred beat me by 4 long seconds. Meanwhile I was able to stay away from the chasers and finish the race in 10th place.
This first day was a success for me. I gave all I had and would not have changed anything I did. I also felt good and felt like I really opened up my legs. My fitness was good and my health was improving. After the race I felt like Sunday was going to be a very good day for me.Sunday:
I woke Sunday feeling good! A little sore from the work yesterday, but no congestion and no fatigue. The course preview revealed a very different course. Today's race had a very fast section, followed by a steep run up a twisting and slippery hill on the lower part of the course. On the upper part of the course there was a long steep climb up a hill to the tower followed by several technical off camber sections leading into another run up the hill into an immediate steep downhill into a 90 degree left turn. Overall this upper section was HARD!
The race started FAST! I was rolling along well and into the first turn I took the outside line to move up to 7th place. Through the lower section I was going well and in the first slippery run up I was able to move ahead of another rider. In the turns going into the difficult climb of the upper section I passed two more people and found myself in 4th place chasing Jeff Appeltans (of the Mambo Kings/Go Cycling Team. Jeff is a strong athlete and a very savvy bike racer). I continued to push myself and found that I was especially strong in the climbs and running sections. This was a good sign!
A more ominous sign was the continued sound of many spinning wheels just behind me. I continued to look ahead at Jeff but when the course turned,†I could not avoid seeing the line of strong racers right on my heels. At one point another rider came past me and I followed him up to Jeff. I was able to pass them both on the climb but couldn't keep it going. Eventually that rider (I think it was Ron Huebner of Evolution Cycling) left us behind. I continued to fight but was running out of power and thus Martin Mrugal and Al Blanchard were able to come past. I had no answer for them.
Finally Jeff's teammate, Keith Davies came past and I was able to fight a little but the two of them were too much for me. Then I heard the crowd cheering for Fred Wittwer (of Alan North American Cycling Team). He was hunting me down again! He caught me, but this time I could answer his attack and was able to fight past him again.
We were in the final lap when he came past me again on the lower section of the course. I stayed on his wheel†and planned to make my move on the steep climb but he was going good there and my quadriceps were cramping so I stayed behind him with the plan to attack on the run up. Unfortunately Fred crashed awkwardly on the steep off camber sweeping downhill turn into the running section and I swept past. I thought Fred would be right back on me and I knew there were other racers coming too, so I kept on the gas. I was able to finish out strong, just 6 seconds behind Jeff Appeltans for 8th place!
This was a terrific day for me. I felt good, gave it all I had AND I beat several guys I rarely or never beat before. I was in 4th position for awhile and although I did not keep it I was able to fight hard. I don't feel I could have done anything differently for a better result. BUT, I do feel that I am getting stronger and better. I have my eyes set on the podium in the coming weeks!
My best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery go out to Trevor Williams and Bill Elliston. In the Master's 35+ race on Saturday there was a hard crash and both riders were injured badly and subsequently taken to the hospital. I have great respect for both these men as they are not only strong competitors but terrific people.
This race is among my favorites. It is at the beautiful Bryn Athyn College with the course utilizing most of the area around the athletic fields. The course design allows long sections for powerful riders while also providing challenging technical sections that require adept bike handling.
Today's race was made more difficult by all the recent rains. There were muddy sections that forced the decision to either run or try to slog through on the bike. The normally challenging short hills became very difficult to maneuver and ride over causing decisive moments in the race. Even the long straight sections were slower due to the spongy ground.
We had a terrific field today with Chris Long, Jeff Appeltans, Dave Lowe, Kevin St. Clair and Ralf Warmuth†in the mix. Off the start I could tell it was to be a difficult day for me. My legs felt heavy and I had to really work. I just kept the intensity up and tried to ride a mistake free race (which I almost achieved if not for one wipe out around a sharp turn). Early in the race I was as far back as 15th but was able to steadily move up and finish 8th. Not the result I hoped for, but I gave everything I had today so I have no regrets.
The next race for me is not for three weeks with Granogue weekend in Delaware. I would prefer to race once or twice before then, but it looks like my personal schedule will not cooperate. Between now and then I will try to put in a good block of training. More importantly, I plan to catch up on some sleep. September was a VERY busy month and my body and mind are demanding some recovery time!
The racing this season just started but it is FULL ON right out of the gate! Our Mid Atlantic series of races have been terrific in all the classifications. A couple of performances from Charm City Cross in Baltimore deserve some mention here:
If you missed these performances come out to the next MAC race at Bryn
As for my racing in Charm City, I only competed on Saturday (my schedule is quite full and I couldn’t manage to squeeze in Sunday’s race). Due to my rankings from last week, I earned a front row start position (hooray!). I went out very smoothly and was comfortably with the leaders. About halfway into the first of 5 laps, Chris Long had a gap and I moved into 2nd place chasing him. I was feeling good and riding well. I knew there were others close behind me but I kept my attention on Chris. Close to the end of lap 2 a group of 3 (including Blair Saunders) came past me. I felt good but was not able to keep with them very long.
As it turns out I had a slow leak in my rear tire so
maybe that is why I was slowing down. I still felt good and thought I
would get them back, but I began to notice the softening in the rear
tire. I made the poor choice to NOT go to the pit and get my spare bike
(I felt it would take too long to make the exchange and I would lose
more time and it seemed like the tire would hold up). I continued to
press on with the softening tire and that was the wrong choice. With just over a lap to go the tire went completely flat and I had to ride
Reflecting on my race I wonder if I pushed too early when I worked to catch up to Chris Long. I don’t think I did and anyway, I prefer to race aggressively. I am satisfied that my fitness is good and I feel like I can compete with the leaders. I am very disappointed that I lost an opportunity to compete with them due to a mechanical issue but as they say “that’s racing”. Next week look for me to ride aggressively again at the WhirlyBird Cross at Bryn Athyn College.
The first weekend of racing has come to pass. I went in with questions and came out with answers. The good news being that I like the answers.
The main question was concerning my race fitness. I just wasn’t sure how ready I was and the best way to find out is to race. I went into Saturday’s race with the plan to start off moderately and build up the intensity. I did not want to “blow up” in the middle of the race.
We lined up with all the usual suspects, guys I have raced against for years now. Clearly this was going to be a great race. From the gun Dave Lowe jumped out and led us through the opening half a lap while I was trailing back around 20th position. From there I moved up and after a couple of laps was chasing Dave but I just could not get him. I
This was a solid first race. I didn’t make any mistakes, felt strong throughout and through the muddy sections of the course I was faster than the other guys around me. Plus, I had fun and was happy to be back racing.
For Sunday’s race my plan was more ambitious. I was to start faster, then jump harder out of the turns and push myself deeper into the red zone. My goal was a top 10 placing. After the first half lap I was top 15 and right in line with the leaders. I continued to move up such that after the first lap I was about 15 seconds behind the lead group of 4.
This was a terrific race for me. I felt strong and smooth. I am ecstatic about my running through the mud as I was fast through those sections and stronger coming out of the mud than the others. I made the one mistake which did cost me though. I am now confident that my training is on target and that I can expect to challenge the top guys in my field. I am looking forward to next weekend in Baltimore for the classic Charm City races.
The first races of cross season begin this weekend. With the first race comes a whole litany of questions: Am I ready? Am I in shape? How good is everyone else? Who is going to be there? And even: Do I remember how to race? This first weekend of racing I intend to find out those answers.
My questions this season are bigger because of my training. Back in the Spring I decided to work more on my strength and less on my endurance. As a result my training mileage is way down over 2010. I also trained intensely from April into June with a planned rest in early July. The planned worked excellently with my reaching new levels in strength and much greater power on the bike. I felt terrific! Then I started to get tired and made the mistake to stick to my plan and put in two more weeks of hard training. BAD IDEA!
I imploded. I went from feeling super strong to super weak. I took a week off…no difference. I stopped resistance training…still terrible. I took more time off and only felt marginally better. It was a classic case of overtraining. I backed off on the intensity, tried to rest more, focused on eating better but it still took all of July before I had glimpses of feeling good.
The recovery period was necessary but now I felt like I was behind on the training. I followed the advice I give to my clients (have you ever noticed how hard it is to follow your own advice?) and did not try to make it up with a greater volume. I went back to the plan and worked on my strength and on interval training. I continued with getting more sleep.
With this training through August I began to feel stronger and now I think I am ready to race. But that brings me to where I am today. I have a whole litany of questions: Did I train enough? Did I focus on the right things? Is my equipment ready? What do I need to bring with me on race day? The questions will continue until race day, then one way or another I will have the answers.
I find it funny how many times I am contacted by companies wanting to improve my website. Often times they clearly don’t even look at my website but they can still “improve” it by apparently using some type of “canned” model. There are a few companies that do really look at the site and the criticism they give is about my blog NOT being updated throughout the year. Obviously it is a valid criticism.
I have thought about keeping up throughout the year but the blog was created in response to all the questions and curiosity around my racing and cyclo-cross in general. As such, it would be difficult to write about racing and cyclo-cross when it is not happening.
So let’s use that as the disclaimer for my Cyclo-Cross Blog. If you are a company that can magically make my website the latest and greatest thing please understand that my blog is a 3 month endeavor. If you are my intended audience and are just curious about cyclo-cross and my racing… welcome to “Cross Blog 2011.”