Battle: a long struggle to succeed or survive during a difficult situation

21 11 2011

Cyclocross is a game of battles. The game can take on many forms during a race. Sometimes it’s a battle to get into your pedals, or you’re fighting for position going into a corner. Most of us have faced that inner voice that tells you to quit because it hurts, or you just crashed and lost two positions and are trying to claw your way back to the lead group. It’s a game of small battles that can sometimes add up and become overwhelming. Fighting through these are part of racing cross, and require a strong will of mind and body.

Sunday’s Rockburn Cross hosted by Adventures For the Cure was full of new surprises as the MABRA series rolled into Rockburn Branch Park in Howard County, MD. Tanner Browne and Emir Crnovic lined up for the Junior 15-18 race ready to do battle. Tanner ended up 4th after crashing on one of the technical sections, and fighting back from 7th. Emir, fairly new to bike racing, but full of enthusiasm and fitness, ended up 7th. It was the first race where he stayed strong to the end, and didn’t give up or get frustrated.

Rockburn CX-Tanner and Emir at the start

Rockburn CX-Tanner after his crash

Rockburn CX-Emir hanging tough

Lumber Jack Evan Ellicott put his wood chopping axe down for a few minutes to line up for the Single Speed race. With only one gear, Ellicott found the Rockburn course to be pretty tough, but dug deep and crossed the line in 4th place. However, clocking-in post race for Fatherly duties took priority over his well earned photo opportunity, and he missed his call up to the podium.

In the Master’s ¾ race. Todd Bickling and Steve Fife went into the race with a game plan. The plan was for Fife to set a hard but steady tempo at the front to try and create some separation, and for Bickling to hang out on the back of the group and launch some late race attacks with the hopes of either Bike Doctor rider getting the win.

Rockburn CX-Bickling and Fife: TEAMWORK

After crashing on his surgically repaired collarbone last week at Schooley Mill, Fife didn’t even know if he could pull it together for Sunday’s race. Wednesday’s visit to the orthopedist for x-rays confirmed nothing worse than deep bruising and swelling. Once the doctor gave the all clear, Fife put his mental game together and poured all of that stress and worry into his pedals at Rockburn.

Rockburn CX-Fife and Bickling (obscured) in the sand

Sticking to the plan, Bickling and Fife made the selection of the lead group, and during the last lap got a gap on the field with unattached rider John McGreevy in tow. Going into the last few turns, Fife assumed the lead just before the paved finish, and was able to hold off McGreevy with Bickling rolling in hot on his heals for 3rd.

Rockburn Podium-1st Fife (and daughter Tavia), 3rd Bickling

Pete Warner and Brian Sjoberg battled it out in the Master’s 1/2/3 race against a stacked field. Warner finally picked up his new Felt CX bike from Bike Doctor in Waldorf, and was really looking forward to putting it through its paces. Here’s a race breakdown in Warner’s own words:

Rockburn CX-Pete Warner in "no man's land"

“At Rockburn, I’ll be honest, I was pretty happy about NOT being last. I was pleased with my start but then I could not shift down from the big ring and lost a bunch of spots trying to get it in the small ring. I just went as hard as I could in what felt like no man’s land. I’d get real close to the guy in front of me, and then have a blunder that would set me back, argh.  BUT, I never went down!!!!!!  Happy not to wreck the new bike in the first two races. I LOVE my new bike! I ended up 17th with Sobe damn near chasing me down for 18th.  I was like, “where the heck did he come from? Us roadies out doing cross like to stick together”

Emir and Pete ready to rock at 540 Cyclocross on Saturday!

Cyclocross racing is hard. Battling through all of the little and big setbacks are what makes overcoming them so worth it. It doesn’t matter if your fighting for 1st or battling for 18th, it’s a fight worth fighting. Hanging with your friends in a beautiful park after the race with a cold beverage in your hand sure does help too.

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike Doctor, Cannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

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