Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ned Nabs Another!

Overend Wins 2012 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships – Men 55-59
by Grant Berry

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — The final men’s race of the 2012 Master’s World Cyclocross Championships was also the largest race of the final day of competition. The 55-59 year old field was deep with talent, including 1990 Mountain Bike World Champion Ned Overend (USA) who came into the race as the heavy favorite. Other notables included Henry Kramer (USA) and Norman Kreiss (USA) both of the Cal Giant Berry team, as well as Jim Gentes (USA) and Benny Andersson (SWE).

The sun continued to bear down on the formally frozen course, as the ruts softened to create a thin, slimy layer of muck.

Gentes would grab the holeshot, only to be immediately overhauled by Kreiss in the first straightway with Kramer close behind. Overend was off to a slow start, sitting 6th wheel entering the first chicane. He was almost taken down by a rider falling in front of him, but was able to keep it upright.

Kreiss wasted no time in establishing a gap, and by the time he hit the flyover for the first time he already had a 10 second gap over Kramer, followed a few seconds later by Overend.

Heading out for lap two, Kreiss had stretched his lead to 20 seconds, as Kramer and Overend were together. Behind them, Bob Downs (USA) trailed seven seconds later.

A lap later, Kramer and Overend had taken over for Kreiss at the front. Kreiss looked to have hit the ground at some point, and was covered in mud. Kramer and Overend would trade places several times on this lap, before Overend got to the front on one of the straight power sections and laid down an attack to establish a gap. At the same time, it appeared that Kramer had bike issues and was stuck in too easy a gear helping the gap to Overend grow quickly.

“Kramer and I traded the lead a couple times. He was gunning it out there; the first time I passed him he came back by my right away and surprised me. He was going for it out there,” said Overend.

With 1 to go, Overend had established a 25 second gap as Kramer and then Kreiss chased. Downs was close behind, and appeared to be saving some for the finale. Kramer had a slip up the last time through the wooded section, allowing Kreiss and Downs to close in on his wheel. It was going to be an all out battle for the final two spots on the podium.

“It was hard to put the power to the ground today; it was so slippery and traction was tough. You really had to learn the lines out there, but then it was tough to stay in ’em lap after lap,” explained Overend.

As Ned Overend came on to the pavement for the last time, he had plenty of time to celebrate another World Championship title. The crowd now looked down the finish straight to see who was going to fill out the rest of the podium.

Kreiss, Downs and Kramer all came on the pavement together, and it was a matter of grit, determination and who had saved some energy for the last effort to the line. Downs put up an impressive fight, but ended up getting overhauled by the two teammates as Kreiss would take the silver medal, followed by Kramer for bronze.

Photos – Steve Anderson

How Not to Wear Your Helmet

Tilford Wins 2012 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships – Men 50-54
A fantastic analysis of helmet fashion by Steve Tilford, whose writing ways may be more prolific than his winning ways.
Shameless copied from SteveTilford.com

This is one of the worst photos I've ever had taken of me during a bicycle race.

Okay, during the first part of the Masters Worlds on Saturday, I had a complete helmet fashion disaster. I changed my headband last minute on the line and obviously didn’t get my helmet situated correctly. (The helmet is pretty new and has a funky strapping system.) I didn’t feel the helmet riding back for a couple laps, but by then, the photos had been recorded.

I’m usually pretty good at getting my helmet right over the years. So good, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a photo like this taken.

Helmet wearing technique started way back before the official wearing of helmets. It started with wearing cycling hats. It was always a challenge getting a hat situated correctly on your head. Having the hat look like it is just barely sitting on your head, while being far enough down in the front is not an easy feat. This hat technique transitioned to the hairnet helmet and the hairnet covered with a hat technique.

I used to wear a cycling hat over my hairnet most of the time. Michael Fatka, director of the Levis team, was a stickler at having the proper hat to wear over your hairnet. He ordered hats from England to fit perfectly. This eventually was the reason behind Levis sponsoring a cycling team.

When the hard helmet first became norm, it was nearly impossible to wear one properly Our first sponsorship was by Bell and the helmet was a V1 Pro. Giro was coming out with their Styrofoam helmet covered with Lycra at the same time. Neither could be worn with any style.

But helmets now can. The proper style mainly involves the tilt, as it has always. But, no tilt to the side, of course. The helmet should only be tilted slightly forward, enough to nearly cover most of your forehead, nearly sitting on top of your glasses. Having it ride back, as in my photo below, is just wrong.

I’ll try to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Below are some photo of proper cycling head wear style.

At least I got the helmet repositioned later in the race before the finish.

The elastic strapping system in this Giro ProLight has to take some of the blame.

Hat over my helmet in the British Milk race. It is a little too far back. Russian riders ( 2nd rider to my right on the Colnago), historically, wore their hairnet helmets badly.

Indurain always wore cycling hats with style.

Dale Stetina never got the hairnet helmet down. Historically he always wore it badly.

Vino never wears a hardshell helmet very well. His two team mates have theirs right.

Go to SteveTilford.com for so much more!