Racer Interviews

From time to time we may sit down with a racer and get their thoughts.  Check back from time to time for new interviews.

Last time we heard from the MICX p/b Bike Law Michigan Open Men Series Leaders.  But for now let’s shift gears to the Single Speed Women’s class (see what I did there….shift gears……I need to try stand-up).  After two races it’s pretty tight at the top with Kelly Paterson in 1st, Adrienne O’Day in 2nd, and Heidi Snyder in 3rd.  The point differential is 30 points and with all 5 races counting in the series – this one can go either way – not to mention those lurking lower in the standings who can steal some points like Pam Bufe in 5th.  I chatted with this group about BloomerCX p/b KLM / Cold Stone, the MICX series, and what their problem is with gears….

BloomerCX: Thanks for having this chat – let’s start with an easy question – who raced BloomerCX last year?

Kelly Paterson: I didn't race Bloomer last year, in fact I haven't raced cyclocross in a few years. I jumped into a Halloween cross race last year only because I could wear a costume (which included a pink tu-tu) and play on my bike.

Heidi Snyder: Yes!

Adrienne O’Day: Yes!

Pam Bufe: Yes

BCX: What was your favorite part of the course last year? Kelly what are you excited to see first?

KP: I’m excited to see how the course is going to be set up at Bloomer this year. The elevation always makes it interesting. 

HS: Hmmmm, so much to think about.  My favorite would have to be the single track and then coming up on the unexpected log and bunny hopping over it.

PB: I liked how they took the course back on to the mountain bike trail.

AO’D: To see what’s new this year. What little surprises the race director has in store for us!

BCX: 5 great races, each with their own unique venues – how do you think BloomerCX stacks up against the other MICX races?

KP: That's hard for me to say which course I like best because I haven't ridden them all.

HS: It’s absolutely top notch.  The great thing about all of the venues is that each is unique and offers different challenges.  I would say the only thing you are missing is the sand.  Plenty of obstacles, off camber, single track, and mud (a couple years ago).  Super fun.

PB: Having raced at all 5 venues last year, I think Bloomer is up there with all of them. They each have their unique twist and are all great courses.

AO’D: I like that Bloomer tends to mix it up each year. There’s always something different that crops up at this course!

BCX: Back to the course itself – Bloomer has some great single track that many of us have used to hone our MTB skills.  We’ve made a conscious effort to bring some of that into our ‘cross race.  Do you like the ST sections?

KP: I love riding singletrack on my mountain bike so it's always fun to have it included in a cross race. Dirt is good. 

HS: As I said before, the single track is awesome.  I love mixing it up a bit, and it lends itself a bit to what I’m a bit better at.  I’m an off roader not a roadie, so single track is where I can make up some time on some of those that are not as good at it.

PB: Yes, I loved it.

AO’D: No, this is the most challenging part of the course for me, since I am not a mountain biker. But I find pre-ride practice will work out any kinks or challenges.

BCX: In the opening I talked over the standings – after two races what will it take for each of you to move up or consolidate your position?

KP: One of the many things that I love about cyclocross is that anything can happen in a cross race. You never know with mechanicals, crashes or other things that you can't anticipate. I'm just going to keep doing my best and having fun and we'll see what happens.

HS: As much as I’d like to think I could make up some, the only way that will happen is if Pam Bufe takes out Kelly and Adrienne in the first corner at Bloomer CX, or they decide SS is not for them and they stop racing it :) I’d like to think I can hold my position in the standings….. just need to watch out for Pam so she doesn’t take me out (Bloomer CX 2016).  (of course I say this about Pam all in fun…… she knows this)

PB: If I can get out of my head, then I can move up!

AO’D: consistency is key. The series is interesting this year with every race counting. So the pressure is on to do and finish every race.

BCX: What will be the keys to win this MICX series overall in its first year?

KP: I think the key to winning any series is consistency and a little bit of good luck. I'm just really happy that Michigan has a cyclocross series and I hope it continues in the future.  I appreciate that Bike Law and so many others have put so much into it.

HS: Staying away from Pam…… Ok, in all seriousness……. the only way to win in SS is if Kelly and Adrienne stop racing it.  They are very strong racers.  Maybe one day……….

PB:  Well I know I won’t be winning, but consistency would be the key.

AO’D: Beat Kelly Paterson

BCX: Pick a rider other than yourself who you think could win it?

KP: I would say the grand prize trophy should go to Bryan Waldman. Should I list the reasons, or is it obvious? Or did you mean the single speed category? All of the women I race with are awesomely strong and super fun people. I've enjoyed making new friends. Heidi and Middy and Pam are extra nuts for racing geared races on single speeds. They're all winners.

HS: For SS, it’s obviously Kelly.  She’s a beast.  She’s my new hero (sorry Adrienne, you’ve been replaced).  For Women’s Elite, I guess it would be between Melissa Seymour and Valerie Hyrmann.  They are both tearing it up.

PB: “The” Kelly Paterson, because she is a beast. 

AO’D: Kelly. She doesn’t age and has both strength & skill

BCX: Of the 5 races in MICX which is your favorite and why?

KP: I rode Beer City Growler for the first time this year, and I've never raced at Rockford. I've done Bloomer in the past as well as Mad Anthony and Alma. I do prefer courses that have more technical features like off-camber turns, barriers, run ups, flyovers, and especially mud. Those are the things that I love most about cyclocross.

HS: Wow, that’s a tough one.  As I said, each race is unique and have great cx features that make the race exciting.  But if I had to pick just one, it would be Mad Anthony.  The history of the fort just can’t be beat.

PB: I don’t have a favorite race. I like that each one has different challenges to them, but the most unique venue has to go to Mad Anthony.

AO’D: Oh that’s a tough one.  I like Alma because the course seems to suit me, but I won last year at Bloomer in the open category, and Mad Anthony has a neat venue... Rockford’s course suited me well in 2015, but last year was a disaster. I almost ended up in the pond!

BCX: Ok – easy for me to ask, hard for you to answer…..why ‘cross?

KP: Cyclocross is like being a little kid and playing on your bicycle.

HS: Because it’s the most fun you can possibly have on the verge of puking!

PB: “Why not?” In a weird way, I like the torture and to see how far I can push myself (if my head doesn’t get in the way)

AO’D: Because it’s just so different. And it’s time limited.. I like races you don’t pace. If you’re not going all out, you’re doing it wrong.

BCX: I seriously question if in your childhoods you were marred by a cassette or something.  Why SS?  What do you have against gears?

KP: I'll never forget something Mike Seaman told me: "Nobody cares what single-speeders do."  It's so true. Hawaiian shirt in a race? No problem. Duct tape mods on the frame? No problem. Skinsuit so old that everyone can see through the rear end?  No problem.

HS: Because if you have to race cross, why not make it even harder :)

PB: The simplicity. I throw on a 2:1 gear and leave it on for the whole season and I never have to worry about the mud in a derailleur.

AO’D: I like adding in a second race. SS causes you to approach & think differently about the course, and ride differently. It’s challenging & making me a better rider

BCX: Onto my favorite part of the interview – the lighting round.  Let’s go quick here – we are racers after all…….1) Canti’s or Disc?

KP: Cantis. I'm old school.

HS: Disc

PB: Disc

AO’D: Disc

BCX: 2) SRAM/Shimano/Campy ?

KP: Shimano. Especially Di2

HS: Shimano

PB: Its SS but it does have SRAM parts


BCX: 3) Lace-ups or BOAs

KP: Boas

HS: Umm, huh?

PB: Umm….Velcro straps and buckles….so not cool


BCX: 4) First race you ever did?

KP: Kensington Road race in 2006. I finished DFL.

HS: oh crap, you had to ask that………  I believe it was Waterford Hills in 2014.  Great, fun venue for a newbie.

PB: First cx- Columbus Park 2012

AO’D: Vets Park AA (2005?)

BCX: 5) Best race you’ve ever had?

KP: My most memorable race was the first time I won the state championships at Springfield Oaks. The course was super muddy and sloppy and nasty and had tons of running and I loved it. It was the best because winning against some really tough competition was a complete surprise.

HS: I think maybe the Alma GP this year, Women’s Sport cat., and I raced it on my SS.  First time I was in the leading pack of three women for most of the race.  We each took turns leading, then getting over taken.  The last lap was down to the wire with a sprint finish.  I lost by one second.  First race I was dry heaving (almost lost my breakfast) at the finish.  So ya, I think that may be my best race.  Gave it everything I had and more :)

PB: Swamp Thing I (2012) and States (2016)

AO’D: 2015 Rockford (state Champ ‘Elite’)

BCX: Alright well thanks to all 4 of you for the entertaining discussion.  Just to put it out there – if you don’t like gears there is this track thingy at Bloomer I am kind of into….you should try it out.  No gears and no brakes!  Don’t forget to pre-register, buy some raffle tickets to support MiSCA and finally enjoy the remaining races in the MICX Series p/b Bike Law Michigan.

BloomerCX: In our first interview we talked to the man in the pole positon of the series….lets hear from who is close behind – Derrick Ubbink.  Derrick – did you get to race BloomerCX in its first year?

Derrick Ubbink: Unfortunately I wasn't able to.  I believe I had a family event that conflicted with it.

BCX: Really?! You missed it – it was crazy awesome.  Wout showed up and put on a clinic but at the last moment the entire KLM/Cold Stone team blasted to the front and took it from him.  Just kidding – but you did miss a good time.  Is there any part of the course you are looking forward to?

DU: I'm not actually aware of much with this course other than good impressions from friends.

BCX: Hopefully those impressions included the heads up that there is some nice single track sections – How do you think that will be in a CX course?

DU: I love single track.  MTB is probably my second favorite type of riding behind cross of course.  Having said that, it's even more fun on the cross bike.  If the rest of the cycling world could hurry up and switch to riding single track on their cross bikes that would be GREAT.

BCX: I feel the same way about the track, which Bloomer does have a pretty sweet one.  If we all learned to ride track the world would be a safer place….moving away from solving world problems and talking about the MICX p/b Bike Law Series Standings – you are in 2nd place right now to Scotty.  Think you can catch him with 3 races left?

DU: All props to him, he's on another level from me.  It's a great carrot to chase, but I have no delusions of grandeur.  Do I think I can hold off Spencer, Jeff, and Nathan?  Maybe.  It seems like consistency is the key.  Committing to the series will be important.

BCX: This type of series with only 5 races and all counting certainly make riders commit to it.  What do you think will be the key to win the MICX Series?

DU: Again, consistency.  Gotta make all the races and place on or near the podium. 

BCX: Right, and you never know who will or will not show up.  Guys hanging back in 4th, 5th, and 6th aren’t out of it yet.  If someone misses a race and you can take that podium spot – the gap can close pretty quickly.  If you had to pick someone else to win the series – who you betting on?

DU: Scotty.  Guy is simply killing it out there every race.

BCX: That or his Aero Gravel frame is so slippery…..kidding.  We got 5 races in the MICX p/b Bike Law Series – each is unique, has some history to it (some more than others), and is across the state.  Which is your favorite and why?

DU: This is a tough one to answer.  I really like them all for their individual merits.  Alma suites me well, mostly flat with some technical bits.  Beer City is my home town and always an awesome event that's also a challenge for me.  Mad Anthony is super cool and technical, and Adam continually does an amazing job with the course and venue at Rockford.  I think though that Alma is probably my favorite by a narrow margin simply because it suites me so well.

BCX: This was the easiest question…the answer is BloomerCX…always BloomerCX.  All joking aside as a promoter I personally look to Alma as setting a pretty high standard for us to follow but I agree the races all have their own strengths.  Since that one was so hard – how about a more open ended question – why ‘cross?

DU: Nothing beats a 175 bpm avg heart rate for 60 minutes.  It's everything good about road racing combined with everything great about MTB plus heckling.  What more could you want?

BCX: What more could I want?  You guys to slow down so I can hang on for at least the first lap.  Ok – rapid fire time – Canti’s or Discs?

DU: Disc

BCX: SRAM/Shimano/Campy – pick one?

DU: Sram CX1 FTW!

BCX: Lace-ups or BOA?

DU: Boa

BCX: First race you ever competed in?

DU: Kisscross Caledonia 2015

BCX: Best race you ever had? Be it experience or results…

DU: Fall Furry 2016 won both days in cat 3

BCX: Awesome answers.  Thanks for the time and don’t forget to PRE-REGISTER to be a part of the race.  Follow this link: https://www.usacycling.org/register/2017-1801

BloomerCX: With two races out of 5 in the books in the MICX Series p/b Bike Law – BloomerCX will be a pivotal race in the overall series standings.  A good showing can separate the podium, where as a missed race, or ill-timed mechanical can put some out of reach of a podium.  Heading into BloomerCX we took a look at the overall standings and reached out to some key racers in pivotal matchups for some Q&A.  First up is Scotty Albaugh who after 2 races is in 1st place in the Men Open classification.  Scotty – did you make it out to BloomerCX last year?

Scotty Albaugh: Yes, I didn’t really have my best day but I finished 4th.

BCX: Sounds like the day was still good – even if not you’re best.  What did you like about last year’s course?

SA: I like the fast dirt downhill and the fast grassy section near the start. Last year’s course was really fast for how difficult it was, I like fast.

BCX: Bloomer does bring some speed into the mix – how do you think BloomerCX stacks up against our fellow races in the MICX Series p/b Bike Law?

SA: I think its strength as a cross course is it incorporates all surfaces and terrain. Plus when I was training for the Pro USA National Championship I rode Bloomer once a week so I may be a little biased.

BCX: I’ve spent some time out there on my MTB in my earlier years of racing, and I always loved the switchbacks.  We’ve been able to bring some of that awesome single track into our CX course – did you like it last year?

SA: Bloomer has some unique single track that reminds me of the trails I have saw at USA Nationals in West Virginia. Depending on the day I either think the trails are awesome or the challenging crap you have to ride to become a better rider.

BCX: Shifting to the series and the standings 2 races in.  You have a healthy lead over Derrick Ubbink – think you can hold him off for the rest of the series?

SA: In bike racing anything can happen. I am always paranoid of crashing mid race or having a mechanical problem that could prevent a win or in some cases lead to a DNF. However, I am optimistic I can hold him off.

BCX: Stay optimistic – I’ve heard that advice in racing many times over.  You can lose the race in your head before the gun goes off. With that said – staying optimistic, what do you think will be the key to win the MICX Series this year?

SA: I was told many years ago that a championship isn't won on the day of the race. The MICX is the same, the key to winning was done over the summer in addition to the consistent year of racing and training I have had. The key to winning is staying focused, staying healthy and keeping the equipment in top notch shape. For me I can become too focused on bike racing and drive myself and everyone around me crazy. For me to win the overall MICX title I need to continue to stay balance between bike racing and the rest of my life.

BCX: Alright – shifting gears back to the MICX competition.  If you had to pick another racer to win the overall in the first year of the MICX Series p/b Bike Law – who would it be and why?

SA: 1) Danny Soltan: I always have fun riding and racing with Danny, He has great skills and is a fierce competitor. Plus we are teammates so I couldn't win it I would want a 3T dude to. 2) The SIMONSTER Circa 2006 or 2007 or Iceman Winning Simonster: Even though I see Mike a few times a week, he will always be one of my favorite pro bike racers. Iceman winning 06 or 07 Simonster is the kind of rider I aspire to be, the smart competitors are still afraid of him 10 years later. However, I don't think he ever won a cx title. I would want him to win because I would want to have raced him (chances are I wouldn't win). 

BCX: Alright – I’ll keep an eye out for those guys too.  Shifting back to the series itself – these 5 races have been around, you have likely raced them all – which is your favorite and why?

SA: like them all in their own unique way. I think each promoter brings a lot of passion to their race and I notice that.

BCX: Our passion but differences was one of the reasons why I think the series is going so well thus far.  Thanks for noticing ;) – ok so why ‘cross?  You know there are other things you can do on a bike……

SA: No tactics. I do not have a lot of experience racing bikes, so tactically I am a sophomore at best. I like going to a race and just pinning it, on the cross course I can do that. Plus cross and mountain bike racing really complement each other so although I am technically racing another discipline the skills needed and efforts put out are nearly identical. Plus the atmosphere is great.

BCX: The atmosphere is great…what other races give you bacon mid race!  Alright – lets finish with some lightning round questions – just to let the readers know how you tick.  1) Canti’s or Discs?

SA: Disc

BCX: SRAM/Shimano/Campy – pick one?

SA: Only ever had Shimano on a CX bike

BCX: Lace-ups or BOA?

SA: Boa

BCX: First race you ever competed in?

SA: Some BMX race at Waterford Oaks in 1998 or 1999

BCX: Best race you ever had? Be it experience or results…

SA: Most Proud Of: Shenandoah 100 9th Place this year, Best Finish: Ore to Shore 3rd Place this year, Best Effort: Barry Roubaix 4th this year.

BCX: Well thanks for taking out the time and good luck at BloomerCX and the rest of the series….everyone else reading this you need to PRE-REGISTER to be a part of the race.  Follow this link: https://www.usacycling.org/register/2017-1801