The sanctioned US cyclocross scene might be put in a box by the start of the calender year but for the Bloomington Underground series no weather is too cold for a bit of racing. And so it was that about 15 riders gathered at the secret course to ride in snowy conditions where the wind chill was less than the number of participants. The atmosphere was jovial until racing began when it was full on from the start (well at the front of the race at least). The early running was made by Fred Rose (pictured in warmer times) and Issac Neff.
Running was certainly the word as the course included a few strength-sapping gravel pits and run-ups. After a couple of laps a mechanical issue put Neff out of the race leaving Rose to seemingly solo in to a solid victory. However no-one had told pint-sized powerhouse John Gatch (pictured below last fall), visiting from sunny Cincy who was steadily gaining on the lone leader.
As Rose lapped your author, Gatch was barely 20seconds behind and the inevitable junction was made with a little over a lap to go. Rose was by then running on fumes and the killer blow was delivered in the final half-lap allowing Gatch to take the victors plaudits out of Bloomington. The race-long battle for third went down to the final lap with our MTB-master Tomos getting the better of Adam Rodkey. Lower down the field rider were dropping like flies in the cold due to injury (Tom Cox), exhaustion (Adam Fryska) or a complete lack of riding (JP Krol)! Thanks again to Jim Kirkham for setting up the course and we'll all be at Soma 10 am next Sun Jan 25th for more of the Underground.
Photos courtesy of Jerry Jakucyk
13 hours ago