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So long as I beat you, I win.
Yesterday the CrossClash with CrossResults.com went live on the the CrossResults website. Keep track of your wins and losses record against your friends, which, CXResults has actually been doing this well for a long time now with the RacePredictor and Nemesis aspects of their site. We just wanted to take it one step further by bringing you the CrossClash, a way to enter a specific "nemesis" that you plan on beating and then track your results throughout the remainder of the season. Sure, the race happens at the front, with the guys who "win," but it also happens for 5th place, or 10th or even 34th. It may be more publicized near the front, but that does not mean it did not happen elsewhere.
My first CrossClash happened in high school and was more of a Cross-Country Running Clash than a straight up Cyclocross Clash. Each Tuesday night and Saturday morning we would find ourselves traversing the golf courses and baseball diamonds, the backyards of various schools and parks around Southwestern Wisconsin. No matter what the venue it was always the same 5 to 10 schools competing each week, as a result, you would end up seeing the same competitors week in and week out. The result of this was that every time we ran, or raced, against each other you would find yourself finishing in the same group of runners. Sure, there were a few really strong kids that quite literally ran off with the front of the race, but the rest of us were left to battle it out with each other.
Cory Ensrude was my guy. I think the first time we "clashed" was at The Fennimore High School Invitational, which was one of the larger Cross Country meets of the year. When it came down to the sprint (which was for something like 30th place) I came around the final corner shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Ensrude fully thinking that I could take him in the straight-away and so, put a little pressure there accordingly. Then something strange happened. He turned the screws right back on me and to my disdain started to edge ahead a bit. Well, you can see where this is going, or was, and we continued this back and forth at near breakneck speeds (at least I am sure it seemed that way to us) until we crossed the finish line and collapsed into respective heaps. As I leaned against the nearby building and promised myself I would not unload my breakfast, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye I could see Cory doing the same — sort of sprawled on the grass nearby. The interesting part was that he was grinning at me in that knowing way that boldly stated, "I got you this time, and I'm not going to back down the next." This was the start of what you might call a "friendly rivalry." Put another way Slate Olson here in the office likes to say "it is more fun to beat your friends than to beat your enemies." There is something deeply cryptic and Eastern hidden in there, but the sentiment is spot on. Because who wants to beat that nameless, faceless rider from some town that you have never heard of anyway?
The thing was that Cory and I became fantastic friends because of this bit of competition. Sure, it didn't happen right away, at first we (or I) were trying to outright beat each other. But, that strange combination of geography, common interest and natural selection had brought us together and not only instilled a competitive spirit in us but also a friendship that lasted beyond the racecourse.
CrossClash is the embodiment of this and we are hoping that it will spark some great rivalries and stories throughout the Cyclocross Courses wherever they may happen and wherever you may finish. Besides, we all know that each and every one of you have your own personal I need to beat THIS person each week we are just challenging you to say it out loud. Go to CrossResults.com and challenge another rider.
The whole program kicked off earlier this month at Interbike when two of the USA's premiere Cyclocross racers — our own Jeremy Powers and Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com rider Tim Johnson went head to head in a little friendly jaunt around the Circulus. The Rapha-FOCUS t-shirts "Keep Cross and Clash on" are available now at the Rapha Cycle Club San Francisco (call them and speak with Emily) and anywhere that the Rapha-FOCUS team can be found. Check their SCHEDULE for more details.
photo by Dave Christenson
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