Editor’s Note: Christopher Jones is a member of the Rapha-Focus cyclocross team as well as the road racing squad Team Type 1. He is a true all-around rider, frequenting podiums on both the professional road and cyclocross circuits. This season he and his ‘cross teammate Zach MacDonald will share their journals frequently.
Autumn is known to many as the season of change and for most professional cyclist September is the month of change. For some the season is ending (or the off season is beginning) for others new contracts are being finalized, two lucky people are crowned the new US professional road and TT champions, and a new season is about to begin.
September 2010 has brought all of these changes to my career, minus a national championship (congrats to Taylor and Ben). My road season and three-year tenure with a team that has become family to me, Team Type 1, came to an end as I committed to ride for UnitedHealthcare for the 2011 road season as they take their domestic dominance abroad. I enjoyed a brief, two-day, off season then jumped right into the cyclocross season with the Rapha-Focus Cyclocross Team.
Of all of these, the switch from road to ‘cross is the most abrupt and my body has been reminding me of this. For months on end I pedaled circle after circle around the globe while praying that I would only have to get off of my bike when I chose to and while completely stopped. Within 24 hours of our road national championships, I found myself willingly abandoning my new bike (with different pedals, shoes, tires, and geometry) at speed, only to hop, skip, and jump back on the saddle without ever stopping. The result of this madness is that confusion reigns in both my mind and muscles.
Forty-eight hours after saddling up on my Focus Mares for the first time in a while, I was on the start line at 9pm for what has become one of the most important ‘cross races of the domestic season, CrossVegas. Run in conjunction with the Interbike trade show, CrossVegas has not only been the kick off to the season for the past few years, but has provided a venue where athletes can show their sponsors in person what they are capable of while providing manufactures bragging rights if victorious. The latter has become so important that companies are now importing talent from the cyclocross world cups for the race. That gamble paid off this year, barely, when LaPierre’s Francis Mourey took the sprint to win. I’d like to thank the gentleman who reached out on the course to throw beer directly in Ryan Trebon and my faces during the race. I was thirsty.