The Road to CX Nationals 2018 Pt. 3 - Jen Malik

The Road to CX Nationals 2018 Pt. 3 - Jen Malik

Jen Malik Racing in Namur, Belgium at UCI World Cup #6

Jen Malik Racing in Namur, Belgium at UCI World Cup #6

What's your race at Nationals?

This year I will be competing in the D1 (Club) Collegiate National Championship on Jan. 10th for The Ohio State University Cycling Club and in the Elite race on Jan. 14th for the American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team.

What's your goal for this race?

I am usually very adamant about not setting placement goals but instead focusing on the components that lead to desired finish results... but the collegiate race is different. I will still have my standard goals of maintain my position at the start, consistent or negative split laps, and be smart tactically but I also have a big goal in mind too. I’ve had this goal ever since I evaluated what I wanted my goals in the sport to be. And that goal is WIN. I believe that if I have a clean race and perform how I have been all season that it is entirely possible. Last year I got my first taste of the Nationals podium and I have had my eyes on that top step all year.

For the Elite race, I have far more conservative but equally as important goals. I will either be starting on the 2nd or 3rd row and I plan to put that Euro start experience to good use! For this race I would like to make the initial split and then go for broke holding on as long as I can. My performance at Nationals last year was less than desirable so I am hoping to improve upon that.

What's your favorite memory from racing Cap City?

It would definitely have to be the Big Run short track race a few years ago where it was pouring rain and super muddy. I had originally gone to the race to help volunteer and then somehow ended up texting a bunch of ladies to come race in the mud. It was amazing! I ended up borrowing a bike, racing in white jeans (they did not survive the mud ha) and a t-shirt, and having an absolutely ridiculous time. Afterwards we all went out for tacos with everybody who dared brave the weather!

What did you learn from racing Cap City?

Cap City has taught me how to be a more grounded athlete and also the importance of a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA yo!). We aren’t a huge group and the leaders of Cap City Collective wear many hats and sacrifice a lot of their time/personal successes so that they can foster an environment for other people to achieve their dreams and have an amazing time doing so. As an athlete that has the luxury of showing up to races (sometimes even the day before) with everything ready to ride it is very easy to forget the year of planning that went behind a days worth of racing and teaching. Being able to see and help be a part of the Cap City Collective community is a welcomed reminder of what it takes to foster a successful and welcoming cycling community.

What's your highlight of this season?

This season I was able to accomplish a lot of my long term goals that I made a few years ago. I was selected to race in the domestic World Cup races, earned my first UCI podium(s), and was able to go race in Belgium. My absolute favorite moment of the season was while I was racing in Europe, Spencer Hackett tweeted at the announcers and they announced my name over the live stream! While simple, it reminded me how lucky I am to have such a close-knit and hella supportive Cyclocross family back home in Columbus which gives me all those warm and fuzzy happy feels!

Do you have any advice for new racers?

Take it all in! Once your race is done (and you cool down) go back out and find a section to watch and cheer on other riders or find a group of people cheering and join them (you will pretty much instantly make new friends this way too ha!). Also this gives you a chance to look at how other riders are getting through sections that may have been difficult in the race so you can learn for next time!

The Road to CX Nationals 2018 Pt. 2 - Josh Direen

The Road to CX Nationals 2018 Pt. 2 - Josh Direen

Josh 1.jpg

What's your race at Nationals?

I’ll be racing both Single Speed & Elite Men.

What's your goal for this race?

Top-5 SS & Top-20 Elites. I honestly just signed up for SS as an extra fast pre-ride + hard openers before the Elite race but I’m predicted to do pretty well so now I totally have the itch. But doing well against all the fastest dudes is still the main goal.

What's your favorite memory from racing Cap City?

Generally: the Cap City community, there’s such a great crew of people who promote and race there. HECKIN’ MISS Y’ALL!

More specifically: 2013 at Big Run, it was my first race after getting my 2 upgrade. I felt like I was going to freaking die, but got top-5 in the fast guy field. Looking back that race really catalyzed my transition from person who races bikes, to bike racer. It made me think “Woah, this isn’t just luck. I should actually be here.”

What did you learn from racing Cap City?

Mainly that CX, and pedaling hard in general, is the literal best. Bikes have been a part of my life for a long time but racing, and the community of people around it, has made such a huge impact on my life. Like, I met my freaking wife through the Paradise Garage team! Without Cap City CX (& the PG van) I can’t say I would have turned up on a converted track bike with 30mm “cx” tires and caliper road brakes and gotten bit by the racing bug.

What's your highlight of this season?

It’s been a pretty good one honestly!

First off, getting 9th on the second day of WSCXGP, snagging a couple UCI points and therefore qualifying for Elite Nationals again. Secondly, getting my category 1 upgrade! Thirdly, being Top-15 in every UCI race I’ve done (except for one where I was still 18th). And finally, generally being near the front and often on the podium at the local CO races. The fast guy field out here is freaking faaaast, so being able to hang near the front has been really cool.

Do you have any advice for new racers?

Sorry not sorry to get feel-y about it BUT, I feel that racing bikes requires a level of emotional vulnerability that can be super worthwhile. By racing you’re allowing yourself to fail in a public setting. You’re trying your absolute hardest and finding out, more often than not, that your hardest isn’t quite good enough to win, or get on the podium, or reach whatever goal you’d set. But by pushing through those feels and trying again (and again), you might surprise yourself. Even if some days a “win” just means finishing the hecking bike race because you’re too stubborn to quit it. Basically, bikes are tight and worth it- keep at it!

And if you were hoping for actual CX advice: go ride your bike on MTB trails and other dumb stuff and fall down a lot. Go hit ruts at the park til you fall down more. Go to the park, look like a fool and get on and off your bike a million times. And most importantly, when it comes to race day, always remember to SEND IT!

The Road to CX Nationals 2018 Pt. 1 - Chris Arndt

The Road to CX Nationals 2018 Pt. 1 - Chris Arndt

Chris Arndt - Soigner.jpg

What's your race at Nationals?

I won't be racing this year at Nationals. This will be the first year in a long time that I haven't lined up. Instead, I will be acting as the soigneur, mechanic and race day support for racers Jennifer Malik and former Columbus, Ohio native, now from Denver, Colorado, Josh Direen. I have been working in the pits for many riders throughout the years. In 2017, I was Jen's full-time pro MTB mechanic for Bikefettish - Paradise Garage and worked in the pits on and off for her while she rode for Granville Brewing - Stanridge Pro CX team in her first professional season along with Katsu Tanda. I have also served as a moonlight mechanic for pro riders like Yannick Eckmann, Katie Arnold, Jena Greaser, Rebecca Gross and most recently Merwin Davis.

Jen will be competing in the collegiate club national championship race for The Ohio State University and in the elite women's race for American Classic Pro Cyclocross Team.

 Josh will be competing in the elite men's race for Groove Subaru Excel Sports Team.

What's your goal for this race?

Both racers are coming off of probably their best seasons they have ever had, so I know their goals are lofty, but I will let them speak for themselves as to where they would like to finish.

As any race day mechanic, your goals are to have a race where you are needed as little as possible, but we are always prepared for the worst. At the professional level mechanics are all about helping their rider get in and out of the pits as fast and efficiently as possible. We can be the difference between winning, just off the podium or even dead last. The pits at these type of races can be even more stressful than just being out on course racing, so it will definitely be a time of focus. 

A lot of people ask why I take so much stuff to the pit when the rider already has a second bike and my answer is always, I would rather make one extra trip to the pit with all of the extra gear than not be prepared and be the reason my rider isn't able to do their absolute best.

My toolkit will be comprised of pretty much every major tool you would find in a bike shop that is easily transported. We generally like to take spare parts too and just do quick swaps if necessary. For instance, I will have spare shoes with cleats, pedals, saddle/seat post pre-assembled, quick links/chains, wheels with cassettes and tire pressure already set, etc..

Jen is usually supported in CX by her pro mechanic Miki Paulauskas, who Robert Marion may give a hard time, but is truly one of the best and most reliable in the business so the bar is going to be set pretty high for me.
 

Jen, Chris and Katsu post Charm City UCI CX in 2015 for Granville Brewing - Stanridge Pro CX

Jen, Chris and Katsu post Charm City UCI CX in 2015 for Granville Brewing - Stanridge Pro CX

What's your favorite memory from racing Cap City?

State Championships at Big Run Park in Columbus. As someone who has spent countless hours (most of them by myself or with my right-hand-man, super volunteer, Allen Cooper) cleaning, prepping, planting trees, clearing mulch, setting courses, etc.. It was really gratifying to see one of our best Cap City Cyclocross courses ever host the state championship.

What did you learn from racing Cap City?

Our community is strong, vibrant, and extremely welcoming to new riders, volunteers and businesses. We have had more new faces in 2017 than ever. The practice series is going strong, our race numbers are growing and the local community is hanging onto its mantra "PMA No Jerks." Heritage Cycles joined us as practice title sponsor in 2017 and is a bike shop located minutes away from Big Run Park in Grove City. Columbus Brewing Company loves giving back to the community through our race series and is our current title sponsor and Kenda, which is headquartered right here is relaunching their role in the CX community in the upcoming year. Westerville Bike shop is even back in the fold, providing neutral mechanical support in the pits. I am already looking forward to 2018!


What's your highlight of this season?

Spencer Hackett adding a new venue to the overall series. The Red Kite Coaching "Beach Party CX" was an awesome addition. We were lacking a course that featured sand since Alum Creek SP was dropped a few years ago and it looks like it is for the better. Buck Creek SP, the home of the race, has the potential to be one of our premier venues. The series has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. I have been to almost every major venue across the entire country and would put our top venues up against very best in the country. I don't think we can say, we don't have the necessary venues to run a premier CX series compared to the best in the country anymore. Now it is our job to get the word out and grow our local community.


Do you have any advice for new racers?

As a racer who is going to nationals or is thinking about going to nationals in the future (2018 will actually have two National Championships, because it has been moved to December and will be in Louisville, KY this cpming December) - don't put all your eggs in one basket. What I mean to say, is don't determine the success of your season based on a one-day race. Yeah, everyone wants to go out there and "win" a national championship, get on the podium or do really well. I don't mean don't target Nationals or other large races but, they are only a small part of your entire season. Rather than pin all your hopes on just one race (where anything can happen - mechanical, illness, etc..) look at the entire body of your race resume for the year and use that as a measuring stick for how the year went. If you win, podium or do well at nationals then that is just an added bonus.

As far as other advice attend the Lady Gnar Shredders CX Clinic in August and come to CX practice. You will be amazed at all of the knowledge out there and how much actually goes into having a successful season. It is more than just pedaling your bike.

We Are The Collective

We Are The Collective

We added multiple new features at Big Run in 2017!

We added multiple new features at Big Run in 2017!

We Are The Collective is a blog that is dedicated to highlighting the success of the central Ohio Cyclocross and MTB community, those who support us, what's coming up, what has happened and other cycling related things.

Before we launch our blog we wanted to give everyone a brief background on who we are, what we aren't and how you can help.

Cap City Collective:

Cap City Collective 501(c)3 is a non-profit organization formed specifically out of the need to develop a full-time off-road cycling training/racing facility in Columbus, to meet the current demand and also assist in the growth and development of the sport. It is comprised of three experienced individuals each with a strong tie to the local cycling community. Through the development of such a racing/training facility, we hope to develop a bike park that is capable of attracting the best riders/racers in the country to Columbus, Ohio by way of world-class events. Sustainability of this project can be met through the creation of daily programming, the establishment of a professional and/or youth development team and stimulating the growth of non-competitive and competitive cycling in the city and the region.

Cap City Collectives provides a high degree of experience in race directing, race promotion, course design, team development, budgeting, organization, program development and not to mention an exceptional amount professional experience.

  • Who we are - We are more than just three individuals, we are every cyclist, every club, every business that supports cycling. All clubs in Columbus including Cap City Cross are members of Cap City Collective. Note: all remaining funds no used for permit costs, course material costs etc..are also donated to Cap City Collective. Wait, I didn't know about this are you sure my club is involved? Yes! Since we started in 2012 every single club in Columbus has had a member been involved in some way or another.
  • So, what does this Cap City Collective do (what we do)? Do you charge your member clubs fees? No! We operate as an organization designed to bridge the gaps between clubs and unite the cities cycling community into one "tribe" that works for the benefit of all cyclists, clubs and other cycling related organizations. We rely solely on fundraising from race events, practices and clinics and donations to fund our organization.
  • So, is Cap City Collective and Cap City Cross the same thing? No! Cap City Collective is the non-profit that works directly with the city of Columbus to secure permits, develop Big Run Park - Derby Hill into a full-time bike park (CX and MTB), hosts weekly CX practices, assist with clinics where we develop CX racers from beginners to World Cup level professionals, such as Jen Malik. We aren't done there! We also host MTB events and are working very hard with groups such as COMBO, AOA, City of Columbus Rec. and Parks, Columbus Metro Parks (Chestnut Ridge), etc...to help bring you World Class trails and MTB events in or around Columbus. What about the kids? Don't worry we are working towards that as well. Our two main goals are to develop Big Run Park as a full-time bike venue and to create year-round programming that supports the development of youth cycling. Example: NICA MTB League between Columbus schools, weekly Kids on Bikes events, and a junior development team.
  • What about Cap City Cross? Cap City Cross is the group that is the series organizer for all of the Columbus area CX races you participate in - they too are also a member of Cap City Collective.
  • How do I help? If you work for a business who would be interested in sponsoring a venue/event/clinic or practice series have them contact us. Volunteer at CX practice or one of our CX or MTB club driven clinics, volunteer with the Cap City CX or MTB series or Grandview Crit, join COMBO and help out with trail days, get bring your friends to races even if it is only to spectate, help spread the word on social media by reposting our posts, our sponsors posts, your clubs posts, Cap City CX's posts, and COMBO's posts. A strong community presence on social media is key for us to succeed. Say thank you to the City of Columbus Rec. and Parks officials via email and on social media. Most importantly, buy product from the sponsors that support our races and events! Become an outspoken member of the community and get behind the groups that support us. Chose to take your bike to or buy from Heritage Cycles, Paradise Garage or Westville Bike Shop, buy coffee from Brioso Coffee, purchase Kenda MTB tires and when you are at a restaurant or bar choose to drink Columbus Brewing Company beer.