Age 30 and 'Cross About It

My name is Patrick Kulwicki. I'm the Product Manager for SportCrafters, and I just turned 30.

That's right, I'm no longer in my 20's. I have no idea what Snapchat is, I have never taken a "selfie", and I could not tell you one line from an Iggy Azalea song. It's not that I feel old... it's just that I don't feel "young" anymore.

I did two things on my 30th birthday.

First: Part my hair on the other side. Why? Why not, says I! You should try it. It's liberating.

Second: Sign up for a Men's CAT 4 cyclocross race. It was the first race in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup Series.

Perhaps it was the idea of my fleeting youth or the sheer volume of people that kept on saying to me: "So... do you feel 30??" but I decided to make some more ambitious goals for this cyclocross season. I felt this was something that might resonate with a lot of other people, so I thought it would be fun to document my progress/failures and share it on our blog.

For the next few weeks I want to give a rundown of my races in the Chicago Cross Cup. I'm recording them on a GoPro and also keeping track of my power/heart rate on a Quarq power meter.

My Goals (drum roll please!!):

  • Ugrade to a CAT 2 in CX by the end of the season
  • Get a Top 10 finish in a CX CAT 1/2/3 race in the Chicago Cross Cup Series
  • Race in the Masters 30+ Nationals in Austin, TX (Ok, this one will depend a little on finances, too...)
  • Not look like a total poseur while wearing my Giro Air Attack helmet (This might simply be impossible... but yes, I own one.)

My Cycling Background:

I love cycling and have been doing it close to my whole life.

Me, circa 1989. Mag Wheels. Yep.

I have never been an exceptional competitive cyclist. When I raced road, I was a mid-pack CAT 3; and as a mountain biker, I could essentially hold my own as a solid CAT 2 racer. I am starting this cyclocross season at the ass end of the CAT 4 pack. I've done a handful of CX races in my life. Meeting my goals will be tough, especially in the large Chicago CX scene. Almost every race is sold out with 100 riders who probably have similar ambitions.

My Beginining-of-the-Season "Stats":

  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male (Hopefully this won't change throughout the year... but that might depend on the quality of my flying re-mount)
  • Weight: 145 lbs
  • 1-Hour Threshold Power: 275W
  • FTP/KG: 4.19W/kg
  • Road CAT: 3
  • MTB CAT: 2
  • CX CAT: 4

My Gear:

  • Bike Frame: Early 2000's Redline Conquest Pro (aluminum), Cantilever
  • Components: SRAM CX-1
  • Power Meter: Quarq Red w/42T Xsync ring
  • Cassette: Force 11-32
  • Wheels: One set Mercury alloy tubulars glued with Clement MXP tires, One set Campy Record hubs, Velocity Escape rims glued with Challenge Limus tires
  • Camera: GoPro Hero 3 (borrowed)
  • Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy 3's

Gear Sidenote and Tips:

I'm totally happy with my setup this year! However, it took some time to get here. Here is some advice in a nutshell if you're new to cross:

I had horrible luck trying to run tubeless tires on my cross bike. I LOVE my Stan's Crest tubeless wheels on my mountain bike, but for some reason that same technology didn't translate to the Alpha 340 wheels on my cross bike. After burping tires a number of times this past year, I decided to ditch tubeless and get tubulars. I couldn't be happier with my choice. The Clement and Challenge tires I'm using hook up incredibly well. Also, SRAM's CX1 group is amazing! Last year, I was plagued with dropped chains running my Campy Record 10spd group. CX1 has made dropped chains a thing of the past.

Check out my report on my first 3 races!

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