New Year's Eve - it's the time to reflect on 2021, and share some plans for RideCX.com and for myself coming up in 2022.
How much I rode
I didn't want to be the last guy to share my Strava "year in review", so let's get that out of the way first. I wish I'd reached 7,000 miles, but we lost a few days here at the end of the year due to a few very heavy rain days. Still a good result for me and a big improvement on miles/hours and active days compared with 2020. It's been many, many years since I rode 600 hours in a year. Good stuff.
Sales results: and thank you on the last day of the year
In addition to more riding for me, the 2021 sales at RideCX.com were up significantly from 2020 as well. Thanks so much for your business, for writing star ratings/reviews, and just generally for helping me spread the love of cyclocross!
I got to race cyclocross this year!
While there were a few pockets of cyclocross racing in the USA during 2020, the entire season was lost in Southern California with no racing at all. Cross was able to return in 2021 and I've already been able to race 5 times thanks to Team Redlands and SoCalCross.
Here's hoping for a continued return to normalcy. It was great to see friends and competitors out there!
GP Sven Nys Baal
Coming up tomorrow is the GP Sven Nys from Baal, Belgium, an annual New Year's Day tradition. Assuming you don't overdue it this evening, get up bright and early to watch this one on GCN Race Pass with the streaming. It's part of the X2O Badkamers Trofee series this year.
This one is worth watching because riders debut their new teams, and teams debut their new kits. For some reason in cyclocross, rider contracts run Jan 1 - Dec 31, which creates the unusual scenario of riders changing teams right in the middle of the season! The first race back can be a little disorienting because some riders won't be on their usual bikes and have new kit, so keep an eye out for those changes.
Rider transfers and retirements
As noted it's rider transfer season, here are a few to watch out for:
- German national champ Marcel Meisen isn't renewed at Alpecin-Fenix, and moves to the Stevens cyclocross team.
- Tim Merlier had quite a successful road season in 2021 and was rumored to slide over to QuickStep... but Alpecin-Fenix released an interview with him on the last day of the year, so perhaps not?
- Some sponsor changes too: Deceuninck stops with QuickStep, and signs on to sponsor Alpecin-Fenix instead.
- Philip Walsleben, former U23 cyclocross world champion, retires
- Promising British 'cross and road rider Ben Tulett heads to Ineos
- Gage Hecht moves over to Rally Cycling
Aspiring American juniors are once again in Europe building their skills and exposure on the world stage. Check out their blog for some interesting updates.
Mathieu van der Poel's status
Van der Poel has been in and out due to some health problems (back injury, and more recently a leg wound) that may have been triggered by his horrific crash during the Olympic Games. He briefly re-appeared to race 'cross but is now out for the foreseeable future with neither racing nor training currently on his calendar, leaving the 2022 World Championship trip in doubt.
My plans for 2022
On the business side, RideCX is expanding with some new product lines I'll be sharing with you soon.
On the personal side, my big upcoming challenge is the Rock Cobbler 9 at the beginning of February. This is a serious gravel ride (80-ish miles, 5500–6500 feet of climbing, mixed surfaces, hike-a-bike, stream crossings, etc.) that is probably my most ambitious athletic undertaking in quite a while.
In anticipation, I'm making a few equipment changes. I've ridden 1x single chainring bikes for cyclocross and gravel for about 5 years, but I'm going back to a double crankset for 2022 - largely in an attempt to bring lower gears, and a wider gear range, to help survive the Rock Cobbler.
At some point in 2022, I need a medical procedure on my elbow that will keep me off the bike for about a month. I'm hoping to put that in the rearview mirror well before the Fall 2022 cyclocross season, so I can come in fit and ready.
Happy New Year!
I wish you health, great results, and happiness in the upcoming year.