I thought Java Johnny's 2008 was dialed. After all, Katie told me after the race "this is probably the most fun course I ever do". And she races in what to an Ohoioan are the promised lands of 'cross; East coast, West coast; even Yurrup. If you ever met Katie in person you would know that she is absolutely, perfectly, graceful. She may say that to every promoter, but I'm going to believe her. Sunset is a small park. I like to call it intimate. I just didn't think I could fit it all in any better and still have a long (3.4km) course.
But after last year - my friendly UCI comissaire told me I really ought to have a paved start and a paved finish. I disagreed. I am an old guy and my bones mend slowly and I've raced enough to know I like a nice grass start even better. And he also told me that the elite riders from all around the U.S. and those national champions from Yurrup and such really can't be expected to dismount on the right side of their bikes, so I ought to not have a double left-handed pit. I disagreed again - I like to put some technical "elements" into the course to make it interesting, and a wrong- handed pit is a technical element in my 'cross obsessed mind. Besides, I'm left handed.
So I succumbed. 2009 Java Johnny's - Lionhearts has a paved uphill start, paved finish, and a double "right hand" pit. A lot of the same elements as in the past, just linked together a little differently.
I have also upgraded my switchbacks. These debuted in 2007 and Barry Wicks called them "HOKIE". Actually he said "sort of hokie" but I only heard the last word. So this year I think it will be the physically hardest element of the course. Instead of zig-zagging back and forth up the hill, I decided that each zag should just go all the way back to the bottom. Barry - you'll have to let me know - are they even more hokie (probably), or what.
THE REALLY BIG NEWS on the Java Johnny's course is that the kids course will be totally separate and free-standing this year. The little stars of tomorrow, who really aren't very good at sitting and watching anyway, can ride all day long if they want to. I always tried to give the youth event a good chunk of time on the schedule. This year is an upgrade. Their own course totally. It will be OK if the senior riders want to warm up there, but first read this disclaimer: Ryan, Barry - the kids start / finish banner was not designed for you guys. You may need to work on a little 'cross bike limbo.
Oh - one more change for 2009. We will try and remember to turn on the hot water heater for the showers this year.