This Bassist Can ‘Cross
13 August 2015
Last season saw a new rider in the ranks for the Elite Men of NorCal Nevada cyclocross. Racing for Voler/HRS/Rock Lobster, the relative unknown ghosted into the region with an impressive year of results. He began the season with four top-tens before running off eight podium finishes. Amongst that latter span were two first place finishes, at Maxwell Park (Santa Rosa Cup CX) and Stafford Lake (NCCX), against very good competition. In particular, both of those wins were against team mate Scott Chapin in the field.
Max Judelson introduced himself with stealth and aplomb last year but this season now has to contend with a field that knows his excellent abilities all too well. He will continue to add to the region’s competitiveness in the Elite ranks.
It’s About the Hang
Judelson comes from Rocklin County in New York State, where he first began cross-country mountain biking. His next foray into the bicycle racing occurred as he attended the Boston Conservatory. After six years in Boston, he wanted a change, acknowledging “people love California and I see why.”
“When I moved out here,” recalled Judelson, “I called up Paul [Sadoff] at Rock Lobster. He had remembered seeing me in a race and was totally into having me on the team. That has been a huge resource for me because I’ve never been on a team before.
“[Sadoff] was a really nice guy who had some serious musical interests and was very generous with offering a spot with the team. That was the best opportunity for me. I was trying to raise money for me as an individual and that wasn’t going so well. I had ridden on other factory bikes, carbon fiber, really light bikes, but [Sadoff’s] bikes just handle really well and are predictable. That’s fantastic.
“Everyone on Rock Lobster has another life that they lead and it’s not bikes all the time. That’s been really awesome. Kailin Waterman and Kelly Chang live close by and its awesome to see them outside of bike racing. Rock Lobster was a hell of a party in Austin. Rock Lobsters are party animals. It was more about the hang and the party than abut the race which is awesome.
“Last year was my second full season as an Elite so I don’t know a whole lot about the cyclocross scene anywhere. The racing here is great and for the most part the courses are fun. The people are having more fun than on the East Coast. It’s just as competitive and hard but people are having more fun here.
“I like the CCCX races a lot. I only got a chance to do one of the Santa Cruz series and that was the Fairgrounds. It was super muddy and a fun race. I hear that they put on really good courses. The Coyote Point race was fun too. Many of the other courses I’m not suited for that much.”
Jam with this Bassist
“I feel I made a lot of progress this year racing here. Just figuring out more tactical ideas and better ways to prepare. There was a CCCX race where I got beat by Justin Robinson and Aaron Bradford. I figured out what I was good at in that race. I have quick bursts, pretty fast, but I can’t sustain them very much. I have a lot of power coming out of corners. That’s kind of my one-trick pony. That’s where I am able to make gaps on people and I learned that I have to set myself up for that type of game. That was one of my best races as I was able to figure out this could potentially work again.”
Judelson is aiming for 25 local races for the upcoming season and, in much bravado, actually wants to be in many of the same races as Tobin Ortenblad. Finishing in the top 15 of UCI C2 races (LA, Cycle Smart, Warwick) is another of Judelson’s goals.
As a musician, Judelson works locally with dancers and dancing, some of it with the “instrumental” help of his girlfriend, a contemporary dancer herself. He plays the upright base and cello and he likes to play jazz, folk music, musicals, and opera. Judelson appreciates the contrast between bicycle racing and music.
“In the music and art profession it’s very open ended,” continued Judelson. “You can always promote yourself more, you can always follow up more with contacts and venues. I love this never ending career. Bicycle racing is a release from my [musical] career. During the season sometimes I’ll have gigs Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights. By the time Monday rolls around it’s time for a nap.
“My upbringing was very centered around music and my family supported bicycle racing. But they were happy to see me pursue music more than bike racing.”
The region’s cyclocross community can remain well pleased that Judelson continues to race and has an opportunity to get to know more about him. Though he is no longer the dark horse of last year, expectation suggests he will at least continue to achieve top results for the upcoming season. Everyone can expect more from him and the Rock Lobster Cyclocross team.
Max Judelson’s Choice of Hand-up
“Bacon is great. I love bacon. Hand ups are always better with booze and nothing is better than tequila. A good hand up would surely benefit from some tequila.”