Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Second verse, same as the first

(Photo by kona girl, touched by GIMP)

Note to self: cross bikes are not to be used in mountain bike races, ever.

I raced at Wakefield today on my cyclocross bike. I was slow as hell (probably a whole 2-3 minutes slower than last week) but I had fun, lot's of it. I had it all planned out. I would try to get into the top ten off the start, blow myself up running up the gravel road climb, and hang on for dear life for the rest of the race. Just maybe I could beat my time last week. Well it didn't quite work out that way. 5 seconds into the race, my skinny tires start sliding out. I lock handlebars with someone and hit the gravel hard. I manage to take out about 4 riders behind me and cause a major traffic jam. As I lay there hoping no one would run over me, I remember thinking, "Gee, my first pile up. Cool!" I get up, but the surge of adrenaline has me drained. I have nothing left in my legs to run up the hill, so I manage a pathetic jog/walk. By this time the entire singlespeed class is way ahead of me. I get to the top of the hill dead last as someone yells, "cyclocross rules!" Bwaahahhaaahaaa!

I manage to catch 3 or 4 riders, but that's it. After the first lap, both my hands go numb (yup, I left my gloves in the car). The skinny tires and the "aerodynamic" riding position amplify every bump on the trail. I have to ease up. I suddenly realize that even though the cross bike felt good for a casual ride, racing is an entirely different beast. I try my best, but by the end of the second lap I realize that I'm not going to catch my mid-pack homies from last week: Chunk, Butch, Foley, Stu, and my teammates Blake and Todd. Somewhere along the way I pass Erin, who has pulled off the trail to fix a flat. He's also riding singlespeed cross. For the rest of the race I'm looking over my shoulder for him, thinking he's gonna pass me any minute. That's my only motivation to ride faster. I can feel the gu that I downed coming back up my throat. I manage to hold off heaving on the trail and finish up the race without further incident. Butch, Stu, and Foley, I heard later, sprinted for the finish. Foley is on fire. He's easily the most improved rider this season. If I can keep him in sight for one lap at the next race, I'll consider it a personal victory.

The race ends only about an hour before the sky opens up and rain starts pouring down. I think I'll take a break from racing for awhile, say for about two weeks? I'll recharge by spending the long weekend at Jim Thorpe, biking, being a tourist, and hanging out with friends, family, and that rickyd fella. Then I'll dust off the cross bike for the next race, or maybe not.

Epilogue: I somehow got registered in the Sport class even though I raced Singlespeed (last minute shuffle). The official results show me as DNF in Sport, but in reality I think I was 21st (AGAIN! Waahoo!) in the singlespeed class.


Blogger Marc from Human Resources said...

It's like a knife at a gun fight. I think everyone who loves their cross bike, thinks it's a great idea to race it in a mountain bike race, until you actually do it. It's like some sick right of passage thing. A knife to a damn gun fight... Great race keep up the good stuff...

6:10 PM

Blogger Your Name Here said...

Have a good weekend, Joe. Y'all will have a blast up there.

Keep the rubber side down.


12:35 PM


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