Sunday, October 18, 2009

I love cyclocross--part 3

This morning I awoke to metaphorically stand at a fork in the road. It was just before 6:00am, Sunday, and it was in the 30's and raining outside.

On the one side was my bed. My nice warm bed. It was still dark outside, so logically, I should go back to sleep. My wonderful wife was soundly sleeping, and what could be better than snuggling up to her on this cold, dark, rainy morning. I had 100lbs of dogs at the foot of the bed too-which serve as de facto heaters. They'd like me to go back to sleep too. I could sleep in, then have a relaxing morning, leisurely enjoy my coffee, and slowly embrace the day.

On the other side was a race. A cyclocross race. Sure, I had just raced yesterday, and I certainly had some fatigue in the legs, but the cyclocross season is short, and with me working some weekends, I want to hit as many races as I can. If I opted to race, I'd have to pack my stuff into the car, drive an hour, then race for nearly an hour in temps just above freezing, with wind, rain and MUD. In addition to the hour's drive, and the effort of racing, I'd also have plenty of bike cleaning ahead of my should I choose to race. My bike, would no doubt, be caked in mud and crud, not to mention my clothes that would probably not be recognizable. It was an awful lot of work...and for what? To push myself to the brink of passing out to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack?

You know how I chose.

The drive to Wrentham was uneventful but very wet. Unfortunately, I mis-read my directions and went the wrong way off the highway. This detour set me back by only about 15 minutes, but the clock was ticking.... I hadn't pre-registered and registration closed 30 minutes before start time. I missed the deadline by about 10 minutes. I threw myself on the mercy of the race officials and the let me sign up. That was the good news. The bad news was that I had about 15 minutes to get my bike, get changed, and get to the start line. To hell with warming up!

I ran back to my car and changed faster than Superman in a phone booth (remember phone booths?).

I got to the start line in just enough time to stand, shivering in the cold rain, for 5 minutes or so. I hadn't pre-ridden the course so I had no idea what I was in for. I hadn't warmed up except for my run to the car, and I was wondering how deep of a hurt I'd be in because of my race yesterday. Oh, and because I was the last person to sign up for the race, I was at the absolute back of the pack for the start. Yeah!

The course was definitely a roadie course-fast power sections and not very technical. However, the rain changed things a bit as every corner was super slick. I may not be the strongest rider (as evidenced by my results), but as least I can keep my bike upright... Anyway, all in all, I really liked the course, and the cold rain and slick mud made it even better.

Don't ask how I did... I don't know. Results weren't posted when I left. I didn't win and I didn't come in last. The important thing is that I didn't get beat by the guy on the bike with fenders and a rear rack. Sure, he was ahead of me at one point, but damn it, I wasn't going out like that!

Ironically, my bike, which has disc brakes (perfect for wet and muddy races), had no braking power. I actually had to drag my foot on some turns to slow down. Hmmm... I still didn't fall though.

Anyway, after the race, I stuck around to snap a few shots, but I wanted to head home to start the long cleaning process. The drive home was equally rainy and windy, but unfortunately, not enough to actually clean my bike. As I had already shut my hoses off at home for the winter, I had to stop at a car wash to hose the bike down. It now sits in the basement waiting to be stripped and down and built back up. And what's up with the brakes?

It would have been nice to have stayed in bed and slept a little late, but that race was a blast. Back to back races are good, and now I've got about two weeks to get the bike ready for the next race... I love cyclocross!

Enjoy some more random pics!

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