11 October, 2012

Cyclocross racing on a Wednesday night.

Been a whirlwind of a teaching year.  Not really a year but a quarter.  It flew by.  So many developments  coupled with the workload (self-inflicted, mind you) can make one go nutty, so what's a cyclist to do to alleviate the stress and get under the temporary guise of sanity?  Ride, ride, occasionally sneak in a race, and have a supportive person and place to land.

So with the end of the quarter comes the time limited impetus to grade the final projects, exams, and other delinquent assignments by day's end.  Even though mission was accomplished it's only through trading off sleep for work.  Yeah it was cumbersome but the next day was a day without kids.  A day our collegiate coaches at the Professional Development building here at my district thought it would be helpful if we planned the Standards for the new Chemistry text we're piloting.  Okay no more work but to make a short story long, it was a day out of the classroom.  That meant not the usual crowd control therefore different kinds of stressors were put in place because we had to rough-out our second quarter standardized goals with the National Science Foundation's.   Day's done time to race!!

Since I live in the hinterlands here in the Front Range it takes me about 45 minutes to get to the event out in Golden.  I drive like Satan's coachman and I make it with 15 minutes to spare.  Pin my numbers on my long sleeve skin suit, wiggle into it, crouch down and pee next to my truck, get on my bike and wait for my callup.  82 hominids also decided to race my event this evening.  82!  The elite girls go before us and we're off in two minutes.

He counts us down and boom we're 15 deep steamrolling into the single track, sharp right turner.  I line up 10th and I see my teammate Brad killing it off the front.  No chill drafting even in 10th.  Gaps are already forming and I'm thinking I hope I keep my position.  Sure enough a group of five rolls away and the five I'm behind are lollygagging.  I go for the pass whenever I can but they shut me down on the straightaways on my 29er.  Passing in an XC mountain bike race is easier than a pass in a cyclocross race.  They're kind of downright dickheaded when you are the passer and they are the passee.  I pass some, I get passed back, I pass some more then we hit the pack of women.  Passing now becomes a vacillating process of artform and downright road raging (I'm not a dick when I pass the girls).

We roll through the pack of women and the group of five that gapped us are gone.  So I'm drafting 10th just biding my time making sure I don't get passed and keeping the throttle open enough so there's little to no daylight in-between my front tire and 9th place's rear.

On the next to last barricade, I click out, slightly lose my balance and I crash.  What the?....  I even hear the crowd go, "ooooohhhh!"  I get passed by two people!  I get on my bike after the barricades and I drop it in the largest gear, lock out my fork and pass 'em right back before the righthand sweeper.  Take that suckas!!!

Bell lap, time to bust a move.  On the long uphill straightaway I sprint past 9th and oddly enough, he doesn't stay on my wheel.  So why is that?  He accelerates when he hears me winding it up, shuts me down before the turn but when I burn a match drag racing past him he dies?  Weird.  Passing the next two is difficult.  I keep getting shut down and the finish line is coming closer.  There's a particularly serpentine part of the course that's poorly marked and just right before the left hander, I short cut the apex of the course around a rather large bush and pass 'em.  I don't feel bad because again, they're not on my wheel.  Weird isn't it?

There's a long-ish straightaway where the potential to get passed once more looms in my reptilian brain stem.  So my strategy is to burn my remaining book of matches on a portaging portion of loose dirt while they portage, I ride and put some daylight between us.  Okay they're clicking out, stepping through, throwing it on their writing hand shoulder, and I'm guttering the course right next to the roughway pedaling like a fiend, ever so slightly getting spatially even with them.  Once we're on flat ground I get the gap because they lose time re-mounting their steeds, whereas I'm already marching the largest gear Penelope has, dieseling my baby towards the finish line.

I put about a two car lengths on 'em because officially I am dug deep and my watts are dropping off to the pedals.  Keep looking back and the gap's staying consistent.  One more steep bump and the finish line's around the bend.  I sprint to 6th!  My teammate takes second, he couldn't get around number 1.  Boo to number one.

My teammate Brad's 2nd and I'm down in 6th.  Go Natural Grocers!

My Airborne, Penelope, did me rightly-even crashing!  Thank you Eric and Jeremy!  And thank you legs and thank you Natural Grocers!

We, my teammate Brad and I, race the next higher skill level group after our wave and I. Am. Done!  I finished 17 out of 41?  Brad's on another plane of fitness.  Oh well, tired as I am I have a rather silly grin displacing the contours of my face!  On my way home, I eat an entire 13" pizza with my other teammate and complicitor, Kenny L at Kaos pizza near his hip house in the hip part of Denver. 

Did I mention I'm going to Moab this weekend with my honey?  Oh boy-like Christmas y'all!  What a way to end the week.

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