02 December, 2012

Great Week, Bad 'Cross Day

So I've recently acquired an Airborne Delta (her name's Delilah) cyclocross bike.  Thought I'd be killing it on the scene, 'cept it's the other way 'round.  I'm getting killed y'all!  Not literally but I thought I could throw a leg over her fast self and transition quickly to riding skinny 700cm tires with no shocks, drop handlebars out here in the ever changing, non-consistent riding surfaces/topography of Front Range 'cross courses.   

Ha!  I am a Cat VI.  My first race ever on Delilah, at Bandimere Speedway-the Quarter Mile Cross-resulted in a 14th place finish and a crash.  The skinny tires are about a beeyatch y'all!  Too many years of late braking, early entry, inside-outside-inside, super hard leaning counter steering ain't what 'cross turning's about.  I don't know which is harder-trying not to brake in loose gravelly, sand, asphalt chunks while negotiating serpentine turns; or, going over wet railroad tracks!  It's not confidence inspiring.

Today I did a race in Louisville and not only did I crash but apathy settled in.  I came from a road background so hitting it like a scalded cat when the firing gun goes off in crits is what I'm used to.  However, today when they counted us down-and I had a nice placing from my callup-I just let the riders pass me as we were gunning it toward the singletrack and that's when my race was over.  I was slotted so far back in the pack I turned into a tourist.  I was at the mercy of the long line of riders' pace in front of me while the lead group extended their lead.  It sucked.  It took the wind out of my sails.  Passing with no shocks in the rough where my confidence is lacking because of not enough hours on Delilah was not an option either.  So I had to suck it up until it single filed into skill level. 

That's when I started picking them off; but I was so far off the back, my picking wouldn't even make it halfway.  That's also when I crashed.  Crashed so hard it knocked my rear wheel out of its dropout.  By the time I put loosened my quick release and centered the axle back in the dropouts at least six perambulating-by-wheels hominids passed me.  It took a while to pass 'em back up but pass 'em I did.  Didn't do me any good.

Bad day.  Lost it mentally.  Crashed like a novice.  Crappy placing so no points for team overall.  I had no focus.  Completely my fault.  'Twas a learning experience.  Wished I had been on Penelope.  Half the courses here favor a 29er anyways; but I'm making the transition to be a 'cross rider.  Need more hours doing race stuff on the skinny tires and practicing my dismount at speed.  I can run and portage with the best of 'em.  I can absolutely bury myself on the flats and put the chain on the large-small and put multiple car lengths on my chasers but when the twisties show-up they've closed the gap.  Need to learn how to flow through that stuff.  Noticed that my hands are on the drops in the twisties.  Don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.   That lighting of novicity ain't gonna strike this kid twice!

Silver linings to save the day?  Chris, the two Neils from Wyoming representing Natural Grocers, Joe, and Rob showed up at the race and afterwards Chris shared his Modus Operandi 12-pack with us in the blistering heat here in Colorado on the first day of December and we laughed; and, I went to dinner with Karen and her brother later that evening-and we laughed there too.  Not too bad overall I suppose...

I'm riding with my friend and new teammate Kevin tomorrow so I'll forget about my Cat VI self temporarily while on my road bike enjoying the Front Range's current heatwave.


Groover said...

Congrats to the new stead! Where are the photos? :-)

Have a peaceful, crash-free, unseasonably warm festive season!

...it's me!... said...

Thanks Groover!

Fair enough, I'll post pictures on the next one!

The same sentiments for your upcoming season.