14 November, 2015

My son's racing now (and other stuff)!

Proud Papa! Notice the Tinker Juarez jersey!
Been cyclocross racing and it's a tough pill to swallow being an old man who used to rip it. I see the times of the young bucks and I admit, I get jealous because I can't lay those type of watts down from my wee pistons that did back-in-the-day. Now, I race because: it's fun (about 98% of the time), it's cool family time (whenever our teenage daughters can wake up!), I can eat junk (doughnuts, pizza, coke, then rinse and repeat) in moderation. To top it off, our son now races! It's cool. He's tried baseball (didn't make it this season after trying out), flag football (I think he liked it), and it seems he's really been bitten by the cyclocross racing bug. Karen and I got him his Specialized  Hotrock from Absolute Bikes in Salida and we keep it at our house (not his mother's), because it'll probably get mechanically ill there. So, when he's with Karen and I (we co-parent on alternating weekends and we have them over the summer) and there's a cyclocross race that weekend, that's what we do.
I've been trying to get an upgrade to become a Cat III cyclocross racer because I've gotten invited to race with a singlespeed team. I talked with our DS and he said it's okay to race on my geared Bianchi until I get the upgrade. Until then, I'm trying to finish top six. Holee mackeral it's hard racing here in Colorado especially when you're in my advanced years.

Today we raced Siena Lake. It snowed two days prior to the race and it was muddy for my 10:30 start time. At least the weather was above the thirties (fahrenheit for you non-English units people) as the week's slowly getting warmer. After the callup, the next most important thing about 'cross racing's getting a preview lap under your belt before the whistle blows so nothing's gonna make you grab a handful of brakes around the next blind corner causing you to take an embarrassing digger in front of the spectators (or your wife and kids). Wasn't able to preview so I wasn't able to process how I would approach and strategerize the two nasty, muddy, slick run ups. One after through a creek, and a long one where people were able to ride up it during the afternoon once it dried out a bit.

Holee Crap, I actually won! Unfortunately this was last week!

Warmed up pretty good and staged. I got a first row callup even! Our category goes so freaking fast, we caught the tail end of the senior men Cat IVs on the first lap. Yup, pandemonium ensured. That's when our group tried to bob and weave through them and I lost count of who got through. The numbering system on our backs didn't have a logical sequence so I didn't know who I was racing against in my group. The first quarter mile there was a nasty transition from the grass to the sidewalk; and some dude rolling on clinchers pinched ugly and flatted within 10 meters of the blowout. I'm finally running tubulars courtesy of my brother in-law and it's quite the game changer. I race against this guy Doug and he hollers out a play by play whenever I pass him or he passes me. It's kind of funny. Last race I got him, this race he podiumed. I had a blistering start and Doug and I moved through the fours fairly quick. On my fourth lap, the mud was so nasty on my run up (and like a complete novice) I ran my bike next to me like an outrigger and the mud collected ugly on my fork cluster. I couldn't even turn my tire so I had to pick mud out of the fork brace and five people passed me. The mud was so bad I couldn't even get my SPD cleat into my pedal. I am such a fair weather racer! This was my undoing and eventually I finished eighth. Two places out of upgrade points, where last week I actually won!
Muddy, people!
Yeah I won the Bluesky Cup. Know why? Because there was no damn mud! I guess if you put mud and inordinately long stretches of sand, I'm pretty damn useless as a racer.  I face planted on a downhill because I was coming in HOT baby and my tire sunk in deep, pasty chunk of mud. Lost some places there too. Third lap, no face planting here! It's amazing my cleats can still insert into my SPDs. It took a mighty big effort to jam my foot into them thar pedals. Needless to say I finished top ten-eighth, truth be told-and there was a smile on my face. It's a pretty amazing thing to have people yell at you at races, especially when it's your badass wife and kiddo. Now I have the phlegmatic, post-race cough after ingesting lots of pizza, Coca-Cola, and some Noodles & Company.
Flying the SingleBarrel Kit!
This drop-in was rather nasty but I rode it! Didn't help my finish though. That's my trusty Bianchi people! Love it! Need to clean her though, she probably has about 10 pounds of dried, caked-on mud on her!

To sum: family time's exponentially meaningful at cross races! Hope you're lucky enough to have athletic kids; personally, I hit the jackpot with my family.

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