Sunday, October 09, 2005
The first of many.
I woke up this morning and shortly after found out that it was raining along the front range. I couldn't have been happier since it's my understanding that a cross race just isn't a cross race without crummy weather. As you can tell I was pretty happy. I met Scott Wenzel and Mark Cooper in the International Bike parking lot and we headed off to Boulder. Upon arrival I realized just how tough this race was going to be. The course consisted of about half on sand and the other half mixed between gravel, dirt, and pavement. Since all the sand was along the beach, parts of the course were even muddy and wet.
Overall I liked the way it looked, there was a really long, uphill run-up and that scared me a little, but what can you do? The race started and I instantly found myself in 3rd, then 2nd, and on the second lap I closed the gap to the leader. It was a kid from Durango that I've raced mountain bikes (and road) against since I was a freshman. I've kind've gotten to know him over the years, and we're usually close to the same fitness although I seem to beat him on the road, and he beats me on the dirt. I figured I'd try to play with his head a little so I caught my breath the best I could and in the freshest, non-panting voice I said, "Hey Bryce, how have you been?" He responded a little flustered and I could tell he was breathing hard. I expected him to get nervous, what I didn't expect was for him to pull over at the next dismount and tell me to pass him. I didn't expect him to do this, but I took advantage of the situation. I led for most of that lap, only to get passed on the next lap through the second long sandy part. The sand was really tough for me, but by the end of the race I felt 100% better riding through it than I did the first few laps.
I floundered in the sand the next few laps and lost a couple more positions. A fellow Rocky Mounts racer rode the sand next to me one lap yelling at me telling me what to do and how to handle the sand better. Although I expected this to annoy me in a very extreme way, it didn't, it actually helped me a ton. What did annoy me was him running the run up with me, making me to run it faster. You see sometimes you can only run so fast and I was at that point. By the time I got back on my bike I was totally cross-eye with my tongue hanging out. The run-up was really hard and it got much harder every lap.
By the end, as one of Scott's video's shows, I could barely get my bike over the barrier. I guess the leader of my race got pulled because he was actually a Cat 3 that started with the 4's and didn't know it. He must have felt like a rockstar leading those 3 or 4 laps, only to find out he wasn't in his race. The last two laps things started to click a little in the sand and I made up one position in the final sandpit and held onto it for the finish. Overall to race hurt as bad as anything I've ever done on a bike. I don't know if I should say it hurt worse than anything I've done because I tend to say that every time I finish a race, but it was quite painful, the kind've effort that leaves you feeling queezy for an hour or so afterward. I ended up in 3rd so I shouldn't complain. I was really hoping for a win, but being my first race I still have a lot to learn. I wasted a lot of energy around the course today that I should've put toward riding faster rather than zig-zagging through the sand, or trying not to tip over on my dismounts. Next race will be a different story. I also should've started a little slower, had I hung with the 3 that got kicked out of our race I would've had a solid lead once he was gone. Oh well, you learn something everyday right? That brings me to my next point.
What I learned this weekend:
#1 If you eat 5 clif bars, get on your bike and get sick, it's not because you didn't eat enough, especially if there was some secret Ramen in there earlier in the morning.
#2 Don't offer to drive someone home thinking they'll refuse since it's an hour and a half out of your way, they just may take you up on it.
#3 ALWAYS wear undergarments to the doctor, even if you think you may have to take them off later.
#4 I'm okay with myself being a Hillary Duff fan.
#5 The iPod Nano may be the coolest thing apple has come out with.
#6 When wheelbuilding, if at first you don't succeed, give up, you'll only waste more time and get more frustrated.
#7 Stalkers are more creepy than they are flattering.
#8 Don't jerk the wheel of your car to scare the passengers if they have a higher tolerance for near death experiences than you do.
#9 Cross racing hurts, but it's fun.
#10 All the ducks are swimming in the water. Falda-ralda-ralda falda-ralda-ralda.
P.S. I'd like to personally congratulate Justin Williamson on all he accomplished this weekend. After completing a nearly inhuman feat, he still has the strength to update his site for the first real time since last spring. Thanks Prospect S.D. you're a real inspiration to us all.