Sunday, October 05, 2008
I think those that engage in some form of self propelled racing must have some kind of latent masochistic qualities. What else could explain why we put ourselves through agony, swearing that we will never do a race again, only to start thinking about the next race a half hour after the last one is over?
I can't count the number of times I have been in the middle of a race and tell myself that this is really stupid, it hurts too much to continue and if I stopped, the pain would be over. Actually I can count the times, darn near every race. But I usually struggle through to the end and even start to enjoy it.
Today I decided to enter the Stony cyclocross race and enter the singlespeed class. Since I don't own a true 'cross bike anymore but do have a very lightweight SS I thought it would be easier, and dare I say fun? And in a way it was. Besides, I hadn’t done a ‘cross race in years.
I knew going into the race my legs would be tired after training hard a couple of days earlier in the week. And yesterday some of my CMR team got together for a moderate back road ride and then a casual ride to the cider mill. Riding four hours on the day before a race is not on the list of recommended race preparations.
Today was one of those beautiful Michigan fall mornings with bright sunlight and chilly temperatures. The trees are starting to turn color and the Stony course is right next to the lake; part of the course includes riding (or running) on the beach.
I got out to the park early enough to take a few laps around the approximately two mile course to get reacquainted with a 'cross course and also practice my dismounts and mounts as we ran over the barriers. I could tell the mostly grass course was going to be tough pedaling and wished I had made my gearing a little easier.
When our race started we lined up in the back of the B racers and were given the green light 30 seconds after the B guys took off. I got to the front but it wasn't too long before the series leader passed me. I stayed on his wheel and passed him back shortly after.
He passed me again and the chase was on. I stayed right behind him but in one of the tight 180 degree corners I slid out and he opened a gap. I started to close it but the efforts from earlier in the week were making themselves known. He started to pull away, eventually finishing a minuter in front of me.
I was content to try and pick off as many of the B guys as I could since I had a comfortable lead ahead of second by over 5 minutes. I don't know the final results but I think I managed to finish in front of a number of younger B riders. Actually I think everyone was younger than me in this wave. Later I heard from some of my friends watching that someone had made a comment about "the old guy racing a SS" that was passing the geared riders. I resemble that remark!
The total race time was about 47 minutes and is one of the hardest types of racing in bicycling. But also one of the most fun as there is always someone around you or in front of you to catch. Racing on my mountain bike allowed me an advantage in some of the corners as I could dive inside people to take the line.
The cross season has just started but I'm not sure how many more I will have the chance to do based on other events coming up. It was fun though, in a masochistic sort of way.
Getting the holeshot