December 02, 2007

Psycho-cross Time!

Watching Mandy and the girls was so much fun yesterday. It is easy to see other people suffer when you can take some pictures and scream at them to push it a little more. ;-) We had such a fun time watching and because of the short loop courses it is pretty easy to keep up with all of the action.

What a crazy sport! Where else can you find the competitors looking forward to bad weather… cold, wet and hopefully muddy . . . mix in some all-out puke encouraging efforts on a rigid bike with 1” wide tires going through and over all types of obstacles and you have yourself a merry little cross race. I was so excited to give it a go!!

Yesterday, Monique and I both agreed that we would give the psycho a try today but when we awoke there was no changing Monique's mind about sitting this one out. As fun as it was to watch, her legs were just too far gone. That 20K through the hills yesterday took a lot out of us. Fortunately for me, my mind was stuck on doing the cyclocross even if it was going to be painful. Or was that why I was doing it in the first place?

My race was the first heat of the day so I got to ride a few sections to warm up before we got started. However, staying warm in it's self was a challenge. California . . . and my truck display for outside temp was holding a constant temp of 38 degrees. Cold.

Today the course had a bit of a change and we would be racing in the opposite direction with a few new turns and climbs added for fun. My first few attempts at running off and over the barriers and logs were anything but graceful but produced a permasmile that would see me to the starting line. Cyclocross, where have you been all of my life : - )

I told myself I would go slow and just get a feel for what this is all about but I should have known myself better. I even started in the back of the pack on our heat so I would chill a bit since I have been sick. No need to get all worked up and worn out but it would be an interesting race. Navigating the tight turns and trying to keep a balance between sprinting, not blowing up and being graceful on and off the bike, it is so much fun that words just cannot describe. It is like the bike portion of an adventure race on fast forward…. Like Xterra with cool crowds but funny bikes. The familiar pain of running fast enough and getting back on the with bike just enough oxygen to turn your legs with some power… fun.

I thought I should just try to stay near the front pack and hold a good pace but one by one I saw guys either fade or crash until the front pack came to me. It was nice to push out of the pack and get some open turns too. At one turn up and around a wall, a guys pedal went into my front spokes… Luckily, we were not moving very fast. Over a wall and another guy in front of me superman’s on the street. Ouch…

The race was on and the nature of the cross was showing it takes multiple talents to just stay in the race. I actually felt pretty good because I had been sitting around and just working so much lately that it felt good to push. No pain from yesterdays run and I was having so much fun in the dirt. Riding my 29er, even with the front sus locked out was pretty plush on the downhills and I didnt need to hold back at all. Second lap and I am now out front after the leader drops his chain over a barrier. Aghh.. Now I know the end is going to be painful and I cannot slow down.

After leading for about two and a half laps and about 10 minutes left in the race I get a reality slap that I cannot bunny hop up a little curb and blow my back tire. Well, better than blowing up I thought and I started walking back but it was smiles the entire way. Cyclocross is Awesome!!! I think God may have been saving me by that flat too. I need some rest and that last 10 minutes was going to put me over the top for sure. Now I have some saved for later and a hunger for the cross. I need that in more ways than one.

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