I don't know about the rest of you. But race prep for me usually starts the day before. Figuring out what gear I'm going to need to take, what the weather report is, driving directions, doing final check on the bike, pinning my race number, making sure I have cash, gas, cowbell and all the other stuff that makes the day of a race go alot smoother. I love lists. As you can tell from a few of my previous posts here, here, and here. I guess I'm anal retentive. Pff, whatever.
But as prepared as you can be sometimes the biggest battle you do all day long is the one to get out of bed. That's kinda how my day started. The alarm went off at 6 am and all I could hear was the rain falling and the wind blowing. And just for a couple of seconds (OK, minutes) I played the little game. Do I really want to do this? I'm in a nice warm bed and a beautiful woman next to me. It's just one race. There will be more... But that only lasts for a second.
Soon I remembered that that glory out on the race course isn't just going to grab itself. So I'm up and getting dressed and eating my pre-race meal and puttering around (Am I the only one who does this besides really old people?). I hop into the car. Go get some coffee (Mmmm. Coffee.) and I'm off to the races.
On the drive up I'm noticing a couple of things. First, I was getting great gas mileage. Probably from the 20-30 mph tailwind I had the whole way up there. Second, that every once in a while there would be a deluge of such mammoth proportions that I almost felt the need to pull the car over and wait it out (this was a theme that seemed to follow through pretty much the whole day).
Once I got to PIR and parked (The lot is a long way away from the actual course.) I paid my money and started to recon the course. It was very similar to last years course which made me feel a little better. Fat guys don't like a lot of hills...
I came across the Capitol Velo, Buy Local and The Bike Peddler tent complex (special velvet roped VIP area included) . So I stopped by to say hello to the boys and girls and hangout for a while.
That is one of my favorite things about cyclocross. It's the hanging out between races. Talking, cheering on the other racers and just the general party atmosphere of it all. Even when its pissing rain and you have to hold the tent down to keep it from blowing away (yes that part happened). Good times!
So I was at the Capitol Velo tent until right before my race just trying to stay warm. I made my way through the cattle call that is Cross Crusade races (100+ starters in my race, almost 200 in the Master 35+ race!). Unfortunately I've never placed high enough to get a real call up so I have to wait it out with everyone else for my number (They use the last digit in your race number to call you up. It's suppose to be random and fair but I always seem to end up somewhere in the back.) to be called. I ended up in the middle back. Meh, what can you do?
Once the race was under way I started to pass quite a few people. Which always feels good. I mean, at least I whooped up on somebody! But the course was already pretty chewed up from the Beginners. And then after about 2 laps from our field it was really sloppy. The wind howled almost the entire time. I was always really grateful for the tailwind and cursing the headwind. So I guess it evened out in the end.
The course is flat which always helps me (please refer to fat guy rule). The technical sections were a definite learning process. It took almost the entire race to figure out the proper lines to take. But it was very gratifying to at lease get them down eventually. I guess practice does make perfect.
But on the second lap the coolest thing happened... I won a GoPro camera!
There is a contest within the race. If you catch the Black Knight (a guy on a bike with flags in his back pocket) and grab one of his flags you win a camera. But the thing is he cheats. He can pop in and off the course anytime he wants to. And I just happened to be lucky enough to have him appear right after the bleachers about 20 yards in front of me and I sprinted up to him and grabbed a flag. To surreal....
To be sure there will be some video posted up here using it in the near future! I'm a bit technically retarded (You should have seen me trying to set this blog up. Sheesh.) But I'm going to try and get a little footage from the Halloween Cross Crusade race next weekend.
Back to the race...
So I had a great time. Got pretty muddy and wet (although nothing like the later racers ended up). Ended up a little forward of a mid pack finish. Didn't break me or my bike and got to hang out and enjoy the spectacle. Good times! Thanks for reading.
Rubber side down,