I hate winter, here’s why. If you go outside for too long in any season but winter you probably won’t die or loose some fingers or toes. I think anyone who claims winter as their favorite season is either lying, stupid or Canadian. Unfortunately for me cyclocross falls in the autumn and winter months and there’s not much I can do to change that, nor would I really want to, ‘cross should be miserable. And when your racing and it’s 17° it’s pretty miserable. However, I do have a blast riding in less than ideal weather, gasp, dare I say winter. It’s so much fun to ride in the snow, slush, mud and what ever else Mother Nature and the course designers come up with. But once that is over I want the snow gone and the temps to rise high enough so my fingers don’t turn black and fall off.
Staying warm at a ‘cross race can often be more difficult than the race, especially if your new to racing. Fortunately I’ve gotten to the point where I have a good idea what to wear for most situations. When it’s 17° (that’s -8° Celsius for anyone who’s into the metric system) all bets are off. Some people are ridiculously overdressed and others who are way undressed, I guess it’s based what your are able to put up with. Personally, I felt fine, not cold at all, well my face was cold but I can’t deal with a balaclava, having my mouth and nose covered freaks me out, I’m slightly claustrophobic. I had 2 pairs of wool socks, tights and knee warmers, all under my skinsuit with my team jersey on top, gloves and the beanie I got for volunteering at KCCX. I really wasn’t even cold after I took off my jacket on the starting line. It’s like learning to remount while running, you do it enough and eventually you figure it out and it’s no big deal. Maybe it’s all the pink?
The Epic Holiday race is really fun, for one it’s in a shopping center. The course weaves in and out of buildings, brick parking lots and yet to be developed sections full of big rocks used as barriers. The course was flat and pretty frozen but was getting softer and muddier as the races progressed despite the air temp. I finished with some mud on my bike, no big deal but the race after mine became a muddy mess, hoping you have someone in the pits washing your other bike, a luxury I don’t have yet. That said, if you have an extra 52 cm cyclocross bike sitting around that I could use as a pit bike send me a message.
The first rock barrier was rideable, no higher than a curb. I was riding it while warming up then crashed on my last attempt which spooked me from riding it in the race. I laid there on my back with my bike on top of me, both feet still attached to my pedals, like a turtle who got flipped onto its shell, legs flailing in the air. It seemed that it was a 50 / 50 proposition half the field ran it while others rode it. The second stone barrier was way to high for almost everyone to ride, Chasm was the only person I saw riding it, grinding off the ends of his chain ring on each lap. There was even a little fire pit back with all the rocks, a nice addition when your freezing your handle bars off.
The big windows of the bike shop provided great views of the course, nice and warm with easy access to the keg of Boulevard Double Wide I.P.A. almost like a luxury suite at the stadium.
I did well enough, a typical middle of the pack finish, nothing to write home about, but that’s not stopping me from blogging about it. I finished up the day playing Rock Band, eating Chipotle and drinking beer at Marcus’ house. It was a good day even though I suck at the drums, 45%, wtf?