Like the title says, there are things that I’d like to forget, and things I don’t remember. I’ll hopefully cover both. First off, sorry for the lack of updates. ‘Cross ended in January, like much of this season there wasn’t much to blog about, the off season between ‘cross and road is not very exciting either, and what was to be a full’ish season of road has come to a halt after the first race. I love riding the fancy new road bike, but racing it has been anything but fun.
This is where the things I’d like to forget come in. I’ve been trying my hand at road for several years now, longer than I’ve raced cyclocross actually and never putting in a full season, but a handfull of races every now and then. I’ve never done all that well, but it was never what one would call terrible, mediocre would be the best word. Honestly, I just have never had that much fun racing it. (I do like the Tour of KC Cliff Drive race, it was my first race ever and it will always hold a special place in my heart.) The first part of the season is freezing cold and always windy. Never fun cold like it can be for cyclocross, just that kind of cold that cuts straight to the bone and the last place where you want to be is crossing a dam again in some god-forsaken place like Perry Ks.
Secondly, there is little if no atmosphere, ‘cross is my favorite for many reasons the atmosphere that surrounds it is one. Even if your off the back, gasping for air trying your best not to see your breakfast for the second time today there is always someone there yelling for you to suck it up and finish the race so you can go puke up that bacon egg and cheese biscuit you picked up at the drive-through because you slept through your alarm clock yet again and have a beer or three. This last road race, the first in the Perry Dam Series people sat there like the would be in trouble if they raised their voices, I’m trying not to get blown into the icy waters of Perry Lake (not named after my cat, btw) and I could use a bit of a pick-me-up and I don’t even get the sounds of crickets. Needless to say the race sucked, I did poorly and didn’t feel like beating myself up the next three weekends and quit the series. I feel I made the right choice and ended up riding my cx bike at Swope Park instead, much closer for one, secondly it was free and lastly it was much more fun.
Now, for things I don’t remember. I have no recollection of finishing the bike portion of the God’s Country Fat Tire Duathlon at the Lawrence River Trails last weekend. Gina, a team sponsor and teammate ran for us, and I handled the bike portion on my always trusty cx bike with not that fat of tires. A cx bike is a perfect fit for the river trails if you ask me and the handfull of others who chose them as well.
Gina finishes her run and I’m off to reclaim some spots that had slipped through our fingers during the run. I feeling great, flying through the trails and the levee, picking off people left and right. At points I had it in the big ring just mashing the pedals flying past mountain bikes my hair was on fire. I hear someone yell out “What kind of bike is that, is that a road bike?” I guess he had never seen a cyclocross bike before and I’d see him again before the race ends. For 2/3’rds or more of the race I was killing it, I felt it was my best race yet. Then things began to fall apart, it was that wall people talk about hitting. I hit it hard, I was gassed, I blew myself up early on in the race, and my only hope was to coast the rest of the way on fumes if possible. Unfortunately, there was more trail left than I had fumes to finish on.
I’ve bonked hard before, and it wasn’t good, it never is. This was when I got to meet the guy who didn’t know what a cyclocross bike was, unfortunately he ran into me trying to pass on a particularly narrow stretch of trail. It turns out it was a junior racer, couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15, stupid punk kid! I guess he got to see more ‘cross bike than he imagined as we try to pull our two bikes apart and finish. This was about the time I noticed my legs were getting more jello like as the minutes tick past, my speed and bike handling skills were quickly disappearing plus I was seeing the little sparkley things in my much reduced field of vision. It was a chore to get back on the saddle, even harder to get my cleats into the pedals. Eventually I gave up the effort of riding the bike and walked it. This is when I got to see everyone who I passed earlier, each and everyone would slow down and ask if I was alright and if I needed anything. I would mumble something incoherent and shoo them away. This is when you wish you had a mechanical, something to blame your problems on. I’d attempt a remount and stumble about for a few feet and walk the bike a bit farther.
Knowing the finish was coming up soon I gave it one last try, I got on and managed to stay on knowing all I had to do was make it back to the transistion area and tag my partner and she would then finish the race. I know she finished only because she told me so, I have no recollection of seeing her run the 100 yards or so after I tagged her, for that matter I don’t remember doing that either. Almost everything after I got back on that last time near the end is completely missing from my memory; nada, zip, zero, nothing. The cherry on top has to be all of the bruises and contusions I discovered the next morning especially the big ass bruise / scrape that runs up my ribcage that I discovered in the shower Monday morning. I’m guessing it was from the race, but who the hell knows. Hell if I don’t remember finishing the race why would I remember hitting a tree or something like that?
Not remembering the end of a race probably isn’t good, in fact there is no probably about it. But, I can say I gave it everything I had, which is much more than I can say for many other races I have finished. I’ll be back in Lawrence whenever they reschedule the River Trails race, and yes I’ll be on the cx bike looking to reclaim that podium spot from last year.
Say, is it cyclocross season yet?