That’s All Folks.

And so it goes, the 2008-’09 Kansas City area cyclocross season is in the books with the running of the Grote Prijs Shawnee today (Sunday). Without cyclocross to keep me busy I’m not sure what I’ll do with my Sundays now.  Any suggestions?

The Grote Prijs Shawnee is one of the most fun and unique races on the schedule, located in town at a city park the course winds around the park and through “Old Shawnee Town” a faux 1900’s village, with a very fast course.  It’s like riding through a rural and much lamer version of Main Street USA at Disneyland. Unlike last weeks bone chilling temps we were lucky and basked in temps pushing 50.  Aside from whatever the first race of the season is, Grote Prijs Shawnee is always my favorite race of the year.

Grote Prijs Shawnee CX Mens 4 start

Grote Prijs Shawnee CX

I’d been doubling up and racing twice in the De Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas series, Mens 4 and Mens Master B 35+ however, the Grote Prijs Shawnee is a part of Series 60 doesn’t offer the Masters B race.  Thinking I did well enough in the Masters B races (finishing 6th in overall series points) I chose to double up again today, Mens 4 and Masters 35+.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but you know what they say about hindsight.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I was much more difficult than I could imagine, these old guys are strong, fast and aggressive which I discovered half way through the first lap.  I got a nice shove into the barrier tape on the back stretch, I’ve got no idea who it was, all I remember was getting hit hard from behind and then someone’s hand on my shoulder giving me the old heave-ho. It may have been an accident, it may have been on purpose, we didn’t stop and chat or exchange insurance information. I was too busy untangling my bike from the barrier tape. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I was able to hang with the main group for 2/3rds of the race, but the last third was where I knew I was in over my head and dialed it back, after all I did have another race in a 20 minutes.  Plus, I’d been lapped by most of the field and my fate was pretty much sealed.  

The bright spot of the race was a well warranted beer hand-up towards the end of the race, knowing my fate, last place (in my age group) I pulled aside and enjoyed my beverage. That was the best High Life I’ve ever had, it’s the champagne of beers after all.  We’ll chalk the Masters A race as a learning experience.  

I love to running barriers!

It's not how you finish, it's how you look finishing!

With that done I had a few minutes to get ready for the 4 race, back to back races aren’t the best of ideas, I don’t recommend it.  I’ve done it before at a crit but never at a cx race.  I shed a few layers of clothes, change numbers and downed some water getting myself back to the starting line.  This race was more to my liking, despite the earlier effort I was able to hang with the pack most of the race but eventually my earlier effort had drained my energy reserves which hampered my final efforts.  

Offical Black Sheep Cartel cheering section.

Official Black Sheep Cartel cheering section.

The crowd was spectacular, it was the loudest local race I’ve ever been in, the area near the barriers was lined with people screaming and ringing bells. You could feel the energy while running the barriers, it was electric an incredible feeling.  I even noticed that my parents had come out to watch me ride my bike in circles in the mud.  I still don’t think they quite get what is going on, but they are troopers and ring bells and yell when I ride by.  It’s great to end the season having so much fun. We even ended up on the 10 o’clock news, how cool is that?

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I just checked the results, I didn’t finish last place after all in the Masters 35+, 10th place, woo hoo!!!  Yep, I finally pulled a “Chasm.”

Hippies & Halloween

So much for the plans many of us made this week.  With Halloween (by the way, the best holiday of the year) falling on a Friday and two races scheduled for this weekend, many of us choose to go out Friday night and celebrate Halloween with friends and have a good time, sleep off our hangovers on Saturday, skipping Boss Cross I at Tiffany Springs Park.  Feeling refreshed no longer reeking of booze and candy corn then race Sunday at the Sunflower Cyclocross Race at Clinton Lake State Park.  It’s difficult enough to get one’s lazy ass out of bed the morning of any race, but compounding Halloween on top of that is just too much to take.  ‘Cross can be miserable enough but racing with a hangover isn’t any fun, trust me.

Come to find out the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has put a hold on all special events at Clinton Lake State Park for the rest of the year, and likely into 2009, (only days before the scheduled cyclocross race). This affects the cyclocross race planned for Sunday. All special events (even those held on paved areas) have been put on hold “to allow the park grounds to sufficiently recover from the Wakarusa Music Festival”.  Stupid hippies!  Who knew jam bands are bad for the environment?

This is the lamest excuse I’ve heard in a long time. The Wakarusa Music Festival was in early June, nearly six months ago.  Plus they have had many other events at Clinton Lake since, a few triathlons, and the Chris Cross International Cyclocross Race in early October.  The park and grounds looked fine, races have little impact on the grounds especially since it has been dry, it’s difficult to tell anything has ever happened a few days after the event.  If you had come to Chris Cross you would have never know that there was a huge music festival was held there several months ago.   If they were concerned about the state of their grounds post festival you would think they would deny access soon after the festival, not six months later. 

Maybe having a weekend off isn’t such a bad idea.  The Smithville races really took it out of me, four races in two days was exhausting and took several days for the aches and pains to go away.  Neither the Sunflower race or Boss Cross I are a part of the De Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas Series so if we miss these races it will not affect our series points.  Somehow I’ve managed to rack up enough points to find myself 6th in the Masters Mens 35+ B group, cat 4 isn’t quite as impressive, 63rd but it’s a much bigger group.

There should be no excuse to have a bad day at the Veterans Cross next weekend in Leavenworth KS. 

Hopefully the Black Sheep in Charlotte have a bit more discipline and not spend their weekend drinking beer and eating leftover fun sized candy bars while dressed in ridiculous costumes.

NCCX race #4, Lenior Cyclocross is in Lenior, NC, Sunday Nov 2.  

Good luck guys, Cartel power!!