Random Thoughts From Another Jingle Cross

Lots of strange thoughts can pass through your mind while attempting to turn yourself out during the most popular Dr Seuss/ Christmas themed cyclocross race this nation or any other has to offer.

  • There is nothing more exciting than racing under the lights at night.
  • There is nothing more terrifying than racing under the lights at night. Is that a shadow or a giant hole in the ground?
  • Fly-overs are awesome, even those with really narrow steps.
  • I finally got to knowingly race with Cory, women’s 2-3 and men’s 3 were unfairly lumped together Friday night.
Jingle Cross 2011

Kicking ass in the rain and mud!

  • Pink kits are the bomb! Do I even need to explain why?
  • Sleeping on the right side of the bed at the hotel just feels strange.
  • No matter how many gloves I bring, I never have the ones I need.
  • Why does the hotel elevator voice in the Marriott in Iowa City have an English accent?
  • Why is it that despite however many pieces of clothing I put on after a cold race I’ll never get warm?
Jingle Cross 2011

My work is done!

  • I’ve got a serious case of bike envy. (Ridley, Van Dussel, Speedvagen…)
  • Speaking of Speedvagen, my boots rock.
  • I wish I had some baller ass carbon wheels.
  • Pip knows everyone, I always run into people asking me how she is.
  • It’s cool to know the race announcer knows you by name, city, team and cat when you walk past him in the hotel bar. Super nice guy, sounds way different without the microphone and amplification. “There goes 773, Chris Thomas in pink, racing out of Kansas City, MO, riding for the Black Sheep Cartel.” I’m sure it’s the pink factor.
  • The St. Louis crew is way cool, even if one races for Big Shark.
  • I love the liberal use of the c word.
  • They are not afraid to give Bill Marshall the shit he deserves.
  • They are fine looking ladies.
  • They can ride a ‘cross bike like nobody’s business.
  • Wookie bush.
  • They are not afraid to hate on those who are in need of hating upon.
  • Looking forward to going to Chicago with them for NYE racing.
Jingle Cross 2011

Suzanne Johnson kicking ass!

  • What is the attraction for old people to hang out at Hardee’s? And why we’re the Iowa City hipsters hanging out at the McDonalds next door?
  • You can shove a room key into a door all day long but it will only open your door, I was on the wrong floor.
  • Courses marked with Christmas lights is just cool.
  • Playing Christmas music on course is oddly soothing, nothing like a little Nat King Cole playing while your turning yourself inside out.
  • The bikini / speedo race was completely ridiculous, completely different this year and took an unusual turn this year.
Jingle Cross 2011

Things got dirty!

  • My race Saturday (Men’s Masters 35+ was one of my best this season. Friday nights men’s 3 race was one of my worst, DFL!
  • The crowds were much smaller this year, Mt Krumpet wasn’t as wild as usual.
  • My car looks like a bike shop has exploded inside of it.
  • I’m glad I went, I almost stayed home, thanks Cory for talking me into going.

Boss Cross Mud Run

There are some people who are willing to pay good money to visit a spa and have mud slathered all over their bodies, then there are others who skip the spa visit and enter a cyclocross race and end up with just as much mud on them at end and pay a whole lot less.

Boss Cross yet again takes the prize for the worst conditions of the season, a title that isn’t set in stone, there are 3 more races this season.  If you thought Boss Cross II in November was bad, Boss Cross III was even worse, the only upside was it much warmer.  Both were a muddy mess, testing your endurance and sanity.  

Spinning beats while spinning in the mud.

Spinning beats while spinning in the mud.

I’d actually been looking forward to this race for months, I worked for an IT company and my office overlooked the park where this race is held every year.  It sat there and taunted me all summer.   There’s nothing worse that being mid July and dreaming of cx season, seemingly so far away. 

I managed to break several of my new rules for this season; I stayed out til 3 am drinking with friends at our annual holiday drink-a-thon, once home I couldn’t fall asleep, I got up late and had a less than ideal breakfast, and then I didn’t pre ride the course.  I aimlessly rode around checking a few areas of the course just to see where the tough spots might be (turns out everything that wasn’t on pavement was the tough spots.)

Looking nice and clean.

Looking nice and clean.

Despite my total lack of preperation I felt surprisingly strong and fast, I managed to get a really good start but got pushed into the tape on the first tight corner, crap.  I was able to free myself and was able to make my way back up to where I was before I went into the tape.  I was passing people like a mad man and feeling really strong despite riding in mud deeper than my rims, after all there was a beer prime for the fastest first lap.  I stumbled a bit in the sand pit loosing my chain loosing several places fixing the trouble.  Again, I was able to make my way back to my previous spot, still feeling strong I was able to pick off a few more guys.  Maybe I should keep disregarding my training regiment and race day preparation routine.

bosscross03

No longer clean.

Things just seemed to go my way, I was able to find rideable lines hugging the tape. The center of the lanes were already chewed up and nearly unrideable.   I was unsure what I should half the times, should I spend my energy spinning in the mud finding an occasional clean line or should I get off and run the stupid thing, something I really dislike.  (I took up cycling so I didn’t have to run.)  The course kept getting worse by the minute, eventually I had little choice and had to run.  I’ve never ran that much in a cx race, insane.  It looked like the cx races I watch on Crosstube in Portland or Belgium all we were missing was rain.

bosscross051

Ultimate question, run or ride?

Things then went to hell, I managed to do an impressive endo crossing a drainage ditch with a good 6 inches of water and mud at least as deep.  Things got squirrely at the bottom of the ditch and before I knew what happened I had finished a summersault that would make an olympic gymnast proud and lost the chain yet again, f@#k!  

I made my way back to my previous spot, again.  Not paying attention to my computer so I had no real idea of how long we had been riding but I knew we were doing at least 3 laps, the course was extremely long and extremely slow.  I was really pissed when I noticed they were pulling people at the start / finish line, my plans were shot to hell, I had my sights on several more guys I knew I could catch if give another lap.  Sure I was covered in mud as was my bike from trudging through ankle deep mud but was feeling so good I didn’t care I just wanted to keep fighting my way ahead.  Who knows how things would have turned out if I didn’t have to play catch up nearly the whole race, but it’s ‘cross and things like that happen.  It turns out we were averaging 20 minute laps.  All in all, it was my best race of the season, but without much to show for it.

 

mud and blood

mud and blood

It was so much fun, Brian brought out the Pugsly, totally ridiculous but he was able to float over areas where normal cx tires couldn’t go, perfect for the sand pits and soupy mud. Plus, Jeremy had his turn tables spinning vintage vinyl, pumping out some dope beats from on top of a motor coach.

The Pugsley.

The Pugsley, not as ridiculous as first thought.

BRUTAL!

Much like pimpin’ cyclocross ain’t easy, especially when it’s snowing.  The flakes began to fall yesterday but didn’t stick since the ground was too warm, overnight the ground temp. dropped enough for the snow to begin to accumulate, it’s nothing much, just enough to cover the grass. However all the melted snow made the ground soggy and the grass was quickly chewed up and turned to mud over nearly the entire course. Finally, a down and dirty, cold as f@&k cyclocross race.  Boss Cross II was not for the timid or week of heart.

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Climbing the run-up in the new BSC jersey. Pretty boss, eh?

The weather really scared off a good deal of the field, most categories were about half the size as the turnout the last few weeks, fair weather cyclists I suppose, probably at the mall.  It’s their loss, ‘cross is at it’s best in nasty weather.  It was obvious that things were going to be a challenge as soon as the first race went off.  It looked like they were going in slow motion, and half of the field was running their bike instead of riding.  It was at that moment everyone knew things were not going to be easy.  But, cyclocross isn’t easy, it wouldn’t be any fun if it was easy. 

Eventually our race rolls around and we’re off, things go well up the asphalt road then you hit the off road area and sink into mud that’s deeper than your rims, your in your granny gear and your back wheel just spins, nothing for the knobbies to grab onto, you soon realize why it looked like the previous race was going in slow motion and your gonna be doing a lot of running, pushing and carrying.  It’s gonna be a long race, hope your good at shouldering your bike.

So far this season it has been about speed and power, today it’s all about bike handling. Who ever stays upright and avoids stupid mistakes will prevail, a very technical race.  I battled it but found myself on the ground far too often. All of the good lines quickly disappeared and the course was riddled with very tight turns especially in the off chamber sections, if you were able to stay upright you spent most of the time with one leg out trying to navigate the turns.  

I’d have to say, this was possibly the best time I’ve had at a ‘cross race this season, you guys who pussed out missed a great race.  Sure it was cold and my fingers went numb and my bike and I were covered in mud.  But damn, it was so much fun! Plus, I got to break out the new Black Sheep Cartel jersey, it’s bad ass, it looks great, pink and black and covered in mud!

ct

p.s. Craig, if your reading this, let this serve as your warning, I will get you back for that snowball to the side of my head.