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.”

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‘Crossed Off The New Year In Style

There are few sports that allow, or actually encourage adults to dress up in stupid costumes and compete, cyclocross being the only one I can think of.  I’m not sure just what it is about cx that encourages this behavior, but it does and I think it’s one of the things that makes ‘cross so f*#king awesome.  Anyone who has an internet connection has seen videos of scores of idiots racing cx in drag, costume, and occasionally nothing but shoes, helmet and a whole lot of Chamois Buttr’.

I thought it was high time that the local cross community experience a bit of style. I pulled my moisture wicking, somewhat cycling friendly thrift store suit out of the closet and donning it for Series 60‘s ‘Cross Off The New Year CX Race on New Years Eve ’08.  To look at it you would never know it came from a thrift store; 100% wool, no moth holes and it doesn’t even smell funny.  I almost felt guilty racing in it, then I remembered it didn’t cost me a dime and if it got dirty I could either have it cleaned or throw it away.  I doubt any thrift shop would accept a mud covered suit with pockets full of sand.

Adding a touch of class.

Adding a touch of class.

Coincidentally several others showed up in something not made of lycra, so I wasn’t the lone idiot wearing something stupid.  I’d love to see this continue, along with more beer hand-ups, trees covered in dollar bills…  Hmmm, I wonder where my Spiderman halloween costume is?

My biggest concerns was getting the crotch of my slacks catching the back of the saddle when remounting or strangling myself with my tie.  I’ve had a few disasters trying a remount while wearing anything but cycling shorts or tights, ouch, and not a pretty sight.  Luckily the slacks are a bit tight in the waist and crotchal areas and never caught the saddle, nor did I get my tie caught in my drive train while shouldering and running the bike, a clip on tie might be a bit safer. 

cx-newyears-02bw

Looking stylish was my only motivation, I’m afraid I would have quit the race if dressed differently, something I have never done.  I have never felt physically worse during a cx race, I was dead, nothing in the tank to keep me going.  I had one good lap in me and the following laps were something out of a bad dream.  All of which was very disappointing since I had felt so good at Boss Cross III three days earlier.

Everyone was going on and on about how hard Boss Cross III was, with the ankle deep mud and 20 minute lap times. Personally I felt that the ‘Cross Off The Year course was much more difficult, even though it was dry and nearly mud free. There was that one muddy run-up but that was nearly the extent of the mud.  

I didn’t even check the standings, I went straight to the keg of beer, Boulevard Double Wide I.P.A.  Sometimes it’s best not knowing how bad you did, I know there were many people behind me, so at least I didn’t finish last, or get beat by a junior.

Napoleon Dynamite?

Napoleon Dynamite possibly?

I was amazed by the turnout, who knew there were that many unemployed or unemployable cyclocross racers.  I had delusions of grandeur, hoping everyone would not be able to get off work to race on a Wednesday afternoon and I could manage a podium spot.  No such luck.

We now have two more cx races this season, Epic Holiday Cross Sunday and the Grote Prijs Shawnee the following Sunday.  I can’t believe it’s almost over, it seems like the first race was only a few weeks ago.  16 races to date, and 2 more to go.  

Looking good, feeling bad.

Looking good, feeling spent.

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