CX On The Hoth Ice Planet

The stupidness that is cyclocross.  It’s 20 something degrees, you gladly pay $25 to go ride on snow and ice for 30 to 60 minutes stripped down to the bare minimum to stave off frostbite and hypothermia.  This is no doubt why most CX series end in December not long after nationals, but no, not around here, we push our luck and race on into January.   As of late we seem to be living on the Hoth Ice Planet minus the interference of the Empire forces.  I was stranded on a expedition to Target Wednesday and had to unfortunately use my light saber and slice open the belly of my Tauntaun to keep from freezing to death.

Speaking of slicing open a Tauntaun I found photos of a sleeping bag which looks like you are sleeping in a Tauntaun, minus the steaming stinking guts. Pretty cool if your a sci-fi Star Wars nerd.

It even comes with a little light saber.

You race ‘cross long enough and you’ll learn how to dress for nearly every season, winter especially.  Through trial and error, you will eventually figure out just what you need most of the time.  Sometimes having a bag of extra gear pays off especially with our schizophrenic weather of late.  Sometimes you just never know what to expect when your race finally rolls around.

Regardless of what you put on, it’s always one layer too many when nature calls. You can never get yourself unzipped quick enough, totally disrobing your outer layers would be the ideal choice but who has the time to start unpealing skinsuits, tights and baselayers just to take a wiz.  Plus it’s way to cold to start stripping down and who has time to wait in line at the always foul smelling port-a-potties usually a tree or an open car door is enough privacy.

On occasion I find that the tank isn’t quite empty when I’m in the process of stowing away the equipment, (yeah, you know what I mean). You soon realize the remainder of the fluid in the tank is now on its way out, oops too late, I just peed my tights and skinsuit, at least it’s warm.  And a quick word of warning, wash your hands well after applying your embrocation, if it gets on your… well you know, it burns like it’s on fire not fun.

Holiday sweaters for holiday theme races.

To add insult to injury and a urine soaked skinsuit, racing the Hoth Planet Cyclocross Series (Cross of the Old Year and Grote Prijs) on snow and ice is just plain stupid.  I know it’s done all the time, but that doesn’t make it right.  I’ve never raced well on snow and ice, it’s not as easy as some people make it look to be.  Your at the mercy at unseen frozen ruts and the line that everyone else has dug out.  Gone is the full width of the course, now your fighting to keep a line that’s only a few inches wide. Find your line or find the drifts of snow along the edge of the course. You feel like you have little choice in your line, you go where your front wheel and the ground wants you to go, much like the Le Taxi Tour ride at Worlds of Fun, you can turn the steering wheel all you want, but the car just follows the rail imbedded in the road.

Le Taxi Tour

Too much time off between races starts to play tricks with my mind.  All types of disillusions of grander began to seep in.  Yeah, I’m sure I can win the next three races, and I’ll cat up and kill the A’s while I’m at it.  Then reality crashes in and you find yourself battling to keep out of last place.   I’d almost rather find out who will my race, give him my check for $25 and have him kick me in the crotch and be done with it.

NBC 41 showed up, click here to see the video. The anchor looks seriously confused.

One more race to go, the re-scheduled Epic Holiday Cross race is next Saturday, then it’s off season. Let’s hope the snow and ice are history. Then maybe some road races, defiantly the KC Street Cred series.  Maybe a new road bike, possibly a mountain bike.  Who knows, we’ll see how the bank account looks like after the trip to Chile in May.

ct

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.