Monday, November 19, 2007

I raced cross last there a word for pain and fun?

Well, after a month of working neutral support and watching everyone race the Sacramento Cross series, it was time to strap on the shoes, borrow a bike and put myself in harms way. Yep, it's been over two years since my little heart thingy and a solid year clean from medical issues, the time has come to jump neck deep into the "hurt box" and race the bike.

Here is my formula for cyclocross success. Start with:

1. No form
2. First time on a cyclocross bike
3. First time on a cyclocross course
4. Borrowed bike (thanks Mark)

I figure a practice lap was a good idea so I recruited multi national cross masters champ John Elgart to pull me around and show me the ropes. John was great, showing me which lines to take and how to avoid the inevitable "over the bars crash". We got to the first set of barriers...not pretty. John watched my pathetic form and just sighed in disgust. He basically had to start at the beginning showing me how to dismount etc... Then off to the sand pit for more sighs of disgust and lessons from the beginning. One practice lap down! I'm already exhausted and ready to race. John's final words of advise...."try not to kill yourself" response "thanks bro"

I lined up at the back of the B 35+ category. The gun went off and a full sprint ensued. I'm thinking to myself "yikes, are we going to be going this hard the whole time?" answer = YES! We are talking 45 minutes of red zone racing with little to no rest and in a constant state of going just over the red zone edge and throttling back enough to keep from completely blowing up.

By the half way point I'm totally blown and thinking of ways to drop out without loosing face. Then I had an epiphany..."there is no other place I would rather be than playing in the dirt on a perfect fall day in Nor Cal." This thought got me to the last lap in one piece. The final time through neutral I yelled to my feeder Mark Switters "just shoot me and put me out of misery" as I rode away I heard him giggle at me in a "welcome to the cyclocross club" kind of way.

I got through the first race with no crashes and only a dropped chain. I figure this was a victory in itself. Following the race and after 5 minutes of "I'm never doing that again" I ordered a cyclocross bike and hope not to miss a race the rest of the season. Bike racers are truly sick in the head!