That was my race weekend. Half & half. Half good, Half Bad.
Saturday at Xilinx was a good race for me. While my 43rd place was far from stellar, doing it out of the 13th row made me feel pretty good, proved I can still move out of a back row start, and had another good race with the guys I was around. A great fall day, and still one of my favorite courses. Found out that the "order of registration" or "random" call-ups for those NOT making the Colorado Cross Cup top 20 were actually "alphabetical" by last name. The bib numbers got assigned alphabetically, which explains why those back in the last 2 rows with me were wondering why registering the day pre-reg opened got you that prime start spot.
After we finally got moving in the back of a 120+ rider herd, I was able to find a sweet gap up the left side of said herd, passing a pile of people before we hit the dirt and the inevitable almost full stop. Things quickly spread out & got into some more manageable groups, and we were off. I was particularly happy to see the return of the now iconic "Blue Sky mini barriers". The double 2x6 boards on the top were great for me, as after not having had the huevos to bunny hop them last year, I had gone out of my way to learn a solid, BMX-style bunny hop, JUST for the chance the little boards were back. (Hint... Try leaning to bunny hop using foam blocks.... you can screw up & not hate life)
I was able to happily roll thru the little barriers with minimal slowing, and really enjoyed passing one or 2 folks off that section each lap. Made all my "old guy leaning a new trick" fumbling worthwhile. I did see more random crashes in this race than any I've been in for a while. Probably 6 crashes, and things like crashing hard on a flat, straight paved section. Very strange.
Rolled around in a little group with a teammate and a couple of others till the last lap, then tried to dump them all again going into the bell. I was able to shed the hangers on, all except for the one leach of a teammate. THOUGHT I could slip him at the mini-barriers late in the lap, and in spite of putting a big gap into him, he clawed his way back up, and as I ran out of gas, out-punched me off the stairs, and rode away from me in the sprint. Ah well, All good.
Why is it that you tend to fight even harder when you are racing someone you KNOW, versus some "random guy" out on the course? I am very guilty of it, and I see it a lot. Strange brains we have.
Sunday was a return to the venue for last years Colorado State Cyclocross Championships at Monarch High School in Louisville. I was expecting the same wide open, fast course as states. Chris at DBC Events and his course setter, Dan Depamalere, had a VERY different idea. The course for this version was a great mix of fast, open areas, and two REALLY cool "maze" sections and a couple of nice swoopy, fast turns. The course even rewarded my new-found bunny-hop obsession with cute move over a 2x6 on a practice pitching mound. One of the best courses I have been on, put a big smile on your face as you got dizzy rolling thru the maze sections.
Sadly, in spite of an incredibly fun course, with enough twisty bits to satisfy even me, I turned out to feel about the opposite of Saturdays happy, fun self. Was having stomach cramp/nausea issues almost as soon as we ramped the speed up, and my legs just did not go well out of the gate. After flailing about for a while, realized it was NOT going to "happen" that day, and just rode it out, trying NOT to puke on Dean Crandall's shoes as he gave me the bell.
Managed to not puke or quit, and enjoyed the course as much as I could while feeling like crap. Got to make up for my disappointment by seeing the team ROCK it again, with multiple top 10 finishes in a few different races. Even see the HPM beer-drinking-dads in 3rd place in the Colorado Cross Cup Team Points. (no help from me, thank you very little....) That made me almost forget the disappointment of a bad day on the bike.
Next up? The love/hate I have with the endless, boggy grass of Interlocken. Once more time to get shown just how few watts I can really generate. No matter, I just CAN'T miss racing on the sweet green carpet. I'll be there.