It's a wrap for the Colorado Cyclocross Season. It sure did manage to go out with a cold, snowy, icy, sloppy, muddy, completely off the hook bang. It was a great last couple of weeks. I ALMOST got my fill of racing in snotty conditions... Almost.
This Year's State Championship was probably THE single hardest cross race I can remember doing. Just. Plain. Hard. The team wanted to end the season by going all out. We got set up early for the post race party.
Sadly, with the damp & wet, the flyover proved to be a bit too steep & slick for use in the morning. Some "traction bars" were added later on, but none of the morning races got to race on the thing. It was a definite rush to ride it, so I had mixed feelings about it getting cut out. Probably for the best, as the race proved to have me SO deep in the haze, I am NOT sure I could have ridden it safely later in our race. Would have been CARNAGE on a biblical scale in the beer-drinkin-dads first lap, for sure.
With the Beer-drinking-dads race WAY out of it's normal early frozen-rut timeframe, we were assured of getting the mud rather than icy ruts this time, and the warm day did NOT disappoint. We rolled off in shorts into a wild and wooly, snotty, snowy killer of a course. The large amount of elevation change, and the intensity needed to NOT lay around on the ground left pretty much ZERO recovery anywhere on the course. After the drag race up the road for a start, we plowed into the mud with me right in the thick of it in the 25 to 30 rider back range. First lap proved to be some crazy fun, close and back & forth racing in the group I was with.
It only somewhat settled down for the second lap, with the video showing me passing or getting passed 10+ times in that lap. Still very close & cool back & forth racing. I tried to stay smooth, conserve a bit on the painfully long bike path climb, then hit it hard on the muddy, twisty bits that followed. Staying upright & smooth seemed to help, as I maintained position about 30 back, from the place call-outs given by my slowly recovering teammate Paul.
By the third lap, I began to really feel the lack of recovery on the course. My arms were starting to feel more like I was back riding the Laramie Enduro, rather than a 40 minute cross race in Castle Rock. The intensity needed to stay smooth was so high, I was wondering if my arms & hands were going to crap out before the last lap came. Of course, it did, but not before I did manage to deck myself on the last lap, just to RE-loose one more spot I had worked really hard to get back after loosing it earlier in the lap on the "bike path of pain" climb. At least the bush was soft.
Drug my carcass in for 34th place out of the 76 finishers. This race had 11 DNFs, a pretty high rate at over 10%, and indicative of the severity of the course conditions, as well as the severity of the suffering. Crashes and mechanicals seemed to be pretty widespread. This finish was a good end to my season, and was pretty happy with it, given the course and just how plain HARD the race was. My compliments to the Alpha/Frites guys. It was a worthy Championship course, without question.
It's been a great season, even with my lackluster results. The Team has been a hoot, making all the pain even more fun. Hanging out with these knuckleheads has been great.
A bit melancholy about the end of the season, but very satisfied. While my body and for sure my wife is happy it's done, my brain will be missing each weeks sufferfest. Such a strange hold this strangely addictive sport has on you. Maybe someday I can figure out just what it is.
Rest up, it's only 9 months to cross season!