Sunday, October 19, 2008

No longer a virgin

Stuart and Travis bask in glow of victory

What a great thing cyclocross is.

The picture above was taken after the race. Stuart won handily and Travis came in second -- single speeds both. I think there were about 10-12 rookies racing. I landed squarely in the middle - I think I came in 5th or 6th. If so, I'm happy with that.

Stuart is great. He called me last night and asked if I still had a bike he could use. I had offered him the 720 a couple weeks ago. When he called last night, it was missing a crank set, tires, and a saddle. It is set up as a single speed, so finding a crank with a proper ring was also a requirement.

Stuart rode up to my house this morning at 8am. He built up the rest of the bike with just enough time for us to hop in the car, pick up Liza and drive out to Farragut.

He's raced in the past, but he never raced CX, so mounts, dismounts, run-ups, etc were all new. Aside from being a single speed, the bike had some handicaps for Stuart to overcome: it's a low trail bike (40 mm) which he found a bit twitchy. And the brake levers are reversed, which is hard to get used to - especially as you race. I love that he just came out and won the rookie race with all this back story.

Travis is just a great rider too. He just goes hard and doesn't stop. He took a bad fall on the second lap and still rallied for 2nd place. I love that. I got a great photo of his bloody stump of a knee, but I need to find just the right home for it.

I knew the race would be hard, and it was. I don't think I've ever maintained that kind of heart rate for 1/2 hour. And the thought of doing 45 or 55 minutes of that kind of pace is frightening. I've still got the hiccups and my lungs feel like I smoked a pack of cigarettes last night.

But dang it was fun.

Here's the woulda-couldas -- on the first lap, there were some horse riders on the trail in the hidden back-woodsy part. Flippen horses! At this point, the pack was still mostly together. I think it was. I was about 10 yards behind Travis. Stuart, Travis, and one or two others blasted by the horses, one of which was doing the Lone Ranger nervous dance. I stopped. Damn me. After that I could never close the gap.

It's ok though, because what ended up happening was that about 4 of us ended up with our own little sub-race. It was cool. We stayed together till the end then two of us broke out and battled it out. I stayed on the guy's wheel until the last straight-away, where I took every last bit of oxygen I could find and attacked. It was sooo weak. I attacked too early and he still had some left. He stepped on it and I couldn't get him.

Damn it was fun though. What a thrill. So I really want to go again and see if I can stay with the front pack or if I'll have to lean on another horse-story...

This year I've only been able to clear the calendar to run 2 races, maybe 3 if things fall the right way. I may prioritize this higher next year.


Tarik Saleh said...

Hey, good job. I am not sure I have ever seen horses in the middle of a cross race. Deer yes, but no horses...

Keep it up and tell your buddies to upgrade!

FBC Spokane said...

Well done, John. Keep it up.

Pat S said...

Fun race report, John. Your contradictory remarks seem to universally define this freakish sport:

"I've still got the hiccups and my lungs feel like I smoked a pack of cigarettes last night."

"What a great thing cyclocross is."

The blood running down Travis' leg is a beautiful thing, cyclocrossicly speaking.

13-b122 said...

Nice work! Horses, crap should've gave one a slap on the ass and then drafted off it to the finish renegade style.

Anonymous said...

I love Taylor's commnets