I was in the midst of putting together a "Hot or Not" for August, and then we got to September. And then I decided on the spur of the moment to enter a race which had me feeling as weird as...well, maybe as weird as when I decided to race a couple of offroad Triathlons.
I decided to forgo doing any extensive endurance training last weekend in favor of a Cyclocross race. I don't have a CX bike so I raced my MTB.
As usual (well, so it seems at the moment...) my 'consistent' riding is not leading to consistency on the bike and racing, I had a few hard weeks leading up to this mighty club-race affair, and I was feeling smoked. Not so much from km's, but more from trying to flex a bit of muscle and work on my strength. Which will be awesome for me when it comes to later, but in the midst of doing strength it just makes you feel like a cart horse, slow and heavy.
But alas, I decided to race cyclocross because 'it's only 30-40min of racing'. Should be easy, right?
I rocked up and the awesome Emma Best was there looking hip, as usual, and Briztreadly's Andrew Demack was hollering on the mic for the kids race.
It was a DAMN HOT day. I felt like I was in a western movie at the Murrarie Crit track, where it was held. The grass was dry and crunchy like straw, it was very exposed and i'm sure there were tumbleweeds blowing in the ferocious hot winds.
I would say the race was like a quick draw gunfight standoff, but it wasn't as exciting as that. 3-2-1 GO was our start gun, and the open field shot into the bunting. I stuck on Pete 'I beat you' Winfield's wheel (just joking Pete...sort of...), until the first barrier, at which I took on some equine properties and spooked, deciding after being a mountain-bike failure when practicing (ie: running into) the barriers I should just play it safe. Rather than wear the heckling I would no doubt receive from the SRAM boys (there's a distinct danger in knowing too many people sometimes...) I decided to run them, which ended up losing me a buttload of time each lap, but hey, I was practicing my cyclocross skills so all was well really.
At this point old mate retro jersey passed me and got onto Pete's wheel, and I was a bit behind due to excessive barrier embarrassment, and Pete and old mate tousled for much of the race. Old mate retro proceeded to slow down in the second half of the race, and we were tousling, which was about as close to a quick draw gunfight as we came during the race, despite the tumbleweeds.
(note: race was not at all like this cheesy western clip)
It went like this: I would get in front, he would hop on my wheel down the finishing straight of the lap. Which a. was a massive headwind, and b. not fair as his butt was much bigger than mine. Plus he had a bona fide CX bike.
Anyway, we swapped and switched for a few laps, and on the last lap I came around him thinking, this is awesome, all I have to do is hop those barriers and get a bit of a gap and happy days. Except it didn't happen like that, I came up to the barriers and was quite confused, one was down—were they in the process of putting it up? In my fried state I failed to comprehend that this was, in fact, an advantage, and hopped off anyway (????) and ran over them. This is why I don't race road very well, as tactically I am a bit of a banana.
I had a song stuck in my head. Not even a song really, just a chorus. Alas, I cannot remember which one but it was on repeat. Oh god, I just remembered what it was. It was Mumford & Sons. No wonder I wasn't having the greatest time ever out there. Yeuch.
Old mate retro passed me—this was ok I planned to hop on his wheel and take him. Then as I remount my chain flops off. And i'm pedalling. It's still off. I'm still pedalling and going nowhere (and laughing, let it be known that despite an entire race report devoted to said race, the whole thing was indeed entirely comical!). Chain not on bike. I manage to get it on around the nauseating crop circle of doom, but old mate retro has a bit of a gap, I pedal up to him, but can't crawl back the last few metres.
When we headed onto the finishing straight he maintains this bit of a gap, I put it in and manage to claw towards him a bit, but by the end he still has about 5metres on me.
Did I mention how much that bit hurt? And how weird I found racing CX?
Pete of course won, there's a victory photo of him with me and old mate retro at the end of the finishing straight about to launch it.
Emma rode ridiculously strong to finish behind me despite claims of lack of fitness (bah!) plus did I mention how hip and trendy Emma is?
Anyway, good to see some familiar faces out there, didn't get to watch Immo and Andrew race as my child had screamed for the entirity of the race. Aido had had enough of holding Elva a la exorcist, so I took her and she stopped crying, at which point Aido muttered a string of expletives and wandered off.
And that was the day of cross.