Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, November 26, 2012

CX 2012..... I hear the fat lady singing

My teammate and fellow Belgian Thug, Big John at the exact moment he realizes he can't fly.      
Can Hottie take good photos or what ?

Coffee in the morning; Cocaine afternoon..
   - Jackson Browne
Embrocation in the morning; Antibiotic cream afternoon....
   - Evo Davo
Check all the photos and see if you can figure what Evo did for the first time in a cross race.

The routine has become so entrenched in our weekends it happens almost without effort.  "What time do we need to leave in the morning?" Hottie asks dreading the answer. Whatever my reply, it is followed by a pause, a sigh and then she says, "okay."  Camera batteries are charged and lenses and umbrellas are packed and I stuff my bike clothes into a bag.

Well before the sun is up my alarm goes off and I brew up coffee and we chase it down with some corn grits.  I load up the war wagon and pretty much on time, we are off.  This morning took a little longer as I had to scrape the ice off the windshield.  Yep, as male cyclists say, "it was going to be a shrinker."

I knew exactly where I wanted to put up the tent and we got that prime spot.  There was thick milky fog and everything was wet or icy.  We had epic rains all week and the course was as muddy as promised.  For the first races there was a stretch of dry mud alternating with puddles. After three races it had turned into one long brown milkshake of mud.
If is was less grey and had whip cream on it you would be looking for a straw..
This course was similar to years past. A long flat start that takes you full speed into loose gravel (yeah, I know) that takes you into a one eighty turn for a steady uphill climb.  After the long grassy climb you snake, in typical Seattle Cyclocross fashion, back and forth, scrubbing speed into and accelerating out of one corner after another until you are dumped onto the course's marquee feature, the steep drop and hard right turn (with no let up on the slope) and a traversing off camber climb that then drops you down on the same steep grade a hundred meters further on. Then across a ditch and some rubble (the image that comes to your mind is accurate) and a run up that is really and claw up.
Clawing up the run up. The words of the day were "Toe Spikes".
After climbing the run up you had to either wade or hurdle a puddle and then a short slippery climb that punished those with bad tires or too much pressure. Your reward was being dropped into the milkshake mud avenue.  Exiting the bog you had a slippery downhill and soon you were on asphalt and churning out speed. Then onto the sand which the rain had packed into a very rideable single track. Finally a little mud to slow you down and a sharp turn before spilling onto the finishing straight of loose gravel.
Have you made your guess on what Evo did different this race ?
One of our team members was in contention for the 35 plus Cat 4's and suffered a horrible race. Three crashes and two mechanicals contributed to the mayhem. The look on his face told the story.  When it goes a little wrong, it often goes a lot wrong.  After a season of top five finishes he ended up 30th.

The fog was sticking around and I was putting on more and more layers.  I took some laps wearing full tights and rain pants on my bottom and a wicking long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, fleece jacket, team jacket and plastic rain jacket and a beanie and I did not overheat.  I did succeed in warming up.  We also had Mr. Heater working all day.

By race time the fog was gone and it was a tad warmer.  I applied some embrocation and chomped down some shot bloks.  My plea for some medical help earlier in the week had yielded some results and I was finally feeling better.  I tried to not think about the week I took off trying to recover...

McWoodie came to cheer us on and gladly collected clothing at the start allowing us to delay the chill as long as possible.  At the whistle I took off more aggressively than I have most of this season.  I fought for my spot and jumped ahead of El Jefe and took a deep breath as we approached the gravel.  I made the corner and took the right side while almost everyone else took the left. I gained a few spots and felt like I was racing again.

At this point I realized how much my head had been affected by my heath this season. In some races I just put in the effort and waited to be passed. This day I was pushing.  In the maze at the top I held my spot. I took the conservative, but smart, path and ran the downhill/uphill feature. I passed four riders on the first lap and felt good. I also took the left line on the run up and gained a spot there.

In the mud I applied my Portland experience and took the center line and did just fine.
At the starting line they told us probably five laps, but be prepared for six. After three laps I saw four to go.  Assuming the top single speeders caught me, that meant six laps for Evo. I kept churning. I wasn't too far behind Big John and El Jefe hadn't caught me yet. Some of the guys who had beat me for the first time at Woodland Park were behind me where I like to think they belong (in an elitist kind of way).

The laps stretched out and I was holding my ground. With one to go and deciding this was the last race for me, I was pushing and pushing hard.  The first couple single speeders caught me and I was keeping a good pace. I continued to run the down/up and then slide my back wheel on the following descent.

A spill on my next to last lap gave me some blood on my knee and put a smile on my face as I didn't loose a spot because I sprang up like I had planned the crash all along.

 Note the blood on the knee and mud on my backside
All too soon it was over and I was dropping my head and coasting.  In cleaning off the mud I felt like I had been deep fried as the mud was crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.

The pirate took forth on the day and managed to take second in the series and a ticket to race with the Cat 1/2's next year.  Big John had another mechanical and El Jefe never caught me so I was the top Thug for our team.  I took 24th out of 43 which I am counting as a victory and calling it a season.

We cheered on our teammate Hot Pants in the final race as we broke down the tent and packed up.  On our way home we were treated to a beautiful sunset.  I washed the bike and clothes in the dark.

Next week is the Washington State Championship and our team is one of the sponsors so I'll be there working.  There is an off chance I could ride so I didn't do my final bike cleaning and storage preparation.  I sure enjoy the shower when I get home.  I find blood in places and I have no idea how it got there. I did smear antibiotic cream on my knee, fingers and hip.  I didn't have a medal around my next, but I did enjoy this season.

I warmed up wearing shoe covers that were so tight I had to fight to get them on. They kept my feet so dry that for the first time ever, I raced in shoe covers.


mobygrape said...

nice job there.

and I'm guessing the answer is "wear glasses"?

mobygrape said...

ima change my answer. you wore shoe covers.

Hair product? Worry bead necklace? Hemp anklet? Embro is a given, so that's not new...

EvoDavo said...

Shoe covers is the correct answer. I wasn't feeling particularly Belgian that day and the thought of cold water on my feet just made me wilt.

bikelovejones said...

Congrats on a great end to your season! Nicely done.

mikemc said...

"It's going to be a shrinker" I'm going to steal that one.