Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Starcrossed 2013 Race Report and photos

If you don't care about Davo, you can see photos of everyone else at Spotshot !
They say you can spot a happy motorcyclist by the bugs on their teeth.  
Can you guess how you can spot a happy Cyclocrosser ?

The spectacle of Starcrossed returned to Washington state and was welcomed with open arms. Dirty, sweaty arms throbbing from a pounding on a bumpy course.  Arriving early, Hottie and I set up the tent and settled in for a long afternoon and evening.

My former spin instructor and cyclocross stalker (Spinner John) was entered in my 50+ cat and he was grinning like he smelled blood; my blood.  While I had soundly beaten him last week, he subsequently claimed to be sick and I reluctantly shrugged it off as luck on my part.

The course was bumpy and we joked about expecting to need to get our fillings tightened up following the race. They called us up my race number starting with 130 and Spinner John was 150 and I was 183.  There were 63 of us and I lined up in the back once again. The race in front of us had filled up and we started sixty seconds behind a field of eighty 40+ riders.

At the start a gap opened up in front of my and I quickly filled it. I heard the horrible sound of frames crunching to my left. I kept my eyes forward and forgot the crash one half second later.  I moved up on the loose dusty first corner going wide and keeping up my speed. As we snaked through the next couple corners I was fearless and as we hit the stairs I could see Spinner John was just ahead of me.

After the stairs I remounted and just in front of and below me I saw John sprawled out on his back with his bike on top of him as another rider rode right into him. I could her Spinner John yelling an obscenity.  By my reckoning he has three first lap crashes in the first three races this year. Like the narcissistic racer that I am, I forget his misfortune and returned my focus to the race.  The traffic on the course was problematic and even on the first lap we were catching the stragglers from the race ahead. I had to dap on a short steep climb but I was feeling strong.

Evo chasing Kevin and Peter
On the next lap I was fighting my way through traffic and the course was thick with the back of the race in front of us. I was racing open 50+ so there were some real fast mofos out there.  At the top of the short climb two riders ran into each other in front of me and I had to dismount and run. As I remounted I looked down and saw my chain had come off and my crank had rotated backwards and was only held in place by my chain keeper. I pedaled forward and the chain keeper did it's job and in addition to being grateful for my K-edge chain keeper, I didn't lose a second.

I came around the next lap and saw Spinner John sitting on the side of the course in the classic "broken collar bone" position of having your hand resting on your opposite shoulder with your elbow pressed into your stomach. "Poor guy," I thought for a nanosecond before chasing it out of my mind.

I was right behind a classy Blue Rooster I know named Kevin when he got forced into a course pole which stopped him and therefore it stopped me as well.  When we started up again I have no idea how it happened, but Kevin got away from me and I didn't see him again until after the race.

The dust was picking up and I noticed my arms had acquired a coating of grey that was absorbing the sweat and making me hotter.
It may be short, but it was steep with a contrived approach that made it sketchy.
The laps went quickly and I was able to hear the sweetest of sounds for Mid-pack Evo.  The sound of the UCI official ringing the last lap bell and not pulling Evo had become a bucket list experience.

By now the riders were spread out and I was racing those around me.  After hearing the bell I pushed a little harder and moved up through my group.
Up and..
Check out the quad definition !!
I passed a few guys and built up a bit of a gap and was able to ride smart into the last quarter of a lap.  I checked behind me and got out of the saddle to sprint to the line just in case someone wanted to battle me for 32nd place.  The bumpy course was brutal and I was sore and filthy.
I had a helmet and glasses to keep parts of my head clean...
Once again I had a blast racing and wasn't at all concerned with my placing or who I beat or who beat me.  Traditionally Starcrossed is where I get schooled and this year I was pleased with my ride.  The open 50+ cat meant that some of the slow guys that are usually out there were either not racing or in the 40+ cat.  When the results were finally posted I realized that I was mid pack in a pretty darn good field. I'll take it !
Kind of fitting that Rapha was a sponsor of the event.  
The suffering was so epic, it was underexposed and in black and white !!

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