Eight men out (of their minds)Eight men sporting the maglia bruno made the journey to the grounds of the former Northern State Mental Hospital to partake in the the spectacle that is Woolley Cross. We were all in the same race which was a treat. Hottie was faithfully along for the day and Betty the Beast was at her final race in Washington for 2013.
Does this make my butt look big?With Halloween this week, Evo felt inspired to dress for the occasion. After a week of seemingly endless fog, I was afraid to be cold so I was glad we had some awesome Fuel Coffee.
There is just something about Coffee !!
Oh Yeah....The race organizers moved the start away from the haunted buildings which helped kept the mood less...Stephen King-like. I'm not kidding. I'm not.
Evo wasn't the only one is costume....We warmed up and the course revealed itself to be a combination of sketchy gravel speed sections, long grinding gradual climbs on alternating stretches of bumpy grass or loose gravel. There was a real run up and later a steep descent that made you want to grab the brakes. It was mostly dry with just a couple wet sections to keep us honest.
This race in a highlight on my calendar for a few reasons. First, the venue is so weird it has to be seen to be believed. When the course is wet, the race is nothing short of epic. The biggest reason is that the race series is low key and uncrowded. Instead of sixty guys in a race category, this series has twenty to thirty guys. Forgive my using this as an example but instead of a five minute hike to the portable toilets where you stand in line to use one of the dozen or so blue shacks I walked one minute to find the five port-o-lets four of which had green signs indicating they were vacant.
The cascade cross series has a great vibe as well. It matters.
Some of us just have style...The race got underway and a bunch of us were mixing it up. I settled in and felt okay. As we neared the end of the first of five laps I was getting really, really hot. The long sleeve shirt and tweed sport coat along with the thick wool socks were causing me to overheat.
I felt a certain responsibility dressed as I was to maintain a requisite level of class and had promised myself I would not unbutton my coat.
Did I mention at times stuff was steep ?As the race wore on I settled into a level of effort I could maintain without melting.
Yeah, there were barriersSome sliding on the gravel in combination with my costume made this a great day not to hang it all out there. After the race Matthew would be wiping blood off his hand, arm and leg as a result of an up close and personal experience with the gravel.
On the third lap I hit a small lip on the inside that was one of the few wet spots on the course and got my back wheel to slide to the right and it launched me on a perfect line to the run up.
Note the pristine elbow patches
The run up was short and it made sense to me not to even shoulder the bike. On the fourth lap I approached the same lip and my front wheel slid out and I went down. I was on my back with my bike in the air over me. El Chefe was right behind me and his brakes were working just fine. Thank you DG ! Looking as if I planned it, I rolled over and with bike in hand, attacked the run up. A fan yelled, "Good thing that jacket has elbow patches." I was feeling the power of the Tweed !During the the race I had been getting lots of cheers for my costume. People were calling me Tweed guy, Bill Nye (The science guy), Bow tie guy and Professor. I was reminded of a single speed race years ago when I was battling with a guy in a big bird suit. The fans were all yelling for him and I felt like chopped liver. Today I was that guy and everyone was cheering for me. I enjoyed that.
Note the dirt and grass on the elbow patches post-crash.My race was nothing special as I was so hot in the outfit. I did beat the two riders I was dueling with on the last two laps in the last two hundred yards which was a small victory. After the race I took off the coat and it was soaked through with sweat. The shirt was clammy as if I had just pulled it out of the washing machine. I peeled down and changed into temperature appropriate clothing, and called it a day.