My cornering is so clean I give it the white glove treatment....
After channeling my inner Kam Chancellor I held out on the early season races. After my disappointing cross season in 2014 I wasn’t sure I would even race this year. I wasn’t sure I would race ever. Sometimes I surprise myself.
My plan had been to leverage my Fondo training base with some sharpening intervals starting in August and enter the Cyclocross season at full speed. As often happens; distractions increased and motivation waivered with the result being an ill prepared Davo. I missed a couple races and was wondering if I would partake or even spectate.
While our cycling team blurs the line between a team of bike racers and a gentleman’s club, our history is rooted in the soggy early morning Cyclocross races. Thus I felt a hint of nostalgia when I signed up for my first race of the season. The wizard of Coz and The Aussie Dog were racing as well and I enjoyed the comradery as we warmed up for the race.
I’ve had call ups for the last several years so starting at the back afforded me a rare opportunity to skip out on any pressure to start fast. When the whistle blew we got rolling and it was almost like I was sucked along by a vacuum. I moved up into the middle of the pack and settled in.
Despite overnight rain the course was tacky and the fall weather had not taken hold. A warm and dry race felt okay for the first foray of the season.
My HR quickly climbed to zone five and stayed there the entire race. It felt good to be racing again. My training base was revealed by my lap times varying less than twelve seconds for each of the five laps. My lack of intervals was revealed as well when I was passed on the last lap and was unable to respond.
I was beaten by a guy who has never beaten me before unless he was aided by a mechanical. Hello motivation.
After the race I congratulated my teammates and cooled down. I changed and made the long drive home. I had not done well but I had raced. I had pinned on a number and fought the battle. Good enough.
Upon reflection I was glad I raced. My team brothers may (or may not) be gentlemen but first and foremost we are racers. Some are retired from racing but we are all racers at heart and that is our identity.
A week later a Methow visit fell through so I signed up for another hour of suffering.
On race day the promised rain came early and often and I was excited to slip and slide around. I arrived and was proud to see Rich had the tent up with a wind trainer in place for his warm up. What a stud.
After a couple years of leading the tent brigade I have totally shirked this year and kudos to Rich who jumped in without missing a beat. I have really enjoyed seeing his cycling progress over the past few seasons.
The silver bullet was racing as well.
And then it happened..................
Roundness is overrated..
El Chefe had a spectacular crash in the race that preceded mine. His wheel was taco shaped and he had ghastly scrapes accompanied by bruises that would fully blossom overnight. It was clear he had battled the laws of physics and lost. He passed our team’s concussion protocol but only because the questions are multiple choice and Big John was prompting him with the correct answers.
On a rainy day, Aaron couldn't resist the allure of the mud...........
After seeing the carnage from his crash I reaffirmed by goal for the day of keeping the rubber side down. That was a good goal and would remain my sole objective until the racing got going.
The Wizard of Coz doing his magic
The rain volume went up and down and up again as race time approached. The course included some slight variations on years past. The course was a series of intervals with much less flow than other venues. With only two exceptions, you were either braking going into a corner or accelerating out of a corner for the entire course.
Exiting Randy's Crack....
Despite a week of business travel- my legs did have more punch than last week. Though my performance was far from stellar, I beat some guys who beat me last week. “Get back behind me where you belong.”
Those black jerseys are FAST !
Whiplaesch blowing past
When I crossed the line I was baked. Running with the metaphor I was soaked by the rain, breaded with mud and deep fried by a hundred accelerations. I was tired. It was a small consolation to know my maximum heart rate is still what it was a dozen years ago.
The race following mine featured teammates, friends and former rivals. I cheered them all as my body returned to room temperature..
The brown still demands respect as well
It has been over a year since I finished on the podium. I’m not that fast this year. I am, however, still a racer.