Once again I find myself wishing I had blogged more often than I actually have recently. It has been my intention to write up every cross race as it happens and yet I have failed in that endeavor. In an attempt to rectify it I will try to at least cover this last weekend – as well as a product I have been reviewing.
This was the first 2 race weekend in Chicago Cyclocross Cup series this year. The Saturday race was a first at this new venue – Psycho Cross at the Golf farm in Wauconda. Nice location, plenty of parking, nice facilities, all out grinder of a course.
When I got there I kind of chuckled to myself. It had been my recent plan to convert my cross setup to a single ring up front and to build myself another set of cross tubulars using 34 Fangos instead of my 32 Grifos. It turns out my overloaded schedule has actually helped me and I had a great setup for this course.
The one thing my overloaded schedule has not helped me with is the very large situation I have developed under my jersey. It seems somehow that when you only really ride your bike 1-2 times a week and that instance is usually a race your body just doesn’t want to work with you. That combined with stress and a total lack of self control has contributed to my heaviest weight in a couple of seasons. That being said excuses are like button holes and I stink…wait ….wha?
I was so uncomfortable in my jersey that I had to wear my normal shirt until time to race. That’s just sick. While lined up the requisite 40 minutes in advance of our race we got to witness the tail end of the 1/2/3 race. While the results seem to be a foregone conclusion I still find entertainment in watching the race un-fold. Brian Conant was not where I expected to see him and just really had a look of pain on his face that seemed to say, “this f’n hurts.” After they finished he came by our grid to pick up his bottle and I mentioned that he made that look painful. This comment would come back to bite me.
So – Tim Speciale was coming off of a good finish the week before. This was to be his second cross race ever and his first 4A race. He was hoping for good things. The start went about like normal. I didn’t get a great spot but I don’t really care. I am not gunning for the hole shot and I have a natural talent for climbing over bodies in the first few corners. It satisfies the aggressive “fight” side of my fight or flight response.
As usual I found myself in a decent (read 20-something) position coming out of the first couple of turns. At this point I get to embrace the pain as my heart and lungs go into perma-burn and my system reacts to the brutal shock that a cross start is. I would guess that it is similar to that split second feeling you used to get as a kid when your head would hit concrete. “where am I, how do I make the pain stop, why do I taste blood, who can I make pay for this”.
By the time we were to the mulch area I was past the red and into shutdown as I kicked the rig into reverse.
“1 spot, 2 spot, 3 spots, 4. Pretty soon I’m not gonna be in this race anymore.”
By the gravel and back stretch I was cashing in and holding on for the recovery that comes for me allowing me to cook with gas for the rest of the race. Coming around the bend by the big tree I saw Speciale sitting along the edge of the course looking dejected.
“What do you need?”
“I have a flat”
We swapped wheels and I rode a flat rear clincher *gasp* for the rest of the lap to the neutral support. So far off the back it was sad. What’s worse is that all of the spectators that seem to know me just assumed this was a normal race for me and that it was my natural lack of skills that let me languish off the back.
Was the swap Kosher? No. We know that. It didn’t matter though. Tim pulled out of the race and after swapping for a wheel in the pit I raced the rest of my laps alone and only in hopes of not finishing last. I passed last place on the final lap.
Not so "fly" on the flyover. My poor fitness combined with a flat rear clincher made that like a rollercoaster.
The only good thing that happened is that Tim was able to get into the 4B race with 2 good tubulars….that and I got to say hey to Jose A from SRAM while getting the eye from Taco Ed.
Coming around the final section on my last lap Conant was standing there – already changed – with a big smile on his face just in time to see me and say something to the effect of, “now you’re looking like me. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.” You know it’s bad when the entire cat 4B field gets to heckle you. Being the one of the last riders of the race I got their full attention and focus as I finished.
Most riders would probably pull out when in my situation. I am not sure why I don’t. Just can’t. I don’t really ease up either. I’m not racing anything or anyone at that point, but I’m racing. Can’t explain it and I am sure there is something to it, but if I was ever able to have enough self control and time to train….hmmm…..maybe I will…..
Richard Lenski made his debut in PSIMET colors. This was the result of, honestly, 2 years of recruiting. While it is always difficult to make a team transition – especially between two teams that genuinely appreciate each other – I have found that he’s always been a great friend and competitor and it’s a real pleasure to have him on the team. Finishing in the top 10….well that’s just nice. :)
Lenski lets his colors fly on the flyover
Starting the 4B race it seemed like Tim had something to prove. I’ve seen him get like that before. Usually this ends with an amazing finish or a crash that does either body or gear damage. I was hoping for the good finish.
Pretty early on Tim and Bryan Witry from Spider Monkeys made a go of it.
Tim leading Bryan into a corner on lap 2 of the 4B race.
I figured Tim had the victory, but got to watch him lose it in the final barrier and stairs. Lesson? Practice, practice, practice. If you ever see my fat butt passing you in barriers you only have yourself to blame. Bryan did a great job and held Tim off, claiming the victory. Chapeau to Bryan and Tim for a great and entertaining race. PSIMET podiums…I like them.
Congrats to Bryan on his win and to Tim Speciale for nailing another PSIMET Podium
The next day in Carpentersville….next blog entry…:)