Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cross eyed cross

I’m starting to figure some things out about Cyclocross. This is a good thing. I didn’t figure it out for the first four races. This is a bad thing. Oh well. You live and learn.

The first thing I learned is that I can do very well if I have my heart in the race. Now to my credit my heart not being in the races has been based on my circumstances which I had no control over. Those circumstances no longer have an impact so I am able to move beyond that.

For the record the second race that I did was the day after my dad passed away. I was heavy hearted that day. This past weekend’s races took place knowing my girlfriend was going to break up with me. My heart was elsewhere for both these races. Whatever. You deal and move on, right?
The second lesson that I have now learned is much more under my control. I’ll explain later.

So I went to Dade City last weekend for two Cyclocross races. What a fun weekend my son and I had!

Saturday I raced the 1-2-3 race. I finished 6th; I sucked.

The leaders went out hammering on the first lap! I tried my best to stay with them and it only fried the crap out of me. By the middle of the 2nd lap four had pulled away, another had jumped across from behind me and I was detached. For almost an hour I soldiered on. No hope in front and no hope from behind. It was awful.

The last two laps I completely shut it down like I was on a training ride. 6th would have to do.

After the race they were doing a relay. The aura of the relay race was that you had a one in, however many did the race, shot at winning a $2000 Cyclocross bike. Cool, I’ll do that. The problem was the entry fee: $100 for a team of three. My potential relay partners all abandoned me while I was racing (thanks guys!) but I found one lady who was willing to give it a go.

“Anyone want to do a relay??”

We could find no one…. except…

Except my boy Colby who BEGGED me to let him race. Ugh!! I paid $60 and we were a team. Ouch.

I let Barbara (the lady we found) go first. She gave a good effort but came in a couple of minutes behind the last person. Oh well. We weren’t there to win but to have fun. Colby was next.

After Colby had been out for a while my friend Donnie told me that he had crashed but was alright. The good news? They got it on video! Ha!

Barbara did her second lap and I did Colby’s second lap with him. I didn’t get to do my second lap because the winning team had lapped us! By the time Colby and I got done they had given the bike away. Sigh. We didn’t win. At least Colby had fun! It was worth it!

Sunday was the State Championship. Colby raced the 10-14 age group. He did so well! Raced head to head on his heavy, two sizes too big for him mountain bike with a lady on a cross bike. So proud of my boy for putting a hurt on the lady in the last lap! Atta boy! He finished 5th. A great showing for him! So proud!

OK, my second lesson. I can’t go out fast. It just doesn’t work for me. I can’t go red line and try to recover. I just can’t; I need to go out slow. Slow indeed.

Halfway through the first lap I was last out of 13 guys. I passed a little group and jumped up to the back of an 8 person group following the lone leader. In the middle of lap two I saw a gap open up so I popped up to 5th. Then there was a crash two wheels up. I avoided the mess and focused on getting through the wind. I looked behind me and saw a huge gap open up. I was in a group of 3 guys chasing the leader at about a minute. Rock on.

The three of us rode together for a lot of laps. The riders behind were either unable or unwilling to work together to catch us. We didn’t have the same problem. We were catching the leader.

45 seconds. 36 seconds. 30 seconds. 24 seconds. Then one guy just couldn’t hang anymore. He dropped off and there were just two of us remaining. I was fried as well. Within a lap the other guy was off the front and my job became holding onto 3rd place. I didn’t pull away but I kept a good gap.

Then part one of my melt down occurred. With just over a lap to go my chain came off. It happened in such a bad place! I had to get off my bike to fix it. The other guy caught me. I was fried and it was very windy. I couldn’t get away in the last lap so we both sat up for the finish. Actually I tried like three times to escape. No dice.

It was going to be a sprint. I decided to wait till the last hill before the finish. I had him in front. I was ready. The hill came. My foot slipped out of my pedal and it was over. I missed the podium at the state championships because of a crappy couple of bad breaks. I guess I’ll take 4th place.

I wasn’t happy though. I am bitter about that loss. I will break some legs in Gainesville this weekend. Mark my words. Legs will be broken!

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