Thursday, December 11, 2008

20 minutes of Epicness

Tuesday nights have been cyclocross (CX) and short track (ST) race night the last couple of weeks. CX is a fringe sport within a fringe sport that usually occurs in the fall and winter. Road and mountain bike racing is pretty much over and this gives bike racers the opportunity to continue racing. Cold and wet conditions are a given, since it's a winter sport. This is from last year's CX National race:

Needless to say we don't see that ^ type of weather condition in Dallas very often, especially early in December.

Tuesday started off nice enough, cool but not cold. As the day went on the temperatures dropped instead of warming up, and the wind picked up for good measure. By 4:00 it was windy and in the low 40s, and I was looking for a good reason not to race. Alan had his excuse all lined up - his bike was in the shop. I wasn't so lucky and I'm too stubborn... no, pig-headed... to use "it's cold" as an excuse.

We get there, bundle up and help with course set up. Soon it's time for the first CX race ("C" class). Since it's a whooping windy, 35deg I put on more than several layers of cycling clothing, get on my bike and start warming up for my CX race which is up next. I still don't have a lot of grace and skill when it comes to getting on and off the bike (you would think with my lack of technical skills, that I would be smoother getting off the bike than I am)
so I look at the CX race as sprint-stop-sprint interval training.

The next race is the A's ST (same course as the CX, the course just by-passes the dismount sections). Pam and I ride in the back of the A race to trying to stay warm. As we're riding along I feel something on my face, I look up at the park lights and I see "stuff" coming down. Nope, not rain... it's either sleet or frozen rain! Riding into the wind with those pellets coming down stung. Time to put the visor back on my helmet.

By time we line up for the B/C ST race, it's windy, 32deg and snowing.

Yes, that's right... SNOWING.

Oh man - this is going to be AWESOME!

We take off and Pam gets the lead on me and I work to keep on her wheel. At least the icy pellets have changed to snow, so instead of getting stung in the face we get splatted with big wet flakes.

There's only a handful of spectators but every time we go by everyone's cheering for us and Alan is yelling for, and at, me to keep going. On the last lap I knew I had to make my move if I was going to take the lead. Alan yells "suck it up!" and that gives me the incentive I need. Coming into one of the last chicanes, I've closed the gap and try to pass Pam and one of the guys
but my line is too wide and I get squeezed out,
when we come out of the final tight turn I'm rubbing the guy's wheel, and he's trying turn tight so he doesn't take Pam down - Mike (photo dude) yells out "now, that's racing!".

I got to find a way to get around this guy so I can get Pam. We get to the start straight and the guy powers past Pam. I know I need to get around the guy if I'm going to hold off Pam. I sprint past Pam and catch up to the guy right before we come up on the short climb to the sidewalk. I start yelling that he's in my line and I need around him NOW. I squeeze him off, get up onto the sidewalk, then turn back down onto the field. A slight downhill with a tail wind is all I need. I get to the last turns around the trash cans and I know I'm home free to the finish line.

It was a great race and Pam kept me working hard!

Post race pics



***Race pics are courtesy of commiebike***

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