Monday, October 10, 2011

#OVCX Gun Club: This Is What CX Is About

I’m curled up in a fetal position clutching my Simon Burney book “Cyclocross – Training and Technique.”  I used to think cross was a balancing act between our checkbook and a functioning bike, IPA and body weight, hill repeats and a healthy marriage, core workouts and clean dishes, recovery rides and a well kept lawn.  I’m realizing cyclocross is more of a 60-40 or 75-25 than a perfect 50-50 balance approved with a gas-pump type sticker autographed by Dusty Rhodes, our Hamilton County Auditor. 

While I have yet to be able to sit through more than one minute and twenty seconds of one, this is precisely the reason there’s countless videos with superheroes satirically presenting the life of an “Elite Cyclocross Racer.”  I’m trying to choke back the paranoia, trying not to become a robotic voiced Rain Man cartoon of Cyclocross, definitely, but it’s becoming seriously obvious cross is testing my sanity as well as my skills and fitness.  I’m coo-coo for cyclocross!  I’m coo-coo for cyclocross!

My Best CX Season p/b Pearl Izumi  
The warning signs were there.  I dismissed them all.  It started in July, pre-season.  Faced with needing two new primary tires glued, a chain, a cassette, and a saddle in August, I spared our bank account the added deductions by choosing not to reglue the tires on my 2nd wheelset even though the glue was a smidgen crusty and few months past a year old, found an end of season sale on a Fizik saddle in Park City, Utah that came with sub-par but free bar tape and struck a blog deal with Pearl Izumi (thank you) for new shoes, a base layer and some other goodies.  I saved $4-500.  Ba bam!

I slightly rolled one of those old glue job tires last weekend at OVCX John Bryan.  I chanced it and I lost.  When I brought the wheel into BioWheels, Mitch, the shop owner, said I should just bring in the other wheel as well.  It was probably due.  I forgot to bring it in.  I had dishes to do, laundry to fold.  At the race yesterday, OVCX Gunclub, a teammate joked, “If you don’t put wheels in the pit, you’ll never need them.”  After the race, after running the last 500 meters of the course, after having passed me with 3 other guys, after rolling the other old glue job tire, of course he prodded, “Told you so.”  Butt wipe.

Having the Best Race of the Season-my balls not so much
I was having the best race of my season.  John Gatch, the race promoter, shouted from the pit, “21st Joe!  Close that gap.”  I was wheel bumping with the last place payout spot.  While eventually, I got passed by three admittedly faster racers (Jason Karew, James Billiter and Nate Mirus), 25th was still a good place and I had it locked.  With a gap to 3-4 chasers at the top of the “run-up,” I remember telling myself, “steady and clean.”  With 500 meters to go, literally 3 turns and two straightaways from the finish, on a quick downhill-up hill U-turn, FA-BOMP-FUMP. 

My tire rolled and lodged in my frame.  I didn’t even look to confirm.  I knew by the noise.  The FA-BOMP-FUMP never lies.  Knowing I was past the pit, I picked up my bike and ran, or better put, sort of peg-leg jogged as fast as I could.  My abs ached and my quads begged.  Seriously blurry-eyed, I committed to the run and finishing as best I could.  The three behind approached.  “What’s wrong Joe,” my teammate shouted.  I didn’t answer.  I didn’t need to.  “Oh no,” I heard Mike Schulze say as he passed.  He saw.  I ran…and ran and ran.  I reminded myself, back straight, chin up.  “If you can’t ride you run, “the race announcer chirped as I approached 50 meters to the finish, “This is Joe from The Best Bike Blog Ever!  This is what cyclocross is all about people.”  Through a gauntlet of “good jobs”, the finish line crowd applauded and I smiled.  

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