Monday, December 1, 2008

So This Is What It's Like

Hoogerheide Cyclo Cross World Cup 2008

You ever wonder what it’s like to be in the chase group when you watch those cyclocross World Cup videos, maybe from a race in the Netherlands, where the riders eyes are bugging out through the mud painted on their face, mouths are wide open breathing fog as the riders freight train through the course trying to catch one or two leaders off the front?

On the second lap of the Masters 1/2/3 race yesterday at Storm the Greens in Louisville I distinctly remember thinking, “So this is what it’s like.” I can’t believe I had time for a thought like that. In a chase group gunning for 2nd with 3 guys in front of me and two behind coursing through muddy corners, misty rain, over surprise tree roots and through bottom bracket deep sand, there wasn’t room in my brain for errant thoughts. Apparently, elation takes up less brain space than errant thoughts.

Aside from a Dutch or Flemish speaking announcer, everything that’s great about cyclocross was there at that moment: slippery mud, speed, fierce competition, rain, cowbells, cold, spectators waiting for carnage, puddles, pre-shifting before obstacles, being from Ohio and every guy I was with was from Kentucky and gunning for a State Championship podium spot, someone mistaking me for a teammate and shouting “Go Mitch” instead of “Go Joe,” snot, ankle deep mud between railroad tie stairs, grass and goo hanging from the brake cables, getting in the drops in the headwind, the guy in front doing a header in the sand, split second decisions, wondering if I’d have to make a bike change for a clean rig, cutting the inside line as the guy in front of me fishtails through a corner…on and on. Somewhere in all of that the phrase, “so this is what it’s like” crept into my head.

A race you wish would never end, that’s what it’s like.

Details & Results at

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