Sunday, November 19, 2006


Plymouth Cyclocross Report

My preparation for this race was ideal as usual. I rode my Schwinn Varsity fixed gear across town to the opening night of Casino Royale (pretty good really, like the Batman Begins of the Bond films, dark i.e.), had a few pints, got home at midnight, ate a couple slices of Cinderella’s pizza containing about three pounds of cheese, and went to bed. In the morning I went with rice and egg burritos, my staple pre-mountain bike race food which I had sidelined with the idea that I shouldn’t be eating something so substantial prior to ‘cross races, after my decent performance at Putney where I had fallen back on my old standard I decided to stick with it once and for all.
My buddy Jeff met me at the house and we headed down to Plymouth Mass. I had rained for a couple days leading up to the race, but on race day the weather was beautiful, sunny and mild, about fifty degrees, kind of perfect, muddy course…no rain.
Of the ‘cross courses I’ve seen this was by far the best. The start was semi-uphill through the start/finish, up a grassy knoll, into some singletrack, out into a field, over a single barrier, another knoll, back over the other end of the same single barrier, a few twists and turns through the field, up a muddy run-up, down through more of the field with more turns, down a real mountain biky? bikey? Bike…eeh!? Decent with lots of roots, very nice, out on to a sidewalk which was uphill (thank you to the gods which watch over guys with one gear, except for The Great Bull of Heaven cuz he threw poop at me that one time, big jerk), where was I? Sidewalk, right, then up some more grassy stuff, around a tennis court, down a thing, up a thing that was very hard to get up an over on my gearless bicycle,
And back to the start/finish.
This is the weird part, I got the hole shot, I don’t know how, but I came through the start/finish first, I wish someone had caught the incredulous look on my face. My position didn’t last long as at least a couple guys came around me by the top the hill. I’ve learned by now that you must endure about ten minutes of “jesus christ, I’m going to puke, I’m going to die, I’m going to die covered in my own puke, how horribly indecorous!” before you settle into a steady “my head and arms are numb and I’m drooling like the lobotomized offspring of a St. Bernard and the creature from Alien” for the rest of the race.
It was a bit hectic early on, fighting to hold position, but eventually we became a solid group of three or four with some guys yo-yoing off the back. The ultimate winner of the event gapped us all early on, right after he went all Adam Craig and hopped the barrier, we never did get close to him again. Eventually I collected what pass for my wits and formulated a game plan, this entailed trying to get in front in the areas I was stronger and hang on where I wasn’t, it kind of worked, although I was later told my onlookers that I was dragging two or three guys around like a dumb animal for most of the race.
Going into the final lap (I’ve learned to mind the lap cards…BIG VICTORY!) my tactic was to get into the woods first where I was able to produce a gap earlier on, this was not to be, the two dudes left in my group (Pete Smith and Ryan? I think) played it so right, teaming up and blocking me.
I sat on as we cruised up the sidewalk, then I went again trying to shed them through the last couple undulations before the finish but I was too redlined at the top of the ride up/run-up and the boys tacked back on, I tried to recover and sit in for the sprint but they chewed me up and spit me out like a dog which had snatched an object which had fallen off a dinner table out of the air only to realize to it’s horror that it was a totally unpalatable item such as a garlic stuffed olive. That’s me, I’m a frickin’ garlic stuffed olive, but I did finish 4th, my best result so far in this wacky sport, where you are forced to jump off a perfectly good bicycle and run like an idiot. Except I do feel that things are kind of beginning to come together, I placed another piece of the puzzle with my inexplicably good start. I still don’t know what the finished puzzle will look like, maybe it’s a shirtless Viking atop a unicorn on a misty Scandinavian mountainside wielding a broadsword with a scantily clad maiden clinging to his mid-section…at least I hope so.

I do have to thank all the “rabid fans” that yelled at me throughout the course, particularly Alexandra who opted not to go to “Build-a-Bear” (she’s six) and come out to a bike race instead. It was kind of embarrassing to tell the truth, I was riding with these dudes whose names I didn’t know and they sure as hell knew what mine was, so thanks guys.


JJ said...

nice job man!

Ryan said... I'm a roadie.

Meaning that I lost like eight seconds in the woods on you the one time I went in after you. Then I learned I had to ride like an ass to go in first so it wouldn't happen again.