Monday, November 20, 2006

Slick Willy ‘Cross Lowell, MA

This is the story of a one legged man. This one-legged man, he was an accomplished Para-Olympian but one day he decided to compete in the regular Olympics. He didn’t do too badly, but in every event he participated in someone was bound to exclaim “Hey, you’re doing GREAT…for a guy with one leg.” Or “Man! This is demoralizing, getting beat by a one-legged guy” or “Hey, one-legged guy, you are a frickin’ animal…like a three-legged tiger or a centipede…with 99 legs”.
O.K. so this analogy is slightly extreme, I do ride a single speed due to a mental handicap, I am too dumb to use gears. That’s a lie, I’m a bike mechanic so it must be that I’m clinically insane, I could use gears but I choose not to, much like a man that decides to not wear pants to the grocery store or write on bathroom walls with his own excrement.

This was the second of two races I did this weekend, the start was on a dead flat dirt running track so a good start was out of the question, then it was a run up over three steps, an uphill, downhill, a screaming corner onto the road, up more hill, into steep, long thing that geared riders mostly rode while I was forced to run and put myself in arrears, a whole lot of twisting and turning, some downhill switchbacks, across a field, into some woods, more fun corners, out into the field again, over a double barrier, and back around the track.
The track was really the only spot I got spun out, otherwise I was over-geared, or perhaps I was simply under-legged after Saturday. My start was decent considering the extent of the flatness but not great, I could see the leaders up until the run-up/ride-up then I got gapped big time. My teammate Jeff made the selection, although when I saw him cruising around the track a couple laps later while I was still in the woods I just thought he was kicking some ass not sitting on third wheel in contention for the win. I know he’s a bad dude on the mountain bike but I didn’t expect him to be up in front at what was essentially his second ‘cross race, and he ended up finishing second, siiiick.

It’s usually the climbs where I make up time on the SS but with my shattered legs it was all I could do not to get dropped and then I’d actually make up some ground on the flats and corners, spinning like mad. Somewhere in there someone yelled that I was 11th so my goal became to pick off and then hold off enough guys to get into the top ten. The two dudes I was hanging with most of the race were tough to drop, I tried to make the move through the last section of singletrack, blasting through the corners with abandon, sliding both wheels across the trail, spitting out rocks. By the time I made it to the barriers I’d gapped both of them but one came back as I spun out on the track, unable to go any faster, he sat on me and then came along side, not so much trying to come off my wheel it seemed as to outsprint me head to head, and he got me as I came across the line at 8,000 RPM’s gasping for breath like a free-diver reaching the surface (took me a minute to find a metaphor there, couldn’t think of anything or anyone that gasps for breath harder than a bike racer after a sprint, free-divers probably have it though).

For whatever reason I wasn’t super happy with my performance but any issues I might have had were drowned in beer and donuts shortly after the race. Thanks to me mum and dad for coming out and big ups to Jeff W for his earth-shattering ride.
Thanks to Kerry and
Fletch Foto
for the photos.

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