Sunday, December 24, 2006


Cyclocross Nationals Day One Masters 30-34

When I signed up for this race I don’t really know what the hell I was thinking. I knew I’d be at Nationals all three days and I knew I wanted to race as much as possible, the only events I was eligible for were B men U35 on Sunday AM at 9-frickin’-thirty and Masters 30-34 on Friday. My thought was that it wasn’t a real masters race, all the mean dudes are over thirty-five, but wait…anyone without a pro license between 30-34 who felt like doing this race could if they wanted to…I’d made a huge mistake.
Thursday night I installed a Thule rack on our car in the dark, fun stuff, in the AM I met up with Greg “The Leg” Montello, my buddy Seth, and his dog Chloe, uh I mean Sophie (sorry, all Labs look alike to me AND they come up here, take all our jobs, control the media, commit crimes, get drunk, cook stinky food, and try to turn all our children gay with their subversive sitcoms while they should be engaging in more decent white human, Christian behavior like starting wars, committing genocide, and enslaving entire races of people).
We got to Roger Williams Park about three hours early, yet somehow I didn’t get a full warm up in and only rode about a quarter of the course. This was due in part to a problem I’ve encountered at most ‘cross races this season, people are just too damn friendly, you gotta stop and say hi to folks left and right. I now understand the value of sitting on your trainer by the car or along the course, that way you can yammer away while you spin, next year for that.
I lined up next to Jim Wirtanen from Harris Cyclery, we used to work downtown messengering together at MJ’s Express in the early part of the millennium, he’s a funny guy and always a calming influence. We took off, it was mayhem as usual as we hit the first corner, amazingly 81 guys couldn’t bunny hop the curb onto the grass in unison smoothly and the first big accordion effect slowdown occurred, the second muddy corner was a mess as well, actually most of the first lap was a nightmare. I had some snap in my legs and I was able to move up well when the opportunity to arose, the gear was slightly light, I was running the 38 X 17 which had been good to me for so many races, here it was just barely the right ratio.

I couldn't fit this video into the appropriate post, it's Matt White hopping the huge barriers in traffic during the Super Cup Sunday.

The course was incredible, lots of great corners and rhythm sections, one set of barriers, two run ups, one of them extraordinarily long, maybe not the most technical single speed friendly thing, but super fun nonetheless. I never did figure out how to dismount well into the two run ups, but I didn’t lose any time there either at least to the guys directly around me… I didn’t gain anything either. There were certain areas of the course where I could make up ground so I’d punch it. One of these was a slight grade parallel to the barriers heading in the opposite direction. During the last part of the last lap I had gapped up to a group of about five and then gapped them in the first couple corners, I attempted to extend the gap by railing up the aforementioned grade. There was a rider in no man’s land in front of me, I swung wide around him traveling significantly faster than he, he heard me coming and in what could only have been an entirely ill conceived blocking maneuver he jerked his bike three feet to the left hooking my bar. We both went down, he on top of me, slamming into my right arm, my head thumped the ground hard, I was seeing stars. We got up, the five riders behind barreled past like a freight train, our bikes were entangled , I tried to wrest mine free, as I freed it, homeboy began shoving my bike as he began running up the rest of the hill. At first I thought it was part of him trying to get our bikes apart but he kept it up, my first inclination was to do something really stupid and disqualification worthy, I settled on gently shoving him back, and we kept pushing each other back and forth until we reached the crest of the hill. He gapped me on the paved section before the final run-up, I stayed on him, totally furious, he started talking trash on the run-up, called me an expletive, the pejorative term for a sphincter, I returned the insult added a comma and a “AND you can’t ride your bike”. We hit the pavement coming up the finish line, I sat on for a second then went early taking the sprint for…33rd or 34th (woo-hoo) depending on where you look up the results.
Friday night I drove back to Somerville completely steamed about the whole thing, I’d never experienced something so lame during a bike race. I spun on the trainer and had a few beers trying to clear my head.

This unintentionals art installation expresses my repressed angst.

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