Monday, October 15, 2007

Gloucester Gran Prix Verge #2 Day Two

What, you mean I have to wake up tomorrow and do that thing again? There are some mountain bike races I’d like to do two days in a row, this was more akin to going back to the dentist the day after you got an impacted molar pulled for more of the same. When I woke up in the morning I felt better about the whole thing, I’d slept well, my “Oh my god, my head is full of cement” feeling had subsided for the first time in weeks. I was ready to do this thing called a Cyclocross race which was, in reality a road crit on a badly maintained lawn.
Got there nice and early, hopped on the course for a lap, saw nothing had changed,
I overheard someone saying they had changed the apex of the corners…made up…or I’m on crack…probably the latter. Either way the changes were too subtle for my untrained eye to pick up on. I went out for a warm up with Tal Ingram, he just about killed me on an uphill sprint, if my heart didn’t eject via my mouth during that effort, it likely wouldn’t during the race.
Miriam had secured a very special outfit for me to wear for this event, I had concerns about it though, would my leg-warmers catch in my chain? Would my leotard obscure my number? You know, real serious stuff. The leotard did, in fact cause problems, after I “merged with my bike” at the top of the run up, it hooked around the bottom of my saddle, preventing me from standing up. I had to pick it out like a wedgie. God forbid I crash due to a wardrobe malfunction…now that would be

"I'm bringing my A-war!"

Don’t know what happened with the start order, thought I was about half way back, nope, down in 80th, right where I belong. I was right on Sean Cavanaugh’s wheel and I knew he was going good, all I had to do was stay with him. Fast forward a few minutes, he’s gone, there are fifty guys between us, I’m screwed from the start once again. Oh but passing half a dozen people at a time is so gratifying, if only I were like Tim Johnson…able to leap through entire fields of riders and get back within striking distance of the win in a single bound.
My body was feeling better, respiratory system was more cooperative than the day prior, the legs didn’t even seem too shredded from pushing the 71” gear on dirt. Most importantly I was having fun. It got real fun when John Bernhard showed up in front of me, I battled up to him and then it was on like King Kong vs. Mecha-Single Speed-Kong.

Let's get it on, c'mon!

As far as I know everyone I passed besides Bernhard didn’t come back to get me, this guy has no give up in him, he rides like a Pit Bull on Red Bull, he’d attack me and pass me back, I’d do the same, add kerosene, light a match, switch and reverse it. Oops, I’ve lost myself there. Thing was as we were myopically slugging it out, we were passing lots of other dudes, this was a good thing. Before I knew it we’d caught up to Cavanaugh, then I was pretty sure we were doing well. Then I saw James Newton, another IBC rider, also a good sign, Kurt Schmid was up there too, having a much better ride than the day before.
I was able to make a few last minute passes before the pavement, recovering and blocking through the corners before the sandpit, gapping up to Kurt by the pits. When we hit the pavement I clawed for Kurt’s wheel, knowing I wasn’t going to beat the guy that wins Wells Ave A race sprints on the asphalt, also knowing that he would carry me away from my chasers to the safety of the line where I could finally throw up and die. And that’s what happened, didn’t get Kurt, held off the dogs behind, finished 18th, in the top twenty, but out of the points. Still I felt good about it, and more importantly, I looked good, oh, and I didn’t really throw up or die.
Serious thanks to everyone who cheered me on, and supported me I really appreciate it.

Looking so good and so bad simultaneously

Some excellent shots from Jason G

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