Sunday, November 2, 2008

Christmas morning every weekend - Cyclocross

I remember how giddy I'd get as a kid, back before I figured out where Mom and Dad stashed stuff, at the antipation of the unknown - I knew the good Santa would have something fun there for us, but not having any idea what it would be certainly added to the giddiness.

Well - the latest and greatest to bring that giddiness back to this bigger kid is Cyclocross racing. I've been to four of them now, and being a rookie, it's been a riot showing up to the different venues and not having any idea what I'm getting myself into. I'm not dramatizing it either, I'm seriously having a blast! Most fun I've had on a bike since I was a kid, by a long shot - and I was having a lot of fun on the mountain bike this year.

I haven't met the guys who organize this Utah Cyclocross series yet, but I will, and I'll tell em' they rank right up there with Santa Clause.

Below are some learning curve observations and some visuals from this weekends races.

Stuff I learned at RMR:
1 - I can't ride gravel worth beans.
2 - That big hill in the video is rideable, managed just fine during warm up laps. But, you need to be clipped into your pedals, something I managed not to get done at this section every lap during the race. Yes, I'm a hack.
3 - I can make the simple task of fixing a dropped chain after laying the bike down in the gravel look agonizingly difficult and time consuming.
4 - Getting back into a race after a mechanical takes some serious hard work, a price I wasn't able/willing to pay at RMR. I have to get tougher. Yes, I'm a slow hack.

Stuff I learned at Wheeler:
1 - The highlight of the race for the kids was watching me crash when getting a little too aggresive on a corner on the first lap, true chips off the old block!
2 - Not positive if it was the crash that caused it, but had a spoke break loose later on the first lap. Had no idea what to do with it? so pulled over and just twisted it around another spoke to keep it out of the way. Rode the rest of the race having no idea what losing a spoke would mean to how the bike would work/hold up. I tried to ride really light on the back, taking extra care to pick it up over stumps, etc... but could feel it getting a little choppy as the race went on. It held up - but felt like I was having to pedal really hard the last lap. Got off after finishing to have a look, gave it a spin, and couldn't get one rotation out of it without the brake stopping it dead - think it's a bit or a bunch out of round. If anyone has tips on what to do with a busted spoke mid race, please share.
3 - Tried a lot harder to get back into the race after the mechanical (spoke) today, and ended up putting in what I felt was my best race thus far. Don't know that I placed any better, but it was by far my best effort and something I think I can build from.
4 - Bart is really fast.

Big thanks to Annie and the kids for entertaining yet another random adventure/obsession. Not only does Annie make a great cheerleader, she somehow manages to keep the reigns on the kids, shoot video, and shoot photo's, all at the same time. No one out there is married to a better woman! I think she's going to do a few of these races herself next year - I just like it when she wears biking shorts.

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