If youve been following my site for a while youve probably noticed lately most of my posts have been about cyclocross and at that not even about my exploits in that discipline. So I thought Id get back to my adventures and tell you about my experience at Woodland Park, the 6th and final round of the MFG Cyclocross Series.
First we need to turn back the clock to the night after the SSCXWC (single speed cyclocross world championships) where I vowed I was going to eat better and lose the few pounds I had gained since August. I had been eating a lot of sausage breakfast sandwiches and hot chocolates from Starbucks, as well as drinking more beer than normal. The idea was good but the execution was terrible. I actually ate more Starbucks than before! I was able to cut back on the beer though. The end result was same weight but I felt fat. Not fat like Im huge but an unhealthy fat, if that makes sense. (Side note, as I write this Im finishing Starbucks!)
If my diet wasnt bad enough leading up to this race then my training or lack of it wasnt much better. One week I rode 3 times for a total of around 35 miles, commuting to work. Then just last week I rode a whopping 20 miles! I did get two runs in there as well so that was nice to mix it up. I could come up with all kinds of reasons for both the diet and lack of riding but this season was supposed to be about having fun and not devoting every minute to racing and riding. Plus I was working on a special project the last few weeks which I cant tell you about just yet.
Race day come early, around 8 am. It started in the dark, under warm blankets, in a soft bed. After that it went downhill fast. First, my girlfriend was replaced as my snuggling partner by the 6 month old puppy that just spent the last 8 hours charging his batteries in his crate. Within moments I was licked, scratched, had my balls stepped on twice and then took a TKO shot to the chin. Im not sure if it was a head butt or a well placed elbow but he nailed me square on the jaw just below my ear. Im not kidding when I tell you it still hurt over 24 hours later. Our bed went from a place of solitude and peace to the octagon of a UFC fight. It was quite the start to my morning.
A short walk to Starbucks got the blood flowing and took my mind off my aching jaw. By now it was time to make the drive to the West side and get to some racing. I arrived just in time so I was able to unload my gear, get dressed and do a warm up lap with my friend. The course showed its colors right away. Within a mere few feet I was looking for more traction. At this time little did I know that that idea was pointless. If you werent on gravel you were probably slipping one way or another. After a quick lap and a half I was sweating from being overdressed. I went back to the camper and made some adjustments to my tired pressure and my outfit. I fueled up with some more food and nuun.
As usually happens time slipped by and it was time go get back out on the course. I used the next two laps to find traction, dangerous roots, rocks and the fastest lines. All too quickly we got kicked off the course since the juniors were about to race. I was able to get one more lap in after the juniors completed their race. After that I pretty much messed things up until the start. First I had trouble getting my bike in the trainer, and then I forgot I needed to take off my tights and booties, as well as change my gloves. By this time I was late to the start and missed my front row call up, pushing me back to a second row start. As I stood at the starting line I realized I had to piss yet again. I had 3 minutes to start so the guy next to me told me to run for it as he held my bike.
With time to spare I was back to the start line and ready to go. 30 seconds..10 secondsraces ready..go! My foot came up to the pedal as the other pushed down on the other. Click, I was in, but with each pedal stroke the rear tire spun. I adjusted how much power I put out and forward motion increased. The others must not have been as quick to do this because I moved toward the front in no time. As we made the first turn I was in third. It didnt take long for me to realize the pace up front was too hard for me. By the end of lap 1 I was 6th. On the thrid lap I watched as a group of 4-5 riders caught me and dropped me. I would unfortunately spend the rest of the race alone in my own bubble, racing for 14th. I was hoping for a top 10 since the conditions favored me but it wasnt in the cards, or my legs for that matter. I just didnt have the power to be up there. Technically I rode excellent. I avoided a few riders who fell right in front of me and it wasnt until the last lap that I had my first and only close call of my own. I came hauling into the last turn before the pits and as I railed around the outside of the turn as I had all day my front tire started to slip. Before I knew it the rear tire was slipping too. I proceeded to do a two wheel power slide for what seemed like forever. I put my left leg out expecting to soon be on the ground. By the time I came to a stop I was almost facing completely the wrong direction on the course as I had slid so far around and I was also leaning over at a 45 degree angle.
I straightened myself and the bike and proceeded again. As I rode away I was disappointed no one seemed to see my incredible save. Since I was the last rider on the lead lap pretty much everyone stopped watching and the side lines were empty. Finally a guy yelled from the pits NICE SAVE!!!. Feeling vindicated I smiled and said thank you. I casually rode to the finish and crossed the line with my arms raised as if I had won the race. Just like last year I was totally spent afterwards. I can remember seeing the 3 laps to go sign and thinking, Man my legs are tired. Three more ______ing laps! I gotta layoff the Starbucks.
Even though I didnt get the result I wanted I was happy with my race. You have to love pushing yourself hard like that and leaving the tank empty. My quads were shot afterwards as well as my arms. After saying thank you to those who cheered for me I packed up while thinking I couldnt believe the season was almost over. With just one more weekend of racing left its time to start thinking about skiing.
Get out there!