Monday, December 14, 2009

Washington MO CX

So... I'll be honest here. I was kind of on the fence as to whether or not to go to this. I was kind of feeling like I was getting sick. I had felt like crap running and mountain biking the two previous days. A combination of already having registered, not wanting to miss out on something awesome and finally not really having anything better to do conspired to get me out to Washington Sunday morning. Long story short- I'm glad I did.

The field was fairly small. I think something like 15 people maybe. I actually got lined up in the front row! This was exciting. I was second or third wheel at the start... which was largely determined not by sprinting but by who managed to get traction in the mud. At one point I actually was riding in the lead of a cyclocross race... this felt both mysterious and good. There was a brief moment when I was thinking I could win.

This feeling was promptly mitigated by several big shark dudes passing me. I kept them in sight for about two laps, but there was no closing the gap for me in these conditions. I honestly had never spent so much time in my granny gear and ended up that spent. I distinctly recall a period during the second half of the third lap when I felt good- other than that it was pure CX hell (mostly in a good way).

The layout of the course seemed like it had the potential to be awesome. Lots of short rollers, reasonable twists, and some fun features like stairs and runups. This is the reality of it though. I was going like 6 mph the whole race. There was a long section that I ran simply because it was faster than trying to maintain traction. I had a foot out in a ton of corners, but realistically never really got up enough speed to fall.

I am pretty sure it was a good time... or at least I'm glad I did it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Missouri State CX Championships

I spent quite a while this fall trying to decide whether I was going to go to the Illinois state championships (where I live) or the Missouri state championships (where I have been racing all year). I couldn't really make up my mind until I did my second "Chi Cross Cup" race. I think they have a really well run series up there, but I think that there is a touch too much hipster douchebag one uppery going on. Most important though is the fact that they run their 4's races at 30 minutes... the last one I did I finished in ~26 minutes if I remember correctly. If nothing else, they should at least make sure the leaders race the whole 30 minutes. Regardless, it seems like a waste of time to drive for that short of a race. Mind made up, go to Missouri.

I don't even vaguely regret the decision. Jeff Yielding crafted an amazing course out in Hermann MO. Honestly, it would definitely be in the competition with the Louisville GP for best course of the year. The fact that the weather conspired to get some slick muddy grass helped a lot.

That said. I think I had an "OK" race. Not great... I felt like crap the 3rd lap and lost some places. I think it had something to do with the booze consumed the night before and the breakfast of donettes Oh well. At least I had a decent start

I thought it was a really good start, but reviewing photos from the race seem to indicate that there were 14 or 15 people in front of me (two guys were in the front of this picture). Still, I was pretty happy. I felt like I was able to see the leaders for the first 2 laps, which is a testament to how wide open this course was, and that I wasn't sucking too hard.

Basically, I was just having fun. I tried bunny hopping the 5 inch barriers a few times. I was feeling good every time running up the hill or the stairs, actually passing people or gapping. My only real complaint was that looking back I think I was a bit cowardly in the corners. For some reason I was really concerned with riding the course clean... I am pretty sure I would have been faster if I didn't worry about it.

As far as I can tell, the only picture of me was at the top of the stairs.

Honestly, I run... as the weather gets colder my motivation to log miles on the road bike declines. As such, I run to stay in shape. Stairs don't bother me. In fact, I kind of like them.

Well. 2 more races for me this year. Washinton MO (no national championships here), then Concordia (about 100 ft from my parents house) the 19th. Then what the hell, I might even do the Team Seagal CXMAS non-race.