Murrysville CX Race Report (Mother!!)
Yesterday. Oh yesterday. A day of sun, 45 degree temps and 2 hours of rolling WPA roads on the Campeon. Now fast forward to today. Gray, rain, mud, 37 degrees, cold, wind, wet, and a 40 minute Cross race. It was perfect Cross weather and I am a VERY imperfect Cross racer. The following is the final installment of "The (Behind The) 8 Ball Diaries"...
I was up early this a.m. to coffee up, eat up, and dump out. Then it was off to Murrysville to try another Cross race. It's no secret I am NOT a Cross racer. But it IS fun to go out and race in November, I'll give you that for sure. Even if it DOES hurt like hell. That's the point for me. Make my body do things I'm just not used to.
As I drove along Route 48 I was pretty geeked that all the supposed rain had yet to materialized. By the time I hit Route 22 10 minutes later a light rain had started. By the time I reached the venue it was a steady rain. Oh well, it IS a Cross race, and God knows misery loves company.
I got the Mamasita ready, registered and chamoised up. The rain was coming down steady and it was cold as titz. I could not wait to start riding. I headed out and immediately noticed how much more of a REAL cross course this was. Two run ups, two sets of barriers, lots of twists, lots of off muddy off camber stuff, and a nice stretch of pavement to the Start/Finish.
I was less than impressed with my pre ride. I just felt REALLY slow. Then I came into the parking area to find a dude looking for folks signed up for the "C" race that did not have a U.S.C.F. licence. Yeah, that would be me. I would need to buy a one day licence for $10. WHAT? Suck racers (that would be me) on mountain bikes, doing a "C" race for prize table shwag need licence? Despite my disbelief I headed to the registration area to pay up. Problem was, I only had a few dollars in cash on me. So I bought about 25% of a one day licence. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I don't mind paying it, they just need to mention this up front so folks have the casheesh.
I wanted to get another pre ride lap in, so after I took care of the license stuff I headed out for another go. Again I sorta felt shitty on the bike. The course was a sweet course, but just did not play to my lack of Cross skills. As I headed up the pavement to the start finish line I thought three things... "I really could use a drink of water" followed by "damn, I have to piss." Followed by "SHIT! They're lining up to start!!!". So I pulled right up, waited about 15 seconds and GO!!!!!!!!
I think there were about 16 folks in the "C" race. 2 seconds after the start whistle, I think 13 of them blew by me on the pavement. I hadn't felt THAT stupid on a bike since the last road race I did about 7 years ago. 2 Miles in to that race I was dropped by the pack, and rode the next 23 miles solo. At least this time there were a COUPLE behind me. EDIT: Oddly I did that road race on a cross bike and now I'm doing Cross on a mountain bike.
I tried to shake off that humiliation of being dropped like steaming dog turd and just race. I passed a couple folks when we hit the grass and mud. I started feeling better mentally right after the first run up. Running up that hill with the cold rain beating down, feet digging into slick mud, folks screaming in my face (Don)... It just felt so freaking "primal". I would have bit the head off of a live rabbit "Ozzy style" if a spectator would have held one in front of me.
Sadly, all of that "primal" adrenaline really didn't help me race any better. I just could not keep up with the Cross bikes. Every time I closed the gap on a group or pulled around someone, they would pull away or catch me when we hit a flat or the pavement.
As I crossed the finish line on my next to last lap the time keeper yelled out that me and the dude right in front of me (my "nemesis") were 10th and and 11th. Frig! I'm 11 down?? Shwag was 10 deep, and I figured if I was gonna ride in this slop I at LEAST at least wanted some prize table shwag. So I did my best to catch him!
I passed him on the first run up. He then passed me. Then I passed him on the second run up. He then passed me. We stuck together through the first set of switchbacks. On the second set, he spun out in a turn. I dismounted and ran my ass off around two switch backs, got back on and pulled away from him. When we hit the lower stuff near the 2nd set of barriers he caught me. I hung with him again until the pavement when he put a nice gap on me. We hit the Start/Finish about the same time still in 10th and 11th.
The last lap we pretty much did a repeat of the previous lap. There were times I had a good 20 bike gap on him. I was pushing the big ring, wheezing, and out of breath. We hit the pavement and he blew by me. FRIG! I cruised up to the line in 11th place. My steady endurance race ass was handed to me ROYALLY by the Brothers Of Cross. I hold nothing against them for that. I end my "two race Cross season" with more respect than ever for those folks that race Cross. I'll be back!! MAYBE even on a Cross bike!
At least I avoided DFL by a few spots and had a great workout in the mud. Congrats to Pro Bikes Co-Big Cheese Todd S. for coming in 2nd! Great job! I was also happy to help support a local race. There aren't many of them. Gotta race all you can! Joe R. and company did a great job putting on the race. Super PRO.
I got changed and watched Don, Brad (A.K.A. Mr. Kiss of The Hops), Aaron and Pro Bike's Tim race the "B" race. They all kicked ass and Tim The Enchanter (A.K.A. The Dude That Just Built My Wheels) won on a Cannondale F29! So much for my Cross bikes are faster theory! Truth be told Tim is just ballz out fast no matter WHAT bike he's on.
I had planned to watch the "A" race but I was shivering uncontrollably, so If figured it would best to warm up and head home for some beers and some hot chili. I hear Steve-O won. Congrats!!
All and all a nice way to end 9 straight days in the saddle. Next up, I enter a Triathlon (JOKING!!!)