Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And I doubled up... Charm City Cross!

Or better said, I tried to, but was only partially successful.

Anyways. Let’s start from the very beginning (why do I always think of the “sound of music” when I say that?). As I had decided after the suffer-fest and the assorted pains and aches all over my body that resulted from the first CX race, nothing that was going to stop me from racing the following weekend… NOTHING… NOTHING… NOTHING except for, goddammit, work. Ugh. Two deadlines magically appeared on my calendar for Monday, which meant I dorked my entire weekend in front of the laptop while staring longingly at my bike. Sigh. Sometimes I hate being a grown-up.

Out of spite, I went crazy and decided to double-up by signing up for the Charm City Cross both on Saturday and Sunday in Baltimore this past weekend. HA! TAKE THAT, WORK! Saturday arrived and found me –shockingly- freaking out and hangover. The saddest part is that I tried; I really tried to be good on Friday night and only had two small glasses of wine and close to a gallon of water (hey, it was one of my closest friends’ birthday, not celebrating was NOT a viable choice). Regardless, as my skinsuit makes me feel like a sausage, I chamoised-up with my bibs and jersey and got ready to roll.

Saturday - pre-DNF and already suffering
The day was beautiful but a bit on the very warm side and the course was really dry, which made it very dusty and dusty is not good news for asthma people. Dammit. By the end of the first lap, my chest was burning. By the end of the second lap (there were 4 laps in total assuming that the leaders didn’t lap me, in which case there would have been only 3), my chest was in serious pain. Those who have asthma will know what I mean: it feels like having a huge weight on top of your chest, pressing it down and not letting you breath. It sucks. Good friends were cheering me on and pushed me to try continuing despite the pain, but half a lap later I just could not do it anymore and had to quit. DNF.

Funny thing is, I realize now, that was my 3rd lap. And, given all the difficulties I was having, most likely I would have been lapped and if I had ridden that last half a lap, I would not have DNF’d even if that would have probably been a DFL. Oh, well, could’a would’a should’a.

Saturday - I believe no beer had been consumed at this point. Yet.
The weather gods had promised that Sunday would be about 20 degrees cooler and, after the rain on Saturday night, we would have a lot less dusty course; or at least that was my hope. And my hope came true. Feeling much better and hangover-less, I sausaged-up (all my bibs and jerseys were dirty) and wore the coolest socks to compensate for the sausage feeling.

The hardest part of the race was at the very beginning as juniors (boys, 15<= x <=18 y.o.) started a 30 seconds behind us; and, of course, at 15-18, many of these boys are bigger than us, their hormones are raging, testosterone is king, and they are unbreakable, fearless and completely irrational. Sooooo, running us over stampede style was not a big deal for them. After we recovered from the juniors' avalanche, my asthma was nowhere to be found and I successfully completed my 4 laps without being lapped by anyone (despite whatever crossresults.com says; that shit is WRONG! I WAS NOT LAPPED!! DAMMIT!! I WASN’T LAPPED!! Anyhoo…). Now, I probably was the last non-lapped racer, and even though I was not last, I was in the bottom quarter. Whatever; comparatively speaking, it was better that my previous completed race, moreover taking into account that this time I raced with a higher category than mine. And, most importantly, I ROCKED THE COOLEST SOCKS EVAH.
How cool are my socks?

What else? Assorted bruises and scratches are all over my body (even if this time I did not crash once!). The most painful are from shouldering the bike: my forearm, my shoulder –I even had to lower my bra strap because of the pain today-, and the imprinted bottom bracket on my lower back. At some point I’ll develop calluses in those spots and it will finally stop hurting, right? Right

The rest of the two race days were, as usual, great. All spent with old friends and some new, heckling an enjoying assorted good beers and delicious BBQ’d foods. One of the things I love the most about CX races is all the dogs people bring, which means I got to spend time rolling on the ground with a sweet and excited blue pitbull, stalked and hugged this long hair german shepherd called Josh, and sat with another puppy on my lap for a little while. Got home on Sunday absolutely exhausted, and yet feeling happy.

Funny how it is, I was thinking today, while in race, I cannot stop kicking my own butt and wondering why in the world I am doing this. This shit hurts, seriously, it’s really hard. But, yet, as soon as it is done, I just cannot wait to do it again. There is something slightly sick and masochist about it, or, as a coworker told me today, maybe “I am special”, whatever that means.

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