Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It has begun… Tacchino Cyclocross!!

Every single muscle in my body hurts, I have bruises on my shoulder, forearm, legs and I think there is a bottom bracket imprinted on my lower back. Ouch. IT’S CYCLOCROSS SEASON, BABY!!!! And the first race was Tacchino CX at the beautiful Rosaryville State Park this last Sunday.

The entire weekend was about cyclocross. I had signed up for the clinic with Jeremy Powers (aka JPow), so there I was: bright, early and lacking coffee on Saturday morning. We spent the entire day being taught technical skills and practicing them all. It was awesome. At the end I was even able to mount and dismount my bike without adding too many new bruises on assorted random spots of my body. The coaches appeared all to be gifted with infinite patience, and I must confess JPow is pretty adorable. Unfortunately the bliss was interrupted by a tornado warning that had us all running to our cars and leaving on stampede, of well, it still did not spoil the fun.

On Sunday, the wake-up call was at 5:30 am. Yikes. I can’t believe I am waking up earlier on weekends than during the week to go to work; this violates my most basic non-morning person principles. Anyhoo, I made it to the park at 7:00, exactly two hours before the “go” time, and promptly began to freak out.

Course map
Of course, 35 minutes before my race I realized that my bike’s headset seemed to be loose, so as the front break was dancing freely from left to right. Fortunately, Freshbikes was there and came to my rescue… Now, when I asked them- out of curiosity- why the cassette I had personally and very proudly installed on my wheel was, hmmmm, kinda wobbly, they explained that it was missing a spacer…. OH SHIT, OH SHIT, OH SHIT OH SHIT!!! 30 minutes to go. Then, the mechanic, who suddenly grew wings and turned into an angel, found me a spacer, re-installed the cassette and adjusted my gearing. I wanted to kiss him and make out with him right there, but that could have sent my atheist ass to hell. Relieved, I run to the tent, turned into a useless freaked-out girl and another angel in the form of one of the JPow clinic coaches (thanks, Chris!) put my bike on the trainer, pinned my number, and fixed my tire pressure. Seriously, what would I have done without any of these guys?

The race started late, which meant that I lost the little warm-up I had gotten in. Oh, well, we were off and my legs promptly started screaming like a 9 year-old girl in a Justin Bieber's concert. I called upon Da Jensie to make my legs shut up, but it didn’t quite work. But then I started slipping and rolling in the mud, so that made for some recovery. I washed out 4 times, and dived into the tape another so as to avoid jumping on a pile of juniors and bikes that had magically turned into a pretzel’s threesome having an argument with the off-camber.

What else? Despite practicing all the day before, I was completely unable to remount my bike; but I can proudly report that I did dismount. Ha! I crossed the line knowing I was very behind and begging the official to tell me I was done, which she did. I declared my eternal gratitude and love for her right there and then.

By the way, here is a preview from the race course, courtesy on In The Crosshairs:

Anyhoo, how did I do in the race? Meh, not too well, but who cares? Well, I do. Whatever, I finished and I wasn’t DFL (although very close to). Asthma made a little appearance, but slowing down kept it at bay and allowed me to continue. Oh, well, still, sooooo much better than how I did in my previous attempt, two years ago, when my usual asthma attack took me out of the race about 5 minutes into the *first* lap. YAY!

After the race I changed into my girly red dress, while keeping my cycling shoes on (the girly ones where hidden far away in my car). I also proudly wore the mud imprinted on my legs all day as I decided it made me look bad-ass, and enjoyed the beautiful day, great party and good fun that all cyclocross races are.

And... last but not least, the mandatory pic with the National CX champion, Jeremy Powers (yes, I played groupie). I tried to get him to drink beer before the elite race, just to attempt to level the field a bit, but he fully resisted my efforts. Sigh. As expected, he smoked the elite race...

 (Thanks Chris Mayhew for the pic!)

Funny how it is, by the second lap of the race I was bitching in my thoughts and wondering about who the hell convinced me to do this. Today I cannot wait for BCA next weekend.

No comments: