Everbody got to love something. One of the the things I love the most is riding bikes. You may feel similar. And a further subset of Love is racing cyclocross. That is some kind of a hurtful Good Time, let me tell you. In spite of the impending collapse of predictable global weather patterns that is currently manifesting itself here in California as SERIOUS DROUGHT and which results in candy-assed conditions for cyclocross (sunny, and hot?!) the courses laid out by CCCX have been fun and challenging.
Last week's multiple barriers and series of punchy rises made for one type of racing (which suited my candy ass), while this week's had only the one barrier and a couple tiny punches with the deep-like-bottomless sand and the ripping road bits (not suiting my candy ass). As I was breathing down the neck of the racer/foe in front of me going into the woodchip/sand twisties, he lost it in the corner and I ran into his wheel...that guy apologized for crashing and blocking me. Lesson? Shit. Racing is chaos. I twisted my bars (old ass hella upright quill stem and wide OG WTB dirtdrops) in this incident, but it's a race! so I kept rallying with a 20* list to the left. Places were lost as we got ourselves sorted. This got me a little panicky-
Look. I KNOW it doesn't really matter, that it's just a local old guy B race with no Glory or accolades, and it bores even my own family, but. It does matter. In that moment it is a savage contest and I am in it to win whichever battle I can. Win one, chase down the next fool. Not in my category? Good. It means I'm moving up through the fodder. Fuck. Eat. Kill.
and being rattled will make you crashy. Yes, leading 3 clowns into the tight sandy switchbacks, I washed the front wheel and stuffed myself into the bushes. I should have taken those guys out with me to preserve placing? No mercy! But the clown immediately behind me yells at me to get up and get back on his wheel so we can chase down the clowns in front of us both? Damn. I love cyclocross.
Well, I had twisted my bars 20* to the right in that one, but I jumped up and tried to chase- nope. I had to stop and manhandle them straight and then try to chase. Places were lost. Racers whose asses I'd handed to them last week were drilling me this week. I watched __ ride away consistently on the road bits and barely be able to bring him back, get pissy that I was "stuck" behind him on the techy stuff, and then have him stick the knife in again when we returned to the road bits. Round and round we go. I was simultaneously pissed that he kept attacking (and I couldn't answer) and admiring that he had such ability. Ability on the smooth flats, but real lack on the punchy accelerations and the tech stuff? It's a puzzler, the love and the hate.
At the cyclocross sports game, you will find spectators hollering at crash victims to shake it off and get back in the race, giving time splits to teammates and their rivals alike, cheering anybody. Cowbells. Boobs (well, some man-boobs were shown anyhow, and we can hope it takes off). Fireball handups (which, that awful cinnamon "whiskey"will make you seriously consider throwing up for a lap or so). Etc. The people there are there because they are participants, not simple gapers. Everybody understands what it takes to ride the dang thing, slow or fast, and there is the community because of this.
At the end, after chasing and chasing and never catching, I was able to pass this one guy in a sprint to the line. He knew I was coming, and when I pipped him his exclamation of dismay was all the victory required.
Savages. Finding meaning and satisfaction in the dust.