Sunday, February 8, 2009

Love Hurts

Bike racing is a lot like a woman (I know I'll catch hell for this from the women friends I have. Like I haven't endured your "man jokes". Deal with it.). When things are going good, they are really good. Neglect her a little (slack off training or practicing good nutrition for example) and she doesn't get mad or bitch and whine (hahaha, like most women :). No, she just straight up gets even with you.
Taking that analogy one step further, if bike racing is a woman, Cyclocross is a dominatrix. She takes you and for up to an hour at a time, beats you, whips you, makes you beg for mercy. Once you escape her wicked grip and vow never again to return, you inexplicably find yourself back at her doorstep like a stray dog looking for food.
Okay, enough analogies. Knoxiecross 3 and 4 were held this weekend at Melton Hill Park in Knoxville. I was there for my last 2 cross races this season (the series finale is in 2 weeks but I'll be in Florida at the 12 Hours of Santos). Winter hasn't been particularly nice to us here in the last month (I had to wear a hoodie and knee warmers just to ride my damn trainer in my garage) consequently my training has suffered. Although what I have done should be good for the enduro stuff, it wasn't enough for the high-intensity demands of cyclocross. This was also the first race for my Vassago Fisticuff and I was anxious to see how it felt on a race course.
I swapped out my everyday wheels for my tubies and viola,

a Fisti in race trim. I also assigned a duck for new detail. This one is number 7 I think (Yes I am a dork. Not only do I strap a rubber duck to all my bikes, they are also numbered.) Number 7 has been sitting on the toolbox waiting for his next assignment after a short sabatical. FYI, number 1 was retired after a career of twelve 24 hour races and many other events. He now resides on my wife's desk at work.

Now for the racing. The weather was awesome! No cold weather gear was required at all (just a month ago at Knoxiecross 1/2, it was in the 30's and 40's and raining). I lined up after a few hot laps, noting the techy uphill that could be ridden but would probably be run just because running wasn't any slower and saved energy. The course was a bit climb heavy but had a decent amount of rolling, fast stuff and some really flowing, fast turns (that would test my tubular tire gluing skills).

Big field. (I'm 4th from the left)

The start for Saturday was a long uphill one that really hurt. I got a ok start and just tried to make the best of it. I knew my fitness would be an issue and didn't sweat it much. This was more for training for me than results.

This barrier section was really fast. I am hoping I don't trip.

I made it through the first couple of laps in around 6th or 7th, I'm not sure. I faded to 14th at the end. Whatever.

Sunday, the course was reversed and this meant a similar dynamic in that there was a good mix of climbing and rolling fast stuff and pain was assured. It also meant a downhill start into a tight left hander (my specialty). I was planning to own the start.

At the word go, I got my Mark Cavendish (don't know who it is, Google him) on and pulled a nice holeshot only to have someone squeak inside in the first turn so I guess I got robbed of the holeshot but it was still a good start after all. I buried myself deep inside my pain cave and held on for dear life for as long as I could before I had to back off. I found a spot finally somewhere in mid pack and set up my office for the rest of the race.

Day-glo white is the new black. Duck skin exposed for the first time this season.

I ended up somewhere similar to Saturday. We didn't hang around long enough to find out. I had a car full of hungry people and we had to take off. It was a great two days of racing and if I was focused solely on results, I would have been disappointed but that wasn't why I was there. I was there for fun, training and to break in the Fisticuff (more on the Fisti's first race tomorrow).

With that in mind, it was a success.

1 comment:

the original big ring said...

Can't wait to get my Fisti rolling.