Saturday was round 7 of the Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross Series and a beautiful day graced the event held at Steele Creek Park in Bristol, Tn. I have been trying to do three races: Masters 45+, Singlespeed, and CX4 to pimpslap myself into fitness. Last week the classes were spaced with about an hour between each. This week to allow time for collegiate races, the Masters race was first and the SS/CX4 races were at the end of the day and back to back.
I have learned from past experience that my body responds well to tough love when it comes to training. Having said that, I have never done back to back cx races before. On one hand, the back to back races in question are only 30 minute races and that was an hour and a half after the 45min Master's race so it's not that bad. On the other hand, this is cyclocross and my inner child was about to throw a tantrum.
After warming up a few laps on the Dwayne Letterman designed course that included one set of barriers and several off-camber down/up combos that would surely cause some consternation from the masses. I went to the line and, hmmm.... Seems a bunch of people got there before me and I was on the second row. Crap! I fought hard to get as close to the front as I could and I did ok. I was sitting in the top 5ish and stayed there until we got to one of the short n' steep dips. Somebody messed up and we suddenly had a donnybrook, a free-for-all. I scrambled to get going again asap and don't really know how many people passed me or where I was for that matter. I was irritated but hey, crap happens. I regained composure as quickly as I could and started searching for friends I could kill, hahahaha... The first buddy I saw was my brother from another mother - David Hayter. I watched him for a lap and saw that he was weak on the long climb from the finish line to the top of the course. I attacked him there and got a nice gap between myself and him plus several others that were behind us now. I was on the rivet and waaaaaaay down deep in my pain cave. So much so that about 2/3 of the way into the race, I blew a corner and allowed two people to get close and eventually past me.... CRAP! I buried myself to try and get those spots back but to no avail, I ended up 9th.
I had about 1.5 hours until my back to back SS/CX4 events so I ate and hung out with cowbell in hand to cheer on some of my peeps. I wasn't sure what to expect, I left pretty much all I had out on the course in the Masters race. Hmmm. This was going to be interesting.
I grabbed my singlespeed and went for a ride around the venue and when the Pro 1,2 race was over, I hopped on course to see how I might feel. Having spent more time on my singlespeed in the past few years than any other bike, I always feel better and more relaxed on it. I love my Vassago. They nailed the geometry on them perfectly. Nothing handles like my Optimus. Therefore, I felt really good in the off-camber parts and the short, steep up/down stuff in the woods. On the downside, my legs were CRAP.
On the start, I went as hard as I could but didn't get a very good one. I was discouraged and resigned myself to the fact that it was what it was and I just need to deal with it. I did manage to catch and pass a few people and by the end of the race I had worked my way into 4th. Now for a jersey change, a quick swig of water and slam a Hammer Gel and a bike change.
I didn't even bother with riding a hot lap before the CX4 race. I was as hot as I could be and I knew the course like the back of my hand. I just rolled to the start line and waited.......
At the start, I did a solo break off the back and found myself alone and DFL by the time we got to the top of the hill. I contemplated quitting but then I remembered how much I'd hate myself later for that and figured I'd get all the pain and suffering over with in one day instead of dragging it out over several weeks. About 1.5 laps in and I started catching and passing people. This fueld me a little and I pushed as hard as I was able at that point. I caught a few more and made it up to 19th by the bell lap. I had no chance of catching anyone else but for craps and giggles I still pushed hard in the final lap and even sprinted across the line.
I thought I was gonna puke....
It was a good experience (that's easy to say two days after the fact) but I was really trashed afterwards. I am excited to see how much fitness I gain by the time round 8 rolls around Dec 4.
I heart cyclocross....