Saturday, December 4th, 2010. Riverside, Missouri. 33 degrees, winds out of the north at 15mph, just like the weatherman advertised. Dang, it was cold.
I love this venue, mainly because it's flat. Riding at 84kg (you do the math), hills are not my friend. Well, at least the uphill part. Downhills are cool. I guess that makes me "frenemies" with hills. Yes, ok, that was lame. 100 lashings.
So I get to the course about 90 minutes early, which is perfect to get a pre-ride lap in, and then to get pinned-up, jaw jack a bit, then hit the trainer to get the legs loose and the blood flowing. The last thing you want to do is to toe the line completely cold and your muscles don't want to move. I smartly pre-registered, which got me a call-up to the 2nd row. Jeremy, the race promoter, called up the 2009 State Champ, and then the Boss Cross and Bubba Cross (St. Louis) race series leaders, then all the pre-reg guys. So I'm in the front 3rd of a pack of 40 dudes all clad in lycra and shivering. Yea, that's a weird image, especially to non-racers. Hell, it's still weird to me and I wear a one-piece unitard and prance over barriers with a -10 wind chill out. Cyclocross has been called a sub-culture of a sub-culture. I can see why. Anyway, I digress.
The USAC official blows the whistle (or whatever happened, I can't remember) and off we go. I'll put this bluntly, my starts suck. I'm a big dude, and should be putting down big power and stomping the twiggy boys off the line. But I don't. So that's something to work on over the next year. I have a few guys pass me, but I pass a few as well, and off we go. Round and round the course. 40 minute race, and it sure feels it. I'm having a great time though, which is unusual for me in a race. I'm hanging with the usually faster-than-me-teammates Jake S. and Matt O., so I'm pleased as a pickle and think if I can hang with them for the duration, I'll place pretty good.
So in my state of delight, I decide to launch off of a small dropoff where you went from asphalt to the grass. KA-BLAMB! Something slammed hard, I figure I didn't get my rear wheel all the way in the dropoff, as I'm apt to do because I always change wheels with the bike in the air like someone who has never done bike maintenance before and thinks they are cool and can get away with that. Yea, that plan works great until your fat-arse shears off your axle or hoses your dropouts.
But I keep pedaling, and then the bike starts making a hellacious noise. I'm getting mad, because I feel like I'm kicking ass, and if I have to DNF due to a mechanical, I'd have an aneurysm so hard I'd spray blood all the way over to the Argosy. It sounded like my hub had shelled itself (nice, that'll be cheap to fix), but I noticed it stopped when I was in the big ring. So in the big ring I stayed. That means no little ring to spin your legs out on the climb. It was mash mash mash on the pedals...stomp on the pedals! C'mon Frank the Tank, stomp stomp STOMP. Fortunately, like I said there wasn't much climbing, so I probably ended up going a lot faster than I usually do.
Somewhere along the line, I got ahead of Jake, Matt, and a couple of other guys. I'm wondering how long that is going to last, because Jake can flat hammer, and Matt is a strong road rider, so he'll pass me on the paved parts. I think I was ahead for a couple of laps, then by lap 5/6, everyone in that group of 4 had passed me, and had enough gap to where I didn't have the engine to bridge the gap. I held steady, and felt like I had a solid race.
30 minutes later or so, results post up. I'm thinking I was 10-15th, somewhere in there. Ah no. 22 out of 37. WTF? I didn't know what to make of that. Someone said the StL guys were bagging it up, and maybe a couple were (as if there aren't any KC baggers), but I was still surprised.
I'd still call it a successful race. I felt good, rode strong, and identified some areas to work on. I hate those races where you have no idea why you did so bad, so you aren't sure what to work on.
Kansas State Championship race report coming up tomorrow.