The Cycle-Smart Fantastical Tournament of Cyclocross Racing is HANDS DOWN my favorite race of the year. I love the course, I love the town and I love making weird allusions to Jeremy Durrin’s penis.
As an added bonus, it was DRY. Which I also love.
The single-car couple adventure was made easier(?) by Ian Schon needing a ride to the race, and wanting to give me gas money. I put a ? after easier, as this required me to swing by Allston on my way from Dover. I have a Garmin, and Garmins love giving you stupid directions, blah blah blah I did not take Storrow to Allston like everyone said I should have.
I do not like driving in Boston because there are so many people and it freaks me out. This is why I live in New Hampshire.
Ian and I talked about things and got to Northampton RIGHT ON TIME (11:30) for his 12:30 race. Me and my things (camping stove, stew, coffee, water bottle collection) made my way to the crossresults.com team tent so I could eat some of my bland stew.
I made “stew” earlier in the week in the crockpot. It contained potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, barley, vegetable stock (WHICH I MADE) and NOTHING ELSE. No spices. No salt. It was technically “food”, but it was also not “good”.
After getting dressed, I tracked down The Ernest and we went for a ride. I promptly crashed his new Seven bike (while holding his new Nikon D5000) and ripped open the recently healed wounds on my knee from the coccyx debacle. So that was great.
Then it was time to get on course, so I did that, and it was great. Though I love the course, I think I will eventually return to Look Park late one night and remove all the roots from the top section of the course so I don’t have to ride over or attempt to ride around them.
I am a tall person and a shitty bike handler, so it is difficult for me to manage courses that require turning. I wish more promoters would understand that and make courses better suited to my skill set.
I drank a large amount of coffee and listend to The Trooper on repeat before heading to staging land. I was very excited to race bicycles, approaching a level of excitement usually only seen in Anthony Clark.
And then BAM it was time to RACE. I sort of quickly found myself at the back, but it was the first lap, so there are no friends.
There was a crash as soon as we hit the pavement, taking out Colin. My first thought was “Man, I hope he’s okay!” After realizing that he was, in fact, okay, my second thought was “I cannot believe my good fortune. I must relish this moment.”
Continuing with the first lap = no friends theme, I divebombed the inside line of The Wilcox on the turn before the run up, using my massive head to find space. Later, The Wilcox shared with me that he wasn’t concerned as this chopping happened in the first 45 seconds of the race.
The sand pit on day one was a straight affair – we hit it at about 90 mph.
Cary crashed into a dude.
I went by him. At some point during lap two, I was in a group and I heard his voice behind me. I was ahead of him.
Nothing makes me go faster than hearing Cary’s voice behind me in a group. I tried to go faster. I may have actually gone faster, but my insane hatred was making promises my lack of training could not keep, and I quickly lost contact with that group. Reuter eventually passed me as well, and status quo was restored to the Elite field as I found myself riding at the back, by myself, looking over my shoulder for PVB. I knew that he could smell blood in the water, and it was only a matter of time before he sauntered his way up to me so we could do battle.
I spent much of the race riding by myself, with a 15 or so second gap over PVB and an RIT dude, trying to keep the gap strong by riding as stupidly hard as I could – looking down at my heart rate, seeing that it could be higher, and going harder. PVB was angry (very angry), and he managed to pull himself and the RIT guy up to me on three separate occasions. Each time, though, I would embrace the huge RIT guy’s draft and get away from a tired PVB and a clumsy (by my standards!) college kid by applying watts and realizing that my entire racing season is defined by beating PVB.
I eventually cracked the both of them, coming through to see one to go just as the race clock read one hour (!), meaning that I’d get more than one hour of racing in (despite only paying for one hour of racing. Value!) and I would be fucking destroyed the next day.
In the last lap I focused on not crashing or freezing to death, and the RIT guy was getting closeish, though I kept it REAL on the roadie-friendly bottom portion of the course, holding on for…um…39th.
Then I drove to my dad’s in West Hartford, where there was no power and we spent the night looting and setting traps for food (food=children) in abandoned houses.
Arley Kemmerer is my good friend from college, but she doesn’t use Twitter, thus she is not worth linking to. We went and got coffee Sunday morning at Haymarket. I checked in there on Foursquare, thus making me cool like all the other fucking kids.
My dad’s girlfriend packed me a lunch. I brought that, along with my camping stove and other food items to the team tent, where I hung out and made Colin jealous of my butt.
I watched the start of the Men’s 3 race.
Alex Cox was killing it.
And I FOUND A PA (courtesy of Adam St. Germain and #lindine).
It was totally awesome until my awesomeness was greater than the official awesomeness of the venue, and I was asked to tone back the awesomeness. No hard feelings, dudes. This is the fancy bar, and the fancy bar has to have standards.
That was it for pre-race fun. I was insanely tired (much like I was on day two of Providence…it’s almost like barely racing makes you ill-prepared for back-to-back days of cyclocross) and tried to remedy that by drinking (even for me) a large amount of coffee.
It sort of worked. I was excited to race, but felt like doo-doo butter. Josh Friedman was at the race as well, and I am contractually obligated to beat him. PVB could tell that I was feeling weak (part of his heightened old-man senses). I was worried.
BAM time to race. I did not chop The Wilcox, as he gave me a donut before the race, and part of the deal of the donuts was that I would not chop him. So I didn’t.
BUT ALL BETS ARE OFF NOW BUDDY. Unless you have donuts for me every race. In which case, all bets are back on. Resume the bets!
I don’t remember what happened, but I found myself with Friedman, Ben Coleman, PVB, and the RIT dude deep in the “we suck” zone. Friedman crashed himself on a root (hahahaha), and I managed to get away from those dudes because SURE WHY NOT, I’D LOVE TO SPEND THE ENTIRE RACE BY MYSELF WITH NO DRAFT TRYING TO FIND MY OWN SHITTY LINES.
Friggin past Ryan is an IDIOT.
So you can see where this is going.
After a lifetime of riding by myself and not catching anyone, PVB and the RIT dude caught me. I was able to ride with them for a lap or so, but my usual plan of “Lose time on the turny parts and kill it on the grass” starts to fall apart after 40 minutes of racing. A gap on the course formed, as did a gap between my desire to race and my physical ability to race. I started falling apart. PVB pummeled me physically and spiritually, leaving me a broken man on the course. I was a robot devoid of feelings, dreams or emotions, only moving his legs and continuing to ride because that is the only thing that still made sense.
Ben and the RIT dude passed me.
I was the last dude on the course for the last lap. The only noise I heard was people yelling for the part of the race that mattered and the murmured complaints of officials about how I was delaying course tear-down by ten minutes (maybe I just imagined those complaints?). The beer tent was closed, I was too delirious to know what sausage was – let alone find it, and I was really cold.
I finished, 39th, again.
I congratulated PVB on destroying me. I drank half of Reuter’s beer. I ate some granola bars and drove back to New Hampshire.