Bartlett Cross Race 2009

It was like mortar. Not the tube like things you fire exploding shells from but the stuff you use to hold blocks together with in order to create a building. The grass and mud lattice that we mixed together was working perfectly at filling every single open space and hardening in place. Unfortunately…we didn’t want it to.

In an attempt to re-find my cyclocross mojo (and to rent some wheels) I got to the Bartlett race early and set up camp. The early morning rain had souped the oversaturated ground. It made even my recreationally paced pedal strokes painful and slippery even as I was just hauling materials from my car to the course.

It wasn’t even time to race and all I wanted to do was crawl back into my bed to warm up and dry out. Ahh….cross weather.

After setting up I jumped on to take a few practice laps. Beveryly Bob and MJH2 were there as well. The first lap was filled with a lot of comments along the lines of, “this corner will suck” and “OOOooo can you imagine what this will be like by this afternoon?” I only felt like lowering the pressure in my tires further and when I got back I saw that I was already well below where I would rationally consider running.

I was racing 30+ and 4A’s this time. My first cross double and the first time I was venturing out of the 4’s for a race. I’ll admit it was weird lining up with some of the elite guys I have ridden with on group rides but never against in a race. When faced with utter anniliation…make jokes.

It was a good crew. Felt good. Shea Butter, Wrong Way Nick, Alien, Beverly Bob, MJH2, JAnd, etc. were all there. Time for a good old race OTB. I figured all was well as long as I beat Bob.

It was a year ago at this very race where I first learned of Bob’s existance. He and I battled each other down to the final sprint – where I believe I beat him. From that point on in just about every race it has become my mantra – “must beat Bob.”

Bob has beat me a lot. I think I have beat him a lot too, but while we don’t keep score we know what the goal for the day is for sure. Even better – I got some of my cross demo wheels under Bob.

So, I got a good start. I was right behind Matt. I was racing in that sweet spot right behind a teammate for most of the first lap. Shea Butter slipped in between us and finished out the lap riding alongside Matt.

The hill was a mess. We all knew we were running it. We had only seen 1 person ride it well all morning and that was Wayne “Cycling’s Chuck Norris” Simon. When I brought that up to Matt he replied, “so….no mortals have ridden it yet.”

Running up the hill I was damn glad I had toe spikes on….until I started to realize that all I was doing with them was picking up toe mortar and packing my pedals with it.

Somewhere along the line I was doing kind of OK and then I looked down. I must have done so because I was starting to fade. The clock said 27 minutes. Perfect for a 1/2 hr race…not the case in 30+. We were on for 45 minutes. That’s when I did some Rob math and realized I was basically a little over 1/2 way done. Suck.

From there I slowly fell apart. I tried to give everyone a line to get by me. Super Wayne passed me with 1 lap left so I wasn’t doing too aweful bad. I thankfully got lapped by our leader near the end of my 4th lap I believe. Right around the same time Bob….passed me.

If I had realized it was our last lap I would have sprinted or something, but no doubt Bob would have reacted and matched my move. He wanted to beat me as much as I wanted to beat him. He deserved the victory and I sure didn’t. Next time Bob….next time…

After that it dawned on me that I had to wait around for hours until the 4A’s. Nothing much happened. Hung out. JAnd picked up a sammich for me while I was out there (thanks!). Supergirl got on my wheels for the 4A’s. Ed White got a picture of him on them. Good stuff.

I put in a great start on the 4A’s. Made it about 1/4 of a lap and started to really feel the effort from the morning. I started to fade fast. I was giving up spots like you wouldn’t believe and I felt like crap.

The problem with a good start is that you get to watch a lot of people pass you when you crack.

I pulled to the side and let most everyone by me. I was done. I was going to cut the course but I saw the hill. The course had dried up so much from the morning that everything was sticking beautifully and I knew I could ride the hill. So I went and rode it…..and then pulled off at the start-finish.

OK…so it had to happen. I have not been training. I didn’t ride or exercise at all since the race the previous Sunday. I haven’t had my mojo. I figured I needed to hit bottom and at the same time re-kindle some love for the sport. I kind of hit bottom, and I have some love back but I am still missing a lot of it. Most of you know why.

So I will attempt to train a little this week. I fear that if I actually train again and stop doing things like eating a half dozen donuts on the way to a meeting and eating McDonald’s and pizza and drinking beer at every opportunity….I could in fact be dangerous….

….or I could be a slightly fitter piece of pack fodder. Yay, pack fodder.

Quote of the day goes to Marc Moeller who upon hearing Matt say something like, “I’m not really going to be racing I figure I will give it about 10 minutes of effort-” he replied, “F*&# THAT S*&#!”

I think I’m just doing the 30+ for now on. I have no points in the 4As so what’s the point? I have more fun the the 30+….and I don’t almost die in the melee the 4A’s has become.

Also – the courses are too long. Period. It might help the scoring but it makes it more like an agressive group ride you’ve done once before. You have an idea what is coming up, but you still haven’t figured out all the lines or places you can move up, etc. If this keeps up we’re going to have to start putting up “you are here” signs on the course so you can figure out where the hell you are. We’re also going to have to start providing SAG support and put in a rest stop.

…maybe public transportation for the spectators to take them around the course….

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top