Archive for the Race Reports Category

Conveniently, the first race of the season is about 2 miles from my front door which helps with the scheduling immensely. Of course I got talked in to helping with course set up in the AM. Because of family scheduling, I need to take my 6 year old with me to the races which means I need to line up someone to watch him when I race. I had talked with a friend of mine and he agreed to come out and give me a hand.

The night before, I made sure to get all my equipment squared and was ready to turn in early so that I would get some good rest before my 5:30 alarm for course setup. I forgot to remind my friend about the schedule for the next day so the last thing I did was to text him.

5 minutes later, I get a call. “Uh, I forgot and I made plans to go out of town.” Effing-A, Mr. Reliable. I know that team people will be around most of the day but my race is the last one of the day and often people are reluctant to hang around that long. Still, I figured I would work something out. However, the added stress of having to come up with a new plan for the boy at the last minute kept me up till midnight.

5:30 alarm. Coffee. Oatmeal. Drive to the venue. There at 6:10. Second one there. Pretty soon I’m pounding stakes, running tape, and laying out cones. I get a crapload done in the 2-1/2 hours that I’m there. Then back home before the beginners start to watch the kids while my wife heads out to an appointment. I make some breakfast for the kids, hang out, relax, make some lunch, and then go back to the races so the boy can race the kiddie cross. The team tent is in a great spot and I can stand around there while the boy does some practice laps. He “races” (prizes are fruit gummies, Capri Sun, and ribbons), we hang out some and I make sure that some of the peeps are staying until the end of the last race and are okay with the boy tagging along. It’s cool and my mind is easier. Then I run back home to pin the numbers and put on the tubies.

We arrive back to the venue about an hour before the race and I mostly hang out. The single speed and B men run at the same time and one of my teammates is in the B race. He is strung tight while I am relatively loosy-goosy. About 20 minutes before go time, I ride around a bit and check out the competition. At first I figure they all look fast. Then I pick out the dudes I know I’ll beat — I ascertain that I won’t be DFL.

Just after the hour, they call the racers to the line and call up the pre-reg riders, of which I am one. I’m in the front row and wondering whether I really should be there. There’s the regular official’s yadda-yadda and I’m getting that nervous excited feeling. I notice I have my front wheel on backwards — chevrons should point front. But I’m not about to pull it out of the drops right there. Racers ready and the whistle.

Bad clip in but everyone seems hesitant so no biggie. I’m running about fifth wheel off the bat and put some power down. Immediately I’m second wheel and not full gas. I’m kind of wondering WTF? Where’s the acceleration? We hit the grass and the first turns (that I laid out, lol) and I realize that things aren’t perfect. My rear tire is light. Like making that ripping noise as it folds over in hard corners.

I lose a spot. Then there are some more corners and I lose a couple more spots. I mostly hold my own through the woods and canyon but coming out on the second run up, I lose 2 more at the top. And that was it. No other SS riders passed me and I didn’t gain on any in front of me.

The second lap was bad because my tire got lighter. I can’t hold speed in the corners and I’m trying to be gentle on the remounts. By the third lap, it’s pretty much flat. I’m bottoming out everywhere. On the single track descents in the canyon I’m totally on my front wheel — not too great for handling. I’m babying every corner and thinking about quitting. It was a world of frustration to see people come by and not being able to respond — because of equipment and not fitness.

Through the canyon and backside playground, a group of 4-5 B racers come around me. After exiting the canyon on the runup, I go straight to the pit and call for air. The pit guy (a saint, I tell you) has the pump ready, finds my valve, unscrews the stem and inflates it to 40 (my request). He screws the stem and I’m off. Effing quick I tell you.

I’m like a new racer. I can corner and run full out. Over the remaining couple of laps, I manage to reel in all but one of the group of B racers that passed me right before pitting. Two guys racing for 6th did pass me at the very end of the last lap. They managed to do it on a tailwind section that had a big dose of pavement — I was spinning hard in my 42×18. I closed the gap to them through the late corners but they got away again on the pavement. Those final couple of laps reminded my what makes racing so fun.

So I got 8th out of 15 finisher in the SS. I was the highest placed 40+ racer, lol. And the oldest dude in front of me was 10 years my junior. The bottom line was that it sure felt good to pin that number on and spin the cranks.

Denouement: I pulled a sliver of metal out of my rear tire. I’m not sure when I picked it up but a photo of the start and the initial handling leads me to think that I poked the tire during warm up or when rolling to the line. Some Stan’s sealed it right up.

Start of the race. Crooked hat.

Today was the second in a three race dirt crit series at a farm outside of Portland. Coach says I shouldn’t be racing and if I am, then I’d best be in the second group. Okay then. I told Bob Libby, team photographer and all around great guy, that if I weren’t smiling and looking at the camera every lap, then I was going too hard.

I got to Sauvie Island with plenty of time before my race and was greeted with emergency vehicles on the course. I guess someone in the C race had crashed on the first lap of their race. I have no idea of the type or severity of the injury. I figured that would be pushing start times back for the rest of the day. The Bs went off about 20 minute late so I figured my race wouldn’t start until at least 2:10 or later. After a course preview before the Bs, I headed off to warmup on the local roads and intended to get back around 2:00 to get a drink, puff the asthma spray, etc.

As I’m pulling back in at 1:58, I see teammate Mike R. heading out to cool down after his B+ race! And down on the field is my race, staged. Uh oh. I hustle to the car, swig a mouthful of water, puff quickly, and roll up to the start. We get underway about five minutes later.

I have mellow start and slot in towards the back end of the pack but pretty quickly move up toward the front. I spend the first lap sitting near the back of the front bunch when the dude in front of me pops. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that it came on a section through two 90-degree corners separated by some gravel. I came around and saw the gap. I decided that was a good time to shut it down and race my race.

Pretty soon after, I came by TK — he’d flatted. I dangled off the end of the pack for a while and teammate Chris T. came by and urged me to hop on. Thanks for the offer but not this time, Chris. Pretty soon, I saw TK get back on the course ahead of me after gettting a new wheel in the pit. I managed to chase him down and we worked together for the rest of the race. While I wouldn’t call our pace conversational, I felt pretty comfortable and switching pulls with a cooperative racer made the laps much more fun. The flat was bad luck for TK but worked out very well for me.

The only item of note during the race was that TK and I got the flag for the preme lap (I guess they chose a random point on the lap to offer it so the lead guys didn’t take them all). TK was leading and I thought about pipping him for the preme for about a half second. I sat on and let him take it. It could just as easily been me leading at that point so I wasn’t about to contest the sprint for a bag of coffee and some Cliff bars.

Oh, and I managed to smile at the camera every lap. My legs feel okay now– like I did something — and my back is fine. Last week, my back was a mess and it took almost a week for my legs and back to recover. This week I should be able to do some meaningful training instead of cutting sessions short because my my body is a mess.

Photo: Taken by Bob Libby. I’m the smiling guy. TK is taking the wind.

USGP race 6
December 2, 2007
Portland International Raceway
Portland, OR
35+ 1/2/3 race

The pineapple express set up as expected and Portland got buckets of rain overnight and all day Sunday. It mostly rained hard and sometimes it rained harder. The wind blew too. There was plenty of standing water all over the course and plenty of bogs and sloppy mud. Interestingly, I didn’t find it as slippery as yesterday and the thin mud coupled with lots of water on the pavement kept the bike acceptably clean.

The course differed slightly from Saturday with a few extra twists mixed in through the trees and the addition of a short section of the PIR motocross course. I got a crappy number again and lined up on the back row.

I moved up nicely at the start and had made a dent in the field by the time we hit the first dirt. I was still doing well when Terry K. put me into the tape in the first bog. I was off the bike and trying to get my momentum going again. I managed to pass Terry at about the same place on the second lap. On that second lap, I tired to open it up and start knocking off riders but that plan didn’t work out too well.  I just wasn’t aggressive enough through the mud and there were a couple sections I just couldn’t ride very well.

By the middle of the race, I was riding with a loose group of perhaps a half dozen guys — guys I would have ridden through the previous day. Sometimes I’d get an advantage but then some would pass me when I was sucking it up. Around midway through, Erik V. came by and I tried to hold his wheel but he was riding too well for me. I stayed within 20 seconds of him the rest of the race.

On the bell lap, I made one good racing move. After the first big bog, I took the inside line up the gravel to pass three guys and hit the motocross bumps first. Only one of the three came by me after that. Still, had I been more aggressive subsequently, I should have knocked off a couple more riders and finished with Erik.

Every race can’t be your best.

I really appreciated the cheering from the team and friends. It really does help. I’d like to especially thanks Bill for cheering along the course since he had surgery only two days prior. Thanks to Dave G. who stood in the pits for me even though I never took a change.

Oh, and one more thing, when I was coming around the far side of the course on the first lap, I saw (and heard) Tre Hendricks stack it up through the barriers. He’s got some nice marks on one of his shins.

USGP race 5
December 1, 2007
Portland International Raceway
Portland, OR
35+ 1/2/3 race

Number 113. We staged by number so I was waaaaaaay back. There were some guys behind me on the starting grid but not many. I heard the whistle and some seconds later was actually able to get in the pedals and get underway. But I’m ahead of myself here. While we didn’t get the inch of snow the weather people promised, flakes did fall off and on most of the morning and early afternoon. Since no additional rain fell since early Friday, the course wasn’t too bad. Sure, there were some bogs, the grass was slippery as snot, and some of the corners and up-n-downs developed some nasty ruts, but there was precious little soup.

The course was excellent. The venue is flat but it is abuts a dike along a slough, which was used to great effect. The start was along the auto raceway pit area and followed a paved service road for a good long way before turning left into a greasy off camber section. It took me several laps to realize that the left hander exiting the off camber was much faster on foot. A few more corners through grass, pavement, and gravel lead up to the dike.

After a brief spell on the dike, the course descended off to the right and there was a short section of gravel leading up to the double planks. After the barriers, the course wound through the grassy wooded area and past the pits. There was a tricky transition from pavement to grass just prior to the pits — riders wanted to carry speed from the pavement but the grass was slick. After the pits there was a left hander that lead to a leaf strewn off camber. Then there was a tricky right hander up a rise to the dike. I wasn’t able to ride this any lap — primarily because of traffic in front of me. At the top, the course continued right and down a drop and right back up again. Eventually, I found that running that whole section was the best bet.

The course wound down and up the dike a couple more times and meandered to an off camber 180 to pavement. There were some more twists and turns and finally went past the pit once more to dump back onto the start/finish straight. I’m of the opinion that the course would have been great in any weather but the few places where conditions made the racers choose whether to whether to stay on the bike or hoof it really added to the experience.

Okay, so back to the start. Flakes were falling as I leisurely clipped into my pedals and started working up the left hand side. Boom. Guys breaks his chain on the right. I’m around it. Wham. Some guys tangle and it’s all over by the time I zip by. I’m holding steady heading into the off camber and make a poor choice to ride it. I stay on the bike but it’s not fast. I just want to pass as many people as I can.

Since everyone is amped up for the start, I don’t manage too much more than holding position at first. After a bit, I started coming by people. Just prior to the pits, I’m on Terry K’s wheel (snazzy Zank kit!) and I take a slider on the tricky transition — applied the power too quick. I’m up and don’t lose too much time. I keep on chasing and when just before the start/finish, Erik V flies past me. I jump up and get on the V-train and ride it all the way to the grass. Pretty soon, I pass TK and EV and move up some more.

The rest of the race, I just chase wheels and try to stay frosty. I keep on coming up on little groups of three to five and work my way through them. I have no idea how many people I pass but by the finish, I figure it must be about 50 or so. About midway through, I pass east coaster Matt Myette (in another Zank kit) as we negotiate the off camber to the dike. He complained about is thumb which he recently injured. On that same lap, I pass Anothony Rutter after we hit the pavement.

With three to go, I come up on a group of five and it takes me a long time to work trough them. One of the guys has a 120 number and I really want to have the distinction of moving up the most places. Thus I have extra motivation to get through these guys. I’d just made my way to the front when I decide that it’s bike change time. My teammate Dave Gast was working the pits for me and we have a somewhat flawed bike change. First of all, one of the pit officials wandered out into the pit lane as I come in and then Dave is a bit flustered trying to catch my bike while handing off the new one.

I only lose one spot on the change and the dude had been right on my wheel anyway. The new bike feels pretty nice since it’s about five pounds lighter and grass and mud arent’t rubbing on the chain and rims. I quickly pass the dude who sneaked by when I was in the pit. I bridge up to a Veloce/Fet rider (Shane Fletcher?) and hang with him for a long time. On the bell, I want to take it to him but he manages to put in some bursts which keep me at bay. On the final up-n-down prior to the eastern most 180, I go down. I was pushing hard to make the pass and I put the power down too quick on the up side. I find myself on the wrong side of the bike and my right shifter is twisted but the chain is still on and the bike is ridable. The Veloce/Felt guy got a big gap which I don’t manage to shut down but I keep two chasers at bay, laying down as much power as I have left until I cross the line.

I’ll update with my result when they post them.

Some notes:

  • I was dressed perfectly. I had a warm Patagonia base layer, bibs, leg warmers, wool socks, short sleeve jersey, thin under helmet hat, and regular gloves. My feet got cold but otherwise I was perfect, neither cold nor hot.
  • Teammates Mike Rabinowitz and Dave Gast were awesome! Dave was a savior to pit for me and Mike had a beer ready immediately after the race. I really appreciated their cheers all race long. Thanks also to John Wilson and all the others who yelled out for me.
  • Tomorrow I’m going to change bikes more often. It pays. I’m thinking three changes at least. I was worried about losing spots while pitting but the benefit far outweighs the cost.
  • No one got by me after the first half lap. After that, a couple of people did pass me but I got by each and every one of them eventually.
  • I hope I don’t get another lousy number tomorrow.
  • I had a great time!

That’s Quirk and Baker behind me. I was still digging deep here. Once Quirk got around me again, I wasn’t so sharp.

Thanks to Bob Libby for the photo. See more of his great work.

Krueger’s Crossing
Sauvie Island, OR
November 25, 2007
Masters 35+ A race

Once Krueger’s farm out on Sauvie Island gets wet, there’s mud till summer. While the A race didn’t have it nearly as bad as the earlier races, there was still some mud left around even though it hadn’t rained in five days. Sections that were treacherous with slimy mud early in the day dried out quite a bit by our 2:20 pm start time.

The course had lots of flat and a healthy variety of farm roads. Surfaces ranged from light gravel hard pack, dirt hard pack, soft double track, soft field sidings, and slimy field sidings. There was a single dismount per lap through a set of double planks. The course would have been perfect with the addition of a run up. The laps were long in distance but not about right in time. I think I was turning in lap times of about eight minutes or so.

Even though this was on a holiday weekend and it was a non-Crusade race, the turnout was pretty good with a number of the usual suspects racing in the 35+ As. However, Johns Brevard and McCaffrey mercifully decided to race with the open As this day. There were no callups and I snagged a front row spot — my first since I’ve raced the 35+ A race. Some of the earlier races went long so we ended up standing in the starting grid for a while before they gave us the whistle.

I got the hole shot. I wasn’t surprised by that since I do have pretty good starts even if I haven’t been able to execute them from the second or third row. The starting straight was long and gently uphill. Coming into the first turn I was looking to give up the lead and Scott Bradway obliged. Martin Baker came around too and I latched onto his wheel. Martin and I weren’t to be separated by more than ten seconds for the remainder of the race.

The first lap was a shorty and early into the second, Martin took the lead and I came around to get into second. However, it was short lived as Bradway got back on the front and stayed there much of the race. Scott Brown came around too and he turned in a great ride to land third.

A lap or so later, Mike Benno passed me and I tried to stay on his wheel for a bit but he was motoring. He eventually out dueled Bradway for the win. Martin and I traded places a few times but neither of us could hold and advantage. Dan Quirk passed not long after Mike did. However, he went down in the slippery mud after the corn maze section and I passed him back. It took him a while to get me back and Tim Butler came around shortly after. Again, I couldn’t hold their wheels. However, their advantage stayed at about 20 seconds for a very long time.

Since I’ve been lapped by the open A leaders on the two to go lap and not gotten a bell, I’ve decided to treat that lap as my bell. I managed to pass Martin about midway through the lap and held on for much of the remainder. He might have been sitting on to set up a sprint toward the end though. Just after the slippery off camber left hander, I went hard up the little rise and tried to attack along the double track. Martin marked me and forced me outside on the pivotal right hander before turning back into the barn. He made the move for the win. Too bad we got the one to go sign and the bell. We were just fast enough to earn another lap.

Martin’s move turned out to be all he needed to fend me off for the remainder of the race. Getting one to go after a big effort was tough to take. I let a gap form and couldn’t shut it down. On one of the turns coming off the sole hill, Dan Quirk went down and was shaken enough — or his bike was not operating properly enough — so that Martin and I passed him prior to the finish. I think Martin was fifth and I was sixth.

Though it wasn’t a Crusade race, it still felt darned good to score a nice result. I also enjoyed racing at the front for a couple laps and the hole shot was pretty cool too. When we scooted up to the starting line after the open As started, Martin got squeezed out of the front row and was sitting half a bike behind me. He jokingly asked how he went from the first row to the first and a half row. Turns out he had one of the best spots for the start. I lead him out for a great position.

I snagged a bunch of photos of myself from Bob Libby’s excellent collection of race photos. If you can’t see the slide show, you can see the set here. It’s probably better to stop by Bob’s site though since you can really get a sense of the action. Check out the early races to see how the course fared over the race day.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Okay, here’s a photo of me trying to clean up enough to get on some warm clothes after the Hillsboro race. Let’s set this up … I’d just raced for an hour in rain with lots of standing water and mud. I’m now squirting my legs with cold water while standing on cold pavement with no shoes on. Brrrrr. Oh yeah, take a look at the sod divots caught in my spokes. Once you get those wheels up to speed, they drive themselves ;)

Cleaning up after Hillsboro

Cross Crusade race #7
November 18, 2007
Hillsboro Stadium, OR
Masters 35+ A race

The Portland area finally started getting some rain this week so the ground was fully saturated by race time on Sunday. The rain continued all day and the temperatures never climbed past the mid 40′s. Nice weather for a cyclocross race.

The Hillsboro Stadium course has always been mostly flat with a single bump that the course designers used to its fullest potential. However, the sports complex has added some new stuff for the regular users and the bump is gone along with most of the previous course real estate. Good thing there is plenty of junk ground around the periphery to build a decent course.

There were two sets of double barriers — one set placed before a micro hill and another along a wide open (read fast) section. Luckily, the weather gods smiled and poured enough rain on the course to turn an innocuous looking rise into a full-on run up. It started with two deep (and frigid) areas of standing water. I hesitate to call them puddles because they were so large and deep. The slope was thick churned mud for 20 yards. At the top, many found it difficult to remount and continued running another fifteen yards or so before remounting. I used a fairly firm spot at the top to put down the bike and get on before churning through the soupy right hand line. There was also a little down and up that forced all the riders off. The down side was pretty treacherous, being a nastily rutted side hill. There was a pavement portion, some gravel, and some long sections of hardpack walking trail.

Oh, and did I mention the ruts? Lots of them. By the time my race went off, some of the good lines were a tire width through six inch deep ruts. Then there were other wide open sections where there was no line — just a crazy pattern of shallow tire ruts over choppy ground or pooling mud.

Conditions were epic.

I decided against a pre-ride though I did scout the full course. Last week I got a callup when I wasn’t able to race so I wasn’t sure I’d get one this week also. The race was the OBRA championships and worth double points in the Crusade series. It was also my last chance to score a top ten in a Crusade race and I was sitting just outside the top fifteen overall for the series. All that added up to me getting to staging early and being pretty bold in making my way to the front.

I was in the front of the pack and ready to beat the scrum to fill in behind the callups when Brad Ross named me as the final callup. I hustled up but the front row was full so I filled in behind Rich Cramer (fast guy). I’d been nervous most of the morning but I managed to get my focus together while we were standing on the line.

We got the gun and right off the bat, someone missed their clip just left of me. I dodged around, took a couple pedal strokes to clip, and then got going. I was in the top ten heading down the pavement but backed off through the first couple of turns. By the time we hit the mud, I was perhaps 15th. Guys were flying everywhere all of a sudden and I saw a few people down, including John Wilson.

I navigated that first slippery bit okay and dismounted through the tiny rise. Next was a trickier than it looked section of doubletrack and there were more guys off the road. Mud was flying everywhere and dirty water filled my eyes. I could barely see but I continued to chase wheels. By the time we were on the hardpack on the north side of the parking lot, I was at the back of the lead group. There were probably eight guys up there. I resisted the urge to charge on through them — operating on pure adrenaline. I managed to hang on to that bunch for a couple laps but eventually I got gapped off just before the big puddle run up. Soon after, Mike Wilson came by and I tried to hook on. I stayed with Mike and Ed French for a bit but the holes just before the pavement ate me up and I briefly came to a stop. By the time I got going, Ed and Mike had a big gap, one I couldn’t shut down.

Edit: I latched onto the tail end of the chase group. Bannick and Butler got a big gap after the mayhem in the first mud pit. Mike Wilson was caught up in that pile up and that’s why he was behind me for a while.

So there I was, all alone. On the third lap, I passed Martin Baker when he got off course and Jon Myers came flying by me a bit later. My teammate Bill stayed about 10-15 seconds back for a couple laps and I kept hoping he’d bridge up and work with me. About the time Bill fell further back, I noticed a group of four guys maybe 20 seconds behind me. I was worried they might work together and reel me in. I liked my odds solo and worked a bit harder to stay away from them. I don’t know how long they were together, but they fell apart pretty quickly.

With two to go on the lap board, I saw Ed French up ahead and put in a flawless lap to catch and gap him. I hit all the lines better than average and my legs felt okay given that I’d been racing for close to an hour and they were bathed in cold mud. With only a couple minutes to go on the lap, the A race leaders caught me. Molly and Shannon (gender confused yet? Shannon and Molly lapped Brooke) came by and then close to the finish, an S&M rider and Carl Decker also sneaked by. Since I got lapped by the leaders on what I thought was my two to go lap, that was it for me. I got no bell. Note to self: if I haven’t been lapped and I see two to go, treat it like the bell.

No one from my race passed me on that last lap and I managed to reel in a rider. I doubt I was close enough to any of the other masters up the road to have caught them had I stayed on the lead lap. However, it would have been worth my while to have given more effort on my final lap.

Where did I finish? Dunno for sure but I’m thinking top ten. Maybe eighth or ninth. It looks like I finished outside the top ten again. From rider reconstruction, I think I was 11th. I had an outstanding race. Going in, I wanted to try to stay with the leaders for as long as possible. In fact, it was kind of surreal to be in the front bunch on the second lap. Not close to the front. Not seeing the front as they came around a chicane. But honest to goodness with those guys. Sure, it was only a couple laps but maybe it will be more laps next year. I also stayed frosty on the fast bits. It’s pretty easy to take a little breather on the pavement and the hardpack but I resisted. I kept turning the pedals hard and found other places to take a breather.

Some random notes:

  • It took me a couple of hours to get rid of the cloudy vision. There were points on the course I could barely see and rode the course by feel.
  • Running when your shoes are full of mud sucks.
  • If you are passing some guy and there is a nasty side hill descent and he takes a line different from the one that’s been working well for you all race, don’t follow it. It probably sucks.
  • Brown spit probably means you’ve been swallowing some mud.
  • I was freezing after the race. I could kind of sort of feel that it was cold while I was on the bike. But once I got off, I was close to hypothermia. I had the heater on full blast most of the 35 minute drive home.

I’ll try to get some pictures posted this week.

It turns out that the Kona Factory Team riders are supposed to call in or write a report after their weekend events. These get published and sent to the sponsors, friends, etc. Erik was kind enough to send the newsletter on to me and gave me permission to post his race report. Without further ado …

All in all it was a success. Each one of the boys won race on Sunday. It started with me. Since I didn’t make it out there Saturday to “qualify” for the silly SS World Championships race, there was a last-ditch, winner-is-in qualifier for the victor of the Cross Crusade single-speed race. The Packers-Vikings game was on TV, so I watched the first half. I was conflicted to say the least. I tore myself away at the last second and arrived at the venue in my car only 5min. before the start. There was no time to change, so I stayed in my latest pair of super-pants and threw on my pre-pinned single-speed jersey. I powered the Kona Paddy Wagon–fixed-gear, of course–to a come from behind victory. I guess I did it the hard way. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it toasted me a bit for the next event, the A Men’s race. Trebon naturally won it. All I can say is I held it together enough to finish somewhere in the top-10, and I proved I have some speed left by taking the first lap winner’s prime. I gunned it from, like, 10th wheel up to Ryan, who’d already dropped everybody, to get it at the line. Then he quickly dropped me, and I went backwards further.

Of course, I had to save something for my third race of the day and its premier event: the aforementioned silly World Single-Speed Cyclocross Championship. Barry took it in front of Adam Craig and Ryan. It really was a blast. For me, I somehow rode into the top-10 by virtue of utilizing the Tequila Shot Short-Cut during the race’s middle laps. I’m not a big drinker, so I Chevy-Chased the shot my first time thru, flipped-off the crowd gathered there, and was met with a barrage of whatever they could throw at me. The next time thru I said, “OK, OK: I’ll do it for real this time.” They force-fed me the double-shot, but I managed to choke up enough of it to spit what was left back into the crowd. Everybody loved that so much….I figured I’d better try to hide from the shortcut for awhile. I skipped it the next lap, but they were on to me: armed with head-sized rubber balls, one southpaw had pretty damn good aim, as he nailed me right in the nuts! But I kept her upright. My package still hurts, though.

Little did they know I was taking beer hand-ups on the run-up, which I was mostly riding (except when I wanted a beer hand-up, which was every other lap, at least). I was pretty lit by two to go: again, I aint’s no big drinker, so the alcohol and my sore solar-plexus tempered my “racing”. I guess the cramping didn’t help, either. A group of serious single-speeders caught me, so I don’t know where I finished. All I know is I completed the Hat Trick, so it was a good thing I raced in my Team S&M hockey jersey. So, too, did Barry. Un-choreographed, we both showed up sporting the old jerseys. It was sweet. I raced mine for all three events, and he wore his for both of his races. Barry rode his single-speed in the A race, but he took it easy late in the race: he caught up with me and then sat up. Adam rode his sweet single-speed in the A race, too, and he totally schooled me. I guess I was barely fit enough to do the first two races, let alone all three.

We also had a banner day at the shop on Sat. It was nothing but last-second ‘cross bike sales and single-speed conversions. It’s hard not to believe the hype these days. And I almost forgot: Green Bay went on to win 34-0. I taped the second-half and watched it when I got home. The nice thing about being a football fan at a Sunday bike race is there’s little risk of anybody spilling the beans. We’re 8 and 1: even though I’m from MN, the Pack is my team!

See ya!
ET