I’ve got a big time cross hangover. My season ended three weeks ago at the Portland USGP and now it’s all unstructured riding for me. I commuted — just commuted — for a week and a half and then started doing some riding. I’ve left the HRM/speedometer at home. I like riding that way so much, I might keep leaving it a home for a long while.
Then there were all those races in KC to geek out about. I was checking the KC Nationals blog compulsively, like some sort of OCD freak who had to hit the refresh button on the browser or else the heebie jeebies would grab hold. I watched all the video and looked at all the pictures and read all the reports I could. I couldn’t help thinking I was missing something big as I sat at home. The weekend had some great moments and some real low points too. A lot has been made of Page’s comments about being the best rider out there even though he didn’t win. Big deal *yawn*. How about AJM saying that Tillford was sandbagging in the 45-49 race since he won it by almost a minute. I guess it’s okay to race the age groups if you only win by 3 seconds.
Wait a minute. Where was I going? Oh yeah. Some people would like the cross season to be longer. I don’t. I think that three months is about perfect and that the national championships is a pretty good closing date for domestic racing. First, the weather starts to get pretty cold in most of the country by late December and cross isn’t really a winter sport. Sure, some snow once in a while is good for the soul but races scheduled for times of the year almost guaranteed to see temps in the teens and a chance of snow on the ground is just silly. The holidays are also a great time to connect with your family. All you guys are spending a big chunk of the weekend (or practically all the weekend for the dedicated doublers) away from home. C’mon. Go out with your wives. Play with your kids. Have some fun — that’s why you have a family in the first place isn’t it? To spend time with them?
Races have started popping up in August. That’s just wrong. Early September is bad enough but August is rediculous. Yeah, let’s go out and race cyclocross in choking dust and oppressive heat. Who thought that would be a good time? If you really need that, take up mountain bike racing. Just wait till the nights get cool and there’s likely to be a little crispiness in the air before you get started racing cross.
Personally, I like the compressed season. I have plently of time to be family guy and then I race for three months and I’m done. Perfect. I love the late summer as cross season gets closer and the anticipation builds. Everyone starts obsessing about their bikes and whether their form is either going to last or come around. Then the season starts and it’s racing every weekend until the weather gets so crappy that it takes more than an hour at home to clean up bikes and kit.
And then the season is over. Done. Time to think about what to do for next year so you can finally beat those guys you’ve been racing around all season. Time to form trianing plans and consider what new stuff might make you a couple seconds faster. It also gives you some time to take it easy before building up for a road or mountian bike season if you so choose.
The compressed season keeps cross fresh and fun. It makes it possible to race other bike disciplines or keep your family life sane (generally not both). It also gives you plenty of time to figure out how to go faster next year and makes it easier to eveluate whether you managed that trick for the just completed season.
So have a beer and stop on over to procyclocross.com and pick up some Euro race DVDs to watch as you ride the rollers.