For the last couple of weeks, my Facebook feed has been nothing but Jam Fund podiums and Richard Sachs’ “Testing Positive For…” photo albums. I’m not complaining. I was mentally exhausted this past January, and very much ready for ‘cross season to end, but now I’m charged. Cyclocross feels new again, as I’m sure most of you would agree. Leaves are falling, temps are dropping, and workouts are getting more intense. Now all we need is mud.
I started my ‘cross season two weeks ago with Asheville Cyclocross at Bent Creek Community Park. While I don’t feel my skills or fitness fit in the women’s ‘A’ category, I can no longer pass for a beginner. In fact, I would most likely get beaten with my own shoes if CB or Tom Van Damager saw my name on the ‘C’ pre-reg. I DO get a little star struck when I get to race with people like Jane Burlew, Ally Stacher, and Meghan Korol. They are my peers, my friends, and they are also teachers. They are my carrots!
The race was full of mechanicals, bail outs, and one hard crash. I think I dropped my chain at least 3 times bouncing through the single track (I now have a chain catcher. Duh). I had to bail half a lap in when the girl in front of me made a poor line selection around a tricky corner (and my line was so laser!). I buried myself on the bell lap and tried to make a bigger gap between myself and 5th place, but got caught up going into the woods. I crashed over the bars pretty hard, dropped my chain, smacked my head, and had to pull myself together ASAP. Red clay mud on that pretty white Cycle-Smart kit takes approximately 3 washes in OxyClean before it’s actually “clean”. New skin suit day turned into “Oh @%$*, I’m going over the handlebars day”.
I was at a Monster Cross post race party a week later, race recapping with my friends, when someone told me what they heard during my AVLCX race. Apparently I was looking extra pegged and hammering through the woods when someone turned and said, “I wish I loved anything as much as she loves this”. I don’t know who that person was, and have no clue if they even know me, but they must be able to see right through me.
I do love this shit.
I catch a lot of crap from people who say I take racing too serious and I’m not having fun. What they don’t realize is THIS IS FUN FOR ME! Racing isn’t for everyone. Don’t rain on my parade just because you don’t race and think racing cheapens cycling. It doesn’t. You probably do something that I think is stupid. Like running. Your ultra marathons and Spartan Races are stupid, but I don’t tell you how you are ruining the joy of running, right? But just in case you were wondering, you are.
This past weekend was another painful AVLCX event at Kolo Bike Park, and the finest collection of people I know. The weather was gorgeous, but too hot for ‘cross, and my competition was fast (as usual). I didn’t get the best result, but I had a blast in spite of my heart rate pounding in the 180s. The course was super fast, super technical, and SUPER FUN. Even in the midst of pain, I found beauty in the ‘white noise’. If you don’t know what the white noise is, you’re not doing the whole racing thing right. And as always, Kevin Hessler knows how to get me in the midst of my pain face:
Looks like I wasn’t the only one taking matters into my own hands:
The stoke is alive and well. #CROSSSOHARD