Earlier in the week, some of the snow had melted on the asphalt sections of the course and then froze making it completely unsafe to ride. The asphalt portion was to be the part of the course where a power rider could work his or her magic and it was now gone. The only option was to use a cinder sidewalk next to the asphalt but it was being covered in a snowdrift courtesy of the high winds. When I left for the day, the wind was still howling, the drifts were not going to go away, anything that was not driven at least 6 inches into the ground way flying to the East and it was miserable. When I showed back up at 7am the next day, the ICCC guys had a race course. I did not get the details, but read the comments section of Keller’s Blog about CX States to get some of the scoop on how the ICCC guys finally got a course built.
Given my experience the day before, on race day I packed anything I have ever considered to be warm clothing. I then threw in 6 pins of assorted Belgian beers for post race enjoyment with the rest of the FMVC crew. I loaded up my big sis who came down from BV for some front row heckling and headed off to help the ICCC in the morning and race with the Clydesdales in the afternoon.
I spent the morning running around like Mike the Headless Chicken as I tried to help the ICCC crew keep things moving. A couple of racers asked about the course. I told them what I thought to be true. It turned out to be total BS as the course had gotten modified slightly after I had left the day before.
ICCC had chosen to offer a Clydesdale class at states. This was not something that was welcomed by some at the ACA. But I know that all of us Clydes were very grateful to be able to run with the other big boys and not have to watch all the little skinny bastards ride off into the distance while our minimal power-to-weight carcasses chugged along behind. It also allowed me to skip the horde that was the 35+ Cat 4.
Below is a map of the course, I annotated a few points as they will be mentioned later.
The course conditions changed throughout the day. When the juniors started in the morning, it was frozen solid. The course thawed during the 35 open race, got pretty muddy during the 35+ Cat 4's, completely sloppy during the opens, started to firm back up during the 3's/Single Speeds and froze again during the Cat 4/Clydedales. The last race of the day was back to the pure treachery that the juniors got to enjoy in the morning.
I pre-rode the course and realized a couple of things:
1) I should have ridden at least once in the last week and a half. The legs were not all that happy with the effort I was asking in the warm-up.
2) I have no idea how to eat for an afternoon race.
The FMVC crew, flanked by Boups and others had taken a nice supply of beer and set up a position at the bottom of the biggest hill to watch the run-up / fall-downs. They had been there since noon, and by the time I was out on warm-up laps the cold was not bothering them anymore...if ya know what I mean. I had given them an open invite to the cooler full of Belgians I had and they were starting to work on that after having exhausted the rest of their supply.
At the start line, Corky, the owner of Green Mountain Sports, comes up with a wire brush and cleans the mud out of the cleats for the two GM guys. I am thinking "Damn, that is some sweet team support, I wonder where my guys are." At which time, I looked over to the FMVC crew and promptly saw a cork shoot out of a bottle of Belgian beer about 10 feet in the air. The FMVC'ers all cheered with delight.
The temps were plummeting so the whistle could not come fast enough. On the first lap, we skipped the Spiral of Death obstacle. After the sprint up the opening straight, I went into the single-track 4th wheel. This led to a part of the course I quickly named "The North Slope". It was a long traverse of a North facing hill that had turned to almost pure ice when the temps went down during the cat 3's. I had gotten across it clean during warm-ups but it was not to be on lap one. Almost to the end of the traverse, I lost the front end and ate it big-time. I was up quickly but could not get back into the pedals. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! four clydes blew by. This is not the little zip when the skinny guys go by. When a clyde passes you at speed it is much akin to a semi overtaking a mini cooper. I spent the next half of the first lap working my way back past these gents. Heading into a set of double barriers just before the pit I hear Tom Hall cheering me on. I take a look at him for just a split second. In that same split second, I catch my toe spikes on the first barrier and promptly do a complete human yard sale. I go sprawling in one direction, my bike beats the crap out of me for a bit then goes another direction. As I am trying to regain my wits, the same four clydes go thundering by. I am up and rolling again and tell myself "Fatboy, you best get your shit together, concentrate and ride clean or you are going to get hurt......again." For the rest of the race, I am able to do that except for one small issue......
..... A complete wardrobe malfunction. I had chosen to roll with a new pair of bibs and full leg warmers. Between the two crashes and the rough course, I am suffering the complete public humiliation of Falling Leg Warmer Syndrome (FLWS). At first it is just a little bit and I get past the FMVC crew at the run-up/fall-down without being noticed. The next lap, there is a full 2 inches of bare leg showing and the heckling begins. The third time on the run-up, Dash is running alongside me yelling "Nice F'ng leg warmers!!!! Now get your ass up that hill!" Later, I went past the pits to a chorus of "Who wears short shorts?"..... On the last lap, I can take the indignity no longer and completely stop to adjust my garments to a proper fit.
I ended the race in 3rd, behind two gentlemen - Brian Milnick and Carlos Casali - who were clearly the best of the group. It was a distant 3rd but I was still happy to make the podium. The FMVC crew even saved a Chimay for me which tasted oh so sweet.
So, that is a wrap for the official 2009 CX season. We have the Bandidio Nats this Saturday. It is a combination cyclocross race and tequila drinking competition. Should be a hugely good time.
Thanks for reading and now for some pics.
Rich.... after the run-up and just before the fall-down
Cap'n Slow -
1) Has fallen and can't get up.
2) Is checking to see if crawling the run-up on all fours is faster.
3) Is about to DNF........ Again.
Dash Riprock planting old glory at the top of Mount
Dash did not even race States and gave no excuse.
We think he burised a body part that rhymes with mulva.
1) Has just been double-dog dared and is descending
double dog-leg style
2) Is showing off his perineum of steel
3) Is very pleased with how all those Kegel exercises
are paying off.
MK again showing his patented Double Dog-leg
But why take a different line down the hill than all the other racers?
OK.... so... MK is totally out of control, right?
Not exactly. It seems that Mr. Klick was just taking a
line that would get him some help.
The horses are at the gate! The start line of the Clydedales.
I try to help the team out anyway I can.
At States I became a snowball target for the FMVC crew during the race.
Is that Dr. Frankenfurter or a 1930's French hooker outfit?
Living proof that CX is 45 minutes of suffering followed by a beer
(The cups were because we were on school property)
One of many empties that served the FMVC crew well.