Monday, December 3, 2007

Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross - Wrentham

The past few weeks have been a bit of a blur. An unnecessarily drawn out move to an apartment down the street, thanksgiving in VT, and a completely useless cold have taken up most of my time. The rundown:

What happens in Vermont, stays in Vermont:

..but nothing much happens here.

I got some cold weather acclimation training in, and also began my pattented "intensive immune system intensity training block." Its best to schedule these training blocks before important events, and with the final Verge races around the corner it was high time I caught up on some serious T-cell work. The workout itself is fairly simple. The trick is to get a bit of a sore throat going - once you feel the burn put in some 2 x 2am nights, and finish with some jager sprints to really get everything moving. You know its working when the burn in the throat reaches the upper respiratory track. We're working towards the kind of cough that says "I'm a homeless man sketching you out on the bus."

MRC Cyclocross - Wrentham
Partially recovered, and feeling wholly unfit, I signed up for Sunday's race at Wrentham. Get good sleep? Eat well? Fuck that. What good would racing in 20 degree weather be with fresh legs. Can't feel anything at that temperature anyway.

Thanks to colin and his work down in the nerdatorium, I was seeded fairly well based on my points. Do I get credit for all the referrals I just gave? So a 7th place seed, puts me on the second line of a 5 wide start.... ok. That's fine. 45 seconds to go. Someone asks "how much time do we have." The whistle blows. Cross is great.

Slow start into a series of S-turns. One thing you learn in cross, is that you don't "keep a line," there's a competitive advantage to cutting off your opponent in a series of turns. However, the next time a cyfac kid almost wrecks me in two subsequent turns, the story is gonna be me putting him through the tape. So we roll on - and I'm feeling surprisingly good. The cold weather has left the mostly grass course incredibly bumpy, but I feel like I made a good tire pressure course, and for the first lap I stay closed onto the back end of the front group of six - first place is clearly within my view.

As the second lap progresses, I become aware of a bit of a rattle. These things are hard to notice in these conditions, or at least to identify with any degree of certainty. But still, I was certain that I was rattling more on the course as time went by. I lost two spots in the second lap, but was still holding my own. A primordial ooze was excreting out of my face - a thick amalgam brought on by the cold temperatures. While I am no medical doctor, I'm certain that at least some part of that cold weather snot is liquefied brain, most likely the bit of sensibility that every cross racer must kill on a regular basis. Snot rockets were all the rage.

But the rattling. It got worse. Soon I noticed that I was having to rotate my right heel quite a bit to disengage from my pedal. I soon realized my cleat was loosening. My release angle was about 100 degrees. Three dismounts per lap, three remounts, and I could feel my cleat sliding each time I ran. Pretty awesome.

Not worth quitting for, not many things are, so I pressed on, fearing the inevitable endo (do people still say endo?) at each barrier. I held it together though, lost a few spots, and came in 10th. You know, the usual - slowest of the fastest group of the slowest racers. Upgrades are lame anyway - too much pressure. Plus, I'll be laughing on the front line in RI next week.

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