[Carpool with Dobie, get sweet photos]
A wise man once noted, "it sucks when you suck." This weekend I drove around New England with a cross bike sucking at various venues. I'll spare you the excuses for why I sucked and get right to the how I sucked.
Saturday Linnea, Cary and Kris loaded up the Fit (to the brim) and headed to Waterville for a new race, put on by my 24 hour teammate Curtis and his team.
The race was lightly attended for something only two hours from Boston, but we got the standard 11 starters in the 1/2/3 race, with the Corner Cycles guys there to make it legit. The course was... interesting... with 3 dismounts and a lot of bumpy power sections in a sub-four-minute lap. The best feature was a monstrously long, faster-to-run sand pit allegedly built by Jerry. 16 times through that had me questioning my "you don't need to run much for cross" training philosophy.
So anyway. Race starts. I get the reverse holeshot for a second, but it's a cross race so the adrenaline soon gets the better of me and I start moving up. Tom Sampson is there and it's apparently his 2nd time ever on a cross bike, so I actually have a chance of beating him on a bike for once. After five laps I'm on his wheel in 7th and the stomach cramp from hell makes an appearance.
Apparently my decision to drink a lot of gatorade because I couldn't find any other calories did not agree with the roughness of this course. I've fought through cramps like that before, but with 11 laps to go I'm not interested in fighting the cramp for that long. So I decide to sit up and completely softpedal a lap. Ah, wussing out never felt so good. Four minutes later Cary has passed me and I can breathe with out a knife stabbing me in the gut. Good trade.
So I set out chasing Cary, who was actually flying, because I was barely closing on him while we were both reeling Tom back in fast. Turns out he flatted on lap one and has been flying since... scary. Just as I get up to him I finally push it too far and lay it down on the off camber, and due to SUCKING can't seem to grab the bike and run out of it. The gap gets big, really fast.
Back on the bike I seem to have lost my top three gears, which is strange because they were there a minute ago. A lap later I notice something is poking me in the hand -- oh hey there SHIFT HOUSING THAT BUSTED UNDER MY BAR TAPE. The valley girl in me thinks "omg how does that even happen" and the idiot in me decides to keep riding a single speed for a few laps.
Finally I realized that Linnea had a working/awesome bike, so I asked her to bring it to the pit, then rode the last 3 laps on it. It was a great idea, the last 3 laps were the highlight of the day.
First off, holy crap, carbon wheels. Now I know why people race those. Her Edge 2.68s made the bike feel incredible. So stiff, so light, like riding on air. Uh... really firm air. Anyway, they fly. I gotta find a way to get some.
I had been getting goaded by the snow pit attendees to take a beer feed, so I did, and while I barely dented that can of PBR I sure put myself in some hurt. I finally got the beer out of my windpipe just in time to get lapped by Jonny and Kevin with two to go.
Since I had a sick bike with carbon wheels, though, I just rode along behind them for two laps and then attacked at the end to get back on the lead lap. Seriously. I know they were going pretty easy at that point, but still, recovering while riding Jonny Bold's wheel is not something I thought I'd ever do.
Despite my "heroics," the 9th/11 finish definitely left something to be desired. Luckily, it being cross season, there was always the Sunday race to make amends...
Meanwhile, Linnea killed it and looked good doing it. And got rich, too -- the women's race paid $500/5 deep, equal prize money with men. Come do this race next year.