Monday, October 26, 2009

Races That Didn't Happen

I spend a fair amount of time here bragging about how I race 53 weekends a year, year after year, and I don't burnout, because I'm totally awesome.

Now I don't want to say "I was wrong," because I'm never wrong, but let's just make a little revision here.

If you race every single damn weekend, you will have zero motivation for cold, rainy mud slogs.

It's true. You can try it yourself. I just can't get into flogging myself against unrelenting mud for 60 minutes anymore, not when I know there's another, potentially less traumatic experience racing bikes just 5 days ahead. Bike handling against mud is still cool, don't get me wrong, but the pure power fests that pit you against the course? Meh. I'm not good at them, so they aren't cool. You know how it is.

So yeah, MRC Cross was over a week ago and I never wrote about it. Race morning was 45 and pouring rain. By the time the elite race started we were down to 38 degrees, pouring rain, and windy. Yup, every racer and promoter's nightmare. I got to the start late, lined up at the back, an attempted a cross race. I think the deep puddles on the rocky fire road were what broke me -- each time through, your feet got soaked in ice water, and you were rolling the dice against hitting a hidden rock.

After nearly getting my bars knocked out my hands by a rock, hitting the rim 10 times each lap, and having completely numb feet after 12 minutes, I suddenly realized that I didn't have to do this and rode off the course.

Initially I felt like a big wuss, but when I finished changing and re-emerged the parking lot was FULL of recently dropped-out racers. Still shivering, I headed back to the course to see if I could increase the "fun factor" for those foolish enough to still be riding bikes.

I yelled at Cary "IS IT FUN???" and literally one turn later he exited the course to head to his car.

"There's your answer" he mumbled through chattering teeth.

Before I could heckle anyone else into dropping out, I realized that I was still really freaking cold, so I retreated to JD's heated truck. By the end of the race, 50% of the field had DNF'ed and it was snowing. EPIC! EPICALLY SHITTY!

I wish more people who promote cross races had come to Wrentham just to be reminded what the total worst-case scenario for running a race is. Maybe then we wouldn't have four races on the same day in October. Wait, I'm one of those people who is running a race... in December... OH MY GOD.

So dropping out of MRC Cross was no big deal, but it softened me up for Saturday at Downeast, which was a UCI/Verge/BIGDEAL kind of race. It was also high 40s, raining, and increasingly breezy.

While I was warming up with the cows/Embrocation Team in the barn, Linnea was out in the rain having the best UCI finish of her career (6th). I was certainly not pitting for her, but she knows pit bikes are a sign of weakness, so it's all good. If she writes anything about it I'll link it up because it will assuredly be more positive than how my race went.

In fact -- we had better just gloss over that bit of the report -- I rode what felt like "pretty damn hard" for three laps and had absolutely nothing to show for it in far as placing. When my stupid overinflated Fangos slipped for the 80th time on a 4% incline, I got off my bike, threw it over the tape, and walked back to the car. Because quitting is PRO.

Lest you think this is a permanent turn to EMO for the blog, remember the golden rule of midweek happiness: DO NOT SUCK ON SUNDAY. This was only Saturday. It barely even happened.

[ Borderline hypothermic,Verge-point-scoring hardmen. Not pictured: me. from robot ]

8 comments:

Ryan 10/27/2009 8:55 AM  

Seaaaaatcam?

Nathaniel Ward 10/27/2009 9:06 AM  

Colin, Colin, Colin...you're stealing all my moves, kid! Tantrums? Quitting races? Emo blog posts? How will I distinguish myself for the benefit of my sponsors?

It'll get better, just rest when your psyche tells you to and you'll come around. And the weather really does drain the life out of you. This past weekend in Maine took years off my life.

Not for nothing, but when I was melting down in Toronto two weeks ago I kept thinking "if you're gonna suck, do it on Saturday!" Seriously, thanks for that ;-)

kevin 10/27/2009 9:41 AM  

the problem with dropping out is it makes it that much easier to drop out next time.

dropping out leads to dropping out. i like the symmetry between that statement and your report of dropping out of two races.

Cary 10/27/2009 11:32 AM  

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.

Vince Lombardi

gewilli 10/27/2009 11:44 AM  

quitters never win and winners never quit

Colin R 10/27/2009 11:45 AM  

Cliches? In my blog comments? It's more likely than you think!

Toby 10/28/2009 9:27 AM  

If you were racing the B race with a bigger field, racing farther up in the pack (placing higher/not getting lapped), and racing earlier in the day do you think you would have finished these races?

Colin R 10/28/2009 9:38 AM  

Toby: I would have dropped out of MRC no matter what, it was obscenely cold.

If I had been in contention for the overall B series and had still be in the top 25 (scoring points) then I would've kept going. Otherwise, no.

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