Last night I went out to the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross and it was totally dope. It turns out that participating in a night race is almost as fun as putting one on. Luckily the original New England night race is next week so I get to do both! Yay!
If you need me between now and then, I'll be NOT SLEEPING.
Also, can we get a third night race next year? Then we could make an awesome series and no one would ever sleep in the month of October.
But anyway, before I talk about Midnight Ride I should discuss Green Mountain CX Day 2 (the Euro-ing) and Noreaster (return of the Euro) because there were bike races that happened and must be logged.
GMCX Day 2
Day 2 was the UCI day of the GMCX weekend, which meant SERIOUS dudes showing up. Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll appeared and also some giant French guy named BAZEEEN who has been 13th at Worlds. Meanwhile I can't even get 13th in a UCI race in New England, so yeah, lining up against guys like that is what I live for.
Somehow they made a course with even more climbing/less recovery than the day before so I didn't try very hard in the start, because at some point I knew all the riding up hills was going to break me and really I'm just a giant wuss.
The reality of my crappy start was evident from a spectator saying to me "don't worry about your start, Colin, move up, you got this" at the barriers. Ooooh it was that bad? I looked back and there were a max of eight guys behind me. Crap.
Then I rode my face off for forty five minutes. I hitched a ride whenever possible from other dudes who could "pedal hard" and it mostly worked. Somehow Donny Green started behind me and came through at approximately 8 billion watts; he was not one of the wheels I stayed on. Nor Ted King, who rode from dead last on lap one to fifth overall.
Aside from those two guys I drafted pretty successfully.
Near the end of the race I had gotten picked up by the one and only Austin Pferd, who rides corners more aggressively than anyone I've ever followed. This is actually not awesome at all, because when you enter a corner behind him it only goes two ways:
1) Austin shreds it so hard that he defies physics and you get gapped, having to chase
2) Austin shreds it so hard that physics puts him in his place, and he crashes/bobbles, slowing you down.
Either way, every turn is an adventure.
We had also picked up a Canadian U23 and Manny Goguen. Manny's special talent is riding stupidly fast despite a lung disease, which means sometimes he ends up not riding so fast at all. Aka "with me."
Usually when we catch Manny he has gone to a very sad place and goes straight out the back of the group, but this time he was somehow functioning at 90% of normal Manny, which is exactly my race pace. So he stuck around. Then, with one lap to go, he turned back into ELITE MANNY and hot damn did we get shredded. By the time I realized what was going on Austin and I were already gapped pretty bad and Manny had dragged the Canuck off with him.
My efforts to close the gap by riding my face off led to riding my legs off instead and dropping 40 seconds to Manny in the last lap.
But, I still finished in 21st, in the money, on the lead lap, and only 7 minutes behind BAZEEEEEEEEN so it was ok.
NoreasterThe next weekend I returned to the glorious town of Burlington with my secret 'cross prodigy Christin for MORE UCI RACING. Adam, JD and Al had made a totally sick Northampton-esque racetrack at North Beach in Burlington... and then it rained. And rained. And rained.
AND THEN WE TORE THE PLACE UP AND IT WAS A HUGE PR DISASTER AND IT COST EVERYONE INVOLVED A BUNCH OF MONEY WAAAAH.
Seriously, that sucks, I don't really know what the heck you can do when your race is in a public park and it rains that much, except cancel it? This is why I run my races at places where they say stuff to me like "we don't really care if you rip it up too much since we're gonna blow snow on it a month later."
As for the actual racing, the race started and about 3 seconds later Michael Rea was surfing Evan Huff through the start line. As with most ugly crashes, I assumed Evan was dead and I was going to have start answering the phone at BikeReg, so I kinda lost my nerve for a bit and hit the grass ahead of like, two people.
Then everyone pedaled as hard as they could in mud for a while, then it got even deeper so we ran in the mud. Somewhere along the line, Cary got the world's most tenacious course tape wrapped around his derailleur and dropped like three minutes fixing it. It was really bad. Even I would only wish a, say, 1-minute handicap on him.
There was one sketchy mud chute on the backside of the course that I crushed on lap two to get back into the "group" I was riding with of Chris Hamlin, Noah Tautfest and Synjen Morocco. Some spectators were audibly pleased with the shredding, so for all of five seconds I was enjoying myself.
Then Synjen started riding away from everyone by pedaling hard in deep mud, and I stopped having fun.
Also, I had lost both of my handlebar plugs at this point since 'cross is crazy like that.
SO. The setup. I come into the mud chute on lap three and I'm thinking "I AM GOING TO SHRED THIS SO HARD SOMEONE WILL TELL ADAM CRAIG ABOUT IT." Unfortunately, I am not as good as Adam Craig so when I attempted to increase the previous lap's radness by 25% I instead increased my over-the-bars-ness by 100%.
FORTUNATELY instead of going over the bars all the way I was able to catch the end of my handlebars in my groin. UNFORTUNATELY the bare metal that had been exposed by my loss of end-plug caused the bar to cut straight through my skinsuit and into my groin about 2 inches away from one of my favorite body parts.
I bounced back up from the crash, because RACING!, but thenn I realized how there was now a giant hole in the crotch of my skinsuit and a stinging, mud-filled abrasion to go with it, and I DNF'ed as fast as possible.
Then I wandered around showing people the gnarly gash in my skinsuit and my almost-balls, which was the highlight of my day, in retrospect.
Here is a picture that Kris Dobie took of me before my wardrobe malfunction.
|REAL CYCLOCROSS HOORAY|