My Gloucester Day 1 race was pretty similar to everyone else in the back half of the field, I got into roughly 20 bottlenecks and mishaps in the first few laps. Half of them were my own stupid antsy decision making, and half of them were the natural outcome of racing with 90 other dudes as jacked up about NEW ENGLAND WORLD CHAMPS as myself.
So yeah, by the time I got it together and started bike racing proper, I was a long way behind Jeremy Powers and even pretty far behind the cat 2's I like to pretend are my peers. By lap four and five I was making forward progress, but then came through at 80.5% back and THAT WAS THAT. At least I have some sweet video:
(If you were at the race, then you know how hilarious this is.)
By the time I got on the course it was a soggy mud chute with the shred factor turned up to about 11. It was heavy enough that you had to apply watts all the time (and there were multiple hills you just plain couldn't ride), but just barely light enough that you still needed to handle your bike NONSTOP to get it done. I prerode two laps wicked hard, because if you pedaled really hard, it was SUPER FUN.
Then I sat around and got cold again. And then it was race time!
The heaviness of the course meant that group racing was going to be not so much a factor on this day, which was good, since I drew a back row start. Lap one was a nonstop take-advantage-of-others-mistakes-fest and somehow, by the end of it, I was starting to get heckled for doing TOO WELL.
|A rare photo where the observed radness matches my perceived radness [via Nick Cz]|
On lap two I noticed I was starting to enter the vicinity of the "Evan Huff" group, which meant that #officeclash was officially ON, and since Evan is way better than me, my mere presence in his group would probably demoralize him enough that I would win.
We headed into the sandpit, aka the best feature in New England Cyclocross, and while I was doing that goofy body-english dance you do to stay in the groove, I went flying by a body in the fetal position with a bike on it! Which turned out to be Evan. I considered this to be wicked awesome.
|This photo is not Evan's crash, but it is the best Gloucester sandpit crash photo that you will ever see. [via davechiu]|
Evan came back with the wattage-fury of a cat 1 roadie, but luckily I was in a briar patch of bike handling and was able to tie up the ole' #officeclash. If I didn't know how doomed I am over the rest of the season, I would talk SO MUCH MORE TRASH right now.
Next, I got tangled with Josh Thorton's pedal in my front wheel, directly in front of a group of my friends who were "cheering" for me, and I managed to call him a "stupid M-F'er" AND apologize for it within the same sentence. And then I STILL had to race for the rest of the day thinking "gosh, I'm a real ding-dong sometimes."
Moral of the story: DON'T CALL PEOPLE NAMES WHEN YOU ARE BIKE RACING.
Despite me being a doodoohead I continued to have a good race. So good that with two laps to go, I was only 79.9% behind Ryan Trebon! The UCI official was looking at his watch as I passed, but I was SAFE! Victory!
As luck would have it, I proceeded to rip my rear derailleur off about sixty seconds later.
And, since I didn't get pulled, I now had to start running if I wanted to stay on the results.
And since I had just won an #officeclash and two #roommateclashes, it was imperative that I stay on the results.
So I ran. Forever. One guy passed me, and then, loneliness -- everyone else behind me had been 80%'ed. Eventually, as I neared the beer garden, Ryan Trebon showed up.
I went through the beer garden in "second" place and collected $5 in dirty one-dollar bills towards the purchase of a new derailleur hanger.
|Carbon cross bikes are really light, until you have to run a half mile with one on your shoulder. [via Jen Audia]|
When I finally got to the pit, the officials told me I had to finish the lap to get pulled! So against all reason, I got sent back out onto the course in what was now "6th" place on Christin's bike.
A half lap (and beer feed) later, I returned to the pit, still not done with the lap, and now in "9th." At this point, sanity finally prevailed and I was allowed to stop racing my stupid bike.
AND DESPITE ALL THIS IT WAS STILL ONE OF THE FUNNEST DAYS I'VE EVER HAD RACING A BIKE! ENDORPHINS ARE WEIRD!
|Dave was playing with remote flashes and now I appear to be racing in the dark. [via Dave Chiu]|