Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MRC Cyclocross

Alex has a really bad day and tries to avoid the grumps.

The Belgian Beer Festival Saturday night was awesome, but it meant that I might have felt better racing bikes on a different Sunday. The plan was to hit up the NEOC Club Championships orienteering event as a warmup for the bike race, the orienteering was in the Wrentham state forest, literally 1.1 miles south of the race site for the cyclocross. I wanted to run the red course (the course I'd be ranked on for the championships), and then run some of the easier courses fast to work on navigating at full speed. This would leave just enough time to get to the race site, register, get dressed, and race my bike.

Then Colin proceeded to crash my car in the process of driving it to my house, but it still drove, so, we went to Wrentham. I was kind of worked up.

It was pouring rain and 37 degrees, but I figured I'd warm up by running. I neglected to take into account how horrible the map was - it did not line up with reality, which makes running fast basically impossible, because you're questioning everything and wondering why its all just so wrong. Even the trails were wrong. Given a slightly later start than I'd planned, I had to run one of the shorter advanced courses, and never got time to run one of the easy courses fast like I'd planned. I hate it when I fail at training.

I got to the cyclocross race with 17 minutes before my race, badly hypothermic - I couldn't really sign my name on the waiver, it was more of a wiggle from a pen held in a fist. I managed to get myself dressed and on the start line, but my teeth were chattering pretty loudly. I hadn't seen the course, but it didn't really matter, since the mud kept things pretty slow. The pack spread out slowly, and I moved back quickly, my body was just completely rejecting this bike riding thing. After a lap my core temperature had come back up to normal, and I felt like I could race my bike, so I started picking back places. I'm good at the mud, and I love riding in slop, so once I'd figured out how to pedal my bike, it wasn't too hard to move up a little. One girl from the 3/4 race (which started at the same time as the 1/2/3 race) had gotten in front of me, and that threw off my counting to figure out where in the race I was.

After enough sloppy turns, I caught up to Michelle, who looked at me and said "Its YOU again!" I think that means she wasn't too happy to see me. We moved up to what I thought was 5th and 6th but was actually 6th and 7th, and I got a gap on the last lap by taking the inside line by the tree up at the top of the course, and opening it on those fun little downhill corners. It was a fun race, thanks to the mud, but I definitely wasn't working as hard as I was yesterday - there was no choking on my own phlegm going on in the cold rain. I do have a gripe - if you're going to hold a race in the dirt, which can turn into mud if it rains, it would be really nice if you could have a hose there.

I may love racing in the muck, but I sure don't love cleaning the bike afterwards. Or the clothes. Or my car. Which has some problems beyond being muddy right now.

But I thought I did a good job with not getting into too bad a mood on Sunday, despite having someone else get in an accident in my car, failing to accomplish my training goals for the day for orienteering, getting super hypothermic and attempting to race a bike while mildly hungover, and staying cold for many hours afterwards thanks to the CSU meeting... I suppose it could have been worse.

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