First real cross race of the season today and man, was it fun. Maggie and Cassidy came along and we had a perfect day on the side of a hill somewhat resembling the Augusta winery course of the bubba series last November. Much of the BoCoMo peloton was in attendance and it got me really psyched to get back to riding more frequently and doing some solid training over the next 2 months with some fun-loving strong-as-hell bike riders.
I did the cat 2/3 race and lined up with Jeff Yielding, Cale Mc, and about 13 or 14 other riders I knew nothing about. Starting about a minute ahead of us, was the 1/2 (open) race and looked like a good but small throw down, featuring butthead, Schottler, Shadd Smith, Steve Tilford, Ethan Froese, and others (see...KC racing rocks!).
Like I said, the course was very, very similar to the Augusta winery last except it was slightly more technical and the climb was full of switchbacks, instead of just a wall.
I still don't know what to expect from myself, as June was the last month in which I was able to consistently ride and train. But the last few weeks have been good on the bike in terms of consistency and I've been reminded that much of my own attraction to cyclocross is because there's a huge need to ride technically and endure an onslaught of pain and suffering. Yeah there's a need for high lactic threshold and training, but a huge piece of it is mental. That being said, I knew it was going to hurt and I was excited.
I rode about 6th or 7th wheel coming off the start and beginning a series of mostly flat or down hill, off camber turns descending towards the bottom of the hill. During most of the turns, I passed people and made my way to to 4th wheel. On the backside of the course, there was a short, very steep 10ft-ish 'run-up' that most people were riding but also botching the very top. After that 'wall' there was about a 90sec hill climb with a bunch of switchbacks, that lead to the start/finish straightaway. By the top of that climb, I was in second with about a 20-30 sec gap between me and a rider from Tradewinds. I gained a little on him during the descent and turns but at the bottom of the hill, there was a long, flat straightaway and my buddy Mr Ethan Froese kindly let me hang on to his wheel as he drilled it across the flats. Next thing I knew, I was on the 1st place wheel and the game was on.
It was a ton of fun and with 2 to go, I got a little gap after riding up the 'run-up'. I started to plan an attach when about 1/4 of the way up the big climb my left foot popped off the pedal and at first I thought my cleat had broken. After stopping and taking a look I realized the spring on my pedal (crankbros eggbeater) had snapped. I tried to pedal, but my foot just kept slipping out of the pedal.
I ended up borrowing a bike from Green beans and finishing the race in last place. Oh well...the only thing irritating about the situation is the long and convoluted relationship between me and pedals over the past 10 months. Ever since age 15, I've used Shimano SPD...never broke a pair and never had a problem. After last CX season, I wanted to try something that offered better mud clearance, as they tend to clog on very muddy courses. So, I went to eggbeaters. After a few months, they seemed to be causing or at least bare association with some knee pain, so I switched back to my SPDs. Then, after my knee surgery I couldn't ride at all in the SPDs and really needed the non-resisted float of the CBs...so I switched back. Since then, my original set wore out and need to be re-built and a pair that only has 100 or so miles on them snapped, under the torque of a 140lb guy. I'm not impressed. I'd love to try the Time pedals, but really, really can't afford any new bike toys (our rent went up so we're really stressing what to do and our finances). So, probably back to the trusty shimanos!