Like many people, I hadn’t been riding much at all over the holidays, so I didn’t feel on-form at all, but what better way to spend a Sunday than getting out of town and riding cross around Fort Ord? The drive down was mystical. Right as my favorite demo version of one of my favorite Thorns song came on, I drove between two lakes with eerie mist rising in dead-still columns as the sun started rising. It was hard to resist pulling over, but I was running behind already.
Somehow I ran short on time and only got in about a quarter of a lap of recon/warmup. The start went directly into a left and right corner which didn’t suit me, so not the best start. I chased around for half an hour. The course had a really fun flow, like a rollercoaster. I tried to talk myself out of touching the brakes on the downhill, but it had been a bit since I’d ridden cross, so I was botching corners and braking when I shouldn’t. The climb suited me, and that’s where I would close gaps back up.
Of course Kevin White was right in front of me again. Two thirds of the way through I closed the gap to him, but like usual he turned on his late-race afterburners and gapped away from me again, so I battled to the line with some young kid who was climbing good. 11th place. I sat on the tailgate for a while until I was sure I wasn’t going to puke.
After looking at lap times I realized I would have gotten 3rd place if I would have raced my age group. I had a really fun time racing. The inner dialog for cyclocross is pretty funny: “This log is small, I can bunnyhop this lil guy.”,” I hope that wasn’t poison oak.”,” I’m gonna pass this guy on the left when we hit the sand.”,” Quit being a wimp, let go of the brakes!”,”Haha, whoops!” etc.
I took the opportunity to explore the woods and wastelands around Fort Ord before heading back.
I also stopped at the Mountain Bike Exhibit at SFO on the way back. If you’re a bike nerd, you’ll want to check it out before it comes down in February.
Cross racing is still fun! -Travis