On November 5, I did the Cyclocrazed cyclocross race at Western. I signed up for the Men’s B race which, given the fact that I was on a mountain bike, probably wasn’t the best idea. Ten seconds after the start, I was by myself at the back of the pack, dropped by one and all. This wasn’t going to be a Mount Baker Hill Climb experience where I led for part of the race and eventually finished third. This was going to be a long, potentially unpleasant slog at the back of the pack. Thus attitude was important: have fun.
Naively, I didn’t think there’d be that much difference between my hard-tail bike and the cyclocross bikes that about 90 percent of the people in my race were riding. (Men’s B had probably 50 riders and from the looks of them, many should’ve been Men’s A. But you’re always going to have that; a couple months ago, I probably should’ve done the competitive Hill Climb division.)
But there was much difference indeed. The bulk of riders seemed very cyclocross-experienced, very fast, and much fitter than I. Still the riding was fun. An extremely challenging and topsy-turvy, curvy-swervy course—you rode through that round stone sculpture that’s like something out of some ‘70s music video or album cover, had to hump your bike up a vertical-seeming grassy hill, and negotiate down another vertical-seeming slope that was quickly turning into mud hole.
However, given my huge dinner at the Cliff House before the Sedaris show the night previous, not to mention the aforementioned mountain bike, I found the race a little long. “This is a 24-hour race, right?” I said to RD Ryan Rickerts at one point.
“You telling me my races are long?” he answered, chuckling. He, wearing a clownish gold afro wig.
Forty-five minutes would’ve been time enough for me. I did six-and-a-half laps, I’m pretty sure—10.9 miles in and an hour and two minutes.
I wiped out twice, on consecutive laps and I’m generally not a big wiper outer. The second time was on the steep downhill and I felt like I bent my right knee farther than I’m used to. It wasn’t a good feeling, not a tweak or anything, but it did give me pause as to whether or not this is nec. a good idea. What if I get hurt and I can’t do any of this stuff? With the bike team starting now, that would be disappointing.
Not sure whether I’ll do the Padden race on Nov. 25. Just because I don’t want injure myself. Hard as it is for me to admit it, I ain’t a young pretty thing anymore. But if I do race, I’ll do Men’s C. Unless, that is, a cyclocross bike that needs a new home magically appears on my doorstep.