this will be my one and only race report for the 2006 cyclo-cross season

today, 10 am: the gun goes off. we go.

mud.

mud.

mud mud mud.

mud with water on top.

muddy grass.

more muddy grass.

a muddy rut.

with water on top.

a big puddle.

with mud underneath.

a muddy log in a stream.

more mud.

muddy tree roots.

soft grass with mud holes.

a brick walkway. (covered in mud)

more muddy grass.

a big rut with mud in it.

asphalt driveway (a.k.a. heaven for 40 yards if we didn’t have to stomp on it to get away from guy behind us.)

muddy right turn into grass.

bumpy.

double barriers.

left turn into straw field.

soft dirt.

soft dirt with straw on it.

soft dirt.

soft dirt with straw on it.

s turn. two choices: inside line — mud, outside line — straw. choose mud.

more soft dirt.

more soft dirt with straw on it.

left turn into ever-so-slight downhill.

soft dirt.

mud

soft dirt.

try to pull straw-and-leaf-caked mud off of brakes while accelerating away from the guy who’s still chasing.

muddy right turn.

cross driveway.

rutted mud.

muddy off-camber u-turn.

sodden grass.

grassy mud.

grassy mud with water on top.

mud.

deep watery mud.

mud.

muddy grass.

squishy grass.

muddy right turn.

mud with straw on it.

straw with mud under it.

straw with soft dirt under it.

soft dirt.

u-turn.

now we’re in the home-stretch.

really soft dirt giving way to sticky soft dirt giving way to fairly decently packed down straw on reasonably stable dirt.

go like heck while we can.

left turn (take it late and wide because it’s a mud-puddle on the inside, but there’s still a little bit of sodden grass on the outside.

that’s a lap.

feeling okay, so we do it again.

bike’s clogging up really bad now, so we try lap three on the monkey.

monkey’s WAY over-geared for this course, so we’re going really fast when we can go, running where we can’t and hoping desperately not to completely blow up and become a blubbering mess in the fetal position by the side of the track. catch back up to peter and cheer him on between gasps for breath. he’s riding fixed today.

lap four: lisa (bless her heart) has the indy fab pretty clean, so we ditch the monkey. but we’re pretty cooked by this time and the indy feels as heavy as the monkey. bummer. guts-check time. the guy i’ve been running away from the whole race is still right back there and i’m not letting him cross the finish line before me. bike handling is pretty screwy by now, a few dabs and giving self a stern talking-to. stand up on the driveway. wish i could just run through the whole straw-field instead of remounting. push hard on the slight downhill. hammer through the sloppy mud (or run — i can’t remember — i think i rode it. i remember wondering if the water washed any mud off my bike.) make self click up one gear. reach down and disconnect front brake because it’s dragging and we haven’t used any brakes since the first turn anyway. push hard on the other soft straw field, weave through four lapped riders hoping they get in that guy’s way when he comes through. u-turn. make self click up one more gear once we’re through the soft bits. can’t look back to see if he’s there. just go. go. go dammit — you only have a hundred yards. risk it and take the muddy inside line through the last corner. sprint (if you can call 42×26 a sprinting gear) even though we haven’t determined if anyone’s back there. too gassed to look. roll across the line completely empty. it’s done. i’m done. sweet race.

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