This past weekend's cyclocross race at Lake Sammamish State Park was everything you'd expect from a CX event in the Pacific Northwest. It had rained all weekend and the course featured lots of mud, wet grass, turns, a stretch of sand, heckling from spectators, and more. It was miserable. Worst results I've ever posted in any race. If I really cared I'd probably be pissed and hire a trainer who could help me utilize my VO2 max, but whatever. I do what I can with what I've got and rarely "train" for racing. I normally show up late, put on my fancy pants and ride to the start line at the last second. Someone yells "go" and everyone starts moving forward, some much fast than others; most faster than me.
Photo by Tassie Orem Kowal
It's funny, this 'cross racing thing. I like to think that I excel in longer efforts when time is measured in hours instead of the allotted 45 minutes that CX races give. Every year I think I'll train hard and post some sweet results and end up with only minimal progression. I usually end up in the middle of the pack, on a good day. Not so this past weekend. I fell apart before I even started and once I "Pete Rosed" it on my belly in some slimy mud after trying to avoid a tree I really fell apart. I cussed like a drunken sailor who just realized he lost his wallet for the remainder and so I sat upright, contemplating throwing in the towel. But that's not me. I don't quit unless there's serious injury involved so I kept going, with the goal of overtaking a fellow teammate who is at about the same level as I am, although he's got two kids and I don't. Deciding to put my head down and give it a go, I chased him for three laps and within the last 1/4 of the final lap, I had him within my sights. I was 30 yards behind and gaining rapidly before I hit the deck again around a subtle but slick corner. Shit.
It wasn't fun. In fact, I don't remember at any point thinking, "this is great!" No. It sucked. The entire time. And so I'll do it again.