All I can say is, ouch. I did my first cyclocross race this past weekend. I really didn't know what I was expecting, but definitely not that kind of brutality. All in all, it was 30 minutes of my life that took me back to the joys of club soccer, where I'd routinely get that blood taste in my mouth from running so hard, and wheezing in the lungs. Seriously, my buddy Nic told me to go all out from the gun, so I could pick my line instead of being behind people. Well, I went out really hard, and ended up 2nd after the first lap. And it was all downhill from there. Not literally, though. When people laugh at tri-geeks for their bike handling, I used to wonder why. Not anymore. I now know that I've got the bike handling ability of a hippopotamus jumping rope. I went as hard as 4 bike rides since Florida would let me, and figured I'd check my watch to see how deep into the race I was. 10 minutes! Oh boy, this is gonna be interesting. But apparently God has a sense of humor, as my front derailleur cable came undone, and I only had my small chainring in the front. Which was a blessing, as the last 10 minutes of the race saw me struggling with the 39-26 up the side of the velodrome.
All in all, I had fun, got muddy, saw my highest bike heartrate in 4 years, and I got to clean off in the sink of a public bathroom before I drove back home. Sounds like a successful outing to me. And yes, I'm already plotting my '08-'09 cyclocross season, complete with a possible trip to Nationals, and how long I need to rest after IM Florida. And the 'cross track at my house is done and rideable, so I'll be working on getting faster so I can not suck as bad at my next race.
One more thing before I go. A tip, if you will. Don't wear your Ironman Finisher t-shirt in public. I was scared for my life, as two guys at my gym wanted to talk to me about the shirt, and congratulate me on the accomplishment. One saying that he wasn't sure if he could handle doing an Ironman. Why is this a problem? The guy saying it was a Cage Fighter. As in, a professional UFC ass kicker. He beats people up on the weekends. Way more impressive than wearing a pointy helmet and spandex all day. So I gave him the shirt after he promised not to choke me out. I got away lucky. So, be careful out there...
Some pics to amuse you:
The calm before the storm. And yes, the large guy in purple kicked my butt. Who didn't?
So you're supposed to go this fast the whole time? I'm in trouble...
Yes, I know, too many Christmas cookies. I'm just taking after my hero, Jan Ullrich.