Sep 20, 2009

i have seen the cyclocross light

sweet little tiny infant baby jesus i have seen the light. i get it now. i totally get it. i don’t have to be afraid anymore. truly a day for rejoicing.

i raced the first ‘cross race of the season today in the pouring rain and the mud and the off camber shit and mud and the rain and the mud. and last year i would have cried or dropped the f-bomb all day, but this year i totally loved it and had a blast. today, the ‘cross manifesto worked.and this is huge people. huge.

i got to the course late and barely eeked out a pre-ride on the (dry at the time) course. then instead of warming up any more (it was already puring by that point anyway) i watched the men’s 4 race where 3 out of 5 dudes did all variations on a theme of skidding out, 180’s, 360’s, and sliding under the yellow caution tape wall of doom; you name it - many did not make it down a very slippery downhill.

and then i lined up. with judi, who was doing her first ‘cross race ever (and by the way, rocked it) and she was asking me what in the hell i had gotten her into. and i didn’t really know cause i didn’t even always know why i did it, but i just hoped to hell she liked it; cause i was gonna feel really bad if she felt like i sometimes did at races, especially rainy muddy ones - all scared and sometimes wanting to cry before, during or when it was over.

they had call ups according to order of registration and out of 26 girls, i was number 24.

and then it was all just bunch of turns and crazy hard off camber ups and slippery downs and mud and rain and more mud and rain. and i moved up a couple of spots from my call up position, but not many.

i didn’t crash into or under the yellow caution tape wall of doom, but i did get stung by a bee and was convinced for half a lap that he was just stuck in my happy face sock stinging me over and over.

the course felt like the wide open prairie after riding singletrack for weeks on end. those trails taught me a thing or two about a thing or two.

i didn’t rock it or kick any ass out there today nor do i really care cause for me, today’s race was epic. in more ways than one.

bit of a ‘cross baptism i suppose what with all that water all over the place and stuff.


Sep 3, 2009

a cross manifesto of sorts

i’ve been dithering around since road season ended. i just didn’t want it to end. i’d be happy riding in a circle forever if i never had to get off my bike or worse - figure out how to get back on it. and don’t even mention sand pits.

anyhow. a while back i got tired of my schedule. and then i actually got tired of my road bike and there was a window of opportunity where i actually couldn’t wait to get on my ‘cross bike. which was good timing since ‘cross season is around the corner.

i figured it was time to maybe, i don’t know. practice.

so i jumped on it. the opportunity and the bike. and the two of us took to the trails. at first it was scary as shit. but now, its just fun as shit. i figured if me & the ‘cross bike can ride some kentucky singletrack, then a three meter wide ‘cross course isn’t gonna be as scary to us as it was last season.

i’ll let you know if this theory holds water. or mud. or sand.

sure, i’ve still got to figure out the whole remount thing and those pesky sandpits. evidently, my husband gave the whole damn town a kick ass and highly enlightening sand pit clinic which i missed. he assures me a private lesson.

i’m not gonna get sucked into the whole “i’m just here for the points” thing, or the promise of a wheel raffle entry if i do every damn race of the season. i’ve picked my races and i’m sticking to them.

and so mostly what i am saying here is that my goals for this ‘cross season are merely to suck less than last year and to have more fun - at both the sucking less and the ‘cross. it’s my hope that simply deciding to have more fun will automagically translate into sucking less.

so that’s it. i’m not really ‘training for ‘cross’. in fact, according to coach if i want a good road season i’m supposed to just be dithering around right now and having fun - which works out well, cause i want a good road season and dithering around is all i’ve been doing.

so there you have it. and you heard it here. i thought if i announced my intentions for the upcoming ‘cross season right here, out in the open for all to see – that' y’all could just remind me when i come off a course dropping the f bomb in front of small children and lovely women who have baked muffins for me and my airstream; about the mud or the course or the this or that -that i’m just here to have fun and roll some sweet knee socks.

remind me. please.

Sep 1, 2009

if you build it

you know the rest. but still. i was worried that even if we built it, gave it a go, did something new and tried it out; that they wouldn’t come.

one fairly recent summer night, a friend of mine, well schooled in the ways of event planning and race putting on and all that it entails; suggested putting on a women’s weekend race clinic.

i think, yeah! sweet. awesome idea. lets do it.

she talks about flying in a pro, and says words like clinic, registration, rides, races, usac, insurance, park fees, officials and a bunch of other stuff that made my eyes glaze over and excited me at the same time.

gulp. really? you mean we’re really gonna do this?

we checked the regional race calendar and contacted the pro to coordinate schedules and within days a date was picked and it was done.

yep. we’re doing it.

thus began my immersion into the world of bicycle racy event planning. it was a whirlwind of securing parks and venues, figuring out how to set up registration, contacting some awesome sponsors, grass-roots marketing, nail-biting, sleep losing and please-dear-god-i-hope-people sign-up-for-this-cause-it-could-really-be-awesome thoughts running through my head on a daily basis.

people signed up and it was indeed awesome.

nicola cranmer came to the ‘ville in support of women’s cycling, bike racing and grassroots efforts and to teach us a thing or two about racing our bikes and encouraging other women to race theirs. there was a full day of clinic discussions, breakfast, lunch, skills work, a long ride, a gelato stop and race course review. and the next day, there was a how to warm up like the pros clinic and on-the-spot racing instruction, primes, prizes and podium etiquette and there may have even been a little talent scouting.

the bikeclicks racer chicks were a diverse group of women in age and cycling experience, but all wanted to learn more about training, racing, and how to encourage more women to conquer their fears and line up at a race.

it’s a scary thing. to put on an event like this. to fly someone in, to hope people sign up to participate and support something that you believe in. it was a team effort all around; one that could not have been done without the sorts of folks who have done this sort of thing; without the incredibly cool companies that jumped at the chance to support the event, without partners to document the event & do all the dirty work of set ups & tear downs, drive pace cars, and sag wagons(yeah. that’s how we roll. we had a pace car. and let the records show that i thought webguy was having way too much fun in the pace car), but mostly it couldn’t have been done without nicola and the awesome women who came to the event.

so i’m super happy to say that the ‘shake-down’ inaugural clinic was a success. sure, we forgot pins for the race numbers and the gatorade mix was a little strong and the timing of the weekend may not have been ideal – but next year it’s going to be even better. we took notes.

nicola is coming back and she’s hoping to bring some of her hit squad along with her.