Monday, December 03, 2007

Wanted: 2 of each species

My neighbor, Noah, has been out in the rain building this big boat in the backyard, and he says he’s looking for a male and female of each species to put on this boat. Man, I live in the weirdest hood….

As for ‘Cross, It continued to rain all Saturday night (it still hasn’t stopped), and by Sunday morning it had warmed some, but not a lot, maybe 42 degrees. But it was wet. And windy.

Margi was racing the Women’s B race which was at 9:15, so I headed over a little early to watch her race. They changed some of the course, in the middle area, where it snaked up and down the Columbia Slough dike. Areas that had been slick and thick mud bogs on Saturday were deep puddles of soup. The course changed from a graceful slick track to a grinding plod. The advantage was that the mud, being more soup-like, seemed to clear right off the bike. I wandered around (from tent to tent) cheering for Margi as she suffered through the mess. She did great, kept a good attitude and smile, and finished 16th. Pretty good for a B race with a lot of women from out of town. Watch out next year ladies!

I was actually given a higher number for the race, 14, but for some reason they don’t necessarily start in that order, and as a result I was 2 places back, but still in the second row, right behind two real fast guys. Once again I didn’t do what I prefer, which is line up on the outside, and I paid slightly for it. I am not the fastest off the line, but I can usually rally after 50 yards or so. If I am in the middle, a bunch of guys with a quicker first jump get past me and then I am trapped in the pack with not a lot of room to advance. When I line-up outside I can just slip around people and move back up. This meant I was probably back in the upper teens to 20th going into the first turn. From there I went to work to grind through the slop and try to move back up. I was told halfway through the first lap that I was 15th. I continued to work up and on lap 2 or so I got up to 10th, right behind Tim Butler, sound familiar? I thought “here’s my chance to get revenge and beat him”. Too bad thoughts don’t always translate to reality. I had 2 guys behind me that were breathing down my neck and I could slowly feel Butler moving ahead. At one point I got back to within 20 or 30 feet of Tim, but I am not sure what happened as he pulled away. At the same time the guy behind me closed in. He went for a bike change and I heard his pit crew say something about a bad shifter. Shortly after, he passed me. He was a strong rider, and I could tell he was rider better than me. I thought if I could get on his wheel he could take me back up to Tim and I could get my revenge. But then that bad shifter came into play and he slowed up, I went around him, and as we came near the pit again I heard the official yell “Number 23 right here for a second” I decided to try to make a move and gave her all I had to get away from this guy, but like I said, he was riding strong and back up to me in less than half a lap. We went back and forth a bit as he continued to have bike problems and slipped out a couple times. With two to go he got around me for good. I just tried to stay with him so I could hold off number 12 who was not too far behind. On the last lap I knew if I held him off for half a lap I’d pretty much have it. For some dumb reason I thought how I had been having such a clean race so far with no crashes, and while cruising the stretch along pits I was thinking how I had been riding that section so strong. So of course right then my front tire washes out and I crash into the pit fencing and my brake lever gets caught in the fence. As I struggle to free it number 12 rides past me. I try my best to get him back but I just can’t do it, I finish 12th on the day. Still a damn good weekend, I’m psyched with my races and how I felt. Sure I could have done better, but I’d say that unless I won the race. In the end I’d say a success. AT the finish I asked 23 why the official stopped him. Apparently he went through the pit and his bike wasn’t ready, and the rules state that if you enter the pit you must take a bike change. So the official, a real jerk, made 23 stop for a few seconds to make up for it, even though riding the pit without a bike change has no advantage.

After spending the next couple hours freezing in the rain, drinking beer and watching Georgia Gould win the women’s race, and Ryan Trebon ride away with the men’s race, I went home attempted to clean up and headed out to the end of year Cross Crusade Awards party. It was a prom theme, so Margi was wearing a sexy black prom dress and she’d bought me a stylin blue suit for the occasion. And if you ask me, I’d say we were the best looking couple there, but you didn’t, so I won’t.

Margi was the winner of the beginners Women field, and for a prize they gave her a new bike frame! That’s right she won a Lemond Poprad frame and fork! The funny part is that when she was shopping for a new bike she was torn between the Lemond and Kona. She settled on the Kona, and now she has both! Either way I am very proud of her for taking up cross and doing so well. Now if only we can get her remounts up to speed ;)

I got a bag of swag for taking 9th overall in the Master35+ A field. But even if it was just a pat on the back or a swift kick in the ass, I’m just happy to know I competed with those guys all year.