A fish, MarkTwain and a pig walk into a bar............ cross report.
Largemouth bass are an interesting species of fish. They like to spend much of their time lounging around in warm lake shallows waiting for dinner to arrive. Hang a shimmery jig near and it will swing around and strike it immediately. It just can’t help itself. So like a large mouth bass going for the shiny lure shimmering in the murky shallows I measure my relationship to Cyclocross. Quite simply I enjoy the sport, the discipline of cyclocross. No shame there I trust. The Geist, the social scene, the riding, racing, technique, the geeky gear and equipment thing. It’s a quirky package of fun. Included and curiously one of the cruelest oddities of the racing schedule are the district / state championships. They are assigned a date so far into the season that most of us, ne, nearly all of us give it a pass if not forget that it exists. Depending on the Holy Trinity of bike racing realities; a) are you completely raced out, b) have you used up your allotted time away from family for the season or c) the reality of Holiday commitments have yanked you out your Mud and Cowbells reverie thus leaving you free and cleansed once again.
Mark Twain was quoted as saying “a sucker is born every minute”.I arrived Sunday at Toro Park with that motto tattooed across my forehead. Emblazoned for all to see. Yes I am here. Yes I don’t know why. Yes I am excited and nervous and since they posted that there would be a 60+ men’s field and God if I play my cards right I could win that danged thing. Bought it, hook, line and sinker.
The overall field of us over 55 was sizeable. 21 or so of us Presque geezers with some really heavy hitters in the mix though I had no idea who was I might be racing against for the age group title.
The course was a long-ish, fast, power-type with only one get off at the man-made barriers. Not too technical overall but they had seen fit to include as many figure eights in the grass as you’ll ever see outside of Belgium. Other than that it was dry ground with the occasional ball bearing covered hard pack, slippery turn that would cause you to feel your front wheel skip sideways a few inches thus causing your rapidly beating heart to skip a beat and that feared pucker sensation to flash by. Something to keep you honest, searching for the right line and when to apply the gas just so.
Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. I rode well. I rode well enough. Around 8th out of the 20+ overall. 6 laps @ 48+ minutes. The last two I could feel the legs draining of all energies. Chased several wheels too hard early on. One of which I was certain I should be racing against but lack of oxygen and nervous energy can fog the mind. We’re bike racers so we know all about that stuff. As it was he wasn’t in my class J . Just as Viper said to Maverick in Top Gun. I was writing checks my body can’t cash. The last lap seemed glacial in pace but I cruised in victorious. The jersey was mine! The heavens parted, the angels assembled and sang a joyful noise. Well not really but it felt good all the same. So like several other Mice I get to wear a 2013 State Champions Jersey for a year. Sometimes it pays to take a ham sandwich when you go fishing.