Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Cyclocross is the opposite of sex--if you're doing it right it hurts, and it's only fun before and after. In my time racing cyclocross I've learned some tips for dealing with that nasty in-between part, which I present to you herewith. I won't say they'll make you a better racer--the way I race puts the "can't" back in "cantis"--but I guarantee they'll make you a better loser: Know When And Where The Race Is Eddy Merckx famously said, "The Tour de France is won in bed." Cyclocross races, however, are not won in bed, since misreading the schedule, sleeping in, and arriving after your race has begun tends to winnow your chances down considerably. Furthermore, as I've cited before, Woody Allen once said, "90% of success is just showing up." Of course, that still leaves a 10% window for failure, since I've showed up at cyclocross races and not succeeded innumerable times. I will say though that 100% of failure is not showing up, because it's tough to be competitive when your race is starting and you're 30 miles from the venue because you Mapquested the wrong address. Don't Pre-Ride the Course Yes, you read that right. While this bit of advice flies counter to every bit of cyclocross wisdom you're likely ever to hear, I've always believed that courting common wisdom is the path to complacency. I find that going in cold and flying blind can take the edge off the searing pain of those first few laps, since you're too busy being surprised to focus on how awful you feel. And dreading that terrible run-up for a half a lap can be demoralizing, while the shock of suddenly discovering it can give you that extra shot of adrenaline to get you over it. Complete unfamiliarity with the course can turn a killing field into a haunted hayride teeming with fun-filled surprises, thrills and spills at every turn. Do Not Have a Pit Bike This is another counterintuitive tactic. If you're like me, a crash or a mechanical problem comes as sweet relief. It's like a fire drill in school during a test. Suddenly, the pressure's off and there's no more pressure to perform. On the other hand, having another bicycle in the pit so that you can make a quick bike change and continue to race only expands the vast horizon of opportunity for you to lose. It's like getting one of those flu shots they give out at the office—how are you going to call in sick for a week when everybody knows you're immune? Never squander your inventory of excuses. Get a Bad Starting Position There are few things as embarrassing as getting a great starting position only to drop through the pack and completely fall apart on the first lap. Not only do your fellow racers notice, but so do the spectators. It's like you're an Alka-Seltzer and the race is a big glass of water, and everybody gets to watch your effervescent, frothy demise. But if you start the race in the back, you have nowhere to go but up. If you finish DFL, you can blame your start position. If you finish strong, you can point out how many places you had to make up and how high you would have placed if you'd started up front. Everybody hates a sandbagger, but everybody loves an underdog. Constantly Re-evaluate Your Goals As in everyday life, it's important to rationalize and to temper your expectations. Certainly you should start the race expecting to finish well. However, if you cling to that expectation you'll only be disappointed. So take the time each lap to analyze your position and re-structure your goals. If you find yourself slipping back, try to keep the guy behind you from passing you. If he does, try to hold his wheel. If you can't, repeat with the next guy. When there's nobody left, just wait, because eventually you'll get to experience the thrill of battling the race leader as you try to keep from being lapped. And if all else fails, comfort yourself with your superiority over the other riders in areas outside of racing. Sure, the guy who passed you just then was stronger than you, but there's no way he's better at cooking eggs than you. You're the Egg Master. "Chunk" the Race You may have heard of the memorization technique called "chunking," wherein you break large chunks of information up into smaller parts to make them easier to remember. Well, you should do that in cyclocross races as well. While a 'cross race seems short and appears to unfold faster than a Dahon on a Friday afternoon, it can feel like an eternity if you're actually in one. So like an alcoholic or someone getting paid by the hour to retile a bathroom, focus on completing one tiny section at a time. Like life, if you think about how much more you have left you can find yourself overwhelmed. Another "chunking" trick you can take from life is picking some small section of the course and convincing yourself you enjoy it. That way, you have something to look forward to each lap. It's like hating your job but looking forward to lunch. Ignore Your Surroundings As the race leaves you behind like a club-footed tuba player in a marching band, try not to pay attention to the announcer or the crowd. The announcer's spirited narration of the battle at the front will only serve to remind you how far back you are, especially when he starts describing the action on sections of the course you've just completed. Similarly, the crowd can be inadvertently discouraging as well. At first they'll cheer excitedly. But as you slip back the cheers become gradually less animated and more conciliatory, until they eventually devolve into the type of "you can do it!" sentiments generally reserved for "special" people, and then finally disappear altogether. Then, it's all about not getting passed by the riders warming up for the next race. Have Fun! That's right, this is supposed to be fun. So try to remember that as you struggle to keep your perfectly-cooked eggs down.
Monday, October 29, 2007
We spent Saturday Geocaching Our newest toy is a Garmin hand held I got off E-BAY, its pretty cool, there's actually two hidden in Dehn's (not by us) and a couple more around town. However, hiking through the hills did not do any GOOD things for my wounded calf muscle, neither did sundays Mountain Bike ride to Geode and back with one lap of the trails thrown in for a little more pain. Its been a long time since i've ridden 40+ miles and it felt like it. I think I'm going to add some running into my weekly schedule cause I'm starting to get that "old mans" trot going on. I spent the rest of Sunday watching FOOTBALL with my leg wrapped in ice and elevated...Oh, and we did mean things to pumkins as well HA HAHAAAH AHH AHAH HA Fall colors? Whistle the theme from "Halloween" while you carve Flash on! OOOOO spooky!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I can ride, but I can't run. Just tried a little "jog" and there is NO WAY I can jump barriers this weekend. That means I'll be missing out on the State Championship CX races this weekend. $#@^&***%@$# *#&^#%@*^%$#@!!!!!!! Hopefully if I don't try to do too much I can make Vande-Cross in November...$%%%^$@&*(&$+###@@$ &
Monday, October 22, 2007
Over the Barriers. The new B.O.D. woo hoo! Me riding my bike. Tracy Thompson likes racing his bike! Nick on HIS bike. Self portrait, ala Kerkove. Sunday morning I had 6 eggs...all over the side of my truck. fuckers. Sunday morning I realized I've gained ten pounds since september. Thar she blows. Sunday afternnoon I strained my right calf on the run up...now I can't walk. damn. Sunday afternoon I tried to "one Leg it" a Lap. Another 2007 DNF, thanks. Sunday afternoon Nick says my CX bike feels riding a STINGRAY. ha ha. Sunday night the Bronco's BEAT the Steelers...lucky. Monday morning my leg feels a little better. maybe I can still ride this week...
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I missed the I74 festival cause I was singing with a "band", too many schmirnoffs and FAT TIRE ALE, I forgot the words to "Little Things" by BUSH...Um yeah... I did the CX 3/4 race. It was very muddy. My shoes are still wet. I like racing my cross bike. My barrier skilz suck. If I had taken my camera out in the rain I would post pictures. I may steal some if I have to. Cheers!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
This ain't the "New Yankee Workshop", but it is THREE new replacement bridges for Dehn's. Next up is a new surface for the "Bridge of Death", which when I walked it sunday has very little structural integrity left in the rotten plywood top, it'll have a 30" wide TREATED 2x10 SWEET riding surface...be VERY careful on the B.O.D. until then cause if the plywood snaps...(oh SNAP) it'll be UGLY. For my wood supplier; a BIG THANK YOU!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
Doing some maintenance this weekend, I didn't race in Peoria but thats another story I'll get to later, so, by not racing I decided to do some repair to the creek loop at Dehn's...You can get across but watch out for the three foot drop at the end!!! I have a WOOD source now so I'll finish it this week sometime. STAY TUNED! Before After, there IS a trail here Water logged and FUBAR God only knows how it got up the hill... Almost ready for bike traffic