Friday, August 29, 2008

Ohh, I forgot about that part!!

I rode my Cyclocross bike on and off today. Alternating from easy riding to hard sprints across gravel parking lots and grassy and hard packed paths by work and also around the Shaker lakes not far from my house. I had fun hopping curbs and bunnyhopping over uneven concrete sections and riding through some pretty rocky or rutted areas. Hey, I bunny hopped pretty high that time. Unclip, dismount and run?? OH dear-I'm afraid of falling (and hurting my left knee again) on my ass splayed all over the ground with my bike on top and laughing truck drivers and truck repair mechanics...oh no better wait to practice those on grass and in private!!

Thinking about last cross season you remember, at least in a glorified way about the suffering, the pain, the mud and ice and slush and the good and bad finishes. The filthy bike and rusty chains too.

You especially recall snapshots or mental short films like the funny moments when 4 guys are trying to get your one shoe off or the epic battles like Zak Dieringer and I at Orrville. Or that ridiculous hill at Spin's Cross your Heart. Everyone remembers that hill. And talking about that hill and how some guys got to the top that morning and like your first time downhill skiing you werent sure how you were going get the courage to get back down the hill after getting to the top.

You remember the Shawn Adams and Ernestos and Paul Martins disappearing from view in the first lap only to be seen again when your getting lapped, or charging the whole race to not get lapped. Thats it the effort, thats what cross is all about. The one hour or 45 minutes of excruciating suffering. The lactic acid buildup that you often feel when a road race or criterium starts to get good and fast, only this is non stop. If your in first or last its there. King for the day or pack fodder, your in pain till the end. But now you feel it in your back, your thighs, knees, wrists and your arms. Everything from your eyesockets full of mud and sand to your frozen and bruised toes cries for the sound of that glorious bell lap because your so tired.

Bells? Oh glorious cowbells and horns and screaming family members or racers who are about to race or have finished lining the course and sticking it out in the cold and rain or snow to yell and show there love for the sport and anyone brave enough to partake. Your cheered on and it gives you energy for one more lap.

But, but , but the one thing you forget till your first ride on those knobby 32c tires on skinny 700c rims and rigid forks and super stiff made for speed frames is the unbelievable punishment transmitted through the pedals and handlebars. And as you race across those fields full of gusto and all of your acquired road fitness from a summer of battling on black smooth strips of tarmac is the seemingly uncontrollable and erratic movement of the bike under you, the wheels bounding and stepping out a couple inches each way and the steering going light, then heavy as you sprint across the grass with all of the hidden little or big holes and hard lumps and hidden roots. YOu imagine yourself pitched high over the bars like a flying squirrel till splat, face plant, spread eagle and hands over your head.

Oh my goodness, I think to myself, I enjoyed this? This mayhem and crazed bike riding? The huge effort that leads to such a slow terminal velocity? Like running away form the boogie man in one of your nightmares? Why didnt my brain warn me? Its only been 8 months, has it forgotten or...???

But thats it, you want more of it and you cannot wait to do it again. Maybe your primitive brain likes it too and knows to get you back you have to forget a few things till your sucked back in for good or at least till January. And the after that, whats there to look forward to base miles?? OH yeah, base miles at slow pace, fingers and toes freezing, sit bones numb and sore and 6 layers and frozen water bottles...See I already forgot about that. Good job brain.

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