The year end bash that is called Cyclocross Nationals is happening this week in Austin, Texas. I had been to Austin a few years ago and really enjoyed myself. It was sunny and 80 degrees one day and then snowing the next, so I knew I had to be prepared for anything. The whole saga did not start out without drama. Scott Chapin of Team Rock Lobster had offered to take down bikes for a bunch of us NorCal folks. What a dream offer! All we had to do was bring our bikes to the race in Monterey the week before. Well…best laid plans….Scott’s van broke down and he couldn’t make it. So the plan was to pile all the bikes into 3 pickups and bring them to him, while he fixed the van. Being a little of a “control freak” or maybe I just like to be in control of my own actions, I couldn’t let go of my two bikes. I decided to send the single speed with them and fly with the geared bike.
After packing and loading up the bike bag (for anyone who does not do this on a regular basis, it is a pain) I headed off to the airport. While waiting for take-off I received a text from a local father who was driving down to Texas. I guess he could have taken my bikes, but we never connected. Oooof…. well maybe on the way home, was our parting thought. When I got to Austin, it was cold….really cold, but again, not Iowa cold. I went out for an early morning pre-ride before my noon race. What a great course! There was grass, some long straights, lots of off camber power turns and two limestone staircase run-ups. Crazy good. Plus, I was able to run my file tread Chicanes. Bonus!
Thousands of pins needed to get the double back and two arm numbers.
Sage and I lined up for the non-championship race. I had never done this race before, but now that they moved my age group race to Friday this was a nice option to stretch the legs and check out the course at speed. The first lap shook out and I was in a “peloton” of riders – 10 of us. Chris McGovern took off and I should have followed, but I didn’t. We chased for some time and I got so cross-eyed that I planted myself into one of those big wooden poles that they drive into the ground. The pole won, rolled my tire and bent my bars. After 10 dudes rolled past me I was back on the bike, but lost a lot of ground. The rest of the race was a war on attrition and I ended up 24th after all that. Sage blew his rear deraleur to pieces, ended up on a neutral bike and got pulled. Worse day for him. I was so sore that I just skipped the single speed race. I think I had the gearing wrong too. I would have been a grind.
I spent the day off as a food tourist and we (Sage, his wife, his baby and I) hit up the “best bbq in America”- Franklin BBQ. It was even featured in a Chase credit card ad. So we froze out butts off in a line that was 2.5 hours long before we ate. I am not sure that the line was worth it, but the food was excellent. Stuffed is an understatement.
That’s two pounds of brisket with ribs, plus some fixings – I didn’t eat all that!
Race day dawned and we had a little rain the night before. It was really cold and there were some loose sections on the course. I switched out to the Clement PDX and it performed like a dream. Unfortunately before I entered that dream I was in a nightmare. I now call rows 4-7 in Nats the death zone. Every year there seems to be a crash at the start. This year didn’t disappoint as I got rolled into the mess. Bikes and bodies everywhere. There is video all over my Facebook page. I couldn’t find my bike at first and then located it 5 feet away. Ugh….race over. Nope by some dumb luck my bike and I landed on so many people that the chain was just off. Nothing else was wrong. I jumped on and was literally dead last, aside form the guys lying on the ground and heading to the hospital. I chased and chased and probably had my best race ever. I caught and passed around 80 or so people, didn’t get pulled and had a full race. Silver lining…..
The carnage – There I am getting my chain back on
And finally some racing. 36 degrees and still going Belgie – no leg warmers.
I also managed to get my bikes a ride home with a local from Santa Rosa, John Haley. I did have to leave them next to his truck because I couldn’t find him and I had to get to the airport. That was a little scary. But he got them and now it is time to lick the wounds and prepare for next year…oh wait…there is another race next weekend in Sac…and it is supposed to rain. Not packing it just yet…..
Keeping Austin Weird – my hotel sign looks like a – well you know. It’s the red one in the distance