Do they make them? I'm feeling the need to slow everything down for a second or I may be treading dangerously close to premature heart failure. In the last few weeks I've closed the book on my road season and started on my next not-so-short story, Cyclocross Season.
The road season concluded with some racing in St. Louis at Gateway Cup. I went into these races only 5 weeks post collarbone break and knowing I needed to be careful not to have any mishaps and really derail my cyclocross season. I knew going in that this wasn't the most wise decision I could have made, but my desire for the training these crits would provide, as well as my general cabin fever was clouding my judgement too severely to see the right decision in this situation.
I went. I raced. I felt surprisingly decent. I crashed. I broke... my bike, but not my collarbone. Victory!
I was the recipient of some less than wholesome racing by one of my competitors on the last lap of one of the crits, but I did escape with mostly just a road rashed left side and a partially missing ass cheek.
The next goal became getting rid of the road rash before Cross Vegas, because nothing looks less pro than road rash. I failed to accomplish my goal. In fact, I was still sticking to the sheets in Vegas.
As a whole I had mixed feelings about my trip to Nevada. The racing aspect went fairly decent, all things considered, but that place is so damn stressful . It's just the whole culture and structure of that week that stresses me out, but I felt like I hadn't breathed for 2 days when I toe'd the line with Bartje Wellens, Lars Van Der Haar, TJ, Powers, Mr. Peters, and other assorted men.
One of the main causes of my stress immediately before the race was my tire selection. Las Vegas is in the desert, right? So, why wouldn't you bring file treads to the desert? Well, apparently, the desert is quite the moist environment where it behooves ones self to bring mud tires. I thought for sure I was going to crash and pulverize my barely mended collarbone, the only thing I really had in mind to NOT do. It turns out the Challenge Griffo XS is a fine mud tire, either that, or I've got Sven like handling skills. But if that were the case, I doubt I'd be nursing this whole collarbone thing.
Anywho, finished 23rd. Some things could have gone better, but I'm not about to complain, all things considered.
I stayed up all night Wednesday night, trying to get my flight bumped up so that I could get back home for a few minutes before I had to drive to Baltimore for Charm City. It worked, kinda. I got a 7:45 AM flight on Thursday, but after delays and "maintenance issues" (that never makes me feel all that comfortable when the pilot says that), I still ended up back home at 10:30 PM.
I needed badly to sleep in, but had too much to do to prepare for Baltimore. I got on the road around 1 PM and arrived at my friend Thom's around midnight. I had fairly grand ambitions for these races, based on the fields from previous years, but that was before they came. All the dang foreigners. The fields were much better as a result, but I also don't feel like I brought my "A" game either. I just didn't have the legs or anything really. Too many mistakes sent me home with much less than I came for. I ended up with a 6th and 9th place on the weekend, but as I said, not what I was looking for.
The drive home went fairly quickly and I was back in my bed by 2 AM. This week has been spent catching up on things that I've neglected, and paying the never-ending stream of bills from my hospital visit. I'll be back on the road this Friday for the USGP in Madison, WI. I've had some pretty good luck at these races the past 2 years, so I'm hoping for some more good rides.
Watch more video of Charm City Cyclocross 2011 on cyclingdirt.org