You may remember that I wrote this (the Heckler’s Creed) awhile back. If you have read that, you’ll have an understanding about where I was coming from. You might even get a glimpse as to where my thoughts were while Mattio and I were heading up on that lovely morning of Daylight Savings. Bikes in tow, chocolate milk recently purchased from a Holiday somewhere in the vicinity of the NSC Velodrome.
Perhaps they were not as full of hope as say, other’s thoughts may have been.
So we pulled up and I began to take photos. I ran around the course in a stupid fashion, trying to get a little warm-up before my own race. Thankfully, due to Little Guy Racing’s official stance of ‘Cat 4’s probably like Brunch too’, my own event would not take place until the very end. This allowed me plenty of time behind the shutter. And for a little heckling. Okay, a lot of heckling.
And to the Gentleman who had set up at the Dos 180’s, beer in hand, hatred in heart – you sir, are the King. Using such personal information to cater to the individual nature of the Racer; Piercing their hardened, embrocated legs to get the soft, vulnerable core of their inner most fears – Well done. I only wish you’d have been present at my own race.
Other Hat Tips would include the Waffle Van, for providing excellent, cocaine topped waffles (do not laugh while eating or USADA’s gonna be all up on your ass). Matt ‘Little Guy’ Allen, for providing what would be the best announcing of this, or any, CX day. Well done, sirs.
Got ready at the Omnium tent and while putting my Mad Alchemy on, advice was given from many sources. When you know you’re in over your head, when you have no idea what to expect, and your community comes around you and throws every tip and trick in the book at you. Fortunately, I’ve surrounded myself with good people, so there was much to glean out of it. The one that I think should have stood out the most was Smither’s tip – ‘Stopping is faster than crashing.’
He’s right about that one.
So we started, like any other race. Whistle blown and the front row took off. Thankfully, I know enough from Crits that when this happens, slot in and draft – don’t lose a ton of ground or it’s already over. I stayed behind people I felt comfortable with (Hairy Gary and his SICK Moots) and we made our way through the holeshot and into the first barriers. I lost a handful of spaces, but kept up, my dismounting having the grace of a Donald Trump tweet. My remount was only a little worse, but it got me over the barriers in one piece.
First lap finished I had that moment that you tend to in races where you feel good, the one where you take a breath and realize you need to figure out a plan. With my (extremely) limited knowledge, I was duped into thinking that every lap would go so smoothly. Hearing that I was in the top 10 helped that along, eventually convincing me I could make it to the top 5. I got low and started working away, attempting to catch Gary who had now moved three to four people in front of me.
This is when I hit the mini barriers and was told to bunny hop them. I thought I’d be alright, I can bunny hop okay, and they’re just like three inches or something stupid like that. I cleared the first and moved to the second. Unfortunately, my momentum had forsaken me entirely and when my front tire cleared, my rear did not. This bounced me into a front wheelie (which I have been informed lasted for a good few feet) and then when I decided to stop it, I hit my front brake (you know where this is going). I got up in a huff, saw all the spaces I was losing and hopped back on. My chain wouldn’t go, so I had to dig it out from my crank and push my left shifter back into place (thank you Ultegra 6600 for working smoothly after this).
And so that explains how those photos got on Facebook (maybe video too? woe to those who have good friends)
But that wasn’t the worst, amped up on adrenaline at this point, I hit the small gravel section and wiped out almost immediately after. Now a little more bloodied, bruised and sober, I got on a bit more carefully and started to work away at the spaces I had now lost.
None of the locations on the course I thought would be difficult, were. I was lucky enough that the little amount of skill I possessed seemed tailored for them, and could follow some really nice lines laid out by the Cat 1/2’s. That said, the ones I thought would not present an issue, were the ones that did, and now I have a fairly large sized bruise to show for it.
But at the end of the day – even with the embro burning into my leg while I scraped out small rocks from fresh wounds in a hot shower (really not the best) – it was all worth it. I had discovered a love for a new style of race, and participated in one of the more prestigious events Minnesota has to offer.
And next time I’ll remember that sage advice – ‘Stopping is faster than crashing’
A big thanks to Spencer and LGR for putting on such a great event. Also to Dan from Omnium for helping me get set up and taking off my bottle cages ten minutes before the start. And to Birchwood Bike Team, my brothers/sisters in arms, you are the best. If you’re looking for more photos of the event, you can find them on the Musette’s Facebook. See you next Sunday, CX Racers.