Lessons learned from the weekend's Cyclo-Cross Race #1: It's a workout. A-can't-stop-breathing-think-you're-going-to-be-sick workout. On Peter's suggestion we started with a five lap race. Tough man that I am, I scoffed. Nine minutes later I was slumped over my handlebars in a pile of self pity. The entire race is essentially a monstrous interval workout with constant changes of pace, accelerations and sprints.
Lessons #2: You really can do a 'cross race on any bike as evidence by Dr. Booth below. Funnily enough, of the eight different styles of bikes present, there was only one genuine cross bike being used. Translation: no excuse to not show up to the next event.
Lessons #3: The format makes for a great spectating event. Since you can essentially run the race in an area the size of a football field people are more likely to come out and support you since they can see the entire race. Secondly, you don't have to bore your significant other when you get home with tales of your exploits - they're there getting bored in real time, but it's O'kay because the course is scenic and the races short. Finally, it becomes a social event. We were fortunate enough that Dave and Zara organized the event and then opened up their house to all with beer and fish chowder afterwards. If you know me, you know I think that occasions like this are the reason I ride.
Lessons #4: On to matters of actual racing, Peter Dunne must have been practicing his mounts and dismounts at home while the rest of us were at work because he's fast. In the individual race, he took off from the gun not to be seen from again, perfectly navigating the off-cambre corners and running up the stair case with ease. Norby grabbed second, and I snuck past Mark Godfrey for third.
Now, no disrespect to Peter, but this fact alone - the sheer thrashing he doled out - is enough to get me out to the next race to try and even the tables.
Peter with full on race face below showing how it's done.
Other things worth noting:
-Mark Godfrey won the junior category and I think he could have a future in this, he was cruising up the grass embankment like it was paved.
-Boltini came out and did the race on his road bike and road shoes but still managed a smile up the stairs. Or is that a grimace...
-While there was a point where I thought my single speed was going to get the better of me, I'd like the record to reflect that in the end the relay race was lost in the last half of the last lap because of a dropped chain on Bevis' Campy equipped Moots. It was sweet relief after grinding out my gears at 55 rpms. Schadenfreude with a Bill Murray like sense of timing.
Prizes: I've decided there aren't enough prizes in Bermuda cycling. They don't have to be much - Peter got a four pack, while Dr Booth and I got two - but it does make you race harder.