My relationship with cross has always been one of convenience. I wanted (needed) to race my bike, and there were only cross races on the schedule. It worked out well. I was happy, cross was happy. I never really gave cross much thought. I figured it was just a good way to delay the fattening; you know, when the bike collects dust and the holiday cheese comes by the pile.
But this year was different. I decided I would try. I switched to a more cross specific training schedule around mid-august. I actually started to think about cross a little before the mountain bike schedule petered out. I took the plunge and bought a set of tubulars. I was seriously serious about being serious.
Problems started to arise when mountain biking caught me making googly eyes at cross. no. wait.
Let's try that again. Problems started to arise when I found out my sweet new wheels would not be operational for the first weekend of Verge races. I had already made the mental switch over to tubulars, I couldn't go back to clinchers. Clinchers are for losers who aren't serious enough to get some tubies. And I was serious. seriously.
Enter Colin. (I'm not linking to his blog, just hit the back button a few times, you'll find it). Since we are no longer mountain bike teammates, but rather cross teammates, we don't try to ruin each other's races to make our own results look a little better. Colin let my borrow his tubulars, he's swell.
Vermont. Day one. Lap one. I go from about 6 rows back to about 6 wheels (not pairs, individual wheels) back in the first 45 seconds. I'm racing tubulars, they're doing the work, I'm just along for the ride. This marks the first time I ever get a glimpse of what the front of a verge race looks like. Tubulars dude, tubulars.
Next thing I know, I'm laying in a bush. What the?!? I pull myself out of the bush and hop back on the bike, I'm immediately down again, and getting trampled by the 90+ strong field of hungry Cat3 racers. I manage to make it into the long grass, to relative safety. I look at my back wheel, and the tire is wedged between the rim and my chainstay.
huh. tubulars? I race cross for three years on clinchers, and have one flat (Gloucester Day 1, 2008). I race tubulars for three minutes and roll the bitch off the rim. What am I supposed to think this week when the shop calls me up and tells me my sweet tubulars I ordered are ready to go?
(Had to make this quick, I apologize if it's a bit disjointed. Any yes, I know I need to get a camera.)