Ice bath, protein smoothie full of berries, salad full of color, tons of sleep. I pulled out every recovery trick I have ever used. It was like a perfect storm of recovery. I laid on my back for so long, with my legs so elevated, that my toes went numb. Woke up Sunday morning and hopped on the trainer. Seriously, every single recovery method I had access to was employed. I was still really sore.
I took a picture of myself in the ice bath. My bathroom is flooded with lousy artificial light and is a small enclosed space. These factors combine to create a super creepy photo. I'll save you the nightmares and post this picture of ThomP in the ice bath instead.
Remember a few weeks ago when I said that cyclocross races are too short for problems? OK, take that, combine it with "Danger" from above, then put it in your back pocket.
I got a good start, mainly because I was ready for the two "developmentally disabled" corners right after the start. Dudes went down, dudes went into the tape, it was pretty much a mess; a mess for which I was ready. I got through clean, and clung to fast wheel on the way out. Sweet. I'm getting dragged around the course by a pretty fast group, I'm liking the way things are unfolding. Then we get to that ride-up.
My original plan of hitting it at speed was foiled by the loose gravel corner at the bottom of it, but I did dump every gear I had and was halfway up before I knew it. That's when the serious torque came out, I was grinding my way up when I suddenly found my right foot somewhere up around my elbow. Gravity being the bitch it is, I was rolling backwards before I could get my foot back down to the ground. I was off the line, off the bike, and even worse, pissing out spots left and right.
I got off my game briefly, but thanks to that corner right after the ride-up, that you could carve as fast as you wanted, I was back in race mode pretty quickly. For real, that corner ruled. It was like you were on a superbike and you could lean it over until your knee scrapped the ground, and since it was downhill, you would be picking up speed the entire time.
I knew I had to figure out that ride-up or my race was over. I didn't figure it out on the second lap. I had a new plan, but it didn't work. I found myself rolling backwards, one-footed, while pissing out spots again. This time the mental edge didn't come back too quickly. I half assed that sweet-ass corner, and pissed out a few more spots. The though of dropping out passed through my head, but was quickly dismissed. I figured I would just run the ride-up and pass the time before Tim Johnson ended my race for me.
I'm a problem solver. Trial and error, that's my shit. Third lap I tried something new on the ride-up. I stayed seated, mashed squares, and it actually worked. Both feet stayed on the pedals. My lower back was screaming, and it felt like a volcano in the small of my back had just erupted, releasing untold quantities of lactic acid into the atmosphere, blocking out the sun. Whatever though, I only had to do it ..... wait, I have to do that 7 more times? This is a 10 lap race? That's possible? Those exist?
After I figured out the run-up, it was too late. I had given up way to many spots and was now in no mans land trying to chase down the group in front of me, which had Colin dangling towards the back of it. Redlining into the wind, alone, for a lap and half, while watching the gap stay the exact same size, had me searching for another strategy. I sat up through the start/finish, and waited for the group that was maybe 10 or 15 seconds behind me. Once we were together, I clung to the back and recovered for a lap, then started taking turns are the front with the intention of making up some ground.
Roadies don't like being hurried
Little did I know that roadies consider riding fast at the front of the group "attacking". This is what happens when you have problems early in the race, you end up in a slow group, or riding solo in no man's land. The group yelled at me numerous times to stop attacking. Coincidentally, spectators (hecklers) were constantly yelling at me to attack the group. "don't attack the groupATTACK THE GROUP!!!!" That is, word for word, exactly what I heard as I lead the group through the pit area. The group complaining, and Cary "Man Voice" Fridrich letting his option known. Fuck the group, Cary, you're my new coach.
I was lapped, along with damn near half of the field. After the race Gabe Lloyd came up to me and asked me if I knew why the group was yelling at me. Apparently my cluelessness was pretty obvious. Gabe tried to explain to me team time trial tactics and how you should ride steady through the corners, then peal off and let the group go through while you recover. Nice guy that Gabe Lloyd, unfortunately I think every concept he explained to me sailed about six feet over my head. I'm going to continue to hammer through every corner. Sorry.
Kevin 1 : Colin 1 (sigh)
43 of 51, craptacular.