Back in Boulder on Saturday from my trip abroad. Comfortably bloated along with a good case of mental and physical exhaustion. The perfect remedy: Squeeze your carcass into a skin suit and get cross eyed with 60 or so of your friends.
Sunday's course was at the Boulder Reservoir and put on by my team mate and race promoter Brian Hludzinski of Boulder Racing. Today was a special day in that my lady was doing her first cross race! More on that in a second.
First, the Res is an (in)famous course. It has spectacular vistas and lots of natural features such as rolling terrain and woods...but a massive dose of beach sand. Belgie style. We literally can make our own Koksijde here in Boulder. The only drawback of this cross-paradise are....
...goatheads. The nemesis of bike racers here in Colorado. They are like armor piercing thorns that cover the ground and are problematic for bare feet...but un-Stans'd bike tires as well. Warming up, I would ask everyone about their experiences and I got the sense that literally a 1/4 of the fields were getting flats. "Stay on the course" was the rule of the day. I bought inner tubes from Boulder Cycle Sport that had replaceable valve cores and pumped them full of Stans, using about a cup worth (e.g. the cup that comes with the bottle of Stans) in each tube. For what it's worth, I either did not get a goat head, or the Stans worked like a charm.
Warming up, the body was telling me lots of things. The feedback in general was neutral: "Just get cross eyed and do your best". The legs felt shallow but not bad. The body felt tired but not sick. I had that haze of jet lag going on too...you know what I mean...that sort of semi narcoleptic wave of tiredness that envelops you. But, I digress. I'm alive and I'm out racing!
The field in 35 A was stacked. Timmy, Phenicie, Carivou, Wardell, Gallegos, Oliver, Mike Hogan as well as the BCS crew me, Webber and Brian H. Special guest was our friend and known local hard man Whit Johnson. A thrilla in Manilla. ACA's Al does call ups and says we're going to roll to the 'true' start line. I am in the front row again and we casually drift up. As we are still rolling..."TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!" They blow the whistle! It's chaos. They never stopped us. We talked with the ACA folks afterward and resolved it but it was horse cocky. I ended up getting in the top 6-10 or so which is where I wanted to be anyways. Matty O jammed the first lap hard and I think paid for it as we started moving up and ejecting riders with flats or bobbled in the sand. I simply rolled. The mind never getting into that place of venom and go-go anger needed to bury yourself. I rode as clean as I could which was about a B+ but never had the legs to go deep on the extra long straights where I lost all my spots. The sandy beach section was chaos and still hadn't developed 'high ways' which the open men would have later on once all the other cats had formed the lines. I'd liked to have stayed on the bike and ridden the sand (see video below) but had to dismount and run each time. So, all said and done, I ended up an anonymous 15th and have to feel 'Zen' about it as I know where I should be and have GOT to have patience in myself to ramp up for when it is all important. The great news on the day is that my boy Webber took the W again for the 2nd week in a row.
WAY more importantly, it was my wife's first cross race! She was absolutely pumped. What we didn't tell her the week leading up is that the course she picked for her entree into cross racing was arguably one of the hardest of the year. Sorry hon! Didn't want to break your spirit! The sand, wind and goat heads make for an epic on most days the race comes through the Res. She killed it. Finishing on the lead lap of her category...the 35 Open women. She suffered silently and excellently each time having her mad husband and kids cheering her on up the long sandy beach run up. I think she's hooked!
Not a helluva lot of pics but here's some from me and others....
Boulder Res Cyclocross - October 26 2008 from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.