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Cross Racing Week 11 | Halftime

Ah the mid-season doldrums. We…or at least I…am in the middle of them. Some dudes can just keep drilling it weekend in and out (ahem…my boy Michael). Amazing stuff. Me? No way. This is a 5 month racing season, intensely packed with racing on every single weekend from September to January. It’s incredibly different than, say, a road or MTB season where athletes have specific targeted events spaced weeks if not months apart. The cross season demands you stay sharp every single weekend and given my whacked mental state, that is decidedly problematic. It takes its toll on the body, mind and family. And right now is that exact point in the calendar where it’s either throw up my arms and cascade downhill or be smart and focus ahead, restore what the body needs and re-pack the powder. I could feel the floor start to drop out the last month while racing and so, put my tail between my legs and pedaled through…trained through as it were…so I can feel fresh later in the season, do my best to rip it and have smile with my buds.

Westminster CX

I toed the line at Westminster stoked for many reasons. The course was radically fun, there was tons of grass to drive on, the weather was insanely beautiful and our dear friends, the Ball family, were in tow for the Holidays from CA and they came to watch. Joe was my old teammate back in the day and he and I used to have a boat load of fun ripping the Surf City and CCCC series back when we had fewer gray hairs.

Joe and Keller Watsonville

Joe (front) and me taking a feed from our bud Bob.

My focus on the day was to gain some confidence back. Put in good efforts and ride clean. Sort of like a mental health race. I didn’t feel the urgent need to absolutely be top 10 or 5 or whatever. Just no crashes, good hard efforts…then get back and drink beers with Joe. Ha! Seriously though, this race was sort of like a “OK Greg, you have another 1/2 season to go to push through to Madison. Just get back in the saddle.” And so it would be more or less.

So like I said above, the course was absolutely fun. When dry. I wonder what this would be like with precip. It was predominantly grass with an absolutely massive set of stairs that were sort of divided in two. You’d take the bottom 1/2, then egress out of the stair case back onto course, then climb further higher on the grass and take on the top 1/2 of the stairs. You’d then rip a super fun decent and head onto a downhill sidewalk that was a 46x12 the whole way. Ripping.

The start was good and I settled in top 10. Holding back to not come off the rails too early. I set my own tempo and went to work maintaining flow where I could in the grassy chicanes…

_IGP3516 copy

Photo by Chuck Parson’s Photography 

Midway through the race, I duck in with my team mates The Wis and Brian and we start railing. We come flying into the only barrier section of the course and I see this guy coming in hot, above Brian on the off camber. His wheel breaks loose in the grass and naturally takes Brian out. They scramble to get back on their bikes and as Brian is running up the hill, I see his wheel come undone, fall off and literally start rolling downhill! Brian sprints to catch it (successfully) and thankfully no broken (bike or body) parts. (Amazingly captured by Terri Smith!)

Terri Westminster 3

My main main on the Injured Reserve List, Ward Barker, literally had stopwatch and notepad in hand at the race. He’d be keeping a watch on me, Robson and Cospolich to help us see our performance in some detail. Robson railed sub 7’s the whole race, I would lose seconds every lap to amount to a 2min delta by race end. Work to do! Good news is I could feel the energy coming back…the body felt good out of the corners and putting down some power. So, sort of a success for my head in that light to start getting back on it again, start getting that hunger to really want to more or less flog myself and dig deep.

Terri Westminster 2

Our main man Patrick Gallegos is now “Mr. GoPro” and yet again grabbed some cool footage from his tail gunner’s camera of some race highlights…

Westminster CX 11-26-11 from Patrick Gallegos on Vimeo.

I rolled in an anonymous 14th. Success? The result wasn’t the goal. A 100% cleanly ridden race was however and I’d done that until the bell lap when I bobbled in a sandy corner, lost spots, then had to hop off and jam a resultant stuck derailleur back in line so I could have some gears! No complaints, just not squeaky clean which was the goal.

Sunday  was a day to put some fitness back in the bank. 2+ hours on the CX bike with skinny tires, Joe and I rolling on the hard packed dirt roads with buds Frank and Josh. Efforts in za legs, Joe and I later that day took our boys to Valmont (which they’d been to every day this vacation). Joe’s son Mason is a crazy good MTB’er (that’s the way they grow ‘em in Marin) for 9 years old and inspired my boys (9 and 7) to ‘huck’. They’d likely have never have done it if they didn’t see Mason rail the jump and so now I have two determined little Richie Schley’s on my hand…

Mason showing how it’s done…


Then Seamus…


And finally Aiden too (no picture of the bridge-huck but he was nailing it beautifully).


Over and over they mastered this thing at Valmont. LOVE IT!

OK, the second 1/2 is now underway. Gotta tattoo a Hup on each forearm to remind me…

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