Last weekend, I skipped both races (HPT Grand Prix and Veterans Cross) thanks to a terrible head cold. This was one of those pleasant, face-pounding colds that absolutely saps any will or desire to ride a bike. By mid day on Sunday the cold had subsided a bit so I decided to drag out the Oetzi for a litte rumble in the jungle. It took a while to blow everything out, but eventually the cold subsided a bit and I was able to enjoy the ride.
Flash forward to this weekend. The cold lingers but I simply couldn’t let another week go by without racing. I got in two half-hearted workouts during the week and was reminded during both of them that I wasn’t right. Suiting up on Saturday for I an easy openers workout was a struggle. In addition to the cold, the weather was beating me down pretty good. “Do I really want to ride in 30+ MPH winds???” Nope. So I checked Facebook and saw that Pych, Tye and several others were meeting at Landahl. There it is! I quickly dressed, loaded the bike, and made it to the Argo trail head just in time to join them.
Since I was racing the next day, I didn’t need a hard ride. Thankfully, despite being with a group of really fast riders, the pace was perfect. And, just like last weekend, it took only 5 minutes of riding to blow out the cold. I felt great motoring along. After 40 minutes of riding though, a stick flipped up into my chain and snapped my rear derailleur hanger. That resulted in a 15-minute hike to the car. That’s important to today’s race because 1) equipment failure and 2) the walk caused nasty, painful blisters on both heels. Oh yeah, and mountain biking before a cross race probably wasn’t a good idea.
My quads were on fire during warm ups today. There’s nothing as concerning in bike racing as fighting leg pain before the race even starts. Needless to say, my head wasn’t in the right place either. I hit it hard two more times trying to flush the pain and then rolled to the line with very little expectations.
Just like the first Radcross, I got the hole shot and led most of the first lap. Two guys came around me going up the little hill on the back side (did I mention my legs were on fire?), but I was able to take back first when one of them washed in the corner before the barriers. We blasted up the hill and back on to the grass, then just as I started in to the first 90-degree turn, I squeezed the front brake and SNAP, the cable broke. I bobbled when the bike didn’t do what I wanted, which let the other two pass me. Then, on the next hard corner, I realized just how important the front brake really is. I had no corning control. It wasn’t long before guys started zipping by me. I had pretty good power but I couldn’t carry any speed into the corners.
Surprisingly, and perhaps unfortunately, my legs finally came under me during the third lap. But, the extra power was pretty much wasted since I couldn’t corner very well. When the race finished, I had slid from the top 3 to 9th place.
On the positive side, after racing for 8 laps with only the back brake, I became pretty proficient at maneuvering the bike through corners. I wasn’t fast by any stretch, but I gained a little more confidence and ability. I was also able to ride the sand on 8 of 10 laps.
Up next, back to Raytown BMX for Boss Cross 4 and the state races. Hup! Hup!