October 15, 2009

Cross Crusade #2 - Cyclocross at Rainier High School

Forehead on the handle bars, gasping for breath.
How did it go?

It hurt a lot.  Not sure how many times I climbed up that hill, but every time it hurt just a little bit more. 

I don't remember many details from Sunday's Cross Crusade Race at Rainier High School, but I can vividly recall the start.  It was not flattering.  It was kind of like getting a really nice new pair of jeans (i.e. a 2nd row call up) and proceeding to pour hot coffee down the front of them on their debut (watching riders from the 4th row pass you as you struggle to get up to speed).  That being said, I was able to regain my position in the first half lap – but it would be nice to figure out how to get off the line.  CX Practice, Hillside Park, Starts!!

And then the race gets a bit fuzzy:

Sprint up the gravel section. 

Climb out of the saddle with burning legs as I crested the first asphalt rise with the sound of John Rollert voice echoing in my ears.  As much as I wanted to shout something to the extent of, What does it look like am doing, having a tea party??? in return, the heckling crowd only makes the legs turn faster and pull up harder.

Head down, eyes closed as I force my self to shift and turn my legs over faster on the flat midsection of my new favorite CX course.

Then the right-handed turn, another little rise; stay in the big ring Bishop. 

Left turn onto the grass and into the woods.  Don't let up, this is not the time to rest.

The screaming fast down hill doesn't allow any time for rest enough.  It is steep, but not steep enough to forego pedaling, but I do manage to get my breath under control.  I don't touch the brakes until I have to; a sweeping left-hand turn that requires negotiation of gravel, chain link and a couple of pesky orange cones.  Each lap I go in with a little more speed; this cornering thing is pretty fun. 

The rest of the course seems like the journey back to the hill of pain.  A set of barriers, a wooded little single track trail that proved to be great for passing and making up for my pitiful start, an off camber "S" curve, an energy-zapping run up, pass the pit and again, the climb.

I rode with Rhonda for the first half, maybe two-thirds of the race, then she took off and finished 3rd.  Erin and I continued to battle it out.  I passed her on the climb, she passed me on the descent.  In the end, she crossed the line in 7th, I followed in 8th


After the race I found Erin. 
Nice race, I said.
I wasn't sure how she would respond.  We have been racing back and forth for the last 3 races; she smiled back.  We both understood the pain.

You too…..She replied. You have got to keep coming, you are making me faster. Really, keeping coming.

I assured her I would; she is making me faster too.

Check out Matt's Race Report here!

Some shots of the day and my most excellent Sunnyside teamies.  Notice the new kits; right on time for Cross Crusade and Cyclocross Nationals: