Why are you running?

I don’t want to be running. I’m horrible at it. Ok mystery heckler in the crowd? Sorry, I don’t have time to explain the logistics to you (it’s a race). Achy knees, side cramps, lungs that are simply cooked. I repeat: I don’t want to be running. Unfortunately that low curb wasn’t interested in my running ability and it frankly didn’t want my rear tire to be inflated (inconsiderate). Impressive in a certain way, this was the first flat in my cyclocross “career”. Occurring just before the pin-wheel of barriers on the first lap at Santa Rosa’s Monkey Cross #1, it’s simultaneous poor and excellent timing. I had felt strong and was making moves. In hindsight, a little too aggressively as I pinch flatted on the curb coming in with too much speed (or not quite enough grace). But I am lucky…

May as well shoulder it, because it’s time to run (photo care of Kristine via Daniel Hobe)

I am lucky on two accounts, (a) my partner in cyclocross crime, Danno, is just hanging out since he made the brave jump to Cat B’s, and (b) he’s got a spare wheelset. Most of the Mission Cycling cheering section is near the barriers, so I communicate my problem and we’re off. As I’m running my way to the pit, Danno steps up and runs to the car for a spare rear.

We make the exchange and I’m back on the bike. First problem, I am exhausted. Did I mention running is not my best skill? Problem two, where are my rear brakes? Crap, forgot to reconnect the straddle cable. Luckily I found this before the two short drops in the course. Problem three, where’d my braking power go? These rims are narrow compared with the touring rims on my beefy wheelset aren’t they. I adjust what I can while riding. I can make this work.

if you’re not fast, try to look fast (photo care of Kristine via Daniel Hobe)

About a lap to recover, and I’m starting to get back in it. The course is short and not technical, so it’s all about pushing your fitness and dealing with the sloppy conditions. Hammer it on the pavement if you can, there’s lots of time to grab here (everyone else is thinking a rest would be nice). Things seemingly go well for a couple laps, that is until the third to last. Just after the spot where I flatted in the first lap, I accelerate through the corner and am on my ass. Slid out, chain off, mud everywhere, knee bloodied. Now we’re racing cross. All that’s left is to power through for a photo op at the finish.

just a flesh wound (photo care of @zach_bass)

All around a beautiful day for cyclocross. Rain, mud, friends. Exactly the way it should be. We are lucky to have a great host in the City of Santa Rosa (see here). Of course, congrats to the stellar Mission Cycling performances from @youenncolin (1st), @zach_bass (4th), Nate (5th) (sandbaggers). Course here and results here.

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