Dress for Success

Nothing says success like a shirt and tie. Put it on a bike and it’s time for a Halloween race. My Cross Crusade Halloween ‘kit’ straddled that fine line between aggressive aerodynamics and unquestionable professionalism. When it comes down to it, you can’t argue with results, which is really what mattered on this day. One of my goals for the season – a top half Clydesdale finish – was on the line. My last chance.

Tell me – what is it going to take to get you into this vehicle? (photo via @itsdanno)

Cross Crusade’s second day at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds outside Astoria on the Oregon Coast is customarily the costume race (yeah, I know this was over a month ago, I’m slow at writing blogs too). I had hoped to get my good race in on Saturday, and not have to worry too much about being hungover and flailing around in a costume. That didn’t exactly go to plan. In addition to a sluggish first race, during course scouting I came to realize my crash from the previous day had done more than cosmetic damage to my shift lever. The whole assembly shifted itself off kilter if too much pressure was applied to it (like when you’re desperate for an easier gear). After checking with the Shimano guy and the pit mechanic, I was out of luck for a fix. The tiny screw I needed was in neither of their tool boxes. Luckily braking wasn’t affected, just shifting. We’re going to race with it and hope for the best. It was pretty finicky, but I figured out it shifted back into position much better in a harder gear. Awesome.

Why are there so many pictures of me running in cyclocross races? I hate running  (photo via @itsdanno)

The race was basically the opposite direction as the previous day. The big differences seemed to be in the slightly trickier downhill sections (hence running/sliding out/crashing) and a long stretch on the road just prior to the finish. My legs actually felt stronger for this race, to the point I even passed people on the uphill – on my bike. It was weird. I can only assume that my extensive hangover training regimen paid its dividends. My broken lever held together pretty well until around a lap left. I did my best to cram it back into place while grinding up a slight incline, but funny things happen when your heart is pounding at 180 bpm. On the last road stretch into the finish I had saved enough to really jam on it. Which was fine until trying to down-shift for the steep section leading from the pavement back toward the finish. Nope. Not going to happen. Instead, it’s time to grind and mash it out. Mash hard. I was happy that I didn’t have to get off the bike, and better yet no one passed me while I’m struggling in a horrible gearing. Just a few corners, and I’m done. I even stay upright across the grass-pavement transition at the finish. It’s the little victories that are important.

Jam and Nutella: Euro Pro

When I checked the results shortly after the race, an 18th of 34 placing was so frickin close to top half. Disappointed but not devastated, regardless of the placing, I was proud of my effort. I earned my waffle. It wasn’t until a couple days later I saw updated results that placed me 17th of 34. Rad. I love cyclocross.

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