Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spooky Gross

I tried my hand at cross racing Sunday at the Spooky Cross race in DSM. I went down there with the full understanding that cross racing is fast and can be messy, but this was not fully understood until I started my race. Since I race Sport Open on mountain bikes and had no idea what I should race in USCF rankings I stood around for a long time looking for someone familiar so I could figure out what to do. Since I didn't really know any of the folks around and didn't recognize any vehicles I waited as long as I could before registering. At about 5 minutes to go before the start of the Masters 40+ I just panicked and said, "Might as well try this group," and rationalized that if I had never tried Mountain Biking back in 1992 at Volga, then I would never have enjoyed all those years of racing since then. So I put down my $20.00 and signed up for the race. Oh, no USCF licence, add $10.00? No problem. No form for that, just pay? Oh, I guess that's how it's done right? So I had no time to warm up (my fault) before the race and as I was sitting there listening to the roll call I finally recognized a few names. People who I knew to be bad asses! I leaned over to the officials table and asked DQ if I was outclassed in this race. He said that if these guys would kill me then so would the 3 and 4s, so I might as well get it over with. Thanks! All I could stand was 2 laps around and my glasses were fogged over and mudded up, my back was already shot, and I knew it was not going to happen for me on that day. So I actually quit! I quit a bike race. What a low point in my "career" that was. But not to worry for you see I had done that same thing back in June of 1992. I was going to try my first mountain bike race at "some place called Volga" and when I got there I was so nervous that I nearly didn't even want to sign up. The important thing was to try, so I signed up, put on a number plate (a cool thing to do to any bike) and started with the beginner class. There is a section there called Vertical Beach, a sandy climb, that I was trying to ride while everyone else was off the bike and pushing. Well I got to the top and all of the Fig Newtons and green Hi-C that I had on the way to the race came shooting out of my mouth, nose, and nearly out of my ears! I look back now and laugh! But didn't laugh at the time. Instead, I rolled back to the start/finish area, gave Rich Gossen my number plate, and shrunk back to my car. Thought I would never ride again, let alone race. Good thing I was wrong on that day, just as I may have been on Sunday. Cross racing will be as much of a blast as any mountain bike race I have done once I get into the right class. I will return to race another day, probably at Jinglecross. We'll see. I had more fun hanging out after the race watching the 3/4 race than I ever have had after a mtb. race, that's for sure. I stood under a pop-up tent and watched the guys, and gal, ride through the rain and slop. Recognizing only their bikes after the first two laps. Drinking a few beers before noon on a Sunday? No problem. Trying something new and quitting? No problem. Having a plan for the next time, priceless. Later!


Striker said...

Hell of a start. Got to do it some time. Count me in for the 28th in Newton.

Volga - Great Race. Not sure how it was this year, if it is all sand.

Paul Varnum said...

Greg -

Sorry I wimped out on the mud, What you experienced is what I was trying to avoid. That being said, I am sad to say that I missed the experience. Reading others accounts has been painful because I was not a part of it.

I hope to see you in Newton for the IA 'cross championship. I know that I'll be there regardless of the conditions. I've had my "wimp-out" for this cross season.

bontrag said...

Hey Greg, least you went for it. Two laps in Sundays muck would have been a nightmare.

john said...

Great attitude. The Striker didn't even show up. I didn't even think of showing up
Jingle Cross is amazing - to race and watch.