So I found out a couple things today at the races. Things I already suspected but no doubt confirmed definitively. One; if I have to get off my bike and run more than hurdling a set of barriers, I’m at a distinct disadvantage. Running just flat out hurts me. I suppose that’s something I should work on. Two; on a sloppy, creamy, churned-up, mudder of a course like today where loads of power is necessary, I just ain’t got any.
No worries though. I saw The Fat One after finishing third in his race and his best advice was it’s a fun time, just have fun. I tried. I guess beauty is in the eye of the, man that’s so cliché. Whatever. All things considered, despite the course working me over like a weak little chump, I did find myself bringing 5th-8th back towards me on the last lap.
Hebe crushed all. Nice work man. Now, just take care of The Blaze. R.I.P.?
Speaking of The Legend, a Hebeween Party is on tap this evening. Should be fun.
Haley's first Halloween Trick or Treat night was Thursday night. She had a grand time. Almost as much fun as us big kids had watching her enjoy herself. We mostly hung out on the front porch of Erin's parents house handing out goodies to the little kids. Haley was diggin' all the different costumes. We did take her for a walk to some of the neighboring houses to try her hand at candy grabbing. The first couple she wasn't grasping the concept but by house three she nailed it. That's my girl. She did a fine job snatching all kinds of chocolaty goods for her dad. We also managed to teach TLW to say Boo when she sees a ghost. Pretty funny.
On a seperate note. It's raining biblical proportions right now with a 'cross race set for high noon tomorrow. This WILL be fun. I figure there are two ways to look at it and I'm taking the "Oh yeah, this will be fun" approach. I reserve the right to change my mind when I see the course.
It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. Racing cross is a hard discipline. I don’t know anybody that would debate that. Whether you finish up front or in the middle or in the back, it’s hard. But, oh how funny it is, that, the closer you are to the front, the easier you can say it is. The suffering, the pain, doesn’t hurt quite as much. The sting doesn’t feel quite as bad.
In one race, Sunday at Wissahickon, I erased all the bad memories from last years races. There is a fine line between putting the work in vs mailing it in. Pride is a huge motivating factor for me. I race against some real fast guys. I know my place. I’m not talented enough to win races at my level. But I know if I truly put the effort in, if I truly put the work in, I can hang in amongst some pretty fast fellas. This season I’ve put in the work and I can say I’m proud of where I was at the end. Sure there were 12 others ahead of me. That’s not the point.
I guess it’s all about expectations. If I expect to race in the top 15 without putting the appropriate time and effort in, well, that’s just going to end badly. My lesson learned from last year is to refuse to put expectations on myself. There are a bunch of goal oriented, goal driven people that just wouldn’t understand that statement. Tough poo. This isn’t my retirement account, it’s bike racing. It’s not Elite Nationals, it’s the B’s or 35+. Putting expectations on myself last year took a lot of fun out of riding. Something I love wasn’t fun anymore. Even the best training rides last year still sucked. No more.
So, now, after a good result, I find myself looking ahead. I wasn’t even considering Beacon. Now, by putting the time and effort in, I’ve earned some MAC points and the right to a better starting spot. Would I be a fool to not take advantage of that? Probably. Would I rather spend November 10th hanging out with The Wifey and TLW? Definitely. Will I expect a result similar to Wissy if I do Beacon? What do you think?
Little Haley has been practicing feeding herself the past few days. It's going pretty well although every once in a while she misses the target right or left by an inch or three. Regardless, she has a grand time doing it.
Granogue was going to be on my plate this weekend but I decided to race Wissy instead so that I could hang out with the Fam Saturday. The Wifey graduated from Messiah College and this weekend is the Homecoming so she wants to go do stuff and check out new buildings and watch Auntie Em play football and whatever else goes on. So, it just seems like a better day to chill. All things equal, I'd rather do Granogue but Wissy probably suits me better anyway.
Halloween is coming up fast. Do you have your costume yet? What are you going to be? I need answers dammit!
As much as I hated the ‘cross race I did last Sunday in Philly, how could I have known such a cool positive would come out of it. I mean really, a crap course, hot stinky weather, multiple blisters, need I say more? I raced the Masters 35+ race. I finished 8th. Whatever.
So, I head out to do IC Lite Saturday. Unbeknownst to me, the officials do call-ups. Of the top ten from last weeks race only two were in attendance. The Legend gets a call-up. And little ‘ol me gets to line up right next to him. Then Kris Auer lines up right next to me. Damn, two of the fastest Elite masters on either side of me. I know both of those gents would say good luck and do well. It was honor to be there. It was an absolute thrill to ride their wheels for the first two minutes of the race. I’m realistic, I don’t belong up there but it was a tremendous advantage to get on their wheels and let the race stretch out. The course was a blast. I think the ubiquitous spiral of death is just plain silly. Last years IC Lite had a small one. Dumb. Whissy has one. Dumb. However, this years IC Lite had a HUGE spiral. So huge you could totally stay on the gas all the way through it. I was so extremely hooked up tire-wise. With all the swoopy corners the course just flowed so well. The woodsy singletrack had a log which was bunny-hopable. All in all, just a fun time. It didn’t hurt that I hung on for 5th place. I was only approx 20 seconds off the podium. How cool would that have been. It was also great to have The Wifey and The Little Woman cheering me on.
Did I mention as I was doing my final warm-up lap before the race I coast up next to a dude dressed in Gary Fisher digs and a Trek XO-2. I was pretty certain who he was but I chatted briefly with him just to be sure. “Are you racing today”? “Yep” “Cool”. “You”? “Yep”. Blah blah blah. Finally I say my name is Don. He replies, “I’m Keith, good to meet you”. So there you have it. I’m doing a warm-up lap with Keith Bontrager. Friendly dude too.
Today I got out for a nice hard hilly ride. I’m now good and proper sore. A one hour massage awaits me Tuesday morning. Can’t wait.
I was flipping through some books tonight with Haley. The Wifey usually spends time doing this nearly every day but I was astounded at how quickly she reacted to different pictures and textures and fragrances on the pages. I guess it's pretty typical for kids her age to be little rocket surgeons and also pretty typical for fathers to realize at this point that his little daughter will pass his intelligence before she hits 5. My days are numbered.