X, Crunchy Spice and I ventured up to Lincoln, NE over the weekend for two days of cross racing. It was the Flatwater Cyclocross Weekend.
I've never been to Lincoln, it was bigger and cooler than i thought. Plus with he exception of Jinglecross this was the first non-local cross race i've ever done. It was nice change of pace to race in a different venue against some fresh faces.
When we left KC at 8am it was about 50 degrees and getting warmer. By the time we arrived in Lincoln at noon it was about 30 degrees with 20 mile winds. Fu*king freezing! Like seriously unbearable to even be standing outside. I'm cold just thinking about it.
Aub and Crunchy raced first, Crunchy's race lasted about 3 seconds before someone came into her on the paved start and she crashed hard on her knee, race over. I'm pretty sure she had the worst weekend ever. She caught a cold before day 2 and spent most of the day, including her race, sleeping in the car. She never complained though, a real trooper.
So... back to Saturday. X had a great race and her fifth place finish is a little deceiving. She was hot on the heels of everyone in front of her. The course was compact but fun. At first i thought it was just okay but then i realized it had great flow and was a lot of fun to ride. One set of barriers at the bottom of a run up hill, then besides that it was smooth and fast with a few small hills thrown in.
Now, i need to go back again to how cold it was. I'm standing on the line, doing the final prep. Usually for extreme cold i wear two sets of gloves. Im putting on the second set and X, whose standing next to me, says i wont need them. 'yeah' i say, and throw them on the groung. BIG mistake. I'm not sure what she was thinking when she said that, but i should have known better. After the race i heard the wind chill was 19.
There are only 15 of us and i get a good start, near the very front for the first two laps. My memory is fuzzy but around the 2nd lap i move into second but first is already a ways up. hes really cruising. Now.... lets back up to one minute after the start. My fingers are FREEZING!!! Every chance i get im riding one handed and blowing into the other hand. it was bad. I kept riding by the start finish and seeing my other gloves on the ground. I thought about stopping to put them on, but i was in 2nd. i thought about quitting, but i was in 2nd. I carried on. Eventually the pain subsided, probably because the fingers went completely numb.
I kept 1st place at the same gap, maybe trimmed it a little, but he won by around 35 seconds. i finished by myself in 2nd. I thought i was pretty well warmed up and i think i could have stayed with that guy if i had been more attentive.
It was so cold i barely took any pictures, i wonder how the folks at occupy Lincoln slept?
Day two was a much more exciting race. X started off hot, second at the first turn (and missing the $25 hole shot prize by 1 place.... come on X!) but blew up and then started taking vodka - redbull shots on hooligan hill. Seems like a good choice to me.
I started on the front row again and was glad to see a few more racers, 20 total. My start was bad and i think i was in 11th at the first turn. The course was the same except the barriers had been moved making the run up ridable, although i never even tried. i run like a gazelle on steroids!
The run-up is called hooligan hill and Sundays warmer weather meant more hooligans were in attendance. They had an ass slapping contest going. After a while i made sure to run close to the spectators, ass slaps are the equilivant of whipping a horse, it makes you go faster. Hooligan hill was a lot of fun.
I was feeling good and it didn't take long to move up. I never really had to attack, just passed guys who were fading. The first few laps were really fun. I was with a few guys and we all had different strengths so we kept re-passing each other. Soon i was right behind the leader, the same guy who won yesterday. He seemed to be laboring so I put in a slight dig to come around him and take the lead. Yeah baby! This is what i'm talking about! I pulled pretty hard for two laps and pretty soon it was just him and me. We kind of worked together but he seemed tired. The start / finish was a long uphill paved section and with about 4 to go we were joined by a third dude. I was thinking 'sweet, this is getting more fun'. The three of us rode together for the rest of the race. I would dominate both of them on the run up, new addition was the strongest on the pavement, and yesterdays winner just seemed to be along for the ride.
With one to go i was sitting third wheel. Not the ideal spot. i toyed with the idea of attacking on the run up, but didn't. I was pretty passive (im going to change that for Jingle Cross) and it became apparent a sprint finish was on tap. My poor positioning probably meant that the sprint was over before it began. We did the 180 turn off the grass onto the pavement finish and i was third. The finish was pretty close, i had plenty of juice, came around into second place, but got easily beat by the guy who hit the pavement first. He was the guy who joined us mid race. Great race by him. Of the three of us he was the only Nebraskan so since this race was their state champs he is the cat 3 state champ. People were yelling for him the entire race, pretty cool.
I dont possess a killer instinct so im not too disappointed with my result, but i really think i could have won that race.
All in all a fun weekend. Lincoln people are cool and they put on a great event.
Check out this great video by Keith Walberg, including lots of face time for yours truly, including my sprint finish!