On the one hand: pretty much your standard-issue cyclocross race. Mud and gravel, running and crying. Days of rain = slippery and gooey but no rain on race day = misery from below, not above. Finished 30th of 224.
On the other hand: what kind of “race” has 224 entrants? That this race was even remotely “standard-issue” for me was a fluke of my aweseome staging (about 12th) courtesy of points I earned last week at Rainier. In which light, I dropped back about 20 places, very early in the race.
So despite my finish, this was a “what went wrong” race not a “what went right” race.
What went wrong?
- Not enough sleep. Probably complaint numero uno. I hit a wall really early in the race where everything just felt tired. I wonder how many places an extra two hours’ sleep would buy me? Three? Ten? I mean an “extra two hours a night” BTW, I’m running this life on less than six hours sleep since…2010?
- Not enough training. Specifically: cornering and off-camber descents.
- Bike too heavy. Just got heavier with all the mud. Running over the tabletop was brutal, and the long run on the east end nigh-on undoable. Usually I pass other guys on a long run like that (cardio conditioning FTW!); yesterday not so much.
- Body too light (how often do cyclists say this?). Yet: in floaty mud, there’s just no way I can dig to the bottom. I kinda skate over it. So absent gaining 10 pounds, I need to figure out how to better handle that floaty skatey feeling. (Which, by the way, is awesome and fun.)
This is a spectator-hostile venue: cramped and narrow, yet with a half-mile hike to the parking lot. Somehow Jenny and the kids had fun, and we met up with lots of friends, and yes there was beer finally.
To what degree do expectations make a race? Before Rainier I was on razor’s edge, determined not to waste an opportunity, but feeling at the back of my mind that it was just going to be My Day. Last week I was on razor’s edge but with the opposite thought at the back of my head: I’m totally gonna blow my new-found golden ticket. Both weeks: that’s pretty much what happened.