Day 2 of Nittany was at the same time, same place, different course direction. The mud had made itself at home and had only become more thick and smelly, with the lack of rain and intermittent sunshine turning into a putrid sludge
It was a rough morning at the Wawa recovering from a night of 2 Dudes, 1 King Bed and the ghosts of a 1,000 smokers past pervading our stay at the hotel.
With hopes of having a better call up today due to yesterdays ride, the UCI officials said F-you and did the same order as yesterday, causing some complaints among some of the other riders
Gracing the near back row again was a treat as always and as we got going, the notable absence of J-Pow seemed to have inspired everyone to greater efforts as we tore off. Luckily only 200 meters into the race we hit the monster mud pit, run through section, casting aside all notions that there might be a way to not eat mud somehow during this hour
After cashing in all my muscle memory from my running days in the first 1 minute of racing, I was able to move up close to the top 10. However I did not know this, and after 45 minutes of careening around and eating dirt, I started letting go of wheels, convinced I was closer to 20th than anything else. Stopping by the barriers to collect some dollars that were stuck there cost me a few spots, as well as a cool, refreshing PBR soon thereafter, and the racing fire had been quenched somewhat in that baptism of filth. The last trip through the mud pit was more of a walk and more insulting than anything I had experienced thus far, the point being more than driven home that there were no more places to be gained, only to get more dirty and smelly one last time.
I ended up 15th, not too terrible, and somewhat heartening after letting some people go, but I didn’t make as much as Ryan who answered the jeers and cries of the crowd and made a cool $100 for bunny-hopping the barriers. Its all about the fans
After clogging the locker room showers with piles of mud that had to be scraped out with shovels, we hit the road. Then hit the bottle
and the terrible truth of excess
Up next, Charm City and the waning days.
So the cyclocross season is upon us, and it has been for several weeks and its only the end of September. With so much action and so much time, its time for a little recap of the pivotal races thus far:
Nittany Lion Cross Day 1
The first UCI race in the world, ever (for 2011) happened in a pungent set of fields in Pennsylvania. That being said the cast of characters to line up was quite impressive for an early September day. Jeremy Powers decided to step up and step in to open his account for the season. Besides one of the fastest cross racers on the continent there were a host of Euro hawks all coming over to gather up some easy UCI points before heading back to their mid pack results in the World Cup circuit.
With nothing to my name except an expensive license and clean handlebar tape I got an impressive 2nd to last row “call up” (or hollar back.) Sitting at the tail end of a 52 person field all chomping at the bit to get the season underway put some calm into my mind that I would not have to worry about impressing anyone.
With a start like the first sip of soda on the way to Type 2 Diabetes I could feel the breath of fall on the nape of my neck, and looking back I was assured that I was in last place. With a course more suited to a mud run and bachelor party than a cross race, it was slippery and muddy going, but once the legs got used to everything, we started that glorious movement forward and began moving through the crowds on hand.
With a 100 meter long unrideable section of mud that had overwhelming notes and hints of swine, bovine, and human fecal matter that had to be run through, it highlighted the importance of running in cx training and disregarding the warnings on bleach containers, which are placed there by fear mongers to scare the liberal elite.
After an hour of ingesting this foul concoction of PA mud (or Dutch Brew as the locals call it) both orally and osmosis through every square inch of porous skin, covered and uncovered I emerged an ok 12th place after a feeble yet successful sprint battle. Not bad. Then the sinking realization that everything had to be cleaned and functional for the next day put a dark cloud over things that not even a hot, balanced and friendly meal at Cracker Barrel could lift it
Using the hotel garden hose and aggressive maneuvers to secure the one and only washing machine in the hotel we got the duds clean. The bikes we just scraped off, leaving a huge pile of dirt in the parking lot, and gaining a few adoring fans in the process (I’m sorry you’re angry that your daughter married that black man, Mr. Oklahoma, but thanks for complimenting our bikes) We tuned in, turned on and dropped out to the US Open for the rest of the night
This post has been brought to you as a result of threats of violence, death and disappointment
the ideal road racing season that I had envisioned earlier this year did not manifest itself due to the financial motivation to make this fall as lucrative and secure as possible. As a result of that, as well as the pressure placed on the domain by its other authors, proorbust will be rather idle until this fall. But thats ok. Fortunately I was able to procure a flip camera from Cisco before they were discontinued, so we will be able to create as much of a video documentary as well as a written one of our follies this fall
But to the events at hand
Over a month ago was the first cyclocross race of the season. Insane. I know. Fortunately the new name in NC cyclocross known as Asheville Cyclocross hosted a race in conjunction with the Mountain Sports Festival. Cross in May, out of control. The turnout was super impressive as almost 40 people turned up for the A race, showing the tenacity of cross in the West(ern part of the state,)
All of the heaters from eastern TN, WNC and the majority of SC showed up for this race, showing that there was more than cookies on the line for this race. Things got going hot and heavy very quick. Taking it out hard due to the lap and a half on the track and the super narrow and treacherous hole shot
I got into the lead and besides a momentary lapse of this from Mr Wondergem from TN (who relinquished it due to falling down in a silly corner) I held this for essentially the entire race.
besides the occasional attack from my breakaway companions of Dr. Black and Noah #2, things held together in the front as we built up a large lead over the rest of the field. Due to my lack of racing and intervals or any other silly efforts like that, my legs were as sharp as a Dyson trying to thread itself through a brick wall
but after 45 minutes of churning and burning, it was still the 3 o us with a lap to go, and then with a corner to go I was able to outsprint my breakaway companions for a prestige win
no money in this race. Only this sweet trophy
and bragging rights.
See you in the grass this fall e’erybody…
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Well hello folks, its been too long. After a 4 month break in training and racing (the longest amount of time I’ve taken off in the past 10 years) the wheels are spinning again.
Relocated back to my roots in Asheville, I reacquired a position at the Outback Steakhouse here, and have taken the necessary steps to enact a full ProTour lifestyle.
Apart from hustling steaks at night, spending my daylight hours in the saddle, and mingling with the locals, I’m working on a new website that will blow your clothes off. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will roll it out for mass consumption and enjoyment (or fear)
It’s the number of days that have passed since I left Massachusetts and arrived this past weekend at the NC Grand Prix. Of those 62 days, 13 held any time on the bicycle, a vast majority of these falling within that first week back in the South. Those 62 days were paired with an equal number of nights, 4 of which were spent on a real mattress, the rest were played out on the AeroBed in various states, floors and rooms all along the Atlantic seaboard. It’s been a helluva couple of months, the strangest and hardest I’ve ever been through. But life seems to have come to a reasonable rest for the moment. All of the stories and experiences and craziness from the past 62 days will be put into a movie, but if you really want to know, it’ll cost you some drinks and a buzz in your ear
That being said, once I got back to Asheville from DC I got the fever again. So I set to gluing up my brand new, first ever freshy pair of Dugasts and race the hell out of them. Unfortunately the only cross races happening were part of the only UCI event in the south all season. Seeing as how all I have is a UCI license, there was nowhere to hide. My first ride on the bike in months was going down in the Elite race. Guess there couldn’t have been a better place to stage a comeback.
Drawing a relatively lucky number out of the bag (also part of the worst registration process ever) I was sitting third row out of 7. Hey, not too shabby. We got going and it got nuts quick
I was hanging in the top 20 for the first couple of laps, feeling fine and dandy, then the good ole engine stopped working. I guess the past couple of months of adventuring took my fitness from its prime condition
and spit out my current state
I spent the remainder of the race convincing myself it would be an awful idea to throw up everywhere and pass out, and I rolled in 25th place out of around 50 elites. The last money spot, boom
it was more like $20, but it was crazy to get paid in a race like this, I was just hoping not to get lapped. It was awesome.
Thanks to the colorful call up procedure I was awarded a last row (7th) starting position. With around 50 guys in front of me I wasn’t hoping for too much except to maybe get back in the money today.
The announcer (the nicest and best I’ve ever seen at a NC Grand Prix) seemed to make it his duty both days to mess up my last name with a clever mix of the only two other polacks he knows
All of those I’s really throw people off.
We got going and suddenly everything was feeling good. Thanks to an unselective course and the road racing style at the front I managed to latch on to the lead pack (a huge one at 18 people) with about 5 laps to go. I immediately soiled myself.
Actively fighting for the last two UCI point spots for the remainder of the race blew my mind got me freaking amped to the max
I didn’t have the gumption to hold on to the last lap attacks and I rolled in 12th. Best 12th place I have ever had. Period. It immediately went through my mind after I finished, what would be different if I had those past 2 months back? Not sure, but I dont think I would have made me any happier than how i finished today.
So I wouldn’t call it a comeback. But i do plan on kicking out the remainder of the NC series and TN series and then sit back and see what unfolds for next year. It feels wonderful to be Home. Its not much but all i can say is Thank you to everyone everywhere for you kindest of words, encouragement, hello’s, sharing your experiences (seems like everyone has gone through this, ha) cheering, and open arms. Theres no place like home.
It has come to my attention that my closing remark from a previous post has caused some consternation in the WNC ‘cross community. This is referring to the statement “this ain’t no MSG.” which was made before heading (unsuccessfully) north. Apparently some think that this is a comment meant to degrade and undervalue the Mud, Sweat and Gears cyclocross series. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. It merely meant that I was stepping outside of the comfort bubble of the cross series that got me started and hooked into this sport. Leaving the series where I won my first C race, gained an understanding of the community and knew everyone by name and heading somewhere where A races would have 50 people instead of the 15 or so is a daunting proposition. The level of competition is still fierce and I haven’t had much success in the upper levels of the series as yet. So my statement was meant to construe that I was going somewhere scary and new. Suck it CB, I’m glad to be back.
I also got this in the mail last week.
Put that on your resume and smoke it.