Cyclocross this, cyclocross that. Yeah yeah yeah. “Alan, it’s so much fun”. “You gotta give it a shot.” “It’ll kick your ass.” My friends in SoCal have been trying to get me to join them for the last couple years. Not that I don’t want to try new things – I love new things. Like that new show on ABC Family called “The Fosters”. I love my three-week old daughter, Molly. It’s just never panned out for me to give “Cross” racing a try. Until this weekend. Somehow, someone like me who thinks he’s got his finger on the pulse of everything bike related in the Eastern Sierra got a wet slap in the face when he found out that there’s a CX series that’s been going on for a while in his own backyard. My wife often appropriately coins me as a “DB”… and at this moment, I feel like a douche bag for not knowing that there are a group of people out racing on Sunday mornings and #ridingbikeswithfriends.
So yeah, my buddy Hunter told me about this race going down in Warm Springs (just south of Bishop), and that mountain bikes are welcome, etc. Jigga, that’s all you had to say. I’m in. Threw the bikes in the back of the truck, and we were off. Even saw a few peeps from Mammoth, and they all acted like, “Duh, get in the mix mang, this is how we do.”
So I took a practice lap, and it was perty frickin fun. Yeah, a lot of flat terrain for this here ss’er, but there’s also a couple climbs and spots where you gotta carry your bike up hills, through sand, etc – stuff I’m used to doing in mtb races. Although my technique on the run-ups and shouldering my rig leaves a lot to be desired…
Overall, it’s a pretty short format for my more endurance-centric type of riding. 7 laps of a 2ish mile course makes for a sub-one hour race. A bit sprinty for my slow-twitching chicken legs. The “real” cx guys jumped out at the get-go, and I never saw the lead riders again (at least they never lapped me). Luckily, there was one other singlespeeder – a very strong rider from Mammoth named Tyler G. (who will be riding the MLBFL as well). Without him to pace off of, I probably would’ve gotten lazy and ridden cruiser style. By the end of lap 2, he had a 30 second lead on me, but I kept him in sight. Then I slowly started picking up my m.p.h. on the flats and and began reeling him in. I finally came around him during the 5th lap and started to push the pace a bit, knowing that my legs were starting to feel good. We rode together for a bit, and on the last lap, I had grown a small gap as we were getting to the last mile – a section where I was hoping to open it up and see what I had in the anaerobic tank. Unfortunately as I was jumping on my bike after the last hike-a-bike, I looked back down the short hill and saw Tyler suddenly stopped and sliding back at the bottom section I just ran up (probably 10-15 seconds back). He told me after the race that his chain broke as he tried to crank high into the hill, forcing a DNF. Bummer.
Anyhoo, I had a blast. We all had a blast. I’m not running out to by a cross bike (unless they sell one at diapers.com), but I’ll definitely attend more of these events. Whenever you can ride a bike and surround yourself with like-minded peeps, you’ve gotta jump at the opportunity. If you’re in the Eastern Sierras, check out the Aerohead Cycles website for event info. The next CX race is on Oct. 6th, 2013. Hoot!!