Icy-Muddy-Ruts are Perfect for Chad
I was busy all day. Superfan for Bailey and TBrow in the 1×1 race at 8am, pit guy for the women and mens collegiate races at 9 and 10 am, high fives at 11am with Tescher and superfan again for Tescher’s first elite race at noon. Well, during Sarah’s race I was actually pacing around in my jeans, nervous energy giving me nothing but pointless direction to various tasks. Then I puked 5 hearty times in the garbage can in the FLC canvas tent. At that point I figured I was to have a descent race.On the start line I was focused. People made comments about my denim jeans and my Republic of Doom vest here and there. I tried not to think about that to much, as my responses where choppy and unclear. By planning ahead, I was able to pull a start position of 8th row. Less than 60 people up sat, TWells, JPage and BWicks. That right there made the trip worth it to me. I have always dreamed of racing in the main event and now here I was, few rows back of the fastest guys, taking deep breaths and trying my best to pretend like I belonged.I’m a great clipper-inner from all the stopping starting riding I do with juniors, so my 8th row start warp-zoned me to somewhere in the fortys. The first turn from the pave to the dirt gave me an inside look of the natural selection process of cyclocross. It seemed like 75% of the pack disappeared. Arms and legs pokin out, carbon rims stressin, not everyone was ready for the conditions. I was. I ate that dirt up, every rut I saw, every turn felt like it was built for me. I was not winning, but having a blast propelled me forward and backward throughout the group. Mistakes were the product of full throttle grins that pushed me past the point of sensible racing.My lack of preparation did not lend a hand to the prospect of myself being able to exchange rides. So as the laps melted away, my drivetrain did as well. Two laps in I was skipping. Three laps in I was getting passed every chainsuck backpedal. Four laps in I had the crowd roaring on my side-saddle to stair run up-pass, and then my Dura Ace derailuer, inside hanger cage decided that it wanted to find a home in the soupy KC slop, and popped off, never to be seen again.I bent over my steed and messed with the drivetrain, unknowing as to what exactly happened. I tried to let out a little curse word, hoping to show the sideline crowd that I was in need. But in reality, the experience up to this point had taken me so much farther than I ever could have hoped. Minutes went by as I did that thing we all do when we cannot think in a hurry, grabbing, turning, huffing to no avail. After, what I thought was, the whole race had passed me by, I acknowledged that I had a race ending mech and started to face the crowd to begin my walk up the final paved finish stretch.Two hundred yards to the line. As I walked, my head surfed from the wet spots of the road to the outreached palms of the crowd along the plastic fencing. It was so neat to see the enthusiasm for a walking cyclist. Right as I approached the line, Tim Johnson and Johnathon Page passed me, in a zone all of their own. I was lapped. Failing in my goal to not get lapped was the least of my concerns. My day was perfectly over, I had won whatever it is you won when you get 61st place and love it. My friends where there with me in the end, telling me what they saw, how I did compared to so and so. But my ending will never end with who I beat or what place I got. The lines I chose, the sounds I heard, and the feeling I had racing in the main event will most likely…….keep me racing my freekin bike. Another year, another best race memory ever!