Yet another blog about bike and stuff and the life that revolves around them. And other stuff.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A cyclocross Halloween!
This past weekend was the Halloween race. Two days of cross fun in the sun in fabulous Astoria, Oregon (Goonies!). The weather was awesome for dragging the family along. I normally like my cross weather cold and soggy, but that sort of weather is not so fun for the family to stand around in. It's no fun wearing a costume in that sort of crummy weather, either.
Since we were going to be staying the weekend I decided to make a super-fun maxi-cross-blowout and race both the Master B ANNNNNNNND the singlespeed categories. Two races each day, one right after another, for 90 minutes of hypoxic, anerobic joy. Each day.
I went into the weekend realizing that there was no way I could actually "race" in my usual category and have any fun the remainder of the weekend. I'd be thrashed and hatin' life. No attitude to have on a family weekend at the coast OR on a bike.
My results reflected my strategy! I came in DFL in the SS category on day one and third up from the bottom in SS on day two-- the costume day. I can only attribute this to the fact that there must have been two other riders that were hungover and wearing full-on gorilla suits or something to have done worse than me!
Day two, the costume race, was a blast. I was already a little spent from day one and decided to focus entirely on having fun. Strategy: Rather than a 45 minute race, it was a 45 minute, short course costume parade! We were the Star Wars family that weekend. My son was a Clone Trooper, my wife was Princess Leia (she rolled her own hair up into "star puffs") and I wore a kid's Boba Fett costume. We had to separate the body suit at the waist seam so I could actually get it on. My midriff showed and made me feel a bit like "Bubba Fett". Ha!
Just a couple of days before the race I hadn't settled on a costume-- first I was going to be Chowder (from the eponymous cartoon), then Flapjack (he of the "Marvelous Misadventures of...") . On Wednesday night we were at a party supply store looking at costume stuff -- I was hoping to find a little sailor's hat to kick-start my Flapjack costume -- when my wife spotted an inflatable Boba Fett jet pack. My inner nerd-child went all a-squee over this. My costume fate was sealed! It was just a matter of finding the largest child's Boba Fett costume we could.
There was a goup of about a dozen racers that all had Tron costumes. They were most excellent-- they had all hand-painted the colored "traces" on their bodysuits. They had set up on the back section of the course, reds on one side and blues on the other, and were having a disc battle across the course! Not a shark tank, but way more fun. (Apparently all the bodysuits were custom made! I had originally thought they were from a dance supply or something.)
On my third lap through the disc gauntlet Boba Fett decided it was time to dismount and put some Mandalorian-style hurt on the rogue programs. Jumping around and aiming my wrist-mounted flame-thrower and snare-projectors I was able to sow some consternation and confusion among the ranks. Oh, they can dish out the disc abuse to un-costumed racers, but they were unprepared for a little Mandalorian smackdown. They rallied quickly and I was soon forced to retreat. Unfortunately a "wardrobe malfunction" delayed my departure and I was quickly set upon by the Tron guys...
As I was pulling away one of the Tron discs found its mark, striking me squarely in the head. Momentarily stunned, the back of my pants got hung up on the nose of the saddle. Two of the Tron guys were attempting to get me going again. "C'mon Boba, get your shit together!" My pants were pulled back up, I was pushed off and one of them stuffed some candy down the neck of my shirt. A couple of wobbles and the rockets gave a feeble blast and I was off. I was in a curious state: I was laughing my butt off, but because I was already winded I couldn't do much more than gasp.
On the back side of the course there was the dreaded six-pack of barriers. Followed by an increasingly unpleasant uphill. Fortunately Boba Fett had a cheering section-- thanks guys! You helped pull me up that damn hill.
After the Master B race I only had a few minutes to scarf a few Clif bloks and chug some water. I was already ravenous and thirsty. Another 45 minutes on the singlespeed and my stomach would be chasing my liver around my insides. I was hungry! I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but the folks that ride singlespeed are incredible. They can seriously drop the hammer on riders with geared bikes. I found it pleasantly uncomplicated. Just ride. (Although I'm using a chain tensioner and have too much slack so the chain kept bouncing off on the rougher sections of the course.)
I was already in the red zone half-way through the first lap. I didn't even bother attempting the hill after the six-pack. The Boba Fett Cheer Squad was still there and seemed a little surprised that Mr. Fett was back. For all but the very last climb they kept Fett jogging up the hill. By the last lap, my legs were cramping badly enough that I was forced to walk-- which was even more painful.
I have never been so hungry as I was after that race. I was trembling and if I let myself sit down there was no way I was going to want to get up for a couple of hours. The fries and hashbrowns from the fries vendor were ambrosia. And the cold TurkeyBLT sandwich waiting for me back in the car was the best tasting sandwich -- best tasting food! -- I've ever had. If it had been delivered on a beam of sunlight from the heavens there's no way it could have tasted better. I think I ate and drank during the entire two-hour drive back home. And I was still hungry!
Right after the SS race was the Kiddie race. My son really seems to be getting into these races this year. It's too bad that the kids only get to do one lap-- my son is primed for many more and always keeps going for an additional 2 or three laps. If there hadn't been another race I don't think we would have been able to get him off the course! He also seems to have developed his own, very smooth, dismount proceedure. In fact, several spectators nearby were saying things like "Wow-- look at that little kid go! Has he been practicing?" and "Hey! Somebody's learning!". His remounts are very good too-- I think smoother than mine! Really!
It was an awesome weekend-- great weather and loads of fun. Perfect.