Last weekend the USGP came to town-- the Portland Cup.
I raced on Saturday (USGP race #5) as a sort of last hurrah. My 2008 season has been really awful so this was "just for fun". Like last year, I just wanted to be a part of it-- to race in part of a national series, to race on the very same course that the pro's race on; ask a few burning product questions and mooch freebies off the exhibitors; eat a waffle; ring the cowbell; take a few photos of the "big guys".
I would have eaten at least two waffles, but I forgot the gigantic $10 late entry fee imposed by the USGP-- thanks-a-fucking-lot you money grubbing bastards. So I was left with a fiddling seven bucks. After I tipped the Cyclosportif guys for their wafflery, I was down to a dollar and that don't buy you nothin' at the USGP.
Anyway, to sum it all up (and to borrow from Heidi Swift) , I "raced in the name of cyclocross love".
It was a fun course they had layed out at PIR. I found myself curiously overjoyed to see that they had included the motocross track this year (last year they didn't). I don't know why I was so happy about that-- reminded me of all the barfy feelings from lst summer's short track MTB races. Good times.
Anyway-- the day dawned very cold (for these parts) and I finally got to put my Pearl Izumi therma-fleece bib knickers to good use (the reason why I bought them in the first place). I gave my DeFeet wool Blaze sockses and Ironclad Cold Condition Gloves to good use too.
The gigantic icy-cold, firey-cold... no. Plutonian-like. Frigid planet Hoth-like. The damn cold gigantic mud-puddle in the middle of the MX course was an icy bitch-slap from Jack Frost. The Blaze socks were no defense and my toes went AWOL immediately and didn't check back in until well after the race.
The second lap I decided to take a lef-hand route around the freezing puddle. It was a doughy mess that skewed my bike this way and that. If I stalled and had to get off and run the alternate route would have been worthless.
The next lap I just gave in and plowed through the puddle-- at least under the water was firm ground and I was able to hold my line much more easily. But this time a great gout of ice cold water splashed up on my back side and ran down my butt. "Brrrr" does not even cover it.
As I passed through the finish on my third lap I heard the announcer saying that "everyone was finished". But I could also swear that I heard a bell. The guy that I had been chasing was still going. After a few moments of uncertainty (quit? sneak in another lap?) another racer caught up with me and asked me if "that was it?". I shrugged and told him that I wasn't sure either and that I thought I heard the bell. Then I announced "Screw it. I'm getting another lap." And off I went, to see about catching #301.
I almost got him, too. Very close. But not quite-- a bike length or two, maybe.
In the end I wound up sprinting for 83rd (or 85th?) place.
For the love of cyclocross indeed!
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