Sunday, September 26, 2010

Criss-Cross'll Make Ya

Get your Belgian knee warmers (definition on the right side, halfway down) and cowbells ready, loyal readers, it's 'cross season!!

And right on cue it started raining, hard and cold.  The sun was just rising - and visible - when we left The Support Staff's house, but the closer we got to the race site, the harder it rained.  Yup, must be 'cross season.

Now I don't race 'cross - or road or mountain bike, for that matter - and ride bikes that tend to have negative traction off-road, but I feel other bike-related events are kindred spirits to the kind of training and riding I do.  Also, after the high-strung, straight-laced atmosphere at an IM event, the culture of a 'cross race is refreshingly...Woodstock-like.

Registration is a little more expo, but day-of sign-up is allowed!

Fewer port-a-potties...but no lines!
And although the race today did not have this extreme of weather or over-whelming crowd support, true Belgian 'cross racing is like the Super Bowl in a muddy and grassy field, with beer, frites (french fries) and waffles, and cow bell.  I can not recommend enough spectating a 'cross race, just once.  In Europe and in winter, even better.

Last year, this race was The Support Staff's first ever 'cross race - and ended rather inauspiciously: him walking to the finish line, bike on one shoulder, tire-less wheel on the other.  Thus began the Great 'Cross Wheel Tubular Gluing Experiment of 2009.  So this year I set the unspoken unofficial goal as to finish not walking.  [fingers crossed...or actually, still glued together from 2009]

For me, 'cross season means not only honing my support staff skills, but also starting my long rides from random parking lots in Virginia and Maryland and then returning to finish them on a trainer next to the race course.  It is very easy to keep your own effort high while watching people whose heart rates are so high they probably should be bleeding from their eye balls.

Box seats baby!!
There goes The Support Staff, tires still I spin...
The weather cleared up, I got in my workout, The Support Staff finished in fine riding style, and some frites were had...all in all, a successful season opener!

1 comment:

Hillary said...

sounds like a fun day! On a completely separate note, I have to say that I found myself at a little High Cloud IM Lou viewing party tonight (love me some Universal Sports!) and it was neat seeing your name on the big screen as they flashed the results of the top finishers. I was like, hey look there's Kelzie! And then we all had a little "oh my gosh, so cool" freak out moment because we know someone so awesome that's basically famous :) Not that this was new news or anything, but still, it was cool.

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