So more stories of greatness, well trying to be at least less than bad, in the life of Ed. The latest installment of my very bad racing career was at the Single Speed Italian Cyclocross Championships, 2009. A very long title for a very short race, but the race was fun and deserving of the super long title.
The morning began with walking the dogs, Kinsey, the old girl who is supposed to be dying of cancer, took me for an hour long walk, and Willie our latest edition, tried to trip me nearly every step of the way. He really needs to keep out from under my feet. So the long walk put me way behind schedule for the morning. But when Kinsey wants to walk we walk. Hell, 14 years old and she want to stroll for an hour, so be it.
0945 on the road to Villarocca, getting me there 20 minutes before race time, so I would get a good warm up and be very relaxed at the start of the race. Perhaps not, but getting all ready to race is really not my thing anyway. With light traffic, and a bit of luck (who me have luck when it comes to getting to a bike race) I arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Running into registration and getting my number I realized that the race would likely be starting just a bit later than published. I took my time, changed clothes and talked to a few people. I was pretty nice to not be at an official race where I might be denied entry, or be banned for the day because I look funny or something.
We all rolled out to the start/finish area about 11:20 and arrived at the locale about five minutes later. Arriving in full winter riding gear, super warm jacket and vest and ten layers of fleece and well, you get the picture. I needed to dump some stuff, and because BOB IS THE MAN, I was able to leave my warm up and after race clothes in his car. Thanks Bob.
I don’t know why, but we always have a Lemans start at Los Lobos events, which is not my favorite way to start, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I like running, in running shoes, not in carbons soled riding shoes. Due to that, I ran slowly, this proved to be the biggest tactical error of the day. I really must remember that being at the front at the start of the race really helps keep me out of the way of people just trying to survive. Normally that is I, just trying to survive, but when everyone is single speedy, I have a chance. Slim, but none-the-less, a chance.
Well, being near last leaving meant I had to pass nearly everyone in the first lap, and even if I didn’t pass everyone I passed about 40 people. Sorry, guys, but I like cross, more than any other type of racing, and whether I am going to win or be mid pack I am going to go as fast as I can.
Any way, on the second lap I figured out I was in sixth place, I was sure I could catch fifth and fourth, but first through third looked to be getting away. I really needed to go fast, I needed to have trained at least once in the last three months, I needed to be 10 pounds lighter and I needed to max out my heart rate. I did max the heart, 191 beats per minute, but everything else required time before the race, not at the race.
I sat in fourth place for the next 45 minutes, I would pull back third and see that he was just 15 seconds ahead of me, only to see the next lap he was 30 seconds up, only to see that he was now 10 seconds up only to see that he was 45 up. It was terrible, if I had only run faster I may have been in the mix for third, second and first, well honestly they are just faster than me, third would have been my first. So as the race began to wind down I settled in and just rode my pace, knowing I wasn’t going to get third, knowing fourth it was, which is not bad, just not where I wished to have been.
Next time, run faster, train more and remember, it is only for fun. It was, and in spite of me wanting to do well, I still did my best to pass with care as not to cause anyone to crash, myself included, shouted encouragement to everyone on the course, and thanked everyone for all the work they did putting together the course. It doesn’t matter where you finish, if you are a tool on the course and a tool to the race director you loose. One day I must win, one day. Maybe next year.
As a footnote, Stefano and the rest of Los Lobos, the course was great. It was a real cross course with the perfect amount of running, barriers and speed. One of my favorite races of the year, so far at least, and will likely remain as such. Thanks again and the food was great. Next year I bring beer. And I love the hat.
This link will show you guys my big ole belly
Lot’s more photos here too.