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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Falling

There is one thing I know for sure about cyclocross.  Sure, you have to be fit to win, but the mental component is so much more important than anything else.  When I got out of the car yesterday morning at Heber, I said to my race buddies, "I just don't have the motivation to do this."  It was snowing and windy, well below freezing.  My teeth chattered.  It was all I could do to get into the skin suit and layers.  It was too cold to warm up, so I didn't.  On the way to the starting line I fell.  Twice.  Really, I am not kidding.  I heard my name when they did the 45+ call up, and as I moved forward I fell in a rut.  They all laughed, but it was a sign of things to come.  At the start of the second lap, I went down again.  As I fell I stepped on my chain and it came off.  I put it back on as seven or eight people went around me.  I fell off the virtual podium.  So, I just went as hard as I could.  On the last two laps I started passing folks.  I ended up in fifth.  Not bad considering my lack of mental preparation, but it was just not my day.  If I finish third overall in the series instead of second, I have only me and my brain to blame.

Tired, cold, muddy, and completely spent, I did the singlspeed race right after the 45+ race.  I started dfl (that's dead f_ _ _ing last, in bicycle racer lingo), but picked up the pace as I went and started passing some folks.  I was "training."  When I went around my buddy, Arthur Morris, the battle was on.  For nearly two laps we went at it.  The announcers were going wild.  Through the technical twisty infield, we were over the top aggressive, riding side by side, bumping shoulders, cutting each other off on the inside turns, with both our bars touching the flagging tape on each side of the course.  This went on for nearly a whole lap.  Then, in my head, it was one to go.  I put in the big attack.  Really big.  I was 10 seconds in front of Arthur as I crossed the line and the announcers said "one to go!!"  Did I already say cyclocross was mental?  So, I kept going and Arthur slowly pulled me back.  He made a good move on the final turn and sprinted for the line.  I went outside and slid a little.  It was no use.  He beat me, but I could not get rid of the smile on my face as we crossed the line.

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