the weekend after thanksgiving was the Jingle Cross Rock , the biggest badass CX race that this area has to offer. i have to say that the Meehans and all of the volunteers really throw down and make this event something to behold.
i felt a little guilty at first for registering for the beginner's race... you would think after however many years it's been, i would be strong enough to at least consider myself "intermediate". then i saw the rosters for the other races and realized that my field was definitely in the beginner's. note to self: one full winter of lazing about and drinking beer will really fuck up a racing season. who knew you couldn't get faster by sitting on your ass? i'll chalk that one up to experiential learning.
anyway, i'm psyched that i did the beginner's, because it was the first race both days-- opening up the rest of the day for spectating and a little carb replacement. it was also an "easier" course, with the run-ups shortened (which in turn shortens the descents). this "easier" course completely maxed out my current abilities, so i had no more guilt for registering 'beginner'... especially since i finished 10th both days. no puking at all... not even any jitters. i think it has something to do with jumping out of that plane. this just doesn't seem all that dangerous any more.
of note here is Kathleen Porter (KP) of Bike Tech, who has sprung out of nowhere to become really strong. this season, she was seen doing multiple races at events like Psyclofest and the Iowa State CX Champs. guess it paid off: she stomped us on saturday. nice work! another reason i'm a KP fan: she gets cleaned up faster and better than anyone else at the race. while some of us can barely bother to throw on sweatpants, KP will be in full makeup and heels before we're off the course. since my biggest pet peeve in the world is when a (female) bike racer throws caution and hygiene to the wind and wears their kit all damn day (chamois and all), KP's astounding ability to look attractive after slaughtering a field is refreshing.
anyhow, the course had a lot of fun in it, including long straight sections to pick up speed, slippery run-ups, rockin' descents, even a barn full of sand. we went one direction saturday, and then reversed it for sunday. i felt much stronger and was having a much better race on sunday until i decided to lay my bike down a couple of times. the first time wasn't such a big deal; i just slid too much trying to climb a weird switchback that a lot of folks were having trouble with. i lost about three postions in that first fuckup, but it was the second one that really cost me. i slid out again, but this time on a flat, sweeping 180. the ground was icy, too much air in my tires, blah blah. whatever happened, i wet down hard and hit my head. not sure how many girls came around me at that point, because i was on my hands and knees trying to figure out where i was. one girl asked, "are you alright?" me: "no. i hit my head." apparently the question was meant to be rhetorical, because she kept riding and didn't bother to alert the officials, even though they were stationed at the next turn. what-the-fuck-ever. no one was coming to the rescue, so i got on my bike and kind of coasted forward to the officials. they told me it was the last lap and i should "stick it out", so i did... and ended up 10th again.
the elite races fucking ruled, with crazy-ass people like todd wells, steve tilford, sue butler and wendy williams. andrea was in town for the holiday and raced as well, which ruled equally.
the weekend would not be complete without Team Skin, who created their trademark course-side pyramid and supplied many a stranger with music, cold beer, and/or a tambourine. i swear to god that JJ was looking at me when i tossed him a beer across the course- but when the beer reached critical arc he turned away... and received a full can of High Life to the forehead. holy shit- there's a classic deb wood for you: hey, thanks for the good times and beer, guys! have a little blunt force trauma on me!
but what's a bike race without a little injury? i owe JJ a bunch of beer.
results: 10th twice, animosity for racers who don't help other wrecked racers, mild hangover, blunt force trauma for JJ & myself