Monday, October 31, 2011

Faust Park Bubba CX, a Stupid Tax, and No Good Rotten Sandbaggers

The Stupid Tax

Thursday night I was trying to eat healthy, so I cooked some salmon and put it on top of some greens for dinner.  The fish that I ate I thought was about a week old (should be ok, right?)  My wife informed me later when I was nauseous and dizzy that the fish that *I* purchased and *I* opened was probably closer to 3 weeks old.  It didn’t smell bad…

Yes, I paid a stupid tax.  It sucks to be sick due to something so foolish/preventable.  My main suggestion to any of you considering eating old fish – don’t.  

The entire episode is quite ironic because of the intensity of my desire to avoid processed/industrial foods, especially “fast food.”  And here I go eating old fish and getting sick.  Fortunately only I ate it and the kids and wife had something else.  Whew.  Also, the whole episode only took 24 hours to run its course.  

Bubba CX Faust Park Saturday

Saturday evening Faust Park hosted the next round of the Bubba series.  This was the coldest race yet, probably in the 40’s.  The course was the least technical CX course this year (out of 4) for me with only 4 or 5 technical turns per lap.  Pre-riding the course, the grass seemed way too long and everything seemed super bumpy.  My only thought was: my back is going to be cooked after 1 lap!  Fortunately several fields went over the course and packed the grass down enough that by the B race, it wasn’t so bad.

I bailed on the costume stuff – I just didn’t have the energy after the fishy stupid tax I paid Thursday/Friday.  So I lined up in the second row of the B race and had a great start.  An Off the Front racer (dressed as Buddy – bravo) won the hole shot and was really digging.  I got into third wheel behind Rich and sat tight for a few minutes as OtF blew up…so that’s what I look like normally!  I took the front about halfway through the lap and soon found myself with Rich and Pete (on a single speed!) with a little gap.  Realizing that the race was not 3 laps, I let someone else pull for a bit.  Pete and I kept it quick as Rich started to fade.  At this point Matt (dressed as a woman) began reeling us in.  Soon it was three again and that’s more or less how it would stay to the finish.  There were some attacks, counters, and bad lines taken but whenever one of us appeared done, they’d fight to get back on terms.

On the last lap each racer wanted a favorable position.  Matt was leading with 3-4 turns to go while I was second wheel.  Into a downhill off-camber turn (my fav on the course), Pete took me on the inside!  We still had a few 180’s left but I got a little gaped and was forced into chasing back to Pete’s wheel through them. 
The barriers framed the finish.  Since the finish was downhill from the barriers, I reasoned that whoever got to the barriers first had this thing in the bag.  Coming into the left hand climb I sprinted up and gained the first spot, keeping it clean and fast through the barriers, thus sealing my first cat 3 CX win.

To curb my enthusiasm, I immediately lined up for the 1/2/3 (A) race.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to race the next day and I wanted another race start.  Beginning near the back I finished at the back - second to last.  It was basically a fun workout once the field got away from me.  Sadly, I got lapped by the podium, but I still had a good time fighting off last place.

After the finish Johnny served me up a bowl of chili and gave me a Bud Light (perhaps my first ever – not certain).  It was perfect in that moment.  Though I think about anything would have tasted good after that second race!  (Anything but fish, of course.)

The racing was encouraging as I felt I drove my bike better than previous races and my back didn’t give out in the first race.  Progress is progress!  

Sandbagger Ranting and CX Categories

There has been talk lately of sandbagging in our local series.  It’s pretty off-putting for me as internet ranting usually does not correlate to actually talking with people face(book) to face(book).

For my own part, I don’t think I’m ready to upgrade.  I haven’t met the performance requirement for the 3->2 license move, the road parity rule notwithstanding.  Also, as most of the races are on Sundays it’s quite difficult for me to race the A’s and still make it to church on time.  What’s worse, being called a bagger by whiny people (like myself) or not racing?  I think I’ll chance it with the whiners for the next month.

The nice thing about being a CX cat 3 is the variety.  If I want to race later, I can hop in the 1/2/3’s.  Earlier?  The B’s (3/4s).  Want to get smoked?  Double up on the A+B races or 3’s and 1/2/3’s in Chicago.  It really seems to be the best option right now.  Also, now that I’m officially old according to cyclocross, I can do the 30+ races when offered.  The triple fun day (30+, 3’s, 1/2/3’s) is tempting.  I haven’t done it yet but maybe if I want 3 lackluster results in a single day… I think next year will favor quality over quantity.


Finally, if you read this (wow!) and you race in the StL, give a thought to my friend and future teammate BJ “The Coach” Keane.  If the guy could go more than 3 laps without breaking a: spoke, chain, saddle, or rolling a tire, why, I think he might win again.  I think he has the Gateway Cross Cup Sandbagger Curse™.  I haven’t told it to his face(book), but he’s such a sandbagger, being a cat 4 CXer and (presumptive) cat 2 road racer.  *cough*

Ironic Self Referential Addendum:  If you missed the irony of the preceding section, I can't help you.  However, I think there is a real chance some of you might in fact "miss it" (hence this note) and this note is, ironically, my attempt to help you.  Wow, that was like The Matrix or something.

But the real irony of this piece is in the decrying of the sandbag whiners.  Sandbag whiners anonymously complain about others without (usually) naming them and insinuate some fault on the accused-baggers part.  Here of course, in this very blog, I have risen above them to call out some fault in the sandbagwhiners under a pseudonym!  This makes me no different, of course except, in writing this I acknowledge that I in fact know better.  Hmm.

This all begs the question: to what end do sandbagwhiners and smarmy bloggers call foul?  As I mentioned earlier, if they truly wanted what was best for the "accused", they would go to them face to face rather than bloviate anonymously.  I must conclude that I (and they) do not really want whats best for the other.  By process of elimination, it's not hard to guess who they are trying to serve with their comments.

Further Irony Which I Importune You to Consider in this David Foster Wallace Mini-Homage*:

After writing all that other crap I realized the name of the park.  Oh the tantalizing narrative possibilities.  

*Please pronounce "homage" like "oma" plus the "g" sound from "entourage." Please.


  1. Great race Mark! I don't think you are sandbagging in CX. That shit is hard and it takes different skills than on the road. Just keep having fun!

  2. kudos on the great race on saturday. i'm with you on the sandbagging. i think the real problem is that it is a cat 3/4 field. aaron and sam both did the a race and looked like mere mortals, although i know they gave it everything. i can only imagine how i would've fared. it's time to enjoy the b's while we can!