Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Love that Lasts + Sunrise Park CX

This past weekend the wife and I headed to Naperville for a marriage seminar hosted by Sovereign Grace Church wherein the Ricucci’s presented the material from their book “Love that Lasts.”  I thought it was really well done and reminded me how fortunate I’ve been to be close friends with several couples “ahead” of us who have healthy marriages.  The seminar was a “one off”, but I recommend the book.  By the way, it’s better to do stuff like this when things are going well than to wait till you two aren’t talking and investing your emotional stock elsewhere.
My wife cares for me enough not only to recommend the seminar but also to throw in that “there’s a cyclocross race the next day.”  Booyah. 
Bartlett played host to the sixth stop on the Chicago Cyclocross Cup circuit.  Last year I traveled up to this race and won the 4B’s (the beginners race), a race I had no business being in!  But I ate a hot dog while sandbagging, and I promised never to do it again.  This year I doubled up in the 3’s and the 1/2/3’s.
The course was fantastic: smooth with plenty of turns, power sections, a little wind, some uphill ramps, off-camber spiral, and the “six pack” of barriers.  Weather was perfect: 60’s with sun.

Through the brutal "6 Pack." Photo Credit: Josh Gore.

I felt good in warm-ups but didn’t eat enough on the day and had myriad other excuses which I’ll save.
In the 3’s I lined up in the 5th row (they call everybody up, so no finagling!) and I moved up into the top 15 or so before bleeding back to 20th (out of 70).  Not bad.  CX is so tough mentally and with a weak/fat body, it’s even tougher.  But it is fun in some weird sense and I do enjoy the release of competition and pushing myself.
I honestly thought about bailing on the 1/2/3’s but after some water and a hammer gel I convinced myself to line up.  Barry Wicks was staged behind me, which is hilarious.  He won, from last in the grid.  If the first race hurts, let me tell you, the second race REALLY hurts!  I was racing alright until I tried to make a pass of a bike heaven rider before a turn and didn’t come around in time.  He put me into the tape (which I probably deserved) and that killed a lot of momentum.  Nick Ramirez (Psimet/Enzo’s) passed me while I got my bike untangled and encouraged me to get back in it – which was very helpful.  My lovely wife caught some of this race and I guess I was having such a good time from the looks of it that she shouted: "it's almost over!" 
My Fango/Grifo tubies were perfect for driving in Sunrise Park.
Photo Credit: Cameron Pease.

I soon hooked up with Kevin Flowers (Wheelfast) and we rolled together the remaining laps.  I didn’t have much power but I could drive a few sections cleaner than him.  It ended up that we caught an Iron Cycles rider and the three of us worked together to avoid being lapped by Wicks.  By “work together” I mean I took token pulls for like 2 straights and then sucked wheel.  Oh, and our “working together” extended to me bumming a drink from Kevin.  Water never felt so refreshing!  I promised that I would pull to the line if he gave me a drink and I was true to my word.  I did pull, but then I pulled faster until I had a gap.  Lesson: never help a wounded road racer.  They are no good sons of guns! 

The Chicago race afforded a chance to say hello to guys I won’t see until March or April on the road.  It was good to catch up a little and remind myself that there are some strong dudes to face off against in 2012.  This winter is not a time for complacency!

The whole weekend was a blast.  Big ups to my in-laws for taking the kids for the weekend.  I’m very thankful for the chance to spend an entire weekend with my best friend, race my bike, and just have fun.

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