I am back on my bike
trying to get ready for the National Championships in Madison
in early January
My legs are doing OK, but the thumb is not really ready for a lot of banging around
There is a lot of banging around on a X course
That's how I broke the thumb in the first place
The cast is off and the Doctor has told me that the bone is healed -
but not much flexibility and the is much pain.
I need to decide what I'm going for
watching the Pros
supporting Kathleen, Landon, Mark and Alijah
go as hard as I can
or just hanging out in one of the most outstanding cities in the country
AT THE NATIONAL CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Monday, December 17, 2007
Over 2000 racers showed up at the National X Championships to contest the age group categories, or to race in the huge festive event, or maybe to race, party and watch the elite racers tear it up. We - the old goats of the biking world - are very grateful for the age groups. Within all of the age groups there is a wide range of abilities - Ned Overrand, and Steve Tilford are not kids anymore. In my Sat. race we had the 50 - Overrand - 55, 60, 65 and 70+ age groups on the course at the same time. The younger fast guys started first and every 15-20 seconds another group was started.
Here's the situation. Ned and company started catching the slower old guys before they could finish one lap and the officials were pulling the lapped and soon to be lapped riders. The 60, 65, and 70+ were smaller groups and some of the pulled racers were actually in contention for medals. There are some good reasons to pull riders - confusion in the placing, danger in passing, and unfair advantages. But, to pull a rider who might get on the podium is not one of the good reasons. So, the officials decided to void the 60, 65 and 70's and have them race again on Sunday.
On Sat. we had semi frozen ruts and 2" of snow and of course the wind was blowing and it was snowing. At 11:00 on Sunday the sun was out, it was calm and completely frozen conditions. Both days were a challenge. In the Sat event I was riding strong, fast and had great control of the bike. I passed some of the fast guys from the 55's - really fast guys like Dan Meyer, Gordie Paulson-many many time National road champion and super fast nice guy team mate Landon Beachey with ease. This is going to be a great race!!! I believe I was sitting in 3rd place in the 60's when I had a rear flat and still had 1 1/4 laps to go. I passed the pits and made the decision, perhaps a bad one, to keep on racing rather than change the wheel - both take too much time. I rode it out and got passed by two 60's and my fast friend Landon. In spite of of the decision and the finish I felt great - good form and a flow that kept me flying in some difficult course conditions.
Sunday - Race #2 We had smaller fields than Sat - some went home others didn't want to race twice ... and the conditions were worse than Sat. But, we had a much bigger group cheering us on - they were gathering to watch the elite racers. There were a lot of our truly wild Iowa X racers and spectators spread around the course giving me amazing encouragement.
But. It just wasn't my day. I didn't have the flow, confidence, aggression... that I had on Sat. I'm tellin' you, I was all over the place and doing it slow. Over the years I have been a consistent racer - I have no idea what the difference was between these two races. With the small group I was able to hang on to 4th place.
Our medal presentation was just before the elite awards, so once again we got to take advantage of the huge crowd that waiting for Johnson, Compton, Page and all. My training parter, Kathleen and I talk a lot about the journey aspect of our riding/racing - that everything is a part of a process. This was one big step in that journey - a very special high point in my racing and life.
I need to thank all our local X racers and supporters. Kim, Kat, Elizabeth, and Chris who came to KC to help Landon, Steve Bullerman and me. Most of all I want to thank Kat for helping me keep it intense.
There are NO Shortcuts.