Me, soaking up the rays on the beach.
Stony Creek is one of my favorite courses. Last Sunday lived up to my expectations. Sand? Check. Mud? Check. Hairpin turns? Check. Suffering and pain? Absolutely.
Here's how it went down:
Start on a nice, wide paved area (read: lots of speed) followed by a funnel-like procession onto a 6 ft. wide bike path. Then grass, then sand, then mud, then grass and lots of turns, two barriers, then tons o' turns, then two more barriers then the finish. Wash, rinse, repeat - 5 more times. Had a nice little battle for 11th with a fellow teammate, but alas, a mis-handled corner on the second to last lap and I came in 12th. I love that in 'cross there are gut-wrenching battles for 11th place. Awesome.
Some observations/learnings from the race:
- I'm kinda stagnant right now - 11th or 12th in the last 3 races. Some of the guys I was beating a few races ago are now on the podium. What gives?
- I actually felt pretty good on the bike for a change. Lungs weren't there though.
- I'm FINALLY getting used to the "new" pedals - didn't have any issues clipping in (Yee Haw!)
- The steed is going to need a serious overhaul at the end of the season.
- I've never thought of myself as a "big guy" but looking at race pictures, I look like a freaking umber-hulk out there. At least, compared to the other more svelte racers.
- This was confirmed when, at the race conclusion, I was told, "You'd be a lot faster if you could loose 10 - 15 lbs." Time to go on a diet?
The face says it all... Thanks Curt for taking the photos!
In order to keep my fragile ego from totally coming apart, I have also generated a short list of reasons (excuses?) for my stagnant performance:
- I was in Florida for 6 days. All I did fitness-wise was run for 30 minutes every morning and swim a little. This is comparable to walking around the mall for 20 minutes/day to prepare for the Boston Marathon.
- Sinusitis - I've got it and it makes it a real bitch to breathe.
- I got a horrible start.
- I forgot my lucky cycling cap.