Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Upping the ante

Cyclocross season will officially be underway this weekend.  Tough to think that all year long I've been thinking about 'cross season, training for 'cross season, not worrying about the now but always looking forward to 'cross season and now it is here. 

I've decided to expand my horizons this season; to make things harder on myself.  This weekend I (plus Jeff, Shelli, Todd, Charles, Golden and Owen) will head to Louisville, KY for the Derby City Cup, a USGP race, instead of heading to Raleigh for the opening two races of the NC Cyclocross Series.  We're upping the ante, expanding our little bike racing horizons in the hopes that we break through to a new level of racing. 

I'm just hoping to survive and not embarass myself.  This season for me is all about learning more about myself.  For me, pushing the limits of what I think I can physically accomplish is the essence of bike racing.  The beauty of turning yourself inside out seems masochistic to someone who doesn't know better, but finding the edge, going over it, and surviving is such an essential part of bike racing.  What saddens me are the cyclists who don't push themselves to the brink.  I once asked someone on a ride, "How do you know how far is too far until you go there?" 

I know that the bike as life metaphor is hackneyed, but it is also totally appropriate in the context of my life.  For me, the bike is a lifelong pursuit, an inescapable aspect of life.  I find my calmest and most meditative moments in the saddle.  This morning as I pedaled down the frost covered greenway, spooking rabbits out of the underbrush and trying not to slip out on leaves slicked flat with moisture and conveniently arranged just so in the turns, my thoughts unhinged from the stress and pressure of the day to come and my mind was free.  My legs pumped up and down, my heart pumped blood, my lungs took in cold air, my skin was alive with the cold air that struck it.  I inventoried everything within and without in rapid, subconscious fashion.  I was free.  For all of the time that I have ridden bikes, that feeling has never waned and it keeps me coming back for more.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Odyssey

The bike industry calls with the voice of a thousand sirens. Tempting. Luring. I feel myself succumbing to her. Yearning. It's the same old pull that I've felt since I was 15. The heady aroma of rubber and grease, the gleam of bike frames lined up row upon row. The complete immersion in the two-wheeled world is a heady experience. I love it, embrace it, and come back for more. I am forever a hopeless bike geek, shop rat. What that says about me, I don't know. The path I tread is caught between two worlds. One world is rigid with expectation and responsibility. The other world still serious, but with a gleam in its eye, a smirk on its face and a beer in its outstretched hand.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

'Cross season has now officially started!

Today was a great day at Domtar Park in Kingsport, TN. The course was mostly grass with a long paved straightaway and some interesting up and down, twisty-turny sections that made me feel like I couldn't handle my bike to save my life. The flyover was great and provided a very cool addition to the already stellar racing that MSG Cross puts on in E. TN.

Golden and Shelli rode away from the women's CX4 field early and never looked back. They finished 1-2 in their first outing in the Fiets Maan Racing/Luna Cycles colors. Jeff finished a very strong second to an always dangerous Andy Applegate in the Master's race. And I, unfortunately, suffered a DNF due to a pedal falling off while running in 7th place in the CX3 race. The group of 3 that comprised 4th through 6th place were clearly in my sights, but it was not meant to be today. I'm just surprised I wasn't shot off the back from the gun as I didn't know where my fitness was at this point. Apparently, in addition to catching a cold recently, I also caught some fitness...

Tomorrow we head back for more and will hopefully have good results to post again.

Friday, October 02, 2009

No, I'm not dead, but thanks for thinking of me.

B-U-S-Y is the word of my life right now.  Sad that I haven't even had a spare moment to write here, but such is life right now.  I have been squeezing riding in around teaching and the shop, mostly through interval laden commutes to and from school with a dramatically overstuffed messenger bag slung over my shoulder.  What's really weird is riding a bike without it - I feel like I drop 50 lbs.

Tomorrow is the first big test of the 'cross season with the first race of the MSG Cross series in Kingsport, TN.  In an ongoing effort to pursue all new technologies in an effort to bring our adventures home, I am going to try a little iPhone video show.  Hopefully, the window below will broadcast what we need, if not, we'll try again!

Video clips at Ustream