Saturday, October 22, 2005

muddy Granogue & 'cross ramblings

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom.

So I ate it a few times today at Granogue. For the most part I rode the tricky stuff really well, but I had one nasty crash on the hill and had real trouble behind the water tower for the first 3 laps. End result...mud all over.

Granogue was an electrifying reminder of why I love 'cross so much.

The People
I met people for the first time, ran into people old friends, and got to hang out with the coolest folks.

fatmarc...first time meeting him in tha flesh. The guy can sure ride a bike and he does it in style. David Crouse and his lovely wife. David's another guy with it figured out, riding SS mtb's and racing 'cross, but I've also seen the guy throw down on the road as well. Dusty and Georgia back from their nationwide mtb tour to mix it up (quite successfully!) in the MAC 'cross scene. Meg & JD, always smiling and full of enthusiasm. Meg had her race face on and looked great riding the mud. All of the LSV and Alan Maryland crew, espcially Morgan's Mom Suzy...she is like the team manager taking care of every little detail. JH3 coming through with the speedy headset fix on the new ride!

All of the people make up such a wonderful supportive community. Even during the race the camaraderie among the B racers is a really cool thing to be part of. We're really battling out there, but there's always respect among the combatants.

The Race Courses
Every race is different, usually dramatically so. Granogue is like the Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo version of a 'cross course. Everything seems amplified & twisted...the run-up's are harder, the off-camber's more slippery, the road section more punishing. The whole thing is designed to push your limits in every way imaginable. There are times when you are barely in control and just hanging on for the ride. At the same time, part of the challenge is to figure out the best lines and come up with ways to save a few seconds here and there.

The Racing
The brutality of the course is a real gut-check. To me, it's all about constantly putting out big power and riding at the limit. Moments of recovery are very very brief. One has to constantly fight the voices begging you to back-off and end the suffering. When you're locked in a battle of pass or be passed (which is all race long in the B's and Masters monster fields) you really have to be mentally strong and willing to suffer just a little bit more. The suffering is real, but the satisfaction of laying it on the line is rewarding.

Aside from having to put out big power you have to gamble. If you ride all the technical stuff tentatively you'll lose places in a hurry. However, the penalty for making a mistake and hitting the dirt very real too.

No comments: