Thursday, November 8, 2012

Humiliation on the horizon

Hello readers!

It is November 8th, 2012. Barack Obama is our president again for the next 4 years. Is that good or bad? Time will tell. I'm just glad I won't have to deal with the incessant political ads again for a while! Not to mention everyone's politically charged Facebook posts (guilty at times). Anyway...

The last time I wrote in this blog, I had just completed my first ever bike race! I finished it, so it was a resounding success! And I had thought that would be all for me this year. I thought I'd have all winter and spring to prepare for whatever my second race would be. That way, I might have a chance at improving my standing!

Alas, that is not to be. Instead, I'm going to experience nothing but misery and humiliation this Sunday at my first ever cyclocross race. My buddy Dan wants me to do it. And even my wife wants me to do it. I think they just want to see me suffer for their amusement.

What is cyclocross? It's sorta like those steeplechase races at the Olympics...except on a bike. Cyclocross courses are usually short, usually very technical, over varied surfaces. And like steeplechase, there are obstacles.

After obtaining my cyclocross bike this summer, I wanted to eventually try out cylcocross racing. To that end, I attended a clinic that helped teach beginners about how to race cyclocross: CXpreX

Why would one need to be taught how to race? You just ride your bike, right? Well...it's those pesky obstacles that bugger up everything. There's a technique to getting off the bike, getting over the obstacle, and getting back on without losing much speed or time:


From what I have gathered, there are actually a few different ways to accomplish the whole mounting and dismounting. At CXpreX, they taught it a bit different than the guy above. But it's all frigging difficult! At the CXpreX clinic, they first showed us how to mount quickly and smoothly. I had trouble mimicking the technique. I would either slow down too much to carefully mount the bike, or if I tried to do it quickly, I'd wind up in great discomfort and put any future children of mine in great jeopardy.

Dismounting was no easier. The idea is to have both feet unclipped form your pedals before dismounting. Then you swing your leg up over the bike, while your other foot supports you on the other pedal which is already unclipped. Then you simply step off the bike. But I had great difficulty unclipping my left foot and placing the foot back on the pedal so that it won't accidentally clip back in! My other big problem was the whole stepping off the bike step. While balanced on that one pedal, I had a tendency to hold my bike away from my body because it felt more stable and balanced to me. But the problem is, once you step off the bike like that, the bike is very far away from you. And the bike would sorta get loose of my grip and go rolling off by itself, and eventually crash to the ground.

I was a total wreck. I was EASILY the most incompetent person at the clinic which included other beginners of all sexes and ages, on all manner of bikes. My ineptitude was mighty impressive. Then, after the teaching portion, they staged a practice race. It was supposed to be four laps. I did two laps and quit because I just could NOT go on. Cyclocross is INTENSE! I'm just not used to or trained for that high an exertion level for any amount of time!

I have yet to try practicing how to mount and dismount since that disastrous clinic back in September. And I have done zero workouts to improve my anaerobic threshold, steady-state level, or really anything. Soooo....yeah....well prepared for a race, as usual!

The race is part of the Kisscross series of cylcocross races. It's this coming Sunday in Kalamzoo, MI. It'll be me, Dan, and Charles. My wife Kendal is coming for documentary photography purposes. You know, for laughs later on. She's going to do the Turkey Trot 5K the day before instead. Smart girl!

Here's someones race footage of the course from last year:



The course looks like it's over grass, single track, blacktop, and sand. For obstacles, there's a triple barrier and a set of stairs to run up. Ample opportunity for me to fall or look silly in some manner. The Adult-C (beginner race) is 30 minutes.

I got on the trainer yesterday for about 20 minutes. I'll probably workout today. That leaves me two days to get fit!

I'll tell you how it all goes!

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