Sunday, October 11, 2009
While wondering around in search of some fall foliage photo opportunities, I came across this dandelion in full bloom and in total denial of the season. His perky head was popping out over a bed of bright red fallen leaves, as if unaware of tomorrows frost or pending winter's arrival. A summer of rain, has left us in a deficit of sunny days and yet made so many plants grow this summer. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is in denial about saying goodbye to summer.
Hesitant to put summer and racing behind me, I seem to have fallen into cyclocross racing. Some of you may ask: "what is cyclocross?" , and If I may quote pro mountain biker racer, Jane Pearson after her first cross race this Saturday, ....."It's just mental!" Some of you may not know Jane, and I can fill you in: She is not referring to thinking or anything using the mind, but to pure insanity and craziness.
Cyclocross is a bit of a sub-culture in itself, laden with spectators, cowbells and just plain hanging out and riding hard. It could take place just about anywhere, and could be on any combination of dirt, grass, gravel, roots, sand, pavement, mud, staircases or whatever the promoter can throw together to make a pack of cyclists spike their heart rates as they hurdle, run and ride around like they are mental. The fact that it is short and quite intense is what I like most.
Saturday's race was in a city park in Newburgh NY, and the course was freshly topped with a night of rain to help lubricate the excitement of the race. The park had really cool old growth trees, some with incredible climbing branches. This one pictured was filled with local pro, Christian Favata's personal cheering section. One tree was so large that even pixy's ape arms could not measure the diameter. After a season of mountain bike racing in remote forrest parks, it was a refreshing change to race in a more urban setting. I had the chance to trade smiles with the local town recycler ( town bag man ), who happened to be on a bike as well, and must have been feeling like he fit right in with the festivities.
I had an awesome time out on the course racing myself. Laura had helped me the day before with some mounting and dismounting tips, and it really helped. I used my mountain bike, and the practice the day before helped me figure out the most efficient way to carry my bike. The front triangle is too small to shoulder, and I am too short to carry from the top tube, so the down tube was perfect with my long arms. I had two really good runs through the barriers where I actually came off the ground. Imagine that? This has been some year. First I had to somersault and now I am jumping. If you asked me at twenty, what I would be doing at fifty, I would have never guessed. Cross racing is pretty cool.