The crew from Mudsters of Of The Universe are trying to generate some interest here in South East Queensland and last Saturday was the second of their two part race series. I decided to go along to have a go at the Sport category race for a bit of a laugh. I mean, how hard could a 30 minute race be?
Turning up to register and there was a very professional looking SRAM van setting up as well as the mandatory coffee truck and what looked like miles of red and white bunting. It certainly looked the business!
Not having a 'cross bike, or any idea of what was going on for that matter, I entered the Sport category. For my $10 I was given the number 2 to pin to my back. Nothing like over-seeding a bloke!
The kids race was underway so I chilled by chatting to Andrew and Emma in between still trying to figure out what was going on.
After the kids race I decided to head out for one sighting lap to see where the track went. This was probably not a great idea as an athlete is such a high state of tune as myself can't just go using up his energy willy-nilly! More on that later...
Eventually we lined up for the Sport race. There were six or seven of us with two of the racers used to being at the sharp end of things on a pretty much permanent basis. Not that I had any pretense about placing anywhere except towards the rear!
So there we were, standing on the start line, chatting with the starter when all of a sudden she says "3,2,1, GO!". WTF?!? That was the start? How about some warning? I was standing there, both feet flat on the ground. Not even one foot clipped in! Ah, no problems though. When you posses legs with the explosive power of a bowl of cold custard....well....yep, you are pretty well screwed!
Not to worry though. I soon had my legs screaming at me, my heart beating at about 190bpm(fairly terminal for an old bloke) and my vision going strangely tunnel shaped.
Coming around to the barriers for the first time I was all psyched to bunny hop them but jumped off and carried my bike over them. Embarrassing, as I am sure I bunny hop logs that high in the bush.
The thing I noticed as we went around was how the leaders were still in view. This was somewhat novel for me as a perennial back marker I usually never see the leaders after the start as they are packed up and gone home before I finish! The way the course constantly wound back on itself was the reason for this encouragement.
Anyway, in the first lap or so I passed a couple of people but as I began to fade about 15 minutes into this 100 000 year..er 30 minute race I had the favour returned, being re-passed by young Emma on her single speed weapon. I almost felt better that it was done on the tarmac straight and I was way less aerodynamic than her, but hey, I know I am clutching at empty excuses!
Around this part of the race I noticed that one of the noisy spectators was particularly rowdy and once my aged eyes focused through the pain, I saw it was none other than OutDoorGaz.
He proceeded to give both Emma and myself much sage advice on how us pair of princesses needed to harden up and stop weeping. You just can't do without that sort of motivation. No, really! Thanks Gaz!
Gaz also found my camera and snapped a few mementos. I have purposefully not posted any of my own pain though. Why does everyone else look so cool and collected when on the precipice?
Anyway, eventually the pain ended. I finished in ....er, well...um..yes, I finished. Not last, but I could see it from where I was! The interesting thing is that we were all grinning like idiots at the finish. Even though I spread myself thinner than a small jar of Vegemite at a Wiggles concert, I had a ball!
Unfortunately I could only hang around for part of the B grade race to heckle Andrew as we had a school open day to check out. Could I do the open day from a reclined position was my only thought here.
I would definitely be keen to build up a ghetto 'cross bike after getting at slight taste for it. The dismounting and remounting for the barriers is way easier than I thought it would be but the intensity of the race has me thinking I wish I was into this stuff when I was in my twenties.
A proper 'cross bike would make me faster....wouldn't it....?