Monday, November 17, 2008

Poop Fest 2008: Washington County Fairgrounds Cyclocross

This will forever be known as the race when I got bucked off my bike into a soup of poop. In a rodeo corral, no less.

Venue: Washington County Fairgrounds. Course: long, flat, bumpy, lots of straightaways and hairpin turns. Each lap ended in a large livestock show corral that resembled a mud swamp after a week of heavy rain. I wasn't fooled by the benign appearance of that "mud." I'm from the county and have been to a county fair or two in my time. I know happens in livestock show corral. Pooping. Ew.

Here is D, the 2008 State Champion in the Clydesdale Division. My B.B.M. is the fastest fatty in the state:
My own finish was less than spectacular (20th), but I can honestly say that I worked as hard as I could for 45 minutes. And it was the first race in over a month that I didn't feel dead tired going into the weekend...acupuncture works wonders. After my session on Friday afternoon, I felt better than I had in three months.

I had a great start and was in the top ten going into the wood chip pile that was a 1/4 of the way through the lap. Then we hit the back of the 35+ field and most of us were forced to dismount. I got clubbed in the head by a gal who shouldered her bike on the left side and got tangled up with someone else that lost her footing.

I was able to ride most of the mud pit, but the first time through I dismounted (more like flopped of) the bike on the wrong side and ended up having to carry my bike with my bad shoulder. Somehow my jersey was up around the bottom of my bra, a fact that I didn't remember until I was puzzling in the shower later why there was so much mud INSIDE of my bra when i was wearing both a jersey and a base layer.Something I want to work on in the last races of the season is getting a good finish on the first lap and start on the second lap-basically the second 8-10 minutes of the race. I'm not sure whether its a warm-up issue or if I'm racing beyond my fitness at the start. but I'm consistently struggling with that chunk of time.
At this race, it seemed like once the second lap started, every 45 seconds I was losing a place. By the third lap, I am able to pick up steam and ride hard for the last two laps/twenty minutes, but that retarded lap 2 killed me in terms of overall finish.I was racing Mary Z. for most of the race. Mary was a teammate of mine when I did Team in Training in 2005. We all did the Olympic Distance race that year, and Mary was the fastest person, male or female, on the team that year. I think she's in medical school now, but she still has the time and the legs to come out to a cross race every once in a while. She's a remarkable athlete.I got a 25 meter gap on Mary and three other gals going through the last lap. I remember coming into the six-pack thinking that if I could get through it cleanly, that I might be able to make my goal of finishing in the Top 15.

The next thing I remember thinking is "C'mon, seriously?" and I was on my back in the grass by the second barrier. I think I came in too hot at the first barrier and either couldn't get clipped out or didn't get clipped out fast enough. I was off the bike, but my front tire squarely hit the barrier. I tripped over that one and practically face-planted into the second.

I was able to get up quickly, and only one of the gals caught me in the barriers. I jumped on my bike, clipped in and started pedaling. Nothing happened. Chain was off. Again. Story of my life this season.

Once the chain was back on, I was far behind my pursuers, but I chased like my ass was on fire. My bike is crying out a loud metal on metal protest from the rear and my right brake lever is tilted 45 degrees off-kilter. I caught one of them quickly, but couldn't get around the other three. As we came into the shit swamp for the last time, my strategy was to ride as far in as I could and run like hell to the finish.

Halfway through the bog, my front wheel hit a rut and the bike just stopped. I pitched over the right side into the slop. My bike just stood there, stuck upright in the mud. I felt like it was mocking me.

I scrambled up as quickly as one possibly could out of a puddle of E. Coli, and grabbed the bike to start running. It didn't move. The poop was laying claim to my bike. I remember yelling, not unironically, "SHIIIIITTTTTTTTT". The second time I pulled at it so hard that I was lucky that it didn't fly out of my slimy, filthy gloves and decapitate another racer. Here I am trying to remount after the spill:
At this point I'm only aware of a few things: D, who is practically doubled over from laughing at me and my legs and lungs, which are burning sulphur fire. I had to get moving or I was just going to lay down in the poop and let it claim me. I started slowly at first, but I caught a pink jersey out of the corner of my eye and just began to run.I made it to the finish line before the pink jersey and stopped. I wanted to puke. I wanted the red spots to clear from my eyes. I wanted a goddamn beer.

Congrats to all of my most excellent cross lady friends, all of whom had GREAT races (or if the race was so-so, the beer-drinking afterwards was GREAT): Beth (State Champ and Series Winner 35+), Heidi, Sarah Tingey, CoCo, Sage, Margi, Megan, Kristin, Sarah Tisdale, Shari, Sherry, Traci, Anne, Heather G., Jan, Tessa....and a big congrats to my super duper fantastically sweet teammate Jen, who fought her way to 6th place Sunday and second place overall in the Women's B division. Losing doesn't suck as much when you're getting beat by a bunch of fast-as -hell class acts.

And a big shout out to all of the friends, new and old, that have cheered their asses off all season: D, Jeff, Kenji, Dave, Chris, Danny, Doug, the whole PV crew (Matt, Sal, Sierra, etc, etc), Andy, Tom, Denny, Joel, Karen and everyone else that cheered, laughed or heckled me through the season.

The end of Cross Crusade means the end of the season for lots of folks, but I plan on racing the singlespeed at Kruger's on Sunday and signed up for both of the USGP races months ago.

But I'm starting to thing that it's really time to dust off the mountain bike again.....


sbt said...'s tempting!

Lindsay said...

Isn't it? I'm tossing around the idea of Forest Park or Powell Butte on Saturday Morning....