Friday, September 18, 2015


I showed up for cyclocross practice on Wednesday night. I knew ahead of time that I was nowhere near being fully healthy, but I wanted to get a gauge of how far off I was.

I cannot mount my bike with any speed. The act of planting a foot and rotating my hips to swing the other leg over the bike is painful. Jumping off that leg is out of the question, as is running. As for spinning, it was clear from the first bumps that though I could ride the track, it wasn't a pleasant experience on my hips. At first it just felt achy, but later in the evening my sit bones and hip joint felt super fatigued. My ribs felt fine from the bumps. Only when I started breathing heavily did I feel any discomfort there.

The good news is that my healing has progressed a lot already.

Mostly, I just enjoyed being part of the scene again. There were close to 30 people at Roberts on Wednesday. Omaha's CX scene is hot.


I think a lot about cyclocross. Of all bicycling racing, I enjoy it most. I think its because it demands my full attention to the constantly changing aspects of the race and course. When I race cyclocross, my brain is fully engaged on the current state while scanning the next 50m of the course. There is little strategy other than that. There are no team tactics, and things like drafting play a minimal role. It's simply an individual race that tests the competitor's fitness and their bike handling skills.

Cyclocross is a race of attrition. I've had a lot of experience racing like this. Long before I was into cycling, I was a competitive runner. Running is all about attrition. From there, I went into non-drafting triathlon; triathlons are triple-attrition events. Then I got into road racing. Cat 5,4 and 3 racing are all about individual survival; team tactics are rare, if ever exercised.

It was only this past year when I raced with Harvest that we actually tried anything together. Team racing has all been new to me, and quite frankly, I struggled with it.  Not because I didn't want to be a team player, but because it doesn't come naturally to me. You'd think it'd be easy to grasp the concepts of team racing. But in the heat of battle, when my brain is taxed, it seems that my racing IQ drops about 20 points. In its place, instincts of survival and attrition kick in. I have a way to go before team tactics becomes intuitive.

In the meantime, there is cyclocross. It comes naturally to me. I like the style of racing, I like the fitness involved, and respect the bike handling skills.

I'm looking forward to being healthy again. I dream of going full throttle and feeling the hurt of lactic acid burn in place of a bruised hip and tender ribs. I'll be there soon enough.

Happy Friday. Thanks for reading.

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