Friday, December 11, 2015

Mud and Patience

My cyclocross season ended on a good note. First and foremost, I managed to retain my current level health through the weekend. I still crashed, more so than usual due to the challenging conditions. However, aside from a few scrapes on the legs, I was otherwise unaffected. My bike remained healthy, too: no snapped derailleurs or worse throughout the weekend.

Having a good starting position in a big field helped a lot. This was especially true during Sunday's race, where I was able to line up behind Scott Daubert (Trek Cyclocross Collective), who had won the previous two day's races. I hit my Sunday start well and was able to find a window to tuck in behind him and Doug Graver (Mafia Racing). The front of our field overtook the stragglers of the M35+ quickly. Then a M35 rider's crash gapped me off from the Daubert and Graver. I panicked a little and probably pressed too much, resulting in washing out my front wheel during a greasy turn. This was to be my only mistake in the race, but it cost me as I was passed by Scott Moseley (360 Racing), who ultimately took the final spot on the podium. Still, I was satisfied with taking fourth. To date, this was my best showing at Jingle Cross.

I learned a lot while racing in the mud this weekend. A good portion of that will go towards equipment purchases for next year. However, the thing that I gained most about racing in the mud had less to do with equipment, and more about one's frame of mind. Mud requires patience. Mud slows things down a lot. The temptation to think that you're not going fast enough can lead to over exertion and elevated heart rates. When you really need it, like when shouldering your bike up Mt Krumpit, your heart rate can easily spike over the top. It took me until Sunday to figure this out. In fact, after my single crash on Sunday, I spoke the word "patience" in my mind almost as if a mantra. I think it helped. I don't recall feeling really horrible at any one point in the race.

It was great seeing so many friends at this race, many of whom I've met while racing. We also brought a big group from Omaha. Our own Midwest Cycling community had 14 racers make the trip. The camaraderie of sharing this experience in challenging conditions, as well as the group effort made to give the best possible chance of success, such as teammates helping in pits and tuning up bikes afterwards made this even more memorable. Thanks especially to Kent McNeill for providing the Trek Store Sprinter van and tents for this weekend.

So with that, my one month cyclocross season is done. I miss it already.

Happy Friday. Thanks for reading.

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