Monday, September 21, 2009

040: opening weekend

Nittany Cross

The first race of cross season is always so exciting. The only feeling that I can try and equate it to is the first day of school, seeing friends I haven’t seen in a while, digging in for a new season of cross. Totally awesome. Fuck, who am I kidding I never got this excited for school. I admit I had some additional stress coming into the race. Friday, Diane realized that her knee just wasn’t going to happen this fall, and she pulled the plug on her season all together. That was a tearful, angry tough decision. UGG.
Next, I am starting in a new class, had no call up, and frankly was unsure if it was going to be a scrum start or order of registration or what. Comes to find out the entire call up for the masters was fucked up. I think they used the ’07 rankings, the wrong people were in the wrong places, then it was all scrum. Look, I’m old, I’m tired, I can’t afford to waste energy on the scrum. Make this easy: use the right rankings, then go by order of registration for god’s sake.

Aside from the call up fiasco, Andy and company did a marvelous job, the venue rules, the course was awesome fun, results were fast, everything was awesome. Hats off to the Nittany crew. Get the call up protocol down and you guys will be total rock stars. Grumpy cross nerds like me get all worked up over stuff like call ups.
Anyway, I scrummed myself into the 5th row. Got a good start. I’m pretty confident in my abilities to get through traffic, I moved up into the top 20, as high as 16th. Halfway through the 2nd lap I rolled my tubular. Shocker huh? You know I roll tubulars like it’s my freaking job. When I signaled to Diane that I was coming in with a rolled tubular I could tell she was more bummed than me. I fell back into 35th or so and tried to move back up into the points, but it was too fast, and I made very little forward progress at that point. In the end Kelly and I went back and forth a few times, before I was able to slip away and finish 31st. Fuck, I just got the Heisman, no points, no call up for the Granogue/Wissahickon weekend … yet….

You know my day was kinda made when Monkey was celebrating International Talk Like A Pirate day by wishing ole Jan a happy birthday in Pirate speak. Jan has promised a long and painful retribution… That was funny as hell.
Later that night, Monkey and I hosted the boys (Zach, Gunnar and Jeffy). We had pasta and watched Office Space. Zach is working on the TPS reports right now, and Gunnar has a red swingline stapler on order.
Monkey was on a conference call with some Facebook friends reviewing how I destroyed this glue job and getting some ideas and additional techniques for hoping to keep my rubber on the wheels. The next morning as soon as I saw Jan he had some other ideas to help keep my tires on the wheel. It’s good to have great people around you. Thanks guys.

Talking to Gunnar about my race, I commented that I was glad that I could get some space between Kelly and I before the finish. Gunnar asked me if Kelly was a great sprinter. I commented, “not particularly, but fighters fight. Fighters fight.”

Charm City

Early Sunday morning. My C3-Athletes Serving Athletes brothers and sisters and I get to the venue long before the sun comes up and start putting the course together. This year Nystrom and Auer made some subtle changes that even further dialed in the course. Like Saturday it was a fast course, but with the new stairs, and the section on top of the stairs, it was so much fun. I had probably 10 folks come up to me and tell me how great the course was, how great the event was. Congrats to everyone. Proud to apart of the home team.

The C3 start followed protocol, and was much less stressful for me. Everyone with points got a call up, then by order of registration. Sweet, I was 4th row, as the 3rd nerd to register for the race over a month ago on a faithful August morning at 7:00am …
The prospect of getting shut out of the points again weighed pretty heavily on me. I really didn’t want to rely on early registration for my staring spot at Granogue. The whistle went off and I got a good start. Again I worked through traffic well, and battled for wheels. It was tough racing. The first two laps were the fastest I have ever raced. I was dangling on the back of a group. I would start to get gapped and then creep back on in the corners. Out of the corners it was sprint and hope for the best. In the end, I finished up 16th. Grabbed some points, and best of all I kept my tires on the rim. All in all a pretty damn good race for me…

A couple of other highlights:

- I announced the cat4 race at 9:00. It was fun. At 9:25 one of the racers from Route 1/Arrow Bicycles gave me the finger as I made the observation that my teammate Kevin Dillard was sitting on his wheel using him. I may have encouraged Kevin to continue using than rider for all he is worth. That was pretty funny. So Mayhew/Ken/Joe/Erik how long did it take you to have someone tell you that you were number one?
- Monkey, Sven and I ran the kids race, that was HUGE. I have to apologize to everyone that had to watch me walk around in my skinsuit while we ran the races. Really, I don’t love the lycra all that much. The kids race was directly after Nystrom and My race. Essentially we came off course and right to the kids race. It’s not too creepy that a fatguy in lycra was having about 30 kids race around the field was it? As we handed out water bottles stuffed with candy to the kids I said to one cute little girl, “any other time it’s not okay to take candy from a man wrapped in spandex in the city park…” Her mother laughed.

- How badly is your coach willing to help you get better and race well? Well to say I was a little anxious before my race might be an understatement. Right after Mayhew came off the course from his excellent 3rd place ride, I called him over. I directed him, “Dude stand here.” I proceeded to attack him using a duck under to body lock and drove him up in to the air in a bear hug. To say he was startled might be an understatement as he exclaimed, “whoa! Whoa!1” I set him gently on the ground, and said, “sorry dude, wrestled for 15 years, felt like I needed to get that out of the system.” I grabbed my bike and set off to stage, I was now ready to go. What other coach offers that kind of service huh?
- I hugged two good friends this weekend both told me the loved me. Good people, really good people out there.

Anyway, great weekend, it felt great to back with the Mid-Atlantic Brotherhood and Sisterhood, it felt great to be racing again.

Man, I fucking love this game.

pictures stolen from

“Yeah, well, that may be. But at least I never slept with Lumbergh.”


Becky said...

Nicely done - congrats on the great ride yesterday! Moving up with the fast guys and being fast, that rocks. See you at Lilypons ... is it bad that I'm hoping for some rain this week to make things good and slickery?

Anonymous said...

Marc- You kicked some Ass fer sher! Great first weekend. Just wish they opened the main restrooms at T-Town earlier. The wait to "drop a few pounds" at Charm City with Porta-potties was shorter than at T-Town w/ real flush toities at 8:30AM.
Call-up protocols? They're all F'd-up. Don't get me started, just drive through the field to where you shoulda been if you can.

Jan had a birthday??? Is he finally 13? Send him back to Germany I say (anonymously of course).

Sorry about Diane, build for 2010!

Chris Mayhew said...

I was just telling Cheryl the bear hug story today. I wasn't alarmed till it crossed my mind you were going to pin me. At that point I started reaching for your throat.

Anyways, the first race I ever announced a guy came up and was completely all up in. I learned real early on not to mock racers.

Judi said...

sounds like you had a great race. i am bummed for diane even more now that i know how fun cx is. i feel for her.

One Gear Queer said...

Marc, You should use TUFO tape. Never ahd a problem.
Mount a tubbie in minutes,nt days or hours and all that other voodoo.

Your "old" team mate from NY