Iron Cross

First race back since Toona. After the forced break I was back to training and feeling good again. Then came another interruption – albeit, an intended one. And any opportunity to travel, relax, and generally eat and drink too much is worth getting my ass handed to me in the next race. So with a week of training back in my legs I was going to throw myself into the fire and see how much upchuck would result from racing at Iron Cross. The Saturday race is the Iron Cross Lite – a traditional cyclocross race. Sunday, the Iron Cross.

I traveled to PA with Judd and Dave. Judd, having committed to several weekends of boozing at weddings, birthdays, and Vegas was better suited to an all-night bender than any physical activity. He too decided to subject himself to the flogging and get his ass in shape. His race started strong in the killer-B’s, but he faded quickly. Dave and I encouraged him with shouts of “get on the gas fat ass” and “keep peddling doughboy” which elicited some laughter. Soon the smiles turned to copious amounts of drool. By the end of the race Judd had a “hanger” that stretched from his lower lip to stomach. Luckily, given his portly shape, the drool could rest easily on his belly.

For my race, I expected similar results. I had a good start and was around 7th coming off the starting stretch. Dave was up in the top 3 and looking to do well. On the 2nd lap I was passed by about 4 guys. They came by so fast I thought I had a flat. Dave, Wes Schempf, and Kyle Hammaker were off racing for the podium spots while I was begging for new legs. Judd, sounding like a drunk sailor, was of course handing out words of “encouragement”. Things worked out though. I settled into my own pace and found I could move through the technical sections pretty fast. On the gravel road section I was like a slug moving over poop. But I clawed my way up and moved into 5th. From there I just stayed put and counted down the laps , hoping for the pain to end. Strange that I/we pay to suffer. But racing, especially cyclocross, is fun. No denying its more fun when you do well – or at least better than expected. Dave rocked the elites and finished 2nd.

Sunday was a blast. The Iron Cross rides over diverse terrain. A 60-something mile cyclocross race with fire roads, pavement, tough hike-a-bike sections, and single track – some of which is essentially mountain bike single track. Dave was expecting good results and didn’t disappoint with a 10th. Judd and I were expecting rather different results. Our plan was more akin to “enjoying” the ride – i.e. survive. We road together for the first hour, but when we entered a long section of technical single track I lost contact with Judd. I settled into a groove and was surprised that I felt better than expected. I caught up with Mike Buchness and a group he was leading, which is good because he knows about every trail and has done just about every race. Then flatted. I chased and caught back on with them again. Then flatted again. This time I didn’t catch them again, but was making up some ground and nearing the end of the race. Then flatted – again. 3 times. I was out of CO2 and down to my last tube. I waited until eventually someone passed that had a pump to lend me. Lots of riders passed, but it took away until someone had a pump. Most were using CO2 too and I didn’t want to put someone in my position. The first pump I got sucked and didn’t work – so I had to wait for another. I finished with a rear tire that was about 3/4 full, but it was enough. In the end, it was a great event. Much like the Shenandoah 100. Not as tough, but had the same festive environment and camaraderie.

It was a great weekend. Great to be back racing, with friends, and great weather. I’ll do it again next year.

One more quick story…Saturday night we stayed at the Camp Hostel. Some random motorcycle traveler stayed in the dorm room with us. Around 3am his snoring woke us all up and forced us to move our mattresses into the dining area to get some sleep. In hind sight, we should have forced him out, but at the time it was the fastest way to get some much needed sleep.

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~ by Indy on October 17, 2007.

One Response to “Iron Cross”

  1. welcome back, fatty.

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