The NYCross series finished this weekend. Most of my teammates headed to Greene to tackle the "Spirals of Death." I hadn't gotten a chance to ride in Albany yet this year, so I betrayed the team and decided to see how I stacked up against the eastern dudes. Last year I routinely finished in the back of their 3/4 races, so I really wanted to see if the new training regimen and new found skills from Cycle-Smart had paid off. They did.
I had also heard a lot about the course, it's epicness, and a gorilla banging a drum at the top of an insane run up. Bob hitched a ride with me and the 2:30 commute consisted of the normal pre-race talk. Training, racing, future bike purchases, tubulars and upcoming Spring races . . . We got to the race a little late and then I ran into a CBRC guy that I met at the Cycle-Smart camp. Turns out he broke his collar bone at Gloucester. He was going strong this year and had two new Conquest Pro Teams for this years campaign, so I was pretty bummed for him. The thought of losing a whole CX season after all of that training, planning and purchasing is a little daunting. Certainly pales in comparison to some of the curve balls that life can throw you, but a major bummer none the less.
Bob and I were racing the 3/4. The race before us finished late, so by the time we got on the course they made an announcement that we needed to be on the start line in 5 minutes so we couldn't complete a full lap. This probably wasn't the best course to miss a preview of or shortcut the warm up. The race started fast and flat. I didn't get a great start, but since I didn't really know where the course was going, that was fine by me. The course started out normal enough, but then we hit the run up everyone was talking about. Steep, muddy, and very long. Very long, muddy and steep (it bears repeating). Then came a couple hundred yards of peanut butter. I've had some time to think of adjectives to describe the mud, but I'm still at a loss for descriptives. This stuff was crazy, power sapping, and awesome at the same time. With a nickname like Skinny Phil, power isn't exactly my strong point, but I think I held my own. I did eat mud once, but that was just stupidity. After that there was a quick downhill with a sweet berm, and then another tough run up with three steps thrown in just to make sure everyone shouldered the bike. I really dug that run up until the last lap. On the last lap, I was sprinting in hopes that the guy 20 seconds in front of me would fumble at some point and I botched the remount. When I say botched the remount I mean I smacked my junk into the back of my seat. Thankfully my junk provided a slight amount of padding for my left nut. I was pretty concerned about what was going on "down there" but I figured I'd keep on pedaling while I sorted out where my junk ended up. Luckily everything remained in place and by Tuesday or Wednesday I'd say the pain had subsided. I hit my right knee on the headset/stem a couple of weeks ago. I thought that was pretty painful at the time. In hindsight it wasn't.
All in all the course was sweet, the race was sweet, they had a keg and a chili cook off. The gorilla didn't make it to the 3/4 race which was a bummer, but I'll probably get over it. Apparently getting over the loss of gorilla is taking longer than the smacking of my junk. That's weird.
I wish I had some pictures, but my old lady (actually she wants me to stop calling her that since I'm older) wasn't in attendance. Turns out they added whoops to Greene this year. Hopefully the races aren't on the same day next year. Whoops would be epic and the lack of a gorilla is definitely weighing heavily on my mind. Maybe the gorilla is a 3/4 racer? Sorry for the stream of consciousness, I just finished a caffeine fueled 4 hour commute and I'm trying to take the edge off of the Starbucks with some of Ommegang's finest. Sort of an every man's speed ball. Isn't that what killed John Belushi? Gotta go, commin' down . . .