The cross field was the biggest category of the day with 50 riders. To deal with the surge of cross racers they split the field. Thankfully I was able to stay next to Billy Campbell, Nick, Andy, Mike Golay and the Threshold boys. We also had some serious Old man power on the front line courtesy of Mr Eric Carlson. He is basically the Clark Kent of bike racers. He seems so unassuming off the bike. On it? Holy shit. That man is gonna do some damage this cross season. We got the 30 seconds to go and the "GO!" off we went like a thundering herd down the jetway towards takeoff errr the holeshot. Have I mentioned all I have been doing riding-wise is endurance for the last 6 weeks?
My first mistake of the day was trying to stay on Billy's wheel. The speed was high but not totally unmanageable. We were all locked in in a 10 person paceline. Nick was right beside me, surfing up and down the group. At some point Eric, Billy and a few other riders put the hammer down and rode us off their wheels. We were now a chase group of about 8. Mark Suprenant who started a minute back joined us mid-way through the second lap. At this point I was starting to feel it. Legs were getting loaded up. I started to ride "smart." Usually I just get on the front nose in the wind and damn the torpedos. But I figured hey let's let some of these guys do the work. That is what Resultsboy would do. What could go wrong when you have 8 dudes on cx bikes flying down a fireroad with small rocks sticking up all over the place at 25-28 mph like it was tuesday night worlds? Apparently a lot. As the paceline worked through its rotation my spidey sense went from "attentive" to "eject" I just knew the rider at the front looked sketchy as hell. Not 5 seconds later it was like someone threw a hand grenade into our groupetto. KaBOOM!
Dude hits a TINY rock and goes down HARD. Taking all of us out. Bodies and bikes are going everywhere. I see a Threshold rider do a total endo/flip. I hit the deck hard and slide over bikes and bodies. Its like something you see in Paris-Roubaix. We all get up except for one poor Paradise rider. He is in the fetal position groaning. I ask him if he's ok. Everyone gets on their bikes and takes off. I look at him again he kind of waves me off and I hop on my bike. The bike won't move. Shit. Ok I take the wheel off and check the dropouts. Wheel is totally fubared. So taco'd I can't even turn the wheel. I start running. Everyone goes by me. I get some oh shits. And are you ok. And damn Chip. Lots of good vibes. At some point it hits me. WWMWD. Ie., What Would Mike Wissell Do? He would smash it that is what he would do. So I take the wheel out of the dropouts and smash it back into some type of trueness. I unhook the rear brake and get on it. I am now STOKED to be pedaling. I ride back to the start/finish and get a new wheel and head back out.
I am now in full on hunter killer mode. How many can I catch? Can I catch anyone? Not really. I did all 5 laps. Flying and was pretty much a solid DFL. But I learnt a lot. You do not surrender. Never. Never quit. There was a lot of collateral damage to say the least. But we all had one Hell of a time I will say that.
It was so great seeing everybody. I even saw my fave CCB rider. So good to see Chandler. And Pete. And Mike Zocchi. And Dog...awesome. I am counting down the days til Sept. I may even have to break my no racing cx in August. I will talk with Coach Al about that. He knows these things. Damn I don't even know how to sit in on a paceline...