As if the past couple of weeks haven’t been crazy enough, I wanted to go watch Psycho-Cross at the Dick Lane Velodrome this year. I have track raced at the Dick Lane Velodrome several seasons and it really improved my road racing. After being away from track racing for several seasons, I got back down there a couple times this year and got some video .
After missing it the previous year and seeing the pictures from the Psycho-Cross race I really wanted to attend the event this year. But as the registration deadline came upon us, things get set into motion and you become pulled in different directions attempting to fit in as much as possible with the limited hours employees call a weekend.
|Photo by Ben Brian|
What I thought was going to be a simple transfer of vehicles at the velodrome turned into chaotic string of phone calls, drastic change of transportation, spastic organization, and directionally challenged, hang it all out, let’s Party event!
After finalizing my ride with Geoff, Eddie informed me that we were heading to A.T.S. to grab my Mt bike – I would not be spectating, but indeed racing – whichever race was still available once we got there – luckily the Master’s had already started, and I registered for the B’s race.
Once there I got dressed, grabbed the wallet, headed to registration, got signed up, back to Geoff’s car – and it’s locked…. back past registration, search the sea of spectators, find Geoff, back to the car, drop off wallet. Get water – no bottles.?! No time! I grab a quick outfit for the event & race back to the start line where I have about 30 seconds for them to say “Go!”
It is a nice easy uphill start to the event then into some switch backs that is Great to thin the pack out right away. I started near the back, and things were not to get much better for me, but the fun hadn’t even started yet. After the first “there is no way they could better utilize space” of a course, switchbacks, the cotton-mouth was driving me crazy, and I had no water bottle to drink from, it’s warm for October and a far stretch from the 50* and rain of this time last year.
You come out of the top switch backs, down over the curb onto the asphalt that leads you into the velodrome, dropping into the infield for a suicide lap (right hand turns). After making it through turns 3/4 of the drome, you go through a chicane on the back stretch then back onto the grass for some switch backs that loop you back around to the backside field for the only set of barriers – this was cool, because you could now see who was behind you as you double back. Next you get onto the inner track of the velodrome, then onto the ‘run-up’ to the parking lot, through some more switchbacks -remember use of space here! – then onto the grass area switchbacks then onto the asphalt back to the velodrome again…. if it sounds easy, it wasn’t. It was pretty tough! Some guys were making the run-up this year, last year only 1-2 people did the whole day.
Finally by the end of the 2nd lap I knew I wasn’t going to be in contention for anything but the “lantern rouge” (last finisher) so I called out for not just any drink – the drink of mythical creatures, the drink that turns bar wenches into Angels – BEER! Interesting how during a cross race, it is not only appropriate, but almost expected for those racing to consume this liquid beverage.
|Photo by Peachtree Bikes|
Beer was indeed quickly handed out by several spectators that seemed to take pity on my suffering and willing to add quantities of fluids to wash away said cotton-mouth. Nervous at first of racing on hops and barley, I swigged gingerly, and did a lap. No problems except for the cotton mouth rearing it’s ugly head again.
|Photo by Ben Brian|
After a couple rounds of Psycho-Cross and refreshments from the Fans, the hairpin turns started to be smoothed out, I used my brakes a little less – whether I was more relaxed in the turns or not going as fast is debatable. But 1 thing for sure, the Fun was in Full effect!
|Photo by Ben Brian|
I couldn’t tell you where I placed in the race, and really I don’t care. I had a Blast, raced a solid effort (maybe I should say I got some solid race-pace efforts), and nearly drank my entry fee worth of beer < -- that alone is a great reason for you to get out and try a cyclo-cross race this winter! BUT the main reason that you should try doing cyclo-cross is not about winning, it isn't about how well you do. Cyclo-cross is truly about bike handling skills - mounting, dismounts, carrying, and steering through terrain variations. Oh, and having Fun while getting in a great workout that your body probably isn't used too.