True cyclocross season has arrived at last, complete with the Monday morning picture-tagging scramble. It seems that 37 weeks was not enough time for everything to fall magically into place for a season of CX dominance. Really, I didn't feel ready at all, but I was also tired of waiting.
In the end, the weekend was double-awesome for me, because it was not only the start of OVCX, but it was also Frank's first visit to Bloomington since July. So honestly, I wasn't so much excited about my own race as I was about this:
My 'cross protege did quite well in his OVCX debut, and I think he did an effective job at charming the crowd around the Shamrock tent, even if the case of Yuengling that he brought was deemed a nice gesture but generally unimpressive. I can't say how great it was to be among my 'cross family again and to also have him by my side. I had an odd moment where I went back to my tiny lime green car, saw a large white Cannondale leaned against it, and realized that this is all real. It's not just some game of pretend that I've been playing all summer. New life, new season.
Of course, there was the converse moment where I chose not to hang my bike next to a different large white bike on the rack because I didn't want to offend anyone with my bike cooties. The first race of the season was not without its moments of awkwardness, but overall I felt many of the fears that I've had all summer were relieved by the experience.
|Yeah, the 'cross tongue is back.|
It went pretty okay for the first 3.5 laps. Of course, it felt awful like the first one always does. The fact that I raced three weeks ago did very little to relieve that, as any progress toward the pain ignoring ability that develops through the season had already worn off. The only advantage is that I feel much less trashed in the aftermath than I did after Relay Cross, so perhaps it helped my recovery, if not my pain tolerance.
Anyway, I mixed it up pretty well in solidly not-last place, and was performing at "exceeds expectations" levels (given my expectations were super low). Unfortunately, since barriers are obviously not my friends this season, I tripped over the very last one of the race, smashed my face on my stem, and lost three places. However, since there is really very little difference between 25th and 28th place, I just counted it as a good effort, was thankful to still have all my teeth, and resumed my training on Monday with the hopes of building upon that effort.