I’ve been feeling left out after the OVCX schedule was released weeks ago and Facebook is becoming full of more muddy profile pictures, #crossiscoming, and announcements of Shamrock Cycles’ new team whiskey sponsor each day. I’ve still been counting the weeks until Nittany Lion Cross, as it would presumably be my first race of the season, but it just doesn’t feel real until the races are on the calendar and I can start to mentally walk through the season and make plans. Then last night as I waited for Frank to get home from the bike shop, I saw that the PACX schedule had quietly slipped into my news feed. Now I had a ‘cross schedule, too, although I still felt left out knowing that Frank was my only Facebook friend who would be particularly excited about this news. Still, I was excited to finally have concrete plans for the season.
I was a bit disappointed to see that the Cross of the Corn was still on the schedule for August 30 (too hot and too early) and yet the last weekend of September and first week of October were left open, making it hard to hit a groove with three weeks of no racing so early in the season. The series has also been extended from 10 to 14 races and will run four weeks later than it did last year (December 20). There is no announcement yet about the number of best races that will count this year, but last year it was a reasonable 8 out of 10.
Once I got everything on my calendar, I started to feel better about things. The August 30 race is what it is. We probably would have done the International Intergalactic Global Open Team ‘Cross Relay on that day, anyway, so I’m thinking of it not so much as the first race of the season, but the prologue to the season. It’s just something that we have to show up and do to get call-ups, then we have Labor Day Weekend, do one day of Nittany for a tune-up, and *then* the season begins. That means a double PACX weekend followed by two weekends off. Luckily, the first race of the APCXS is on one of those weekends, so we’ll probably do that as filler. Then it’s a long hard march from mid-October to late December.
To be fair, I like my ‘cross seasons like my ‘cross races: go out hard, see where you stand, and just try to hold on until the end. This schedule isn’t super conducive to that with the races that count being awfully spread out early on, then the season being long and steady in the end. I’ll make it work, though. It’s what I wait all year for.
In more recent news, Frank and I have gone gravely lately. While I’m still not particularly good at it, I don’t hate climbing gravel on my ‘cross bike the way I do on my mountain bike, so the focus for the last couple of weekends has been getting in as many gravel miles and feet of climbing as we can. It’s been fun having a new challenge to distract me from my stagnating singletrack speed, and it’s allowed us to see some new parts of Rothrock that we’ve never been to before.
|Our July 4 ride in the Alan Seegar portion of the forest, which is the only part that has never been logged. Giant pines and rhododendrons abound.|