I never know quite what I’m going to feel when cyclocross season ends here. It seems, based on previous years, that it can go one of three ways:
The worst, and sadly not unlikely, scenario is that after a couple months filled with solo car trips to races, filthy hair/eyes/teeth/ears, constant minor injuries, and a steady stream of bike parts that need rebuilding or replacing, I’m pretty over bikes for a spell.
Another (happier) scenario is that I’ll end up missing ‘cross badly; thinking the end came too soon, and I’m not ready to put away my grifos and my heavy ass old school skewers yet.
I anticipated that happening this year since my early season was so fun, even going so far as to make plans to race nationals in January. However, just a few days after state champs, my dog died, and I mostly just drank for a couple weeks instead of riding, and that killed off the momentum I had going. The remaining races were still a ton of fun, but I turned up the suck pretty loud performance-wise, so I didn’t find myself clamoring for more when my final race ended.
The final scenario I can find myself in come late December is one where I have so much excitement about what’s next that I don’t catch myself thinking much about ‘cross either way at all.
I wish I knew what it was about a ‘cross season that can get me so fired up about the next year, because I would try to hit that sweet spot every time if I did. This cross season magically dropped me off in that zone, and rather than road races and crits, I’m getting pretty worked up about track right now.
I’ve only crashed twice at the track, but those two crashes resulted in three surgeries and many many months of uncomfortable sleep. After the second one, I kind of threw in the towel on track; just wrote it off as too big of a risk. While I do think it’s pretty risky compared to the other types of bike racing we do, I think a more honest assessment of why I quit, looking back, is that I was just too scared to hop back into the fray again.
The other day, though, while switching my track bike out of “stage race TT” mode and back into mass start mode, I noticed that, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t really feel any anxiety as I handled it. For a good year and a half I didn’t even leave that rig in the bike room with my others, because I didn’t really want to see it. Now all of a sudden I find myself wanting to lean it up in front of the fireplace so that I can stare at it and daydream about weeknight summer racing with my friends at Alpenrose. It didn’t seem like a gradual process, I just flipped a switch from track hater to track lover and I don’t even know how. Something about the way 2013 cyclocross played out had a hand in it, I feel certain of that. As I said before, I wish I knew why hanging up the 32mm knobbies sometimes leaves me with a burning urge to charge into the next season. I don’t, though, and maybe I shouldn’t worry about. Gift horses and mouths, and all that.
Anyway, to those still slopping through the rest of their ‘cross seasons, like Jeff Curtes, I hope the remainder is super killer. To those that are finally all done and cleaned up, and to those who maybe never opted to toe the line for their dirty 60 minutes in the first place, I hope you’re as excited as me about the next thing on your list. Maybe I’ll see you out at the track!
PS: I never cared much either way about Killer Mike until just now.
I grew up loving Christmas, as any proper video game dork with an inadequate allowance does, but starting the year I moved away from my family in Colorado, I’ve fallen out of love with it. Each time it passes I’m still on the hook to participate in some capacity, but I stay here alone to hold down the house and tend to the doggs while my wife kicks it with her family (and mine) on the front range. I like the time to myself, but there’s no doubt that it’s a weird part of year for me, and it gets a little weirder every edition as people come to realize that I’d personally rather just not acknowledge the big day at all. I think this will be the weird soundtrack to accompany my weird moods in the days surround X-mas. Also, watching El-P take a slug of that brown hooch with a billowing cig in his hand kind of makes me regret never having a smoking phase. It may be a bad idea, but damn if it isn’t a good look.
PPS: DMX, on the other hand, loves Christmas!