I did my first race of the year on March 29th and have pretty much raced every weekend since then. So far this season, I have done 33 races and there are still ten more on my schedule to do until I will take my winter break. Surprisingly, even with doing this much racing, I do not feel tired or like I am close to burning out. As long as I am having fun at what I am doing, I will continue racing. I will admit, though, that the Marilla Cross Race this past Saturday was almost enough to break me from racing again on Sunday at the Chagrin River Lake Effect Cyclocross Series Race in Ohio.
Yes, Marilla was bad. Pretty much the whole course was covered in two inches of slimy mud by the time the "A" race started. I really don't mind racing in the mud. It is the clean-up and mess afterwards that is such a burden to me. Not only is the bike trashed, but all the clothing and everything else just seems to take forever to properly clean. After the race on Saturday, I wasn't too sure that I would want to clean everything I made a mess of on Saturday, only to take it back out on Sunday and destroy it again. Well, I did get everything clean and after sitting in my hot tub for awhile, I soon forgot the misery of Marilla and decided to race in Cleveland on Sunday.
As unhappy I was with all my cleaning chores this weekend, I was happy with my race results. At Marilla, I finished 2nd after battling with Mike Mihalik for 60 minutes. It was a lot of fun trying to find the fastest lines in the mess of mud out there, especially with me either chasing Mike or having him right on my tail. With about a lap to go, I slid out on a slightly off camber section. Mike was able to get about a ten second gap on me after this mishap and I just couldn't close it with a lap to go. Oh well, a nicer guy couldn't have taken the win and I can accept being the first loser of the race.
Even though there was mud at Chagrin on Sunday, it was nothing like the Marilla Race. Basically, there was just one deep mud puddle on the course to make things a mess on Sunday. The rest of the course was pretty fast, but definitely not a typical cross course. The course was more of a short track mountain bike course, but still a great time to ride. In a way, the course made me feel like I was racing in a Belgian Forest or something, with the transition from bright open sunny fields to dark, rooted trails winding between pine trees. Adding to this ambience was the large open pit fire with smoke blowing into the trees. On the first lap, Matt Weeks and I pulled away from the other riders. We worked pretty good together until there was about three laps to go, when I fell off his fast pace. I thought that I had second pretty much wrapped up, but Shawn Adams came on super strong after taking a fresh bike from the pit and eventually catching me. I tried to hang with him on the last two laps, but I was pretty much fried by that time. I managed to finish third on the day, with Shawn coming around Matt for the win.
The one constant about both races was the amount of excitement that the spectators at the race created. It is always so cool to see people cheering you on during the race. I know it certainly makes me ride harder and also makes the pain more bearable. So, thanks to everyone that endured the nasty elements out there during the two races this weekend and made my racing even more fun. Like I said at the beginning, racing is all about having fun; that is why I am usually smiling at a race. Yeah, it has been a long season for me, but I am still having fun. Happy Trails, Gerry
Thanks to JR Pesko for the above photo and if your are interested in seeing more shots from the Marilla CX Race, checkout this link: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fnatures.smugmug.com%2FSports%2FCycling%2FMarilla-Cyclocross-2009%2F10158414_7bULZ%23698846913_jxWEV&h=1a8605e9615fc9d69a14716aba9dfda9