Yes, this is a picture of me, and you can find it on Velonews. Here's the direct link. I got a lot of comments each time I rode past the beer tent: You look good in white!—Why white?—White? Bold! When I passed Ben Ross, the Velonews photographer who took this photo, he said "Whoa, nice skid marks. Lemme take a picture. Could you turn around?"
The Nationals Course, warmed up by the 40 degree temps, was a blast. I got a bad start, but moved up pretty quickly, kept the rubber side down, and ended up 29th, 12 spots in front of my 41st place call-up. Every one knows, though, that if you're out of the top ten you're mostly racing to be a part of something beautiful, and this race was no different. I left everything out there, and ended up dry-heaving at the finish-line, so I can't ask for anything more, but more importantly I felt so present in something. Racing 'cross is different from road racing, or triathlon. You really can't spend time letting your mind wander, as you can a bit during a long road race or IM bike leg. You simply are what you are, for 45 minutes or an hour—can I move up here? How hard am I going? God this hurts.
I didn't start very well, per normal, but raced well, I thought, breaking away from a small group of five eventually, despite some shifting problems with my (somewhat) faithful ride. I am always amazed each time I finish a 'cross race, because there are deep moments in which it seems the pain will never end, that five more laps is an impossibility. And then there you are, shivering at the finish line and laughing with the guys you recently, desperately, hoped to drop.
The rest of the day was a dream, except for the fact that Amy couldn't come. I and the other guys from CXM went to see Brian Vernor's new film The Cyclocross Meeting, and I'm happy to report it's his best, most complete film yet (although I'll always love the wacky, off-beat nature of We Just Work Here). As a bonus we got to see some of Vernor's footage from 2005 and 2006 Nationals in Providence, and some races in Belgium, all set to the music of Talkdemonic, a Portland band who has some kinship with Stars of the Lid, one of my favorites. Talkdemonic is a violin/drumset duo who do some amazing things with a looping device, a macbook, and a keyboard through which you blow air. Here's the trailer of the film:
As always, I'm a little sad to see 'Cross disappear for the year. I feel pretty good about 29th, and am thinking about getting the UCI card for next year. We'll see what the coaches say.
Thanks for reading.
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