Monday, October 28, 2013

These are important life lessons.

Wow, not having to be at school is something that I extremely relish. Relish is a  strange word because it is also a gross condiment that people who have no taste buds smear on their hot dogs and breakfast cereal. If you use relish you probably also hate puppies. So there's that.

Relish is the green part. Do you really want that in your life?

This is the first October in my bike-pedaling life that I haven't had to balance pretending to study with training. I graduated in March and it turns out that I did not have any desire to rush back for extended learning, so here I am: Mid October, living at home and drinking coffee in my pajamas at 2:38 PM. Please don't show that statement to any of your friends, colleagues, or criminal conspirators without first giving them some background of who I am and how the path that I am on doesn't lead me towards Dungeons and Dragons. Yet.

I've been thoroughly enjoying my free time now that I don't have Western to navigate. This free time has led to a lack of blogging because I no longer have things that I am trying to avoid doing. I also have been living a fairly stressful life as of recently. I usually wake up when I'm rested, which is stressful because I go to bed early so that means I wake up around 7-7:30. Then I have the difficult decision on Espresso, French Press or Bialetti to ponder. Soon comes the most difficult and stress-provoking moment of my day. Do I wait to ride in the hypothetical "nice" window of the day? Or do I get out the door by ten?

Now you can see that I have my stresses too.

This no school thing makes the biking much easier as well. I am having no problems finding any motivation to get out the door. I'm obviously hugely motivated by the season to come, but I'm also not worn down from the huge and physically destructive hour of class a day.

It's important to know that this post has taken me three days to write. I'm busy, I swear it. Let's talk about cyclocross racing!

I recently did something substantial: I raced cross two weekends in a row. The past two to three years I've done one to two cross races each year. I always end up retiring after each one because my back hurts and I probably got beat by someone wearing a costume. However, this year I've had a teeeeeeny change of heart and have only retired after one of the three cross races that I've done. That's progress!

Cross has been a nice change of pace because when I race cross, I can reward myself by having a Motofish coffee afterwards. Motofish made an excellent business plan when they decided to use Lighthouse beans, and because of that I make an effort to come to the cross races simply to get un cafe. They are really good. Get one. I've also enjoyed cross racing because I can get some riding in beforehand, then race, and call it a great training day. I currently can't decide if I like this method of awesome-training better, or the method of a three hour ride in the morning before track racing. One is colder. Both are equally hungry.

I image searched "I have to make a decision" and that was on the results. So I think that helps to clear things up in the smallest of proportions.

Cross racing. Right. In typical Ian cross fashion, I've been pretty good on the pedaling portions of the races and pretty awful at the bike-driving, bike-running, and bike-clippinginfast categories of these contests. This is especially great when I hear 100 times before the race "Ian this is a great course for you!" because there is one pavement section. Which is the reason I went to that race, because there was one pavement section. Now I'm confused, because there were also several turning sections and I got dropped.

Also important about cross racing. I get heckled A LOT. I think this has something to do with my constant braking in the corners, or maybe the fact that I just look hilarious while riding. Let's look at some photos of me in action to determine my success rate.

First of all, starts are very important in cyclocross races. Here's a good shot of how things usually turn out immediately after the start line. I circled myself to assist my readers who don't recognize me riding knobby tires:

Next, I've found that slippery corners are tough. Here is a good pictorial analysis of me searching out the most slippery line possible through every corner:

Or, in a possibly related category:


So the cornering, yeah, it's not good. That's ok though! There is more to cross racing than cornering. In fact, sometimes on courses there are parts where you have to get off your bike and either run or jump, or in my case, walk. Here's a great photo from that shows my technique whenever there are barriers or runups:

I try to take advantage of the pedaling as much as possible, which I'm sure leads to me being the most annoying guy in the race to ride with. I'll go really hard on any sections of sustained pedaling, open up a gap, then promptly get caught and passed in the corners. Then repeat. I also make sure that look at my Garmin while racing.

This picture is titled thug life.

This picture is titled "Catch up":

And this picture is titled "12 mph":

I'm confused as to why I'm having such a good time racing cross this season. I blame Motofish coffee and wanting to get better than 8th place. I'll keep trying to corner fast.

Hopefully this post kick-starts my blogging again. Because really, what else am I going to do?

Sincerely yours,

1 comment:

  1. You look lean in that last photo...the one where you're reading on the couch.