It's almost 'cross season. If you're unfamiliar with cyclo-cross (or 'cross, or CX, or CCX, or cyclocross), you're not alone. It's a tiny, crazy, sometimes muddy, wicked fun niche in the world of competitive cycling. If you want to learn a little more before we continue, you can read the wiki article or check out Cyclocross Mag.
Ready? Ok. I love 'cross. It's fast, difficult, there are tons of variables (weather, the course, the crowd of spectators) that keep it interesting. I started racing just a few years ago out in Eugene, OR. I started out on a single speed mountain bike (which drew uncreative, but accurate, taunts of "Mountain biiiiiike!" from spectator/hecklers). Here's a pic from my very first race. Look at how fast it looks like I'm going.
Since that first season I've gotten a real deal 'cross bike. It's the one I rode to Maine. It's been stripped down to it's single speed race weight now. I've even acquired a set of used tubies (more about tubular tires in a future post. Stay tuned.).
I completely missed out on last year's season because A) I just moved and hadn't fully unpacked my bike stuff by 'cross season... and B) I hadn't ridden my bike very much last summer so I felt pretty out of shape. I mean, if you're going to compete, you should do some training, right? Excuses, excuses.
This year: A) All of my stuff is unpacked, and B) I probably have ridden my bike less than I did last year, but... No excuses this time. During the time I've spent NOT riding, I've been mentally preparing to not attach any ego to my race results. And it's still early. There's time to fit some riding in. Right? Right. It'll be kind of an experiment- can I be totally out of shape for racing and still have fun? I think so. But there's only one way to tell for sure. Let the experiment begin!