NOLA To Nationals: Part 1

Or, “From Bayou to Boulder”.

Yeah, cyclocross is that addicting. After a year of firsts (century, road race, shorn legs, helmet smash, see-clio-cross), I decided to hitch a ride with Wes and Rob and head to the hills for the USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals. Fresh off winning the #noob category of the Delta States Grand Prix and a possible cross-state sandbag victory at the Bamacross Championships, I was gunning for the big show, albiet, in a NON-CHAMPIONSHIP fashion. Wes, owner of a real steel single-speed was going to represent the Roulandrian Nation in the Single Speed Championships and Rob, recent Category 3 upgrade (see last post for details), was going to chase the stars and stripes in the Masters 30-34 Category. Needless to say, results expectations were low, but good times expectations were high. Conveniently enough, we would be stopping in Austin for a warm-up in the form of the Age-Based Texas State Championships.

Webberville, Texas that Sunday morning was bright but blustery with temps in the 20’s. Age-Graded meant I got to race my first hour race with dudes plenty faster then me. As all season, my only wish was to “race a good race”. No mechanicals, no stupid mistakes. Well, after getting that wish six times this year, it finally went unheard. I dropped a chain after the chaos entering the first sand pit and after stopping to put it back on, found myself charging from the very rear. The race organizers had decided to rake a “hump” into the beginning of that first sand pit, which required a bunny hop and excellent handling to properly navigate. Well, as the hour long race wore on and I grew exhausted, I finally took a digger on the beachfront. I got sand in all the wrong places and I found I only had two gears on my rear cassette. With a course blasted by wind and a lot of punchy inclines, I was pretty much done for. (Not that I would have podium’d or anything). When the local race photographer snaps this photo of you looking at your drivetrain, you might as well start taking hand-ups. Rob also caught a case of the dropsies on the rough course but still managed a respectable mid-pack finish. Wes, racing in an earlier age group, didn’t finish last, respectable in it’s own right as he was bound to a heavy, knuckle dragging single-speeder and “hadn’t trained.” Le Coq Mysterieux  did make and appearance and in the process made a friend.

Way too fucking early and way too fucking cold, we departed Austin Monday morning for the long drive to Boulder. And we drove. And drove. And drove. I saw a lot of beautiful Texas countryside (pictures below) and a lot of Texas gas stations. Bleary eyed and road weary, we stumbled into town in the early morning hours to snow covered streets. Let the Nats experience begin!

Part Two tomorrow.


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