Saturday night at Hermann was my first test for things to come. Last week I was shit and knew it. This week I had time to focus on the race and the race only. Sweet.
Before the race started I was nervous. Nervous that my cat 2 upgrade was a joke. Nervous that I had no chance of being the cx racer I want to be. I lined up near the back of the 32 rider field. The start of this race is super fast being wide smooth pavement. There was a pretty big crash right after the start but it was on the other side of the road from me so I missed that one. Then, just before the grass there was another crash. Missed that one too.
After a lap I started moving up alittle in places I felt I could. I soon found myself in a small group of guys I didn't know. We traded places through out the race but we all pretty well stuck together. Little punches were coming from all of us but no one ever really got anywhere. Soon it was only 3 to go and we were gaining on the group in front of us. On the last lap our group had spread out except for me and another rider. The last time through the second sand pit the guy in front of me thought he would ride the second barrier. I ran past him and went into a full sprint down the back straight. From here we were both pretty much sprinting. There was another rider in front of us and I nearly out sprinted him at the finish. We almost caught the group in front of us.
So I ended up 16th. That's exactly mid pack of a 32 rider field. It was a fast group so I was pretty pumped with it. A couple of the riders in the group in front of us were guys that would slaughter me last year.
This is when things started getting strange...
I had 3 or 4 beers after the race and hung out for a while. I then went to find my brother who was camping and he was hanging out with Jim Davis. These two had never met before in there lives and of course found each other some how. Those two hanging out couldn't be a better match.
So then Leslie and I head back to to where out Hotel was. We stopped at McDonald's so I could get a 20 piece mc nugget and a small fry. That shit was good. After dinner we went to check in. The Indian guy at the front counter told me his name was Aljazeera. I thought how weird it was to be named after a news broadcast.
He asks for my ID and I show it to him.
aljazeera: Alton huh. That's not to far.
me: Nope not really.
aljazeera: I used to be a manager there.
me: really? where at?
aljazeera: on the corner of college and central
me:...? at the gas station on the circle?
aljazeera: yep the circle.
I wanted to ask him how many times he was robbed but just took the key and went to my room instead. For those who came to the pride race last Sunday, it was the gas station on the circle right by the park. Not a nice place when the sun goes down. So maybe things weren't that weird...
On to Sunday.
Sunday morning it looked like the course was going to be slop. But, they didn't get as much rain as I thought they did. Warming up, Butthead gave me the best compliment ever.
"Nice job yesterday, I didn't lap you". True. We joked about it..
I now had some expectations of myself for the Sunday race. The course was getting tacky so traction was not going to be an issue. I was able to do a fare amount of preriding so I felt like I was ready. I make sure my socks were pulled all they way up. Notice here. Pulled up to the base of the calf and tight. Perfect.
So the race gets going. I was a little more aggressive at the start this time feeling confident. With in a couple laps I was moving up passing a rider or two each lap. At 5 laps to go I had ridden myself up into 8th place. That's what people were yelling anyway. Then disaster struck. Something wasn't right. My legs started hurting and my back was in knots. Bad pain. Started going backwards. I feel all the way back to 11th and finished there. A great result for sure but I knew something wasn't right. Something serious.
I found out what the problem was. Scroll down to the next pic but I warn you. Its ugly and not for the faint hearted...
Holy fuck. How ugly is that? Its obvious what the problem was. I cant believe no one stopped me mid race to let me know about this. Careers are ruined over things like this. If you look close you can see that my right sock slid down about 1 cm causing a wrinkle in the sock. Good thing I wasn't in the top ten. Looking like this is rude, un-professional, and down right disrespectful to the other racers and race promoters. Looking like white trash is not cool.
Ok. So im joking a tad. The leg and back pain was real though and I fought like hell on Sunday. Pretty happy with 11th too. Less racers but hey.. I will take it.
Finished 12th over all for the weekend and am very pleased with myself. The course was awesome and Jeff Yielding did another flawless job(minus bike wash location;)) and I cant wait for next year already.
I now have some expectations of regular top 10 finishes in Bubba this year. Hoping so anyway...
This is the strangest blog post I have ever posted I think...
Photos by Jason Watkins
1 hour ago