This story comes courtesy of our great friend, former shop hand, and Kona Factory team rider – Sean Babcock.
Boulder CX Weekend
Summary of events:
1. Finish 12-hour night shift around 0630 AM at Salem’s Emergency Department (I’m a nurse – Nurse Boobs).
2. Drive straight to PDX Airport with droopy eyelids.
3. Unload massive bike box with 2 cyclocross frames and homemade wheel box with 3 sets of freshly glued tubulars – see below.
4. Attempt to check in = rejected. Apparently I was no longer booked on the Denver flight.
5. Pay $700 for flight to Boulder.
6. Arrive at terminal, sit down and rest my sleepy eyes while I wait to board. Open eyes to find boarding door closed with everybody gone. Frantically apologize; hoping it’s not too late to board. Told, “We paged your name overhead, but since you didn’t respond, we gave your seat away. There’s no more room on the flight.” – Damnit.
7. Booked on next flight out 2.5 hrs later, so try to catch up on sleep by resting on the musty terminal carpet, mildly anxious from the embarrassing mishap.
8. Arrive at Boulder hotel to find one of my bike frames cracked from the flight…… Oh bother.
Well, I’m in Boulder. It’s already a late start to the season, so I might as well get doin’ what I came here to do – race my two-wheeler. Thanks to Demo Dave (Team Mechanic) for building me a new bike. I had 2 unbroken bikes for the weekend’s pedal races.
Saturday’s race started with piles of riders tangled in course tape causing riders to shoot across the trail in all directions. Yep, another race subject to mayhem due to course tape. When will they use metal gates like them old fashion and hardheaded Belgians? After two laps, I settled into a group riding for 9th with teammate Barry dangling off the back, appearing to struggle. Well, never mind… He was simply pulling an Old-Man-Tonkin, tricking us into thinking he was tired. Then, attacking on lap three, continued to motorboat his tall gangly self to a large group racing for 5th and closing a two minute gap (that’s huge). He then proceeded to blow Todd Well’s and Mitch Hoke’s brains when he took an alternative line through the sandpit overtaking them. What a bad mamma jamma. Top 5 – Nasty! I unfortunately lost my group, finishing 13th.
However, 13th was a strong effort for my start to the cross season. What felt bitter was losing my group. A season goal is to finish first amongst the group of riders I’m with. One criticism of bike racing is realistically there’re only a handful of riders who can win the darn thing. The rest, will ride their small pea brains out, hoping for a sometimes hard to define “awesome race.” In soccer, where my athletic background lies, and other ball or puck sports, it’s not uncommon for massive upsets. Few things are more exciting than a good old upset. It’s thrilling for both spectator and participant. So, to better create this in my world of cycling, I want to race whatever group I’m with like it’s for the overall win. Sometimes I might be the favorite, and other times the underdog. Either way, it’s going to cause excitement in my little imaginary cycling world. Plus, winning my group can be the difference of a top 10 finish vs settling for 16th. So, the goal for day two at Boulder – win my group!
There’s nothing like blowing a rare second row call up. At Sunday’s race, the gun went “bam” and my foot went “whoop.” I missed my pedal and watched a plethora of shinny legged spandexers blow by me. Oh shucks, 12th spot to 30th. But, I kept my cool. A lot can happen in an hour-long race.
Except for shoulder checking a metal gate, nearly catapulting me from my two-wheeler (I wouldn’t be Boobs without a spectacular crash), I efficiently rode up to the top 10 with one lap to-go. Two other hopeful fellers accompanied me, creating a group of three to race for the “win.” So, as Gus says in Lonesome Dove, “Well, if we’re gonna go, lets get on and go Woodrow.” I and another young rider attacked up the first climb. In our efforts, we closed on the 9th placed rider, adding competition to the group. But,
I knew something they didn’t know – I was plannin’ on winnin’!
Towards the end of the lap, the course surface had that soft, “leg-sucking” earth. I used my soccer acquired thunder thighs to raise the pace. Battling the 9th place rider, I flexed my massive biceps (grown from years of shoveling manure) and rubbed him out of position. The effort created a sizable gap, allowing me to safely cross the line in 9th – winning my group. Demo Dave pulled out the sparkling cider to celebrate.
All in all, I had a horrific start to the weekend. But, I “totally redeemed” myself with a strong start to the season. Next stop Louisville. Where, I’ll finally meet my British Teammate Helen. I might even brave the chance to accept her date for tea that she offered in Belgium two years ago. I’ll try not to make it too awkward.