Jeff, Liliane, Naiqwan, DeyShaun, Greg and Danny all piled into the O'Brien mass transit rig on Sunday and headed over to Alpenrose. Csaba got us on the radio and via the airwaves guided us deep into the mayhem to primo course-side parking.
In addition to our car load, about 59,000 other people decided to race cyclocross today. Eric and I were bummed to hear there were no call-ups from early season stellar performances (I was really bummed, as I still have lingering proudness over my 3rd place Saturday at Hood River. So far in my middle aged race career the words "O'Brien" and "podium" are not often heard in the same sentence).
We got over our disappointment and yelled encouraging stuff to Csaba, Dave, and a bunch of other random people on the course. We warmed up, then DeyShaun decided to somehow rip a hole in his tire. Jeff and I did a Nascar style quick cassette swap to get my spare super-trick light-weight Tufo-clad-Mavic rear wheel onto the Jamis in time to roll over to the start. Here's what it looked like for the master B's.
I'm the guy way in the back on the left (right next to Dr. Bob), about the size of an ant on your screen. They stage in 10 groups. The numbers 0-9 are randomly drawn, and you assemble according to the last digit of your race number. The "lucky 6's" that I am part of were the 3rd to last number called up, so probably 75 or so lined up in front of me.
The whistle blows, and we sit waiting for 10 seconds or so until we can actually start pedaling. I found some lucky holes and gained a boat load of spots before hitting the first dirt section. I went back and forth with Tireless Velo buddy/nemesis Mike for a bit. Then we all jumped over barriers. here is what DeyShaun, Naiqwan and I look like doing that:
I slowed down to let this other guy get in the picture too. You can also tell that if you contribute to this blog you get to put in a bigger picture of yourself!
Jeff crashed approaching the gnarly staircase runup and ripped a hole in his skin and his $90 tire, but unfortunately I don't have a picture of that. The cool support crew from Shimano had a spare wheel for him after he ran to the pit so he was able to finish his race.
All in all a great day. Naiqwan was the stand-out, with a strong 6th place finish in the very competitive Junior Men category. Dave and Csaba in the upper half of the almost 200 rider Master C field. Eric and I passed a lot of people in our race but couldn't quite make it into the points. I rode clean, and felt great. Jeff got back on the horse after a crash and mechanical to finish out the race, and my boy Danny managed one full course lap in the Kids "A" field.
Next week is Rainier High School, a truly awesome course. We'll meet at Naiqwan's place Sunday morning to carpool, time TBD.