Tuesday, December 11, 2007

cyclocross armageddon

Hey kids:

In case you haven't heard by now, the Blue Sky cyclocross effort is full tilt and right on.

This story includes, but is not limited to: the quest for propane and propane accessories, whipcream in a can and marshmallows, petrified bratwurst, frozen mustaches, psuedo-frostbite, old chub, whiskey, motocross berms, and oh yeah--bike racing.

Paul "Longman" captures the essence of beauty

Saturday December 8th, 4pm: snow starts to fall and the Blue Sky troops load TJ's suburban with all the necessary items for a cross race. Full-size BBQ? Check. 5 pounds of hormel chili? Check. 50 pounds of liquid propane? Check mate. Sometime in this snowy twilight hour I realize that i actually own a portable propane heater. where is that damn thing? we jump in the batmobile and head to storage, digging out an obscure looking device from a dark corner. then it's to home depot to get the proper regulator and fittings to hook this bad-boy up to a propane tank. we'll be basking in the tropics tomorrow! after about 3 miles logged walking around home depot, we set out across town for another hardware store, cursing our own stupidity for believing that home depot would actually have what we need. we score the fitting and head back to the shop. roads are snow-covered now, and darkness falls on our fair city.

alright, time to hook up the propane heater for a test run. damn! the fitting threads are the wrong pitch. fast forward an hour and i'm back from the store with the right fitting and the heater coil radiating heat throughout the shop.

Sunday December 9th, 9am: The rigs are packed with wool, lycra, and carhart. we head out to lyons to see what its all about--the day is sunny, but cold. at the venue, we meet up with some of the good guys from redstone and bma--dave, mike and the crew have a compound going, and we add to it with the BBQ, heater, tables, repair stands, tools, condiments, chili, and brats... the latter items freezing in their packages. TJ is on grill patrol as the first wave of racers takes off. Dan "mexi-stache" Farrell is rockin inside the top-ten--despite praying to the porcelain gods less than 24 hours prior. Jeremy, Kilmoyer, Jones, Horacio, Pete, Stark, Ron, and a host of other Blue Sky punkrockers race by the compound. we yell at them to go faster, and to some extent, they do.
Dan F, bringin the heat

Dave Jones, sweatin a pure stream of liquor

Bryan Harwood, makin it look easy

Horacio "the gazelle" Gutierrez

Pete Galt, high-steppin the Robo-Cop tights

Hollywood Duerksen cold-kickin it

Isaac "snow-camo-sram-hoods" Dancy

Marty "don't'heckle-me, i'm-racing" Caivano gettin' heckled by King mexi-stache

Pre-race fuel of champions

i walk the course. the foot of fresh snow has packed down nicely, but left little room to pass. the course is relatively flat, and i begin to hem and haw about the 39x16 gear and semi-knob tires i put on the singlespeed, but come to the conclusion that none of this technology seems to do a damn thing one way or the other, so i head back to the compound to warm up. by this time TJ has a decent following of disciples looking for hot-chocolate and whipcream handouts. Pam materializes some marshmallows and i take a shot of whipcream, and i'm well on my way to a healthy lunch. Bevans shoves a homebrew in my face. it's gonna be a good day.

I'm gettin with it, Kilmoyer is filling out the jumper nicely

The hands still work well enough to carry a bike

The pain-face. actually, who knows what kinda face this is? i'll blame it on the frostnip

Me in the foreground, Dave Jones getting all the alcohol back into his system in the background

the gun goes off on the singlespeed race, and twenty frozen twinkies head out to chase down the cat3's. the wide open start tapers quickly, and i tangle front wheels... bike is still up, for now. we blaze into the first woods section and up over the barriers into a sand/gravel run section. the sharp left around some playground equipment has bermed up motocross style. i square off the corner ricky carmichael style, boxing out some fools and pinging the rev limiter. 3 laps in, i start hearing an odd scraping sound from my front tire. some sort of branch or rock caught in the tread? i reach down on an open section and try to clean the tread, almost ripping off all my fingers. luckily, the cold has numbed all my extremities--including THE extremity. My brain comes to a few minutes later, realizing that this is a cyclocross tire, and nothing can be stuck in the tread for long. heading back down the back stretch toward the compound, i start yelling at the fellas for a front wheel. they seem to be yelling at me to move up, so i yell at them louder. they yell louder still. well, i'm comin' in hot, and those punx better have a wheel. i cruise into the pit, and Dan "my-mexi-stache-is-now-thawed-out-and-hardly-visible" Farrell is on POINT with a front wheel change. eat your heart out Mavic SSC. i burn out of pit lane and get the hot-rod up to speed. now that my front wheel isn't rubbing metal out of my fork blade every lap, i start picking off guys... and girls as it turns out. nice. the painface is on now. that spike energy drink that bob gave me on the line is hitting hard--i feel great but if we go to the instant replay it looks like i am having an anerysm. hell, maybe i am. i can't really tell, since my body has shut down all non-essential functions.

the bottom line: 4th place.

at anyrate, the main point of all this is: HUGE PROPS to all the people who made the trek to lyons and stood around in the snow and cold, those who took photos, those who raced, and most importantly, the families and support groups that help us keep it all together. without all the support were just a bunch of dorks in lycra. (hold on, i gotta go get a fresh box of kleenex).

seriously, I'm calling out TJ, BlueSky, Longman and Bobby, Chris Jeannie and wee-little Goffredo, Barrow, redstone Dave, and the man. Thanks everyone.

soon everyone on Bluesky will be wearing the insulated floral top.

Rob Love, over&out

No comments: