Monday, August 31, 2009
Decent into Madness
Cross is in the air...you can feel it. Aside from some conversations about Eugene on the team ride, its all about cyclocross. The road season is over, and while I'm both happy and sad about that, the prospect of riding in the rain, mud and sleet of cross season fills me with dread....and joy. That's whats weird about cross. We did intervals last week, the standard weekly suffer fest...the session was all cross focused. It felt like cyclocross- sprint hard, timetrial, sprint hard, rest short, repeat, repeat, repeat..until barf. Why is that fun? Add miserable weather, mud, muddy grass, and lots of water, then it becomes fun? I'm still not sure how this all works out on the balance sheet of fun to suffer. Because when I look at it on its face, it looks to be about 80 percent suffer, 20 percent fun. Not usually a recipe for "a good time." But so it is. Try and explain it to a friend who doesn't do it. You'll see (but if you do cross and road, you probably don't have any friends who don't).
I spent three hours working on my cross bike yesterday, my hands still hurt. I converted to tubeless- we'll see how that goes. I need to do some testing. But getting those damn tires on after sealing the rim was a pain in the arse. Worst part is that I still have plenty to do. Deraileur hanger is bent, chain is too short, head tube is too long, and my breaks sorta suck. But other than that, good to go.
So is there any wisdom to this, about this, from this adventure into madness? I'm not sure. Is it the pointless, slipping, sliding, silliness held in juxtaposition to the road season that makes it important? I try to stay loose during the road season, not take it too seriously, even though I invest a fair amount of energy, effort and suffering in getting better at it- but its still a pressure cooker in some way- lots of frowning determination during the road season. Whereas cross there is far less long mile rumination and expectation built in- at least for me. Short hard efforts, lots of factors beyond one's control, the simply fact that its a silly sport, all contribute to the carnival. Mix in some beer and its shirt-up, pants-down stupid. I hope it stays that way.