John and I were excited to be doing our first Madison cyclocross race together this past Sunday. We were so excited that we got a babysitter Friday night and rode our ‘cross bikes to a local park for some skills practice. John was demonstrating the perfect dismount technique, when he pulled a muscle in his left thigh. Those of you who are parents know that a pulled muscle would never deter you from enjoying a night out, so we hopped back on our bikes, rode with one leg to a restaurant, drank some wine that doubled as pain relief, and talked about how to improve our cyclocross skills.
The day of the Madison, John’s leg was no better, but he decided that a little intense exercise might help the muscle release (he was wrong). He managed to make it through the first lap, and with a quick tag I took off, hurdling over the first barriers running up the hill, only to have my back wheel and brake seize up. Some very nice spectators helped release my back wheel (I have no idea what happened), and yelled at me to jump back on my bike, which I did, heading full speed back down the hill determined to catch up…until….I realized (right in the middle of the chicane at the bottom of the hill) that I had no back breaks.
Feeling completely defeated, I walked my bike to the rest of the Fiera Race Team crew that were watching, and with an attitude that I try to quash in my son, I said: “I guess we’re done, no point in finishing, let’s quit.” John fixed my back break (the “helpful” spectators had failed to reattach the cable), and with a little encouragement, I hopped back on my bike to finish the lap. It was oddly motivating to be so far behind, and I found myself pushing harder than I ever had before.
As I tagged off for John’s second lap, it was clear that we were dead last. But I managed to close the gap enough to bring the riders ahead of us within striking distance for John. The next few laps went well and we slowly climbed a couple of places… but unfortunately weren’t able to gain back enough time to avoid being pulled before the last lap. All in all, a decent recovery from an early mishap on a beautiful fall morning perfect for racing.
Photos courtesy of Thomas.
Full results here.