The last regular Tuesday Night Cyclocross Race of the year was held last Tuesday in Goldbar Park. The Fiera Race Team was well represented with Jan, Darren, Derek, and myself all lining up in the B Category.
My lunch wasn’t sitting too well as I waited for the start, wishing I’d taken a quick trip to the dunny before lining up. I had a pretty good staging, and was in the first row, and could see Daren and Jan together in the second row on the opposite side–Derek apparently snuck in to staging late, and had about the worst spot for starting a race, but the best view of the field. I was a little bit distracted by the noises my lower intestine was making, but immediately forgot about my discomfort when I heard the word GO!
I had my best start of the season and hopped on the wheel of the leader as he put a steadily increasing gap on the field. By the end of the first of 5 laps the gap had grown to about 15 seconds. The leader began to fade, but the course was poorly marked and I hated to take the lead, feeling that i’d rather benefit from his course errors and hesitations than vice versa, so I slowed down too, resting and waiting. Soon a rider bridged the gap and blew past us, I managed to grab his wheel and hold on, and felt good approaching the third lap, I looked back and could see Jan gaining on us, bridging the gap on the wheel of another racer. Suddenly that lunch I mentioned earlier, the one that was not sitting so well, made its status known to me in the form of an intestinal cramp, the urgent kind, not easily ignored.
Now I spend enough time on a bike that I’ve had to deal with bodily functions while riding; I have had so much practice at clearing nasal passage at speed, that I do it without thinking even at high speed, downhill, into a corner, breaking hard. Snot rockets are as natural as shifting gears, sure I miss one now and then, but it usually effects the guy behind more than me. And pee, well who hasn’t practiced peeing from a moving bike? If you want to be like the pros, you’ve got to pee like the pros–that’s what I always say. But dysentery? At race pace…without fenders? Not going to happen….even cyclocross has boundaries.
When Jan finally blew past, I was wondering if I was going to make it to the latrine at Start/Finish. I had it planned, the course headed directly at the biffy door before turning 180 degrees in a taped corner. I’d just enter that corner on the outside of the tape, and head strait for the bathroom, a standard cyclocross dismount, lean my bike against the building and rush inside. If all went well, I’d be back on my bike and maybe catching the tail end of the field in under a minute, two minutes tops. If things didn’t go well, then well, I’d go home, quietly….never to fully explain my not having finished the race. As I approached the final turn before the toilets, a thought crept into my consciousness, a factor I had not considered in my hastily contrived plan…I said it out loud, desperation and disdain in my voice…….BIBSHORTS!!!! Dammit!!
I hesitated and before I knew it I was back through the Start/Finish and off on another lap. Oh sphincter don’t fail me now! Oh dear Chamois how I abuse you, let me count the ways. As it turned out, the urgency subsided enough that I got through the next lap, and felt good enough to pick up the pace on the last. Jan had blown past me with considerable assertion so I reserved no hope of catching him, and I doubt I’d have been able to stay with him even had my bowls not been threatening to rupture just as he attacked.
In the end, I held it together and er, in, mostly, and finished the race in roughly 6th or 7th. Jan won the thing and was half way through his second recovery beer before I crossed the line. Darren and Derek both had solid races, duking it out in the corners with the main field. Cyclocross fans often say that its not the battle for the top three spots that make cyclocross interesting, it’s the struggles between individuals deep in the field that make for entertaining drama. Well, I have to say that as far as i was concerned, there certainly was some drama out there on the course, but I’m happy to say it did not make for entertaining spectating. One notable lesson learned; grocery store sushi for lunch on race day is not a wise choice. Don’t let it happen to you!