‘Cross Racing

I was gonna ride in the mountains today, so when I saw there was going to be a cyclocross race up in Tijeras, I realized I had a destination.

I’ve never been to a ‘cross race before, but they’re all the rage in this fall season among the cool kids. Pictures here (couresy of my neighbor Bill, by coincidence) should give you some idea. Basically it involves riding your bike like a bat out of hell around a twisty closed course, some dirt, some paved, and periodically jumping off and carrying the bike because the dirt is too gnarly, or the course organizers put one of those silly little wall things in the way.

So I ended up riding up Tijeras Canyon to the race site with Barbara Tyner, who was the organizer of one of the two big fall ‘cross series here in town. I don’t really know Barbara, but we’d met (she organized the Lance Armstrong Foundation fund-raising ride I rode in last summer, and she also kicked my ass in the Moriarty time trial) so I reintroduced myself and we had a fine chat as we rode up the canyon.

Barbara’s husband was racing, she was just out for a spin, so she spent some time explaining the whole goofy ‘cross sport to me, and gave me racing tips – (“Bring your trainer to a time trial and warm up really well. The shorter the race, the longer the warmup.” Stuff like that.) Then I watched the boys jump off of perfectly good bikes and carry them through the mud, and it was a grand thing. Neighbor Bill was there racing, as was Lou Metzger, who I had met at Moriarty. Lou’s teenage sons race, and now his wife, and he’s become the quintessential bike racing support staff, digital camera in hand. Vince Metzger came in second in the B race. It was a fine little social morning in the mountains.

Then of course the wind picked up, and I had to ride home. Whatever, it was still a great fall day.