Cyclo-cross started a few weeks back! I love cross, good weather, or bad, depends on how you look at it. Fun people, fun courses, fun bikes, it's quite a bit more relaxed then road racing making it extremely fun for everyone! Anyhow, St. Cloud CX was a few weeks back, went ok. Probably should not have had that Snickers shortly before the start, but I was hungry. Lead group of three for most of the race, then dropped my chain with two to go, thus ending my bid for glory. Oh well, it happens.
Then last Saturday the real fun began. Went up north for The Heck of the North. Probably one of the most bad ass bike races in the region. 102+ miles of anything that a bike can go over, and then some stuff one can't. It's a race that tests pretty much every aspect of bike riding there is. You've got to be able to ride for 100+ miles, ride on pavement, gravel, single track, climb long hills, slog through grass and puddles, know where you are as the course is not marked, and actually like riding bikes. If you don't it would be a miserable race. The field was pretty good sized, 61 to start, with lots of strong guys there. Ross and I had plotted about when things were going to explode, so we just hung out and enjoyed the 39 degree morning, then when the trails came we took out the jet packs and blasted off. The first trail section reduced the lead group from about 40 to 11. Then after lots of miles and pain, the final trail section came after fording a creek, the final cut was made and there were 3 of us left. The last 15 miles we went quite hard, Ross got dropped going up Hawk's Ridge (15 min climb) and Nikoli and I were left. As we crested the final hill my legs locked up and the Russian attacked, I was able to suffer through the cramp and catch up right as we took the penultimate turn. After not winning for a number of years I played the game and put my gamble on the sprint. Things worked out. It was one of the most fun races I've ever done, with all the fun people, like Mr. Farrow. And people who are just generally quite laid back. A grand old time.
Thanks for Mr. Kershaw for putting it on, Mr. Buffington for beer post race.