I used to say Cyclocross was dumb. I mean... think about it@! You ride effectively a road bike on terrain that isn't really mountain bike terrain, but is really far from road bike terrain. My sensibilities around socks had me really struggling with how to treat the whole experience, if you do not remember those sock thoughts - check it out HERE.
I mean seriously... do you wear mountain bike gear, even though you are on a road bike? Do you wear road gear when maybe you are actually on a tame mountain bike ride? What length socks do you wear? What about the helmet, road or mountain? Of course, then you find yourself wondering if maybe you should be on disk brakes, because those things they call brakes on regular Cyclocross brakes are not seriously going to provide some sort of stopping type activity. You might as well plan to use your foot on the top of the from tire, just be careful you do not stick your toes in between the fork and the tire, that can leave a nasty mark - all over the place.
But somewhere in the goofiness of trying to ride a road bike with things that are almost brakes on a slippery grassy field over barricades that you could easily bunny hop on a MTB (yet scare the crap out of you on your Road/CX bike), and when you jump off to run up a muddy or sandy or flight of stairs hill while your heart rate is bouncing off the rev limiter, you kinda decide it is in a sort of weird way - kinda fun. I mean a little like biting a lemon makes you pucker and squirm at first, but the tastes good later, sorta kinda.
Plus, the beauty of an amateur CX race is that they are only 30-45 minutes long. I feel like you can do anything for 30, minutes. Trust me on that. I have said that many times. (Along with "Math is hard", but that is another story).
At this point, I really like the silliness of CX. I really enjoy tearing through a wet grassy field searching for cornering traction. I like living on the edge of staying upright or tumbling across the grass. I like that my drivetrain sometimes gets so frozen or muddy that I am a stuck in the gear I am in. (I use disc brakes though, I am not that daft, I want to be able to stop after all.) I love it when during a muddy race the ruts get deep and it is hard to get back into your pedals. Pedal slip, pedal slip... Hey, everyone out there is struggling with the same things, there is no real magic to getting it right.
This year I was really busy with other things, and did not start doing any CX riding much less racing until the 2nd to last weekend of the season. (Don't judge me). So when the weekend to get started did come around, I ponied up and did 4 races on that weekend (mostly because there wasn't a 5th available). Because, you can get all your CX fitness in one weekend. I only fell twice, but one of them over some tires was spectacular.
I had said to myself that this year was a write off. I was just going to do a few races and then next year I would try to win the state championships in my age group. No pressure, just go do some races and have fun. Maybe dress up in a cow outfit, and bring a megaphone to the races and take the bacon or whiskey hand ups at the top of the hill. You know, just giggle a lot.
That was all going really well. I hadn't shaved, I was drinking plenty of beer, I was doing my best to eat my share of frites and jerky and I was being careless with my tire pressure. You know, all the stuff that actually insures your results. Which, as it turns out is exactly the preparation you need for Cyclocross.
As I said, the effort to giggle a lot was going really well, and I went to the State Championship with one thought in mind - where is the bacon? Then a funny thing happened. In the state championship race, the guy leading the race kinda went slow up the hill and I found myself off the front by myself. So given it was a short race (which was the only condition ever that in my current beer infused fitness would create a situation that would ever have me contemplating gassing it), I gassed it. I gassed it and ended up finishing off the front, by myself. Yep, there you have it, the accidental state championship!
So the disclaimer... It is the slow old guy class, and I mean really old guy class. I am legitimately of that age and in that class, and I did go fastest on that day, but I am not quitting my day job. Nonetheless I am thinking of taking on that Sven Nys guy, he is getting old also.
Now, I just have to figure out what to do next season. After all, I accidentally achieved one of the goals that was being formulated to feature on next years goals list. Hmmm. I guess the only thing left to do is train a lot, over prepare and stress about next years race, and then go and finish 4th.