Monday, October 17, 2011

Rain...Mud....and Cyclocross

Guess what time it is!  Cyclocross time!!!  Don't know what the heck I'm talking about??  Let me explain.  Two years ago after Ironman Ryan was tired of doing long distance races and was feeling a little burnt out on Tri's (not to mention they are pretty much a spring through summer type race) so he decided he wanted to start racing Cyclocross.  They have recently started a Cross series here in the Chicago area so he signed himself up for a race and tried it out. 

As a spectator, let me say that I was in LOVE!  After 5ish months of having Ry race long distance tri's where most races take anywhere from 1.5 hours to a full 12 (think Ironman) I was stoked to hear that these races lasted about a half hour!!  It was like a dream come true.  We went from having an entire weekend taken up by a race, to just a few hours on Sunday afternoon.  Two years ago, Ryan raced maybe 4 or 5 of the cross races and decided he liked it.  Last year with the wedding there just wasn't time, but now that things are back to normal, he's picked them back up again.

Here's a picture of the course to kind of give you an idea of what is going on here.  I'm standing at one end of the course and far back in the background you can see a shelter and a yellow slide, that's the other end of the course.  Meaning, that it's really small and totally accessible for viewers to watch the race.  You can see that the path is laid out using caution type and bikers race through the course for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on your race category.  Racers make maybe 3 or 4 laps in that time, so there are tons of opportunities to take picture, heckle, or support your racer.

This past Sunday Ryan raced the Carpentersville race (which is actually run the husband of one of my co-workers....they own the bike shop that was sponsoring it) and it poured the night before.  Which, would be a problem in some races, but not Cross!  In fact, sometimes if the course is too dry they will hose the whole thing off to make it more muddy.  As you can imagine, Ryan says the muddier the better!

Sadly, that's one of the best pictures I got of Ryan.  I bet you thought I was taking a picture of that tree the way I've got it centered, but you were wrong.

Ha!  I guess it was a little early for that guy.  Maybe he should have grabbed a coffee before the race....

Anyways, Ryan raced the 30+ category.  He doesn't turn 30 until December, but all races go by the age you will be that year, so, 30 it is boss!  How's it feel getting old?? 

After all the bragging I did about how much fun these races are to watch, and how close you are able to get to the racers you'd think I'd have gotten some good action photos...check this one out:

Yep, you guessed it!  That black blur is totally Ryan's butt as he raced past.  It's nice right?  Ok weirdo, stop staring!  He's mine!!

There's a better one.  Lovin' that mud??  Ryan was.  Jamie, Zach and I actually spent a while standing in this spot watching as racers did the super muddy section of the course.  Probably one of the best moments of the day was when a racer hit one of those bumps wrong and ended up splatted on his side covered in mud.  I started cracking up and I think he didn't really appreciate our entertainment.  As he peeled himself out of the mud he looked over and said "And...I'm done" and proceeded to walk off the course.  That's what Cross is all about man!!  Buck up!!

Finally, I want to do a quick shout out to my cheering support team, Jamie and Zach!  Ry and I spent the night at their new place on Saturday night (we had a lovely dinner, thanks JDub, and we would have had a lovely dessert if I hadn't left it at home and brought leftover pizza in it's place - stuuupid!).  They got up early and hauled their booties out of bed in the rain to come and watch the race, so props to them!

So, thanks for stopping by guys!  We've got some fun things coming up so make sure to stop on back soon.

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