Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I miss this...(cross)

photo by Anthony Skorchod
In a fit of the-rest-of-the-world-is-sleeping wakefulness a few nights ago, I found myself stuck on cross.
Cross practice.
Cross bike.
Cross races.
Cross Nationals.
Cross cross cross cross cross.

Crossing the finish line...
Sweating it out on so many different starting grids from PA to Kansas City to Bend, Oregon...and many states up and down and in between.
Sweating it out on so many different starting grids to cross so many different finish lines a mere 40-45 minutes later.

Bundling up and braving really mean temps, really awful conditions.
Miles and miles and hours and hours of travel by car or plane for 40-45 minutes of purposeful pain.
45 minutes of gasping and gritting teeth with intermittent moments of remembering to relax my shoulders, relax my grip...maybe even smile.
"Have fun with it..." my dad implores from the other side of the tape, cowbell clanging. 
Packing and unpacking that utterly perfect bike to ship or lug across the country...
Lovingly wrapping those bars or laboriously going over every bolt.
Heaving that bike over barriers with bad form and stutter steps galore or magically finessing it "suitcase style", like Karen showed me.
A bike made for me...
Fast corners.
Unexpected passes.
Scrumming (or, call-ups).
Sprints when there is nothing left (but, then...there is!)
Practicing on dry and dusty fields or laboring through intervals on the road.
Exchanging pleasantries with Georgia (okay, so that was just once...but, still...Georgia)
in the locker room while November winds howl outside and rattle the cyclone fence at a landscaping venue in the Hamptons.
Mid-race music trivia courtesy of Joe Jefferson.
East Coast Cross, The MAC (and its cast of characters).
Words of sincere encouragement from LVG.
Parking lot/camp stove espresso.
Sharing a pit bike with BP.
Yellow tape and wooden stakes for daaaaaaaaays...

Yeah, I miss this all (and so much more...I could go on and on).
I am so not ready to jump back in and I've resigned myself to do better than "dabble" this year.
For me, there's just no dabbling in cross.
All in or not at all.
Next year.
Next September. 

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