Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Everyday I'm tusslin'

Cycling has many unforeseen social side-effects. The bicycle enthusiast stands to seriously alienate non-cycling peers with constant ride stories, shop talk, and bicycle jargon. An obsession with body weight, macro-molecule intake, and frequent hypoglycemic grumpiness can dampen dinner dates. Waking up at 5:00 AM and going to bed at 8:00 PM typically do little to ensure the faintest semblance of a social life. However, one positive unintended consequence is making friends and acquaintances with a diverse group of people who share the same energy, dedication, and time constraints. Fortunately for me, the friends I've made here have more energy, better ideas, and slightly less schedule restrictions which enable them to put on fantastically fun and well-organized impromptu bicycle events.
Last week, some friends coordinated a competitive grass-track and cyclocross event (or, tussle) held on a neglected patch of green below the Walnut Street bridge (or, trestle). A decent gathering amassed with all sorts of bicycle riders present. Often times organized events cater to a specific faction of riders, but at this race the only line that was drawn was between those who wanted to ride and those who didn't. While the soggy grass was most apt for a cyclocross bike, nearly all denominations of bicycle were in attendance: fixed-geared road bikes, town bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes, commuters, and a glorious tandem.

The races were divided into a set of track-inspired events with a 'cross-race finale. The racer categories were split into varsity and junior varsity; considering I'm a pimple-faced, screechy-voiced freshman in the high school of the cycling world, I opted for JV. The grass track races involved varied combinations of a bell and going in circles, such as: hear the bell, then go faster, hear the bell and that signifies the last lap, and the classic: hear a bell, and then you're out.
I'm rather unfamiliar with traditional track racing games, but I caught on quickly as evidenced by the results.

Strangely, I won most of the track events, and was crowned homecoming queen of the JV.

I graciously accepted my golden crown and square, plastic scepter:

..which I promptly added to my new collection of unattractive prize caps:

A poor breakfast decision on my part (leftover fried seitan and brie sandwich and fries) inhibited me from participating in the cyclocross race, but watching it was immensely entertaining. The race course was set up with barriers, flats, muddy corner-rounding, and a menacing, tightly twisted spiral. The day concluded with a "BSO" race (bike-shaped-objects), which was rife with sass-laden finshes:
Hopefully we can all get together and kill some more grass next year. Maybe I'll be Varsity by then.
Before & After:

(Most photos shamelessly stolen from McGet- Go here for more!!)

Happy Riding.