Canton Cup: 89/148

Now look at that. 89 out of 148. I am anxiously awaiting the official results because that seems way too good to be true.

Just checked this morning – I can hardly believe it. Not bad for 1FG.

When I left the house at 7am on Sunday it was 33 degrees. This is a Sunday for crying out loud – what on earth am I doing.

On the preliminary results sheet, there were 41 DNFs listed. There was a massive wreck just as the race started, and it took out a lot of people. It split the field in half immediately. I don’t know what happened, but I know the starting field was absolutely enormous. With the wind chill putting the temp somewhere in the low 40s, possibly 30s, I think everyone just wanted to get going. No one was listening to instructions. All I remember is the race started, I get about 3 pedal strokes in, and then riders start falling like dominoes all around me. I was almost sure I was going down, but somehow I didn’t. Because I already went down today…

Okay, this is easy to understand. I have never raced here. I don’t know the course. As usual, I take the first practice lap pretty slow and just work out good lines, note things to stay away from, and get a feel for what I’m in for. I do this everywhere. Probably everyone does. Point being, I don’t know this place at all.

Near the end of each lap, there is a steep run-up onto a paved track-and-field track. You ride around the track about 3/4 of the way, and then take a hard right onto some grassy switchbacks. The hard right is marked off with yellow course tape, laterally strung across the track to keep you from following it around again. It seems pretty easy to understand. Ride until you get to the tape, then take a hard right or you’ll run into the tape.

So I’m on my practice lap going around the track, and I’m in a small pack of about 4 riders. As we approach the hard right off of the track, I look ahead and see course tape. But there’s a sh*tload of course tape in my field of vision, because beyond the tape that marks the righthand turn is a bunch of other tape marking off other parts of the course in the distance. At a glance when you look up, if you’re not familiar with the course, it all kind of blends together into one big mess of tape. And just as I figure all of this out, I realize that I am about to motor right through the course tape marking the righthand turn. I lockup my brakes, but it’s way too late, and I’m about to run right into the guy in front of me and this not going to be pretty.

I run into the side of this guy’s wheel and I crash. I didn’t hit his wheel all that hard, very little chance of even damaging his wheel, but I had to crash my bike or I was surely going to cream him. He stays upright, I fall over, doing a SWEET barrel roll across the pavement – head never even touches the ground. I was so impressed with it that I sprung right back up and got right on the bike. I continue riding in the small group and things are cool, albeit a minor scrape for my troubles.

The guy I bumped into is right ahead of me, and we’re riding the switchbacks. He starts making comments about me watching what the eff I’m doing, and basically trying to make me feel like a sh*thead, which, I mean, I already do – who wouldn’t. But something about his tone really sucks, and he won’t stop, and I have to reply. I’m like “dude, lighten up, I don’t know the course, nothing happened to you”. He keeps at it. I don’t get it. Why is he so bullsh*t? I remember very clearly what he was riding. I don’t want to call him out on it since what you ride really isn’t that important to me, but let me be crystal clear here – there was nothing extraordinary about what he was riding. And even if there were, this is ‘cross for crise sakes – if your wheels aren’t getting bumped in a race, what the hell are you even doing. And for crying out loud, I bumped his wheel. I didn’t wreck it, wreck him, or hurt anyone other than myself really. This is such a non-issue that I can’t even believe I’m still talking about this.

As we keep switching back along the field, the situation keeps escalating.

I’m like “I don’t know what your problem is man, I’m the one who hit the deck! You never even left your bike”. And then all of a sudden, ahead of me, he just stops. He gets off his bike, and starts walking right at me.

What the hell?

You want to settle this?“. I get off my bike. He’s coming right at me, and gets right in my face. He is completely bat sh*t crazy out of his mind. Right in my face. I say “What the hell are you doing?”. “Come on, lets go, right now, let’s settle this right here“. “Are you serious dude? What, are you going to beat me up?”. I am staring right at him. He’s completely kitted up in the Goodales-Shift-BOB team outfit. What an ambassador. The situation pauses. We are inches apart, and then he retreats and pedals away, still barking at me. I am so sick of hearing it. I respond “Listen man, you’re the one who took it to the next level”.

He gets off the bike again. Oh brother. Here we go again. This time I am certain we are actually going to…fight? On a practice lap before a Cat 4 non-sanctioned cyclocross race to raise money for wheelchair athletics? Where the hell am I right now?

I get off as well, and here he comes. Right back at me. In the most sarcastic way possible, he extends his hand and shakes mine without me even knowing what’s happening. This guy is completely mental. “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault, I am 100% responsible for what happened and it will never happen again“. I’m like “dude! I never said it was your fault. Are you out of your f*cking mind?”. And he rides off.

So that was fun.

When I lined up at the start, I looked everywhere for him. He wasn’t even in my category, but with absolute certainty had he been, I was going to hunt him down like an animal, 1 gear be damned.

So as far as the race, cool course, very quick. Lots of flat sections where geared oafs could leisurely reel me in. Apparently lots of attrition as well. The laps were long, the weather sucked, and it would have been easy to quit. I love not quitting.

2 thoughts on “Canton Cup: 89/148

  1. Wow. A lot of people had a bad day. I was in the third row at the start. 15 seconds in, I felt a stiff jolt as a rider back ran into my rear wheel. A half-breath later, I heard bikes and bodies hitting the ground. At the dirt steep section right after the bike path, some Bart Wellens wannabe yanked me to the ground and nearly sent me through the tape. I scrambled ahead to the low barriers, tried to bunny-hop them, and biffed hard. Cracked helmet, broken bar, sprained thumb. Time on course: About 5-6 minutes. It took first aid about 15 minutes to figure out how to get ice into a bag to give me. Not a good day.-D. Deitch, Team Novara/REI Boston


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