Many things are said about Cyclocross, it’s like mountain biking in the early days–a carnival of bike culture replete with epic races and wildly enthusiastic fans. Back when Missy Giove and Shaun Palmer engendered a carnival-like attitude of establishment-rocking and epic hucking.
Cross is like that now–it’s the only sanctioned racing where you can see both passionate fans and spectators dressed like gorillas, side by side. Or industry playahs like Chris Matthews starting his race in a faux-fur coat.
What I learned at the National Level, during the championships though is that it’s really all about emotions like this.
Your friends, teammates, and those you love are there watching. Your hard work is all on the line. There are winners, losers, and also-rans. Some are happy to finish, some are merely happy to start.
Taking that photo was especially emotional for me because earlier in the day, I placed 141st out of a 182-strong field. That’s last out of those that finished. The rest DNF’d or DNS’d and I got pulled at the finish line when the hard-charging leaders lapped me.
Being out for 6 weeks with a busted up knee before this race, I could’ve skipped racing or even stayed home. But I decided to race it and experience Nationals. The win for me was not crashing, not injuring myself, and just finishing.