Sunday, December 12, 2010

racing and grading and riding for righty

Yes, it's that time of year: the end of CX season and the crux of grading before the end of the semester. Every semester i try to figure out how to maintain the level of work that the students do, but decrease the amount of grading i have to do. So far, i've been unsuccessful, as the pile of papers to grade on my kitchen table can attest.

And this season i obviously haven't been able to race much of the series, but i have been able to race the last two races, and plan on the final race this coming weekend. My results haven't been that great, but i didn't finish last in either race, so at least the one-legged guy isn't bringing in the caboose (just close to it). My fitness is pretty lousy, and the lack of time i've been on the bike in the last two weeks on account of grading hasn't helped any. I'm still a bit sloppy on the dismounts, barriers, and especially clipping in, but i feel like i'm improving. My first race i had a great first lap, sloppy second lap (crashed twice and got my pedal stuck on the bottom of my new foot, wedged between the cleat and the side, rather than clipped into the cleap), and fair third lap. Overall, however, it was great to race again, especially to start racing on the same day as the Cross out Cancer event.

The "Crossbot" riding to cross out cancer!

Big props to Matt Ohran, Melissa Parry, and the O'Learys for organizing the "Cross out Cancer." At last report the event had raised in excess of $25,000 to help fight cancer. If you didn't get a chance to participate, but still want to donate, you can follow this link and make an online contribution. Thanks to Uncle Bob, D. "the brewmaster" C., and everyone else who came out to support.

T-dub even got her MTB out for a lap in the cold!

The artist got some pics of the race (above) and i tried to get some video, but it was a new video camera, so when i pushed the button at the start of the race to record, i actually just set the camera to take one time delayed photo, rather than start the video camera, so all i got was this photo of me trying to get my gloves on as everyone else was trying to get the hole shot around the first corner.

I did get some footage of the "cross out cancer" ride. I know, i know, "stand by me," is a little cliché, but short of including "we will survive," it feels the most appropriate to me right now. Some people say cancer makes them stronger, i dont' know about that, what i do know is this whole experience has brought me closer to the people i love, and others who i'm getting to know and love, and it's the incredible support from my family, friends, colleagues, students, and even strangers, that have made this whole thing bearable, so "stand by me" it is.

Cross out Cancer, UTCX from matt bradley on Vimeo.

I did figure out how to use the camera the next weekend at Ft. Buenaventura, so here's the unedited footage of about six minutes of the first lap. I think i forgot to charge the battery, and the cold doesn't help with battery life, so the camera went dead right before i missed a turn and went right through the course marker tape and lost about four places as i turned around and got back on course.

Utah Cyclocross, Ft Buenaventura from matt bradley on Vimeo.

The river bed section was the worst of this course for me; running is still not my forté and the mix of river rock and sand was no picnic. The barriers were also spaced in a way that made them kind of awkward, i was doing a funny half step between each one. Yesterday i went to Wheeler and practiced barriers for a while, and although my residual limb was getting pretty sore, i finally felt by the end of the time i was there i was starting to get better flow and rhythm. One more CX race next weekend to give it a go, then it's back to training for road.


Melissa said...

Matt - you are AMAZING! You inspire me!

matt b. said...

Thanks Melissa, whichever Melissa you are!!