Jackson Park Cross

I’m having a little trouble focusing on work today.  I’m tired.  My body aches.  Yesterday was a blast and it was exactly what I needed to get excited for cross season.  I don’t know why, but even with a snazzy new team bike, and some fun new teammates, I was not really looking forward to cross season.  I think I’ve just had too many other things going on in life this summer to really spend much time on the bike or even thinking about riding.  But, once our races started yesterday, I found that excitement that I’d been lacking.

It’s hard to take as many photos during cross season because I’m more interested in screaming and cheering on teammates.  I managed to get a few sots of the 30/40+ race, but I think that’s it.  And, of course, I’m focusing on Pony Shop racers for now.  I’ll post links once I get around to editing and posting online.

Congratulations to Bryan Rheude and Jessica Hill for winning their races!  And congrats to everyone else for their great placings: Lou, Brian, Luca… anyone else?

Chili!

The perfect post-cross racing meal… In the crockpot, ready for tomorrow.

Local celebrity.

That’s how I felt on Sunday during my race.  As I worked my way around the course, I could hear people calling my name and cheering for me at almost every corner (even Luke was cheering me on through the mud).  It’s great to be a part of a team and have teammates on the course, but it’s even better to have relative strangers cheering for me.  (I somewhat teased the Cuttin’ Crew at the bus on the first lap because their cheering was very subdued compared to previous races.  They’ve developed a reputation that we – or I – now expect them to live up to!)  🙂

I’ve always cheered for Cliff as he raced, but he often told me that he couldn’t really hear me above the sound of the wind rushing over his ears.  I’m not much of a yeller, so I never really bothered to cheer above the wind (besides, I was always too busy trying to catch the “money shot”).  I often heard Hank yelling at June to “get up there” and “catch her wheel” and wondered why she didn’t just tell him to “FUCK OFF!”  I always thought I’d probably say that to Cliff that if he yelled at me.  But, once I started racing, and could hear Cliff, Mark, Lou, Jim and Roman SCREAMING at the top of their lungs for (and at) me, I realized how motivational it is to hear people encouraging you to work harder.   I now understand why Hank yells, and why June doesn’t tell him to F- Off (or, as she says in the comments, sometimes she does tell him off, but she knows it’s out of a good place that he cheers her on).  The screaming and cheering gives you a little but more “get up and go” than you might have otherwise.  (Since June is kicking ass in the Women 1/2/3 races, she already has “get up and go”, but I imagine that little extra motivation has made a huge difference, too!)

I owe a huge “THANKS” to my cheerleaders!  Honestly, it’s YOU who keep me coming back week after week, because taking photos from the sidelines is WAY easier than this cross racing stuff.

2008 Jackson Park Cross – 4a and 4b photos

 

Beverly Bike Vee Pak - First Appearance at ChiCrossCup

Beverly Bike Vee Pak - First Appearance at ChiCrossCup

 

Finally!  The last of the photos from Sunday’s cross race at Jackson Park are finished.  I have uploaded 330 pictures from the 4A and 4B races here.  The 4A pictures are merely a continuation… additional 4A pictures are posted with the rest of the photos here.

A few highlights…

 

Cliff Golz (Pony Shop) - Setting up the Step Through Dismount

Cliff Golz (Pony Shop) - Setting up the Step Through Dismount

 

xXx Racer - Smiling his way up the hill

xXx Racer - Smiling his way up the hill

 

Super Crosser!

Super Crosser!

Racing tomorrow.

When I’m just taking pictures at a race, it’s so much easier to get ready the night before.  Camera?  Check.  Battery charged?  Check.  OK, I’m ready to go.

But, I’m racing tomorrow, which means I have more stuff to pack up.  Camera? Check. Battery charged? Check. Helmet? Clothes? Shoes? Wait, what if it’s cold?…Shorts or knickers?  Eh, just throw it all in the bag and call it good.  

I have a fancy new monopod that Pat bought for me as thanks from the team for my photos.  I have to remember to pack that up, too.  What else am I forgetting?

Good luck tomorrow, everyone!  And, be sure to check back here (or CBR, if Luke is so kind as to link to me) for pictures from the Jackson Park race.  I’ll try to get them posted as soon as I can…

Cross practice!

I stopped by cross practice today on my way home from work.  I watched the group go through the course a couple of times and then Lou stopped by and offered to set up some barriers for me to practice on.  PVC barriers are so much LESS intimidating to me than the wooden barriers that they use in the races.  I was surprised to find that I did okay getting on and off the bike and I even managed to run over the barriers.  Last year, I was lucky if I could lift my bike high enough to get it over the barriers!

It’s rare that I’m in front of the camera, but Lou took a picture as proof that two girls showed up to practice on the same day.  🙂

Photo courtesy of Lou Kuhn, Pony Shop

On my way home from work tonight, the Wednesday night group ride rode by going the other way.  I was surprised to see one person without a helmet.  Why anyone would ride a bike without a helmet is beyond my comprehension (especially when riding on the road and at the speeds that these guys go!).  I hope he rethinks that in the future, but somehow I doubt it.  I remember when Cliff and I rode a few times in Michigan (back in the day) and he made fun of me for wearing a helmet.  Eventually, he, too, got a helmet and now can’t believe he ever rode without one.  People!  Wear helmets!

Winter.

Winter is my least favorite season.  Every time I move, I try to move somewhere warm, but it just never seems to happen.  Thankfully, it’s gotten better over the years: Alaska to Mass. to Minnesota to Chicago.  Okay, I guess “better” is relative and it all depends on the year.  Anyways, once winter sets in and the days start getting shorter and the darkness comes earlier and stays later, I have a really hard time motivating myself to do much of anything.  If I’m lucky, I can roll my ass out of bed in time to hit the gym before work.  More often than not, though, I stay in bed and barely drag my butt out in time to just barely get to work on time.

This winter, I hope, will be different.  I enjoy my job a lot more this year than I did last year (let’s face it, I was pretty miserable last year) and so far, I enjoy getting up to go to work each morning.  Hopefully that feeling will carry me through the winter.  And, I’ve never been much of a winter sports person, but this year I hope to try out cross country skiing.  I followed Junebug as she blogged about cross country skiing and it sounds like a good time, and a great work out.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll make it through the winter a little easier if I can find something active that I actually enjoy doing in the snow and cold.  We’ll see.

Cross season starts in a week, I think.  I need to look at a calendar to be sure.  I haven’t been able to go to cross practice because of my commute, but I hope to stop by tomorrow night on my way home from work.  I’ll have slicks on, rather than knobbies, but I can at least watch and try to learn as the guys go through the course.  On Sunday, Cliff taught me how to do the step through dismount!  I’m not early comfortable enough to expect to do it well in a race, but I’m going to keep on practicing.