Sock Series: lessons learned

Grrrr    Grrrr   Grrrr 

GRrrrr

I’m not sure what exactly happened. I wasn’t precisely sure that something was wrong. But I knew I felt…funny. And not in the ha-ha sense.

But even when not “funny”, just being my normal Socks-self, I don’t have a good poker game face, or voice for that matter. I’ve never learned to play my cards close to the chest. In my quest for any and all information about racing cyclocross I’ve developed this tendency to say and ask anything.

For instance, another racer might not confess to feeling sub par to fellow racers.  But not Socks…I had to get to the bottom of it. So I crowd sourced for the cause of my malaise.

A Tough Girl racer summed it up for me, “You’ve lost your GRRRR.”

“My what?” But understanding dawned as the words left my mouth.

I had had a little taste of something sweet with a few good results early in the season. It had tasted even sweeter because it had been unexpected, for me at least. But that little taste, that little whiff of Win, Place, Show had helped.  Helped me get through the bitter, burning, pain that is Cyclocross.  But it had somehow slipped away. And when the “Grrrr” slips away, you can taste the bitter and the grit that is racing.

“Is the magic gone from the Socks?”
I whispered to myself.

 

Socks, or no Socks, an entire season of cyclocross is a lot tougher than I thought it would be.  A few trips over the handlebars have made me a little cautious, and I’m sure I could find a few other reasons to explain why my Grrr has gone missing.

For one, as the weather gets colder and wetter, the races get harder. Clearly there’s more to consider then a pair of Socks.  The logistics of preparation and racing are compounded exponentially by the elements.  But mainly my technical skills have been the issue.  My ask anything approach has been helpful, but sometimes I shoot too quickly from the hip.  And my trips over the bars while navigating a ditch had left me nervous, so I was twitchier than normal.

 

Westminister Race – I shout to a man who looked like he knew what he was doing:

“Hey Subaru Dude! Do you ride it through the center or off to the side?”

He kind of paused and soft pedaled for a second, and glanced over his shoulder.  I thought maybe he was surprised that I asked.  In retrospect he probably wasn’t expecting “Subaru Dude” from anyone, and certainly not from a 5 foot woman with questionable bike skills.  And I actually am not really a “dude” user, it just kind of popped out.

Him: “Through the middle.”

Me: “Thanks!”

Yes indeed. Through the middle was what worked.  I didn’t realize at the time who Subaru Dude was, but learned later. I guess a multi-national champion and Olympian would know the best way to ride a ditch.  Even an itty-bitty one. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, thanks again for answering.  And I apologize for “Dude.”

I don’t have a #heckleme campaign, although Tall Southern Guy did yell “You turnip! Don’t run with your bike, ride it!” But, I do have one or two pairs of socks that still need to be celebrated.  I’m certain the magic is still there.

There are two races to go.

Lessons Learned:

Keep weight back when entering a ditch.

If using embrocation, it’s best to put on last, and don’t touch eyes or any other important bits.

If you squeeze the brakes, you will go slower. (I can frequently be heard yelling at myself on course to “LET GO OF THE BRAKES!”)

Shoe covers keep your feet warm but cover up your spikes rendering them useless.

I’m pretty decent at the Grand Staircase, barriers and have captured one or two holeshots. Now, I just have to figure out the rest.

The season is longer than you think it is. Have a plan to get you through.

If you leave your race socks inside out and wash them the dirt and sand will still be there.

Images are courtesy of Mountain Moon Photography and may not be downloaded or reproduced without permission.

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