As a kid, I was never really into professional baseball, but I do remember one player from a pack of baseball cards I got at a birthday party.
I've always remembered the winning combination of an awesome name and awesome mustache. However, I didn't remember how to spell his name and always thought it was "Raleigh", like the city. So it's not surprising that when I think of the state capital, I don't think of Sir Walter Raleigh, but I think of Rollie Fingers. (Incidentally, I also have a suspicion that "Raleigh Fingers" is the name of something dirty, but I haven't tried looking it up on urbandictionary.com yet.)
And so Sunday took the North Carolina Cyclocross Series to Raleigh. Mustaches optional. As a Durham resident and proud Bull City Cyclist, I feel a certain rivalry with the city of Raleigh, despite the fact that several BCC guys live there. All towns need a friendly rival. San Francisco vs Los Angles. Portland vs Seattle. NYC vs the rest of the world. So even though Raleigh race was the closest to a hometown race, I still felt like I needed to represent Durham.
And it did feel like a homefield advantage. Jay and his family was out there. Corey came back for a second day of cheering and brought along Geoff. I also got totally pumped up when I rounded a corner during my race and saw Daniel cheering me on. Also, I saw some kid walking around with a high-top-fade, which was quite fresh and made me think of the early 90s (probably about when he was born). Only in Raleigh.
Jay proved to be Mr. Consistency, finishing 12th on both Saturday and Sunday. His fan club was there cheering him on at the Raleigh race, but his son had a little trouble identifying Jay and cheered for most guys wearing helmets and riding bikes. It is unclear if this cheering boosted Jay's rivals.
Linus scored an excellent 14th place on Saturday, but went AWOL on Saturday. Don't worry, he'll be back.
Ben cruised to a 21st place out of a huge field of 65, improving from his 24th place on Saturday. This is Ben's first cx season, but he looks very cool and composed. Measuring in at well-over 6-feet tall, he also looks like the missing third member of the towering Kona professional team on his Jake the Snake. Maybe he's Barry Wicks' half-brother.
I took a page from the Book of Linus in the singlespeed race. Specifically, Chapter 3, verse 2:
"And it will be on the first lap, and he shall round a corner and shed himself of his chains. And all others who follow him shall become his leaders." Oh well. Sandbaggers like me get what they deserve. I was still able to get a few quality laps in and figure out how not to crash.
I somehow felt better in the A race on Sunday, but did worse, dropping from 18th to 22nd place. This was probably explained by some other fast dudes who showed up at Raleigh. 22nd out of 36 actually feels better than 12th out of 14 (which was more typical of last year).
The course was a lot of fun. Some tricky, technical sections. Twisty/flowy sections. Sketchy mud-to-wooden plank-to-pavement transition. Loose gravel. Firm grass. Dry, loose pine needles. A royal sampler.
The weather was much better on Sunday (i.e. no downpour) so I got to spend a bit of time chatting with people after the race. Cyclocross people are the best kind of people.