Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NCCX Winter Cup 3: Fayetteville

they say that Eskimos have 52 names for snow, each definition capturing subtle differences in texture, wetness, structure. if this is true, then you would think that cyclocrossers surely must have 173 names for mud. names that reflect characteristics of thickness, stickiness, and depth. will it maintain a rut after it's ridden through, or does it seal back up? can you pedal through it? can you corner through it? what's the grass content? the sand content? how badly will it stain white skinsuits? but, no, despite the fact that cyclocross is the cycling equivalent of artsy and intellectual French New-Wave cinema (whereas road biking is the romantic comedy genre), cyclocrossers roots in mountain biking (the Hollywood action flick of cycling) leaves the sport mired in vocabulary of adolescence and uselessness. therefore, mud is somewhere along the spectrum from "sketchy" to "squirrelly" to "gnarly". and of course, all of those terms can be used positively or negatively.

we're obviously not as imaginative as our bmx counterparts, who create a new name with every new trick they create. and since mud can differ greatly with location and time, it's really no use to create a specific name for the mud in a specific corner during a specific lap in a specific race. ultimately, i think the best we can do is use our extensive knowledge of food to look for similarities. terms like "peanutbuttery" or "soupy" or "greasy" are fairly common, but we like to eat and can think of other suitable descriptors.

the Fayetteville course: wet from early morning rain, ripped up by the first several races, and finally re-moistened with a heavy mid-day shower. here's the menu:
3/4 lap on a clay track: hot cheese pizza
uphill transition: chocolate cake batter
flat stretch back to pavement: ankle-deep chocolate cake batter
grassy stretch through first playground: cheesburger
off-camber zig-zag: pudding
barrier section: gravy
grass stretch along backstop: saag paneer
grass baseball fields: (actually not very muddy) coconut macaroon
tree slalom: spaghetti w/ meatballs
low stretch along fence: bowl of Lucky Charms
mud patch near school: peanutbutter fudge milkshake from Cook Out
death spiral: scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked hash browns from Waffle House
uphill transition back to track: brownie with ice cream (mostly melted)

food is also an apt analogy since i ate a lot of it during the race.

in any event, i was pretty happy with my race. a tiny field and some weird bobbles in the first 500m placed me in a second-place position for most of the first lap. it's a funny feeling to be up front like that, but i knew it would soon end. battled for the rest of the race with a Mock Orange dude, who rode a clean and gentlemanly race and outsprinted me for 3rd. linus and ben also scored top-tens (in significantly larger fields) and corey was out ripping it again. i think he said he's holding down 37th place in the winter cup series, which is like icing on the cake.


John said...

Awesome! These are my two favorites:

"mud patch near school: peanutbutter fudge milkshake from Cook Out

death spiral: scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked hash browns from Waffle House"

Glad you kids had fun.

Korps said...

Ah-hem. 33rd if ya dont mind.