Well, I guess I couldn’t have picked a worse time to get sick. The USGP Cyclocross Race in Louisville is the only big event on my fall/winter calendar. I knew I was going to come in underprepared for cross racing, with only the Ronde under my saddle, but I was in pretty good form at the tail end of road season and I’ve been racking up lots of hard rides on serious dirt. I even did some running. But, when I went to bed on Thursday I knew something wasn’t right, and it was only worse in the morning. I soldiered on to Louisville in time to turn a few half-hearted laps, which only scared me and made me feel even worse. Dave was in the same boat, if not worse.
But, the good thing is that Heckawee and associates fit right in to the scene in the “arts district” in Louisville. Cheerful, dapper young men offered us restaurant tips and invited us to parties! Randall shaved his beard for the event, so we were walking around with a young man who looks quite a lot like Rocky from the Rocky Horror Picture show (otherwise known as Dave’s partner…I was with John). The Gault House is one of the premier hotels in the US, and the rates for this event were incredible!
And, on day one Chief Reimbold took 5th in the 55+. It was incredible. John has really been riding strong, and he’s an incredibly good cross racer. Now, he’s stacking up well against the big boys in the 55+. I sucked. Dave stuck it out admirably in the 2-3, and Randall and his cousin DJ were also rocking. DJ is quite a hoot, and also fit right in to the arts scene. First, however, Chief had to fend off a charging cougar who tried to eat his ear–deftly angling Randall and DJ into her path. Then, we crashed in on Proof on Main, where our artsy cred landed us a primo spot at the bar and a table for 5. If you’ve never been to Proof, you must go. It really is one of the best restaurants in the US, and now they have a hotel–we were offered a private tour….
Sunday was better. I was still sucking, but at least I was able to race. Chief had another great race, Dave felt better, Randall was smoking, and DJ turned in a good effort in the Single Speed. And, Anthony Dust was 3rd in the SS!!! I think he could have worked it in the arts district. The coolest thing was coming into the stair climb through some twisties, and I see this attractive young woman in a Luna kit yelling at someone. I’m the only one there, chasing another couple of guys who were 50 meters up or so. It’s Georgia Gould, who ran away with the pro race on both days. She’s standing there saying “come on, keep it up, keep it smooth, take it all the way into the steps…” This didn’t just happen once, but for about three laps. This is a person who’s finished on a World Cup podium, and she’s yelling encouragement to a suck ass old guy before her own race. Cross is cool, and people like Gould are the reason why.
The course in Louisville was nice, and it bodes well. But, it is exceptionally unlikely that what we had this weekend is anything like what will be on store for future Worlds or Nationals events. It has not rained in this part of the country for nearly two months. It was incredibly dry and dusty, with deep dusty dirt sections. Those conditions are just not normal at all. I’ve never seen anything like this, and it is unlikely that we’ll see anything like this in 2012 or 2013…unless the new dust bowl is coming to the Mid South….