I gave cyclocross a serious try back in 2009. Coming of an awesome MTB season including an XC National Championship and Downieville All Mountain victory for Cat 1, I was feeling good and was figuring out I was fairly good at racing bikes. So I immersed myself in cross... I bought a geared CX bike and entered the elite categories to promptly have my arse handed to me repeatedly. I was taking it way too seriously, putting the same pressure on myself as I did during the previous MTB season and not having fun. After that winter I sold that cross bike and decided that I wouldn't race cross anymore because I need an off season. That was a good decision, leading to much needed recovery for my body, some fun vacations, completed house projects.
But this year I got the itch again. Probably because I've had a better, more relaxed attitude towards racing in general that didn't leave me so wiped by October. But I told myself that this still needed to be an off season, but possibly with some fun shenanigans on a technologically archaic bike. My cyclocross savior would come in the form of a single speed, and my baptism would be at the first Sacramento Cyclocross Series race in Vacaville. Fittingly... it was pouring rain...
After a nice vacation and a couple weeks off the bike (all bikes), it was time to take up my cross again. This time at Lange Twins Winery for Sac CX #4. With no expectations, I lined up with the Single Speed A's again under beautiful blue skies. I'm about to race... and the typical anxieties that run through a racers brain just weren't there. Did my bike have the right gearing for the course? I don't know, and I don't care. Did I eat the right food the two nights before?? Most likely not, but pumpkin ice cream is tasty and while egg nog ice cream isn't great on it's own, adding a little dark rum makes it better. It's just for fun, and just to mix it up a little because riding and racing bikes is awesome. I was also happy that after a couple weeks of vacation I fit into my new SacCX kit which I helped design. I was lined up next to Ron Shevock who currently leads the series on a Felt carbon cx bike with disc brakes (he ended up winning this race too). I have to say I'm a little jealous of the discs... old canti's hardly deserve to be called brakes by comparison. Anyways... it was go time and we headed out into the course. I tried to stay with Ron and the front guys, but I had no misconceptions about how out of shape I'd be or that the effort wasn't going to hurt.
I fell to the back, but not off the back at least. The nice thing about single speed racing is that nobody you're racing with can pull away too quickly. But that also means that if you drop back for whatever reason you can't really catch up. Like when your front wheel skewer comes loose because you're screwing around jumping off stuff on an already bumpy course.