Funny, if you read that title you might think I was dumb enough to repeat last year and wind up drinking too much and puking. That didn't happen, though I did feel like puking at one point... that was during the race.
Stepping back a bit, the craziness started early in the week. Allison needed to have the tubular tires glued to her Vuelta wheels for Cross Vegas.
I had never glued tires before. Not only had I never glued tires before, I wasn't sure what tires to glue! The idea that I had to pick the right tires (only get one shot at it with the tubulars and we had one set of tires and one set of wheels) and get them done correctly on the first shot, really had me stressed out! I even asked people on the Interwebs which tires to use and how to glue!
After a great deal of deliberation I picked the set of Specialized Triggers.
I had purchased a set of Tracers as well, but heard that the course was nearly all grass at Cross Vegas and figured that the file treads might help my girl out with a little lower rolling resistance. The gluing process went pretty horribly. It was terribly messy and I am sure I made mistakes. Learning new things isn't always easy.
The next step in preparation for Cross Vegas was to do a little "Pimp My Ride" session with Allison's 2012 Specialized CruX race bike. She was struggling a little to heft the bike on run-ups so dropping a little weight seemed prudent before sending her out to be eaten alive by the skinsuit clad wolves. I had an extra set of Sworks road cranks laying around from the module that got ruined when I broke my neck so I put a CX-able spider and rings on it from Rock N' Road Cyclery.
I also put her sweet Crank Brothers Eggbeater 11's that I had purchased for her mountain bike race season on the bike.
Titanium railed Phenom saddles.
Crank Brothers Eggy 3's on it).
Feeling pretty satisfied with the result of my efforts, I turned my attention to my CruX. Unfortunately it was already well past my bed time and we were supposed to get up early to hit the road to Vegas so all I could manage to do was dig out some Kenda Kommando tires that had been raced last year and install them on a stock wheelset.
Wednesday we headed out (later than Allison wanted I assure you) and not long into the drive she was playing on her phone and realized that she had messed up a critical meeting detail. The rest of the ride was interesting and I wound up wasting some extra fuel to try and get us there a bit faster. We then checked me into my race and wandered around the show a bit to see who we could talk to.
Topeak's booth was pretty much just inside the front door, so that was our first stop and we chatted with Eddie for a while about product we had been using. He didn't remember sending us this one but it is probably my favorite pocket multi-tool for training rides!
Twin Six booth to say thanks in person for the BRAAAP! tee they sent me when I had my broken neck last year. It is probably my most favorite t-shirt of all time.
We went by the Specialized booth too. It was sweet to see the World Champion (men's) bike complete with mud. His bike had some interesting stuff on it like prototype grip shift from SRAM and other stuff like a braze on FD (SRAM Red).
Swinging by the Ergon booth we saw the new colorful grips (in addition to Green, White, and Black they now have even lighter GA1's in Red!!!!) and the sweet new saddles. The carbon railed saddles looked very nice! (good flex, super light, sweet design).
Funny that we wind up going to places like Vegas to see him as he lives just across the freeway from us, but we swung by the Turner booth and talked to Dave Turner for a while. Dave has lost a lot of weight this year and is looking super fit! It is always a pleasure to hang out and talk to Dave as the depth and breadth of his knowledge in the sport is amazing. If for some reason I am ever tempted to purchase another bike that isn't Specialized, I am sure I would wind up on one of Dave's bikes.
After the short trip through the show we headed over to the venue to get ready to race.
We also scored the coolest hats ever made.
The race itself didn't go so great for me, though it was an excellent workout. I started on the last row of the 160 some odd riders.
As we lined up I joked about starting backwards, it seemed as futile as thinking I could pass the mass of people in front of me. When we started I was just passing however I could. On the start loop I had moved up quite a bit I think.
I was still making moves when things went awry right before the pit zone. I was on the inside, I called the pass, a guy came over on me, I called it again, and he put me into the tape. I have no idea how Brandon Gritters rides through the tape all the time and never gets jammed up, but a stake jammed my right crank arm and tape was wrapped everywhere when I tried to get back up. After putting my chain back on I was solidly near the back of the race. Oh well...
I worked my butt off after that. I was making passes and moving up. I caught Bob Kmetz (Sho-Air rider) and he and I worked together for a little while. He was on my wheel when I made a pretty costly mistake. I was pushing hard going through a right hand decreasing radius turn and had been drifting that one pretty heavily all night. Well as the night wore on the traction went away from my tires and I failed to factor that in, down I went knocking my shifter and bars askew (I think I also bent something, pretty sure the right side of the bars is not supposed to be higher than the left). I spent a little time getting everything somewhat straight again before resuming my workout. I did what I could, netting 66th overall. Hopefully not an indication of my season to come.
Allison's race on the other hand was awesome! She raced really well despite not having done any speed work. Her speed through the barriers and on run-ups hurts her some, but she otherwise rode like a champ to 20th place and nearly reeled in Kathy Sherwin at the end. Allison actually beat the French National Champion. I am sure she had a good excuse though...
After the race we hung out and drank with friends at the Crank Brothers tent, then crashed the Specialized BBQ, and finally went to our motel and checked in. It was late and apparently they oversold, gave the broom closet to someone else, so all they had left to give out was a phat suite! On the way up there we saw "Coltrain" and Allison arranged to meet him in the bar for drinks (really!? I was so ready for sleep!)
One of the nicest rooms I have ever stayed in. Vegas isn't the terrible place everyone claims!
We headed straight downstairs and hit up the bar where Allison rode a mechanical bull for the first time ever. Amanda Schaper backed down from her own challenge (quitter!) but I will try not to hold it against her (quitter!). I didn't get pics, but Danger did get a video that will later be used to blackmail my wife. :)
After closing down the joint we wound up going out for breakfast (it was almost time for it on our regular schedule) and then finally got to put the Jacuzzi in our suite to good use.
Somehow our internal clocks were still functioning and we got up shortly after closing our eyes. After a Mann sized breakfast we headed back into the show. We visited our friends at Specialized again, and stopped by Swiftwick and Kuat among others. It was all too easy to blow the entire day wandering and chatting with all the great people we know in the bike industry!
Unfortunately just as the party started at 4pm we decided it was time to make the long drive home. This was probably a bad idea. It took us something like an hour to get to the freeway and finally get up to speed. The drive was uneventful right up until a suicidal coyote ran out in front of our little TDI. I was driving 65mph and only just caught a glimpse of him before the impact, nothing I could have done. He totally wrecked my bumper!
It is worse than it looks in the picture as the entire grill broke (I am just hoping that there was no damage to the inter-cooler) I assure you and will be putting at least a $500 dent in our CX racing funds. So the trip to Vegas had it's ups and downs, overall though it was a good time and I feel it was worth while.
In any case I am hoping to scrape together a decent race this weekend. Hope to see everyone out in LA!