Today was my second cyclocross race. Those guys are just nuts. I got the hole-shot and was by myself for about 100 yards and, even though I was in the 40+ C class, started to gain an ever so slight level of self confidence. Then, one by one, people started passing me, and they seemed to do it so effortlessly, like they were just taking a warm up lap. I drifted back to my normal position in the middle of the field. Towards the end of the last lap my chain somehow got stuck between the derailleur pulley and the cage and I snapped off my derailleur hanger, which then got tangled in my wheel and took out some spokes. I carried my bike along the course to my truck. Most of the racers who hadn't already passed me, passed me. It was frustrating. I really made an effort, not just today but ever since I started racing. My improvements come in small, microscopic really, waves, unnoticeable to the untrained eye. Each person who passed me felt like another year of training I was losing, one by one, until I walked past the finish line, very close to last place.
But I am optimistic. I found a bike shop that had a rear derailleur hanger for my bike. My old hanger was bent anyway, the derailleur would ping against the spokes when I tried to use the big cog, like a card hitting spokes on a kid's bike. The broken spokes were a little more problematic. The only 260 spokes I could find were used 14 straight gage spokes and, even if I could find good spokes, I have trued my rear wheel so many times that most of the nipples were worn smooth to the point that any further truing is impossible. The wheels are 10 years old and I really needed to have the hub laced to a new rim. The broken spokes where the final nudge I needed. If I can't get a new wheel built before the Iceman, I have other wheels. And I am healthy; in fact, I'm the only person at GM who doesn't have the flu. The sick, brave souls that came to work talk and cough all over their cell phones then hand their cell phone/virus ridden petri dish over to me to answer some question the person on the other end of the line has. Thank you. For some reason that isn't entirely clear to me, I just don't get sick so I should be OK for the Iceman.
Emilie is at a friend's tonight. Allie didn't want to go trick or treating; she wanted to hang out with mom at work, a take your daughter to work day of sorts. Allison gets nervous around spooky things and I suppose that is where she felt safest. But Allie got board at the bar and called to ask if I would take her trick or treating. We went to my old neighborhood.
All in all, pretty much a perfect day.