Post-CycloCross Stress Disorder: Someone Turn Off the Cowbells
For some people it happens after the holidays. So many parties, so many gifts, so much love and lights. Vacation! Celebration! Glee!
And then. Nothing.
January hits like a ton of bricks and leaves you curled up on the side of the Holiday Super-Highway, whimpering and alone.
It’s the same with cyclocross. For 9 or 10 weeks you spend every Sunday partying and suffering with a huge family of like-minded nutjobs. You drink beer, grill food, and race your guts out. You see guys racing in thongs and wish you hadn’t. You spend weeks planning our costume for the halloween race. You cheer and scream and cowbell and then… just as fast as it came along, the season is over.
And it’s a bumpy landing when you wake up on Monday morning and realize that there will be no more mud-fights, no more head-first dives into muck, no more endless hours of bike-washing, no more out-of-true wheels, and no more sandbaggers (wait, the sandbaggers will be around presently for road season – scratch that last one). Anyway, it’s a rude awakening.
The outside world doesn’t get us. They’re the ones that say, "You’re doing what this Sunday in this weather?" They are normal people who do not attend the Church of Cyclocross. Don’t turn to them to support because they’re not going to understand.
Sal and I have our own ways of dealing with this transition phase. He begins a massive and spectacular planning project – carefully mapping out his road season, developing training plans, and writing off-season weight-lifting regimens.
I have my own off-season plan of attack, which I’ll reveal tomorrow. But, perhaps the most important thing that we do together is a ritual of saying goodbye and letting go: we staple our cyclocross racing numbers to the ceiling in the shop and turn the cross bikes into "official" commuters – complete with permanent lights, bottle cages, and saddle bags.
It’s a bittersweet time and we wash it down with the last few bottles of hard-won cyclocross beer.
Then we move on.
Stay tuned for the official throwing of one big-assed gauntlet. I’m undertaking a challenge I’ve been planning for a few months now. Four days in and I’m so amped I can barely sit still.
Peace, love and cyclocross,