Clumsy Lovers- Blind Date #1 9/18/2013

Blind Date Bruiser Mielle

Blind Date Bruiser Mielle

Sun setting, lights are low, and everyone is nervous.   Eyes dart from face to face, searching for a friendly glance. Standing in small groups, the men trade small talk, hoping to calm fluttering stomachs.  Music bumps low. Ladies wait patiently in their tight, shiny outfits, hoping that everything will go their way once things get hot and heavy. Like a high school homecoming dance, we are all waiting for the chance to play with each other in the dark.

 I am a very enthusiastic Blind Dater, having participated in this evening cyclocross race series for the last 3 years at Alpenrose Dairy. 18 women tonight and my dating legs feel fresh and fantastic, decked out in my new 2013 kit.

Women's B's and C's

Women’s B’s and C’s

7:20 PM and the sun fades. “A” WOMEN READY!?  Whistle blows and my fellow daters charge into the first gravel corner, nearly taking each other out. Around the baseball backstop, Megan Faris/Rapha-River City, Amy Rice/Lazy Tarantulas and newly upgraded Allison Medlin/Hammer Velo are just in front of me. 90 degree turn in sand and gravel to grass and I go charging behind Megan, always a sure thing on her belt drive singlespeed and I want to stay with her as long as possible. Grassy right hander and I have too much speed. Sadly I pulled too much brake and WHAM! Rear wheel washes out and the entire field goes screaming by me as I hit the ground. Voices in the dark call out as they ride by, checking to see if I’m OK as I scramble to my feet. “YEAH, I’M OK!” 

The Outfield

The Outfield

CHASE!!!! Legs are on point and I charge down the bumpy grass to the bottom of the parking lot area where a series of switchbacks slow riders down before a gentle gravel ascent to a rock-filled grassy side-slope. I begin picking off the back of the women’s field but the singlespeed men are making their way through our group now, joined by the men’s b/35+ field. It’s a little crowded on my date at times but the boys are pretty good about letting me know when they want to “cut in” on my action.

1st set of barriers

1st set of barriers

Through the dry, off-camber tree section to the steep run-up, I opt to run with my bike since my gears would just make this a mash-fest. Watching others tip over half way up reaffirms my choice.  Around the back of the velodrome through the ruts and grass and one fast lap inside the velodrome apron before climbing up and out on the gravel.  Still moving up, I spin through the ‘Old Towne’ and the grassy infield, over the barriers, charging out of the saddle after every turn.

Setting Sun on the infield

Setting Sun on the infield

By lap 5 I have moved up but like a fog machine on the dance floor, our stampede has caused a dust storm in the outfield and I’m not sure where I stand. I spotted the red and white evening attire of Amy VanTassel/Athletes Lounge about 20 seconds up the road and I am trying to bring her back.

Getting the bell at 1 to go, Suzanne Marcoe/Buy Local Cycling comes up on me and pulls in front so I draft her on the pavement. She is not going fast enough for me. Hitting the gravel at the baseball backstop I sprint past her for the next corner and continue to attack out of the saddle at the corners. Rounding the grassy side-slope, I find Kristen Minarik/BicycleAttorney.com getting to her feet after a bobble. Pulling in behind her with one male rider in between us, my plan is to overtake her at the run-up. She tries to ride it but loses steam half way up and has to run.  I can take her, I know I can but she beats me to the top. Remounting , 3 guys call to us that they are passing as we snake around the tree and cones in the grass before the velodrome.  Cutting the inside line next to Kristen, one of the guys knocks a cone into her path, leaving her front wheel nowhere to go but right into it. She crashes to the ground HARD on her shoulder. I call out to her to see if she is OK but no immediate response. With a large group of spectators in this area, I leave her and keep racing.  Suzanne is back there trying to reel me in but I feel too good to let that happen.

Gravel leading up from the Velodrome

Gravel leading up from the Velodrome

Leaving the velodrome loop a guy crashes at the exit point in the gravel, nearly taking another rider with him, but I am able to skirt around the left side and get up the hill. Smooth run through to the finish, holding off Suzanne  to take 8th.  Megan won the night. By A LOT…

So what if I fell down on my way to the party (who hasn’t?).  You can’t keep this ROUGH RIDIN’ dater down when the racing is this hot.  See you next week. 

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