Sunday, November 29, 2015

Recoil Cross

The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.

If you’re the lead character in the 1999 movie “Fight Club,” then eventually you’re going to realize that you are fighting against yourself. Today as I lined up for my final cyclocross race of 2015, I already knew that I was fighting against myself. The dry, 34-degree air was triggering my asthma and I didn’t have my inhaler. But I felt honored to be at Recoil Cross and I didn’t want just to walk away, so I banged out a couple of laps before calling it a day.

What? You haven’t heard of Recoil Cross? That might be because it was an unsanctioned race on private land in Beechwood, an unincorporated community that you may or may not be able to find on a map. It’s home to the equally underground Beechwood Blaster mountain bike race. Fight Club wouldn’t be Fight Club if you couldn’t talk about it, because there has to be some way to bring in new people. And Beechwood wouldn’t be Beechwood if it were weighed down by entry fees, waivers, insurance, USA Cycling categories, minimum course width requirements, or prohibitions on dogs running next to the racers. You can talk about Beechwood, but only to people who will be cool about it.

My participation at Beechwood was a surprise; I didn’t hear about the race until Tuesday. (I know a guy who knows a guy.) Until that email arrived, I thought my racing season had ended at CamRock back on November 14. But “free” and “close” go a long way with me. My two practice laps plus my two race laps plus a few extra miles of messing around yielded a much better workout than I otherwise would have gotten today, even if I wasn’t able to give 100 percent.

There were about 30 racers overall, including some of the state’s fastest female racers. For people like Wisconsin’s top pro, Brian Matter, Beechwood was an off-week training opportunity in a season that still holds more goals. Jingle Cross, a UCI event, takes place in Iowa next weekend. Our national championships will be held January 5-10 in Asheville NC. The cyclocross season isn’t over for everyone, and today you could tell who was still in race mode and who was just having fun. Whatever your objectives today, you were welcome. Beer and conversation flowed freely around a campfire when the race was over. I missed the state championships and the end-of-season party last weekend at Waterloo, so today’s event allowed me to finish the season on a good note. It was fun in the company of friends.

Just enough friends. Too many cooks spoil the soap.

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