Holy crap I'm behind. Starcrossed was, like, 10 or 100 days ago or something, and I still haven't written about it! I blame my dad, who came to visit shortly after, thus providing me with very inadequate computer and internet time. With him around, I spent the vast majority of my time riding bikes, working on bikes, talking about bikes, knee deep in beer, or any combination of the aforementioned, while my laptop collected dust. In fact, I even managed to spend a large chunk of time outside while he was here, despite the weather's best efforts, thanks in part to the fact that my old man brought with him one of those disc road bikes everybody seems so jazzed about for nasty conditions.
Downtube shifters are icing on the cake
I'd like to start by saying that Starcrossed was one of my favorite races ever. For me, it ranks right up there with the PIR pro-paddock (old USGP) course and Het Meer. I enjoyed it so much, I think, because it was fantastically simple, and not especially challenging, with no wacky gimmicks to speak of.
Sure, you can throw racers something really super hard and let that sort folks out, or put in some odd and unexpected feature, so that the chicks and dudes who just happen to be good at navigating it will have an edge, but I don't prefer those options. Races like that are the ones that end with riders trickling in once every 30 seconds, and with no quality excitement in the final laps, since everything was decided long before. When you lay out a course like Starcrossed, though - wide everywhere, with no one established line, easy to pass on, and with only standard, expected cyclocross type features - it lets the racers make the race, and I much prefer that.
In the cat 1/2 men's race, homies naturally clumped into groups, and you had to attack and try to get away if you hoped to bridge to the next. Folks chased and brought you back when you did. Positioning mattered in both the slow and fast sections. It just seemed to me to require much more thought than an average race. I loved it.
Now maybe that's how all races unfold up in the front, I don't know; in the elite race, I'm never up there to see. I can tell you that even holding down the middle (14th of 40 or so) at Starcrossed, I had some most excellent racing from start to finish, which is a rare treat.
It started off for me with a terrible start, which is 100% par for the course. Despite hundreds, nay, billions of repetitions clipping my left foot into a pedal, I can still count on totally flubbing it at the beginning of a race. However, I did eventually attach myself to my bike and get up to speed somewhere probably in the back half of the field. Not ideal, but then again it meant I was likely to move up throughout the race instead of just backwards, as is my usual steeze. Sure enough, I hopped my way forward through the racers, no doubt annoying each new person who had to exit a hairpin clogged up behind my butt and my lone 65" gear. By probably lap 3 or 4 (of 11 total) a solid group of 4 had formed, with 2 or 3 more joining from the back (na$ty) shortly after. We all took turns trying to ride the others off of our wheels with no success, and there was a handful of sincere flyers that strung things way way out, but we always ended up coming back together.
I found extra motivation in the announcer, who I mistakenly thought hollered that our group represented 7th through 13th, which I figured gave me a decent shot at a top 10. What was actually happening was that the announcer was talking about the group in front of us, on a different part of the course, but while we were rolling through the finish line each time. Ignorant of that fact and all jacked up on the thought of a killer finish, I put in a really big effort with half a lap to go, in order to guarantee the rest of my group would be trapped behind me as I bumbled around the remaining hairpins, and... it worked! I came in first from that bunch, and for a few short minutes genuinely believed I was top 10.
When you have a dream that you can fly and eat as much spaghetti as you want without gaining weight and live in the treetop ewok compound from Star Wars with all of your long lost pets, and then you wake up and remember that you just rent a crappy house and have go to work in the rain in a little bit, it doesn't make the dream any less righteous, and such was the case with my few minutes of glee before I found out I finished right in the middle, like usual.
Overall, an amazing time was had by me.
And I think the Speedvagen team racers had a killer time too, with Tina and Laura bringing in some top placings (4th and 10th, respectively)! Steven Beardsley made the long trek up North as well, to drop some pink and red knowledge on the singlespeed race, looking like a million dollars all lycra-wrapped up tight in the shape of sprinter buttcheeks. Here's where I'd grace you with some of my glorious telephone-photos, except that I won't, because I didn't take any...
Dave Roth did, though! Click that link to see his whole collection, which is enormous. Below are my favorites from the evening: