The Greatest Show on Earth

Some “friendly” words of encouragement. (photo Hal L.)

I have discovered that Cyclocross spectators are a bit of a morbid bunch. They have the uncanny ability to find the areas of a race course where there is the highest probability of carnage. They wait, cowbells and cameras in hand, ready to cheer, heckle and photograph racers as they do their damnedest not to endo their way into the crowd, and potentially the MCA’s photographic year in review.

KK (I think) disappoints the bloodthirsty crowd. (photo Hal L.)
Definite potential here. (photo Hal L.)

The course for the Cyclocross Provincials on Sunday offered several such areas, including the Palletes of Death, the Drop of Death, the Ditch of Death and my personal favorite, the Wall of Death. All were, of course, littered with plenty of very excited spectators awaiting a fine afternoon of glorious weather and spectacular entertainment.

The Drop of Death (photo KK)
The Ditch of Death (photo KK)
The Palettes of Death. (photo Woodcock)
JP uses The Force to climb the Wall of Death.

During my warmup lap, I decided the Wall of Death was decidedly unrideable, but was soon convinced otherwise by the lovely Mrs. G. who pointed out that in spite of it being almost completely vertical, it was only slightly longer than the length of my bike. Despite riding for the Dark Lords, she exhibits moments of Jedi-like wisdom, much like her hubby. My first attempts were less than graceful, and after under-negotiating the sharp left at the top of the wall, I plummeted over the other side into the ditch. It wasn’t a bad fall, but I did fall badly, bending the thumb of my right hand in a direction it really isn’t meant to go. So rather than giving the Wall of Death another go before the race started, I went to find medical attention.

Johnny G. gets some cowbell. (photo by Hal)

The spectators were great motivators to stay vertical, and offered great encouragement from their vantage points at the aforementioned Areas of Death. The race itself was far better for me than the dismal and crash-riddled warmup, though braking and riding over  bumps of any kind was incredibly uncomfortable. I managed to conquer all the Areas of Death, depriving the spectators of any real entertainment beyond the usual facial grimaces, drooling and grunts. Perhaps in the future I will suggest whiskey shots be incorporated at the wheel pit.

At the end of the race I returned to see the medic to get a proper dressing, only to come upon a scene right out of Vietnam. There were bodies everywhere, and I was told I was at the end of a long triage line of road rash, head wounds, and miscellaneous race-related gashes.

Even Mr. Woodcock himself got in on the band (aid) wagon. (photo by KK)

Later that night at Urgent Care I came across Don, still in his racing gear awaiting stitches, which had to be done within 8 hours of the injury. He and Jane had been waiting an hour and a half, and had been told it was going to be at least another hour until he was treated. He looked tired (and still pretty dirty), but remarkably chipper.

Don got a medal AND some stitches. (photo: Woodcock)

While I am hard core enough to race with a possibly broken or dislocated thumb, I am not hard core enough to sit in a hospital waiting room for 3 hours without a jeering, cow-bell ringing crowd to cheer me on. That’s just plain crazy.

No carnage here. Just a beautiful shot by Kevin B.

Thanks to the MCA, Woodcock Cycle and all the crazy spectators for another great race!