Since Mr. Friedman has tiny humans to take care of and doesn't spend weekends in motels away from them, he drove up with me on Sunday morning. At number pickup, I was forced to confront the fact that my last decent cross result was last year at Lowell. As such, I drew a totally-deserved starting position of 98th. Then I rolled a tubular on my warmup lap. In defense of my gluing skills, this had much more to do with a poor remount on an off-camber than any particular failure of bonding agents or cement-painting. Despite all of this, I threw a rear clincher on and had a decent start, aided by two (!) crashes in the starting gate. Last year I ended up at the bottom of one of these pileups, snapping a shifter cable and DNF-ing me before I even got out of the little ring. I raced for 1/280th of the time I spent driving that day. Alternately, I paid the equivalent of $2100/hour of racing. Math is fun! However, this year the Crashing Gods were on my side, and I slid around both angry piles of Cat 3s.
Especially when under-trained, Cycle-Smart is almost entirely dependent on catching the right group in the first lap or two and using them correctly. This is hard to do from the very back of the starting grid. Even with passing all of the crashed riders, I was still riding around 80th. I followed Humberto of Verge/Mad Alchemy around for a while until he escaped, then found a decent group of complete strangers to leech onto. One gentleman only wanted to pass me in the most offensive places, such as while we were going over the train tracks. I assume he's equally offensive in real life, and probably stands inappropriately close to people on the subway and breathes on them heavily. For once in my stupid cross career I spent most of the race riding well, taking corners in a non-Cat 4 fashion and not crashing once. Unfortunately, having spent the month after Gloucester doing only Wednesday Night Superprestige, my legs had 20-25 minutes of hard efforts in them, and the metaphorical wheels fell off about halfway through the race (this is still preferable to having the actual bicycle wheels fall off, which I have experienced in the past).
Coming into the final lap I ended up a ways behind Todd Prekaski and riding around with a Twin Six singlespeeder (Matt Lolli, according to Cross Bible) and Wilson Martinez of BNB/Circle A. I managed to hold off Martinez, but got trashed in the sprint by Lolli. This shames me deeply. He obviously had more in the tank left than me, but I. Had. Gears. Deservedly, he got cheered heartily by the crowd and I got heckled for losing a sprint to a guy who intentionally races with a mechanical roadblock. I ended up 77th, which
Fast-forward two days afterwards, and the Bad Luck Train continues! Already late to work after my two-hour voting experience, I was riding down Harvard Ave when a little old lady decided to open her car door in front of me. She caught my foot, sending me flying down the street like an ungainly bird, if Brookline hadn't outlawed birds along with overnight parking. Since I could move all my extremities, my bike was mostly OK, and Brookline police officers with common sense were outlawed at the same time as overnight parking and birds, I let her go and limped into work. 4 hours later my wrist stopped working and I got worried, but it turned out to be only sprained, not fractured. I can take a hint. After 2012's clown car of catastrophe, it's time to take a couple weeks off the bike and start training for what can only be a less-unlucky 2013. (It can't get worse, right?)