10.28.2003

Today 10-28-2004The Tuesday before Halloween there is race event that holds an energythat is unrivaled in the DC metropolitan area. The risks are great, it is fast, dangerous, and clearly not a race for the faint at heart or those with weak ankles. This race is DC' s annual High Heel Drag Races! It is a three block sprint down 17th Street in the Dupont Circle area, all participants are dressed in "drag" and are dawning "high heels!" I am not sure what the victory "purse" is on this day, but the speeds are high and the risks are higher....there are sure to be more than a few skinned knees before the night is up. The race and the event surrounding the race is a spectacle. A strange small subculture that may usually hide behind closed doors is out in the open on display for all to see on this night. The costumes are nothing shy of FLAMBOYANT! Thick make-up and deep voices gather with shaved legs and short skirts, sequins and boas are everywhere. The costumes are often more than just a man in a dress. There will be group themes, long lines of roller bladers snaking through the crowds, test your movie knowledge and guess what famous actress that some of these men are trying to portray, expect to see more than one Divine look-a-like, and then of course there will be some men that are so convincing that you may want to check for an Adam's apple before you share a cab ride home. You will not get event credit for attendance, but you are sure to be entertained. Show up as early as 7 to get a good spot on the street...the race usually goes on around 9PM. (helpful hint: I have scaled the telephone pole behind the McDonalds for a great overhead view and found that to be a great vantage point, especially pleasing to those who don't care to be pressed in a crowed like a herd of cattle being lead off to slaughter)

Cyclocross is a strange subculture that also involves deep voices,
shaved legs, and flamboyant skintight outfits. The racing is heart
pounding and there is a certain amount of risk. Yet the odds of
hooking up with one of your fellow racers is lower at these events
than at the High Heel races. Cyclocross racing is not unlike the
cross dressing High Heeled Races in the respect that the events are fun for the spectators and the participants alike. On last Sunday, the Sunday before Halloween there was a cycling race held in Reston, this annual event is known as the "All Hallows Cross." The course is a classic cross course held in Lake Fairfax park offering a variety of terrain including dirt, grass, and some asphalt. There are long sections of grass, some off camber turns, with some short fast hard pack descents and climbs that can be ridden up or for the cross- minded a quick dismount and run up, and of course in the classic cross fashion there were some steeple chase barriers at certain sections of the course that force the riders to dismount from their bicycles, leap over the shin high barrier, and then remount the cycle.

On this day I lined up in the B Category with fellow City Bikers
Brian P and Rocco. There was the classic prerace anxiety. I had
arrived prepared; my bike was tuned, after registration there was
plenty of time to warm up, and most of all I had approached this race with a renewed mind set. It is not that I had any intention of taking the other B racers to school, by no means do I feel that I am the fastest or the fittest racer at the line, but rather my intention was to race this race with intensity and passion, to give it my all, and to see where that puts me when I cross the finishline. Most of all I was not going to let the looks of my opposition psych me out.

The race went well for me. There is no need for a play by play. There were moments of near drama; I nearly got taken out by other racers who crashed at certain points in the race and there was a point where I felt as if I should just pull off the course and pack it up. But I did not crash nor did not quit. I raced as hard as I could. When the long 45 minute plus one lap race finally came to a close for me I found that even with my extended efforts I still only finished midpack (19th out of 33 racers.) Even though I did not finish any closer to the leaders of this race I still feel positive about my performance. Cross similar to mountainbiking can offer a wide variety of courses that flatter one riders style or another's. as well as the notion that some race venues and races within certain series may draw a faster gathering of cyclists. Either way a good time was shared by all! Rocco tried to inspire me with a game of "cat and Mouse" but I lacked the power to reel in that 10 second gap between us....

I look forward to doing more Cyclocross races this season, but am
considering doing another mountainbike race this weekend (that is if I race at all)
In accessing my efforts and achievements in cross I am starting to
think that my greatest weakness is that my body is not entrained with the style and fit of the cross bike, my muscles are more in tune with the positioning of my mountainbike. So, if I plan to have greater success with cross racing in the seasons to come I may want to consider riding my cross bike in advance to the cross season, and more frequently than just at races.

remember...
Don't miss the High Heel Drag Races tonight!
as for me...
I will be at home with Dean while Lisa is out of town on a business
trip
but if I had the chance, I would definitely head down there for a
look at the madness!

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