Frank and I rode cyclocross this morning. As I’ve mentioned before I am horrible at cyclocross. When I do cyclocross, I come in last, dead last. And yet, I love cyclocross. It is so much fun. No, really, it is. So, I thought I’d take a moment to impart to you the tricks of coming in dead as a doornail last.
1. Wear lots of layers to stay warm. On the top layer, make sure you wear a jersey that instantly lowers expectations of your cycling skills or lack thereof. I like to wear my Fat Cyclist jerseys because people think, “Oh, she’s a fat cyclist. She’s not going to be very fast or very good.” Under no circumstances should you wear a jersey emblazoned with words like speedy, racing, or any other macho phrases. It’s better to give people a realistic picture right from the get go.
2. When encountering sections that are too technical, too scary, or otherwise icky get off your bike and walk. I walked a muddy the first time and rode through it the second. The second time was way more fun. By avoiding technical, scary, or icky sections you’ll also avoid doing an endo over the handlebars. My friend, Nick, did not adhere to this tip and ended up landing on his noggin and cracking his helmet. (His crash did make a really super photo.) Instead of crashing on the dangerous sections, save your falls for perfectly flat, slightly muddy surfaces. You’ll look like an idiot when you lay your bike down, but other than a few bruises and a scratched up ego, you’ll survive unscathed. Honestly, I think this was just Frank’s way of showing me who the boss is.
3. Ride the track by braille. Go slow enough that your glasses will be perpetually fogged. This will make the track impossible to see. Instead you’ll know you’ve veered off the track when you start running over large bushes. When you hit a bush, turn your wheel the other way until you hit another bush. Or a tree. Or the caution tape marking the course. Riding by braille is way more exciting than actually seeing where you’re going.
4. Ride slow enough that you get lapped by the leaders. Better yet, ride slow enough that you get lapped by everyone. Including the kids. If possible, ride slow enough that the leaders lap you twice. That way when time is up, you will have only completed two laps and everyone else will have completed three or four. They will finish looking red-faced, muddy, sweaty, completely pooped, and ready to hurl. You will finish red-faced, muddy, sweaty, but with plenty of energy to drink a slug of hot cocoa and scarf a banana or two.
5. This tip comes from Mrs. Bike Mechanic, Amy. She is way faster than I am, but I thought this was a good tip anyway. In the morning when you’re carefully pulling on layer after layer of Spandex, do not put your toe warmers on. That way when you’re standing around waiting for the race to start, your toes can freeze so completely that they will be void of all sensation. When the race starts, you won’t be able to tell whether your feet have connected with your pedals or not. This will allow you to pedal the air a few times without actually moving your bike forward. Genius, Amy.
6. Be a martyr. At the end of the race, ask people how their race was. Hopefully they’ll answer “Well, I didn’t come in last.” Then you can swoop in and say “That’s because I came in last. You’re welcome.” It’s important to let others in the race know how much you’ve sacrificed on their behalf. Only a benevolent martyr such as yourself would be willing to save everyone else from coming in last, dead last.