Every year I look forward to the amazing cycling event that is Bilenky Junkyard Cross. It’s a cyclocross cross race (sort of) like none other: broken down cars for barriers, rough battered pavement, and some turns that’ll shave off some skin if you’re not careful. I still have scars from my first race in 2011.
This year was my third time participating and since I don’t own a singlespeed cross rig I entered in the Men’s B race consisting of about 50 riders split into 12-man heats. The top three finishing riders from each heat would go on to compete in the final race. I lined up for my starting heat with a very different kind of butterfly in my stomach than a normal race since there were much fewer racers surrounding me. One racer took the hole shot and I was close behind him in second, I noticed from the first turn that he was putting in a serious effort as he nearly slid out in the first switchback coming in a little hot. I stayed close behind until after a quick uphill run-up where he put in a gap and some serious speed after getting back on the bike. With this amazing speed I watched him launch off the kicker over the broken down car followed by the gleeful roar of the drunken spectators. That magnificent sound quickly shifted into a well orchestrated hush: “OOOHHHhh…”. It wasn’t until I caught up to him and saw a few people rushing towards his still body on the ground, crashed bike with bent front wheel just feet laid next to him, that I realized what had happened. Thankfully a paramedic was on stand-by and he was lifted out on a stretcher to an ambulance shortly after. From what I hear the guy’s doing just fine.
The 11 of us left in the race lined by up for a do-over of the heat after 20 minutes or so. This time I nailed the start and caught the hole shot, pretty much all I had to do was not make any mistakes since there was little other opportunities for anyone behind me to pass. I did just that to take the win of my qualifying heat feeling like a hundred bucks and excited to get to do another race later in the day.
I lined up again for the third time that day with the other qualifiers from the other heats. This time I had a little trouble getting my second foot clipped in and didn’t have as strong of a start as I had hoped for. Everyone was going all out and it showed in the corners- several riders slid out from coming into the fine-but-slippery gravel turns with too much speed. I know about these turns quite well as they’ve given me some nice scars in the past. I haven’t a clue of where I finished this race and I doubt there will be any sort of results posted anywhere but little of this matters. I had a lot of fun that day.
Ed. Note : The best thing about the above post is that it was penned by our newest team mate, Bob Myaing. Welcome aboard, Bob.