Race Report :: 2002 NCNCA Cyclocross District Championships

Date: November 16, 2002
Event: NCNCA Cyclocross District Championships
Category: Master 35-44
Place: back of the pack
Field: ~40
Team mates: Ron G., Chip B.

First, don’t let the name “District Championships” fool you into thinking this was some big time event. Sure, the winners of the various categories would receive “District Champion” jerseys. But, besides that, all we had here was another local grass roots cyclo-cross race. Another odd thing about this race, it’s in the middle of the cyclo-cross season. Shouldn’t a championship be at the end of the season? Oh well, that’s just part of our grass root cycling here in Northern California. Although, this might all change as our organizing body, the NCNCA, has allowed itself to be swallowed up by the corporate dragon USA Cycling. I believe it’s a mistake. Especially since there was nothing wrong. It worked. Does “don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” ring a bell?

Speaking of a bell, I heard one ringing far too soon in my race. The last lap bell to be exact. I was making up for lost time after I pulled off the course to figure out why my left hand was covered in blood. I only noticed something was amiss when I grabbed my hoods while riding the steep hill after the barrier. My left fingers brushed against the brake lever and it felt wet and sticky. I thought to myself ‘that’s weird, I must have gotten Gel on my lever’. Once I crested the hill, I was able to raise my hand to examine the viscous fluid on my fingers.

I knew from first sight that it wasn’t a new flavor of Gel. Unless, of course, Clif has come out with one for vampires. My fingers were covered in blood. Bright red, dripping, just out of a slasher scene in a B movie. What to do? What to do? I keep riding down the hill. It doesn’t hurt but it sure is making it difficult to brake with the left hand. Finally, I pull off the course, grab my water bottle, and start washing off the blood so I can find the source of this gusher. All this time I’m trying to ignore the racers passing by. Finally, the source is revealed. A small scab on my knuckle that had been scraped off sometime during the race. Not more than 1/4″ long and 1/8″ high. But, left unattended, and fed by a heart pumping near its AT level, this little opening gushed a stream of blood.

With the remaining water in my bottle, I cleaned the blood covering my lever and handlebar. Knowing now of the problem, I was able to remount and jump back into the race. But, I had lost a lot of time as well as blood. Ok, not that much blood but every bit counts in cycling! As I proceeded around the course I would flick off the blood gathering and running down my finger. After several laps, the flow of blood had dwindled to a trickle.

By the end of the race, I had only a slightly bloody tiny scab and smear of blood on my cheek to show for all that nonsense. If only Russ or Nancy had gotten a shot of my hand. Oh well.

I did enjoy the race and the course. The promoters did a fine job organizing. The music selection was very-retro. Oh, and hearing someone’s kid singing a solo at one point was very cute *and* funny.

Cheers!

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