Halloween Cross

Yesterday’s cyclocross race at Washington Park in Milwaukee featured a Halloween theme, a great opportunity for the sport’s unique breed of zany, fun-loving personalities to take it up a notch. Over a sheath of spandex, many riders sported fur, horns, wigs and face paint, transforming the race into a full-fledged freak show. There was a penguin, unicorn, astronaut, Santa, and Sputnik—pride of the Soviet space program, just to name a few. Me? I was a ladybug with black-dotted, thigh-high red tights and wings, while Larry pulled on his old standby, an electric blue rock star wig.

The course featured a two-mile loop of run-ups, barriers and dozens of sharp turns, but also a few Halloween-themed touches, like a barrier made to look like a coffin, with the hand-painted, ominous message—bunny hop or die. Somehow I survived despite dismissing the warning. Not yet adept at the bunny hop technique, I instead got off my bike and carried it over the coffin, much to the disappointment of the surrounding spectators. But even so, I did get plenty of “go ladybug” cheers throughout the race.

It was a tough race. I was in third position after the initial sprint, and eventually made my way into the lead by the end of the first loop. But it was one of those races where second place is just ten seconds back and you can feel a presence behind you, seemingly getting closer and closer with each passing lap. I honestly don’t remember how many laps we did—5 or 6. I could tell I was tired as the race wore on—my turns were getting sloppy and I felt less powerful on the straightaways. At one point during the second-to-the-last loop, I misjudged a corner and ran into a tree, which knocked me off my bike a bit. Luckily, I recovered fairly quickly. I’ve found that the biggest challenge at the end of these races is trying to focus and be cautiously smooth on the corners, despite not being able to see clearly due to exhaustion and oxygen-debt. As always, it was a huge relief to hear the bell for the last lap, and finally cross the finish line. But still, it was a race until the finish. And it took everything I had to get there.

My parents were there to watch and document the action. I particularly enjoyed catching my dad’s proud smile at several points during the race. And amazingly,  my mom snapped nearly 200 pictures. Below are just a few of her great shots.

Category: Racing and Training One comment »

One Response to “Halloween Cross”

  1. Krista

    OHHHHHHHHHH your ladybug is so adorable I can’t even stand it. Awwww.

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