XXX Relay Cross provided a good idea of what cross felt like again. The 95 deg day was out of the ordinary but made it hurt that much more. We were sitting well right out of the gates but an unfortunate flat for our team put us into 5th with several laps to go. We did manage to reel in one more place finishing 4th overall just shy of the podium and were fortunate enough to avoid the Cuttin Crew's off-camber chicane of doom. Big thanks to Kevin Sparrow for making the trip down from MKE to race with me in what looks to be like a popular annual event.
After a quiet weekend of no riding and a couple hard rides early in the week I'm tapering it down for the big showdown this weekend in Jackson Park. Nothing like a relay to tune up the legs for the season ahead. The Ellis is dialed in and from what I hear from my riding partner we're ready to roll!
A lack of racing this season has contributed to the lack of new content at the Youngblood HQ. Other projects have taken priority and searching for a new habitat has consumed weekend after weekend after weekend. Regardless, good things are happening and lack of racing by no means translates to no riding. Keeping the fitness high with sporadic mountain bike races has always been my method for transitioning into the cyclocross season. If you never try anything new, you'll never know if it works the best. I feel new motivation to explore new rides and meet new people to ride with. Word has it, Chicago is the home to some pretty fast dudes.
More often than not I find myself navigating Rapha's website clicking through the black and white images of cyclists flying down mountain passes. Something about seeing the product on an athlete who is descending down a 12% grade makes you feel the wind in your face, the rain beating against your skin, and the sound of your tires humming beneath you.
We've all been there.
I picked up the Classic Softshell Jacket several years ago when it was first released - the current model has gone through several generational changes since the beginning. However, the original still holds the same warmth and windproofness since day one even though it's seen abuse. The leather on the shoulder has worn exposing the bare nylon beneath, the reflective piping has been scratched away, the "bite grip" has faded and parts of the hand warmers have dissolved into nothing but the intricate details of this finely grafted garment hold it together and it feels brand new every time I slip it on.
A jacket like the Classic Softshell isn't something you purchase every day. Rather, it's something you purchase once for a lifetime.