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When the morning air starts to cool, the humidity dips below instant swamp-ass, and the sun sets a little sooner each day thousands of hipsters across the country get overly excited about riding bikes on grass and mud. I’m clearly no exception and have been working feverishly through the late summer to prepare my bike(s) and fitness for the upcoming cyclocross season. This year I’m finally on some tires that should help improve my terrible cornering and thanks to my new work commute and a bit of altitude training in France I actually have a bit of fitness to build on. One thing I hadn’t counted on, however, was Michelle catching some of the buzz.

Let me explain that better. Michelle has always been incredibly supportive of bike racing. She doesn’t get weirded out by shaved legs, she tolerates endless group dinners spent arguing sprint tactics, and she doesn’t seem to mind that we have a room in the house called the bike room. However, despite knowing more about bike racing than every ESPN anchor combined, she’s never had an interest in toeing the start line and peeking into the pain cave of competitive bicycling.

until now…. (dun dun dun)

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You may remember that a few weeks back Michelle entered her first bike race ever (a time trial in NJ) and crushed it. I’ll save the details for another post, but she ended up destroying her normal training pace and we got donuts afterwards. Yeah! Anyway, what all this leads up to is a suitcase full of confidence to use attending the local pre-season beginner cyclocross clinic.

If you’re lost and have no idea what I’m talking about, watch this delightfully amusing cyclocross compilation video:

Is yakety-sax the greatest background music ever created? Yes it is. Download it to your phone right now, press play, and chase your significant other around the house. Enjoy the hilarity.

Anyway, we mounted our steeds and pedaled down to Phoenixville for the clinic. I desparately needed the cornering practice, and lots of our friends were going too. And it was free!

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It was incredibly well put on and useful for both experienced and beginner riders. We had a blast, and Michelle was able to try a lot of the otherwise intimidating elements of cyclocross in a relaxed, no pressure atmosphere.

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After the clinic we grabbed some food and drinks ruined everyone nearby’s lunch before riding home.

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Over lunch we tried quantifying how suburban Michelle and I are. It must have sunk in, because we spent the rest of the day cleaning out the basement in true #burblife fashion. First things first, however, was to get the bikes out of the way..

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I think we’re at maximum capacity.

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Has anyone ever painted their basement walls with masonry sealer like drylok or thoroseal? We don’t have leaks, but we’d love to brighten things up down there with some white or grey on the walls.

Well it’s a good thing we cleaned and re-organized the basement, because a steal of a deal had us driving down to Lancaster after work the following Monday to collect yet another bicycle. Ironically, a friend of ours that went to the clinic had this awesome looking green bike that Michelle was in love with. Unfortunately, a few minutes later she crashed riding down a hill and fractured her wrist! The fancy green bike? Cursed forever. What bike were we now driving hours away to collect? The same model green bike in a bigger size!

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She’s officially dubbed it the #raleighredemption.

Fast forward to this weekend and the start of cross season with Nittany Cross. Michelle, isn’t racing just yet but I am. It’s the first race of the year and always draws a huge turnout. My race maxed out with a field of 125 riders. 40 minutes of misery later, I crossed the line in 34th. Just slightly better than last year’s 93rd…

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The best part of cross races is spending the rest of the day eating food, drinking beer, and cheering on heckling your friends.

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I think it’s gonna be a good season.

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