While hanging out today after the finish of the Chagrin River Cyclocross Challenge and drinking some Honey Brown from the keg Brett so kindly provided, the average conversation went something like this:
"Holy crap, was that hard today." (spoken while caked in mud after shelling out $20 to enter a race at which most of us had no chance in hell in placing in the top 5). Or, "Every pedal stroke was misery. It felt like I was riding through wet concrete." (spoken while shivering wet and hovering over the bonfire to regain some sense of warmth.)
Most conversations, however, ended like this, "So are you doing the Kirtland Park race tomorrow? Yea, me too."
Why? Well, the answer is quite simple.
Those of us who gather for these periodic tests of fitness/power/technical skills/mental toughness/insanity know exactly what I'm talking about. It doesn't really matter where you finish, or what race you do. You come back week after week because you have to. Because it's an obligation, like going to some aunt's house for a dinner with the extended family.
Except this obligation is something you actually want to attend.
As I sit here before my computer with tired legs, I know that I will be there tomorrow. How can I not? Ryan and I have to do battle again for 9th place (or whatever scraps we can manage.) Zak might be there, and maybe I can hang with him this time. Or Thom or Ray. Or maybe I won't get caught by the fast masters this time (or maybe I'll hang with them if I do). Hope always springs eternal.
Regardless, Bill will be there and will always be friendly as hell. And Lynn will be kind enough to run the show (again). And Robert S. will impress us all with his riding. And John E. will likely bring 17 different sets of wheel and tire combinations for different conditions, and will certainly be unhappy with the combo he ultimately chooses.
And fun will be had by all, as it always is.