This morning the thermometer outside read 38F at 8 am. By the time I joined Crystal over at the park for our "We're-too-cool/broke/tired/pick-one-for-Sherwood" cross practice it had risen to a balmy 43F. Perfect weather for embrocation. I had applied a dose of Northwest Kneewarmers Medium Formula about half an hour before I was due at the park, which was perfect timing for it to take effect.
We had a FUN session, riding for pretty much a solid hour after warming up. We set up a little practice course that basically ran around the entire park, taking advantage of mud puddles (turned to semi-hard peanut butter in the sun, but still almost slick enough), off-camber berms and drops, and tight turns through the trees that border the large, open green space. We timed each other and tried to make a go of four non-stop laps around the "course"; then rearranged our homemade barriers to make it a little different (and harder) and tried that too. Dismounting on an off-camber slope to run off-camber barriers on wet grass is pretty evil, but since we'll see stuff like that next weekend -- and worse if it rains! -- it's good to prepare. Best part of all was practicing with someone else, because we both agreed that it amps up the intention -- if not the outright intensity -- and makes us try harder stuff than we would if practicing all alone.
Crystal had to go home and study, so I stopped only briefly at our new local coffee shop before heading home, to the next-best part of cyclocross: The hot shower where I wash off the embrocation. The tingle remains for half an hour afterwards, soothing my tired legs; and after a solid ride or race it is a near-heavenly feeling unlike any other.
I am really looking forward to PIR next weekend.