I went out to my neighborhood park this morning for a bit of cyclocross practice. I'd invited several of my friends to join me. One emailed shortly before I left the house to say that she wasn't into practicing in the rain (she's from the midwest and I'm not sure how she'll feel if it's raining at the Cross Crusade opener next week). Another showed up at the park with her lightweight, collapsible practice barriers. We spent the next sold hour trying out mounts, dismounts and off-camber riding. I showed her where there was a teeny-tiny bit of muddy singletrack at the back corner of the park. She taught me a new approach to dismounting that made a difference, even with flat pedals (leg THROUGH and next to the bike, not skipping out behind and stutter-stepping).
By the end of the hour we were giggling madly and our legs were covered with telltale flecks of mud. We dismantled the barriers and headed over to a local coffee shop for some caffeine and conversation before heading home.
After the personal hell that was 48 Hours Of Interbike, an hour of cross practice in the rain was a balm my soul sorely needed. My last practice before Alpenrose is Wednesday evening after work. I am looking forward to my season far more than I thought I would, and I am praying for a steady rain next Sunday.