Tuesday, April 15, 2008

THE 'OTHER' SEASON


{it's strecthy pant season}

Many parts of the country get to experience the full range of what mother nature gifts us during the year. Four beautiful and completely different seasons to enjoy...

In the Pacific Northwest we enjoy 3 seasons. The first 2 being Wet and Dry. These can happen at anytime during the year and with no regularity. The third season is what I refer to as the 'other season'. The 'other season' is the season we make up to get through the first 2. Skiing, Biking, Grilling, Drinking...what have you. This weekend I started one of my ‘other’ seasons. Racing...or as I like to look at it...participating.
My first 'race' was a revist to a familiar course. Last year at Volunteer Park I missed the final lap and sprint by not hearing the ‘last lap’ bell. I vowed to never let it happen again.
Saturday 85 brave spandex clad cyclists lined up for the Cat 4/5 race early in the morning. The race unfolded like anyone would imagine.

{am I even in there?}


{oh yeah, hanging out next to jerky}
Pace…fast.
Wrecks…none that I know of.
Breakaways…random and all failed.
Finish…mass sprint.

{so serious}

The only thing I didn’t imagine was crossing the line 5th.
I’m going to chalk that one up to my Cheer Squad that showed up. They posted themselves at various places around the course to offer me words of ‘encouragement’ during the race. They were very savvy in making sure I knew the final lap count. And my roommate was nice enough to dangle a can of Rainier next to the finish line for motivation.

{in Paris it's champagne}

{ahhhh, the 'participants' diet}

Sunday was my cherry popping first Boat Street Crit. While they separated the 4s and 5s for this race, and the fields were smaller…this race was more exciting and dangerous than the previous. The course had a tight up-hill turn and a down-hill screamer of a turn that was just begging for carnage.

As the race unfolded rims were scuffed, pedals hit corners, and riders were picked up off the pavement. On the final lap it appeared that it was going to set up for another bunch sprint. Until a scrappy Raleigh employee surprised the bunch on the back straight to make one last dash to the finish line alone. Head down, legs screaming, and a quick look over the shoulder victory appeared all but certain.

However, victory was not to be mine. I should have looked over both shoulders. A lone rider had managed to grab my wheel when I accelerated and pimped me at the line by half a wheel length.
I don’t know what is worse. Coming so close to winning…and not. Or explaining to my fans why I couldn't pull it off.

I'd like to thank both Recycled Cycles and Cucina Fresca for putting on a very fun start to this...the silliest looking season.

UPDATE: New pictures are up. If you want to see how large the Volunteer field was, the wreck on Boat Street, and how close the finish was...go here and here. Thanks to the folks at Wheels In Focus for their continued great coverage of the races.

4 comments:

RedHeadForWorldDomination said...

No beers for second place!

Chunk said...

Nice! Way to go with 5th place. If I'd only had your breakaways...random and failed nugget of advice three hours ago, I might have actually achieved something at the local Tuesday night crit.

Instead I treated myself a side ache in a failed breakaway attempt and then sitting 3rd wheel going into the final turn I thought to myself "I'm probably going to be passed right about now."

Wouldn't you know it I guessed the moment it happened to the split second. Nothing like going from 3rd to tail end of the top 20 in a span of 200 yards.

Takes a lot of years to get that good.

ChrisB. said...

Now that's one inspiring blog!

I'm planning a return to crit racing this year (after a 16 year hiatus), just as soon as I get my racing rig (a 1994 Cannondale)together. My list of remainings tasks:

1. Plan A: Finish drilling/grinding out frozen stem from threaded fork. Plan B: replace threaded fork on the cheap. Anyone out there looking to sell one (cheap), please send me an email.

2. Reasssemble fork, stem and headset.

3. A) Repair 14 year old STI (left) shift lever, or B) replace with downtube shifter.

On the bright side, I've been getting in lots of miles on my heaver and more sluggish winter/city bike.

Regardless, you've inspired me to step it up a notch.

-Chris

BF kemyooter said...

-I just hope you defend your Ballard title this year. We'll see who gets beer then.

Chunk-proud of ya for get'n out there kid. But don't punish yourself in Crits...that's what Cross season is for.

chrisb-good luck 'repairing' anything STI! Commuter miles are the best training miles...that's all I have on my legs. Just remember to smile and have some fun.