I’ve been stewing about this for an entire year.
Push Play for this weekend. Redmond Derby days. I didn’t even bother bringing my beloved coveralls. I signed up, pinned my number on and slid into the ‘kit’. I didn’t get the final tally, but it looked like a field of 85+ riders in the 4/5 cat. With the temperature hovering around 85 and a Cash Prize list…this was going to be one ugly race.
Not more than ¾ of the way into the first lap we had causalities. The rounded road reflectors had claimed their first of many victims on the day. During the 40 minutes of racing I saw 2 groups go down in front of me, 1 beside me, and heard a couple more behind me. By the end I was just hoping I’d still be upright.
Mid way through the race a group of 3 broke off the front. It looked like fun, and a good group of 4 could put a gap on the main group. So I bridged up, told the group to jump on my wheel and layed on the accelerator. With my eyes forward I assumed they had done just that. So when I gave a flick of my arm a lap later asking for someone else to take a pull I was bummed to find out there was no one behind me. Not wanting to take a solo flyer with another 20 minutes of racing, I sat up and waited. While I was waiting to be re-absorbed I took a moment to 'work' the crowd. Channeling the great Hulk Hogan I placed my hand at my ear, and started throwing my hands in the air.
Once back in the pack I settled in for the remainder of the race, and bid my time till the closing laps. With 3 laps to go the local “Rabbit Team” (they approach racing with the philosophy that if one rider is good, if we put 15 in each category we should be great) sent a rider off the front and placed another at the front of the pack to slow things down for him. This looked like it was going to work so with one lap to go I stood on my pedals and went for it.
Once the first two turns were navigated and back stretch loomed in front of me I heard a rider behind me say “Keep it up, we can do this!”
WE?! There was no WE in this move. This guy wanted to sit on my wheel and try and snag me at the line. So, I don't know why, but I started to crank harder.
We rounded the last corner and began the long sprint to the finish line. I passed the break away rider with 50m to go and saw the WE rider make his move.
As he started to come around me I stood on my pedals and accelerated one last time with everything that was left in my legs. As we stabbed our bikes at the line I heard the announcer say “Whoa, I’m not going to try and make the call on that one.”
I threw my hand in the air and saw second place hang his head. We both knew.
A million thanks to Amara at Wheels In Focus for showing up to these races week in and week out. Some more thanks to Amara for bringing me to the realization that the sun hasn't been out very much up here, and I really need a tan! More photos can be found here.