Tuesday, February 23

Winter Shart Tarck Series '21: Race Five

The Pie wanted to see me try at a thing, so the usual logistical "time to make the donuts" morning with Dr Mike is not the same same.  Blanket in the backseat for Boppit, geared tossed in the trunk to allow him room to wander about...

Almost left the house without my bike.

Get to Anne Springs Close Greenway and immediately fellow SS'er Kevin rolls up bearing fruit. 

We chat for a bit while I get dressed (how is he already kitted up?).  We talk about what an arduous series it's been this year.  This is probably the first time I can ever remember getting through five weeks without injury or illness.  If it wasn't the year I broke a rib cleaning my bike after the first race, it was one of the many times that I caught a cold that got all up in my lungs because I refused to take a day off work and commuting and racing and irritating my lungs with cold, dry air.  Was there a January/February when The Pie and I weren't taking our turns sleeping on the couch and hacking up mucus all night?

I guess social distancing and masks are good for that.

Dr Mike shows up and we head to the hill to warm up.  Roll over to the start line with about eight minutes to spare, and the only thing I have on my mind is trying to win one whilst my supportive better half gets to finally see it.  The Pie hasn't been to one of my races since I used to do so many hours of riding in circles.  A 24 hour race?  A 12 hour race?  Me sporadically coming into the pits all crazy-eyed and babbling about ibuprofen and Pop Tarts and caffeine and cookie dough and chamois cream and knee warmers and...

Such romantic memories.

So, despite having the series win almost in hand as long as I could avoid any unforeseen sad circumstance, I drill it from the start.  Shawn gets ahead of me and AJ jumps on my wheel as we head into the woods.  Shawn can really get that big gear of his working on the gravel road, but when we jump into the trail, it takes its toll.  Although the trail isn't muddy, it's soft in a lot of spots.  Energy sucking, tire grabbing, Play-Doh.  Check my heart rate... this is maintainable.

When we pop out on the gravel climb to the start/finish, I decide that it's time to... do something?  Obvs the smart thing to do would be draft off Shawn (if I can hold his wheel) for two or three laps and save energy.  That just means I'd have less time to make time, so in my head, that's not an option.  

I'm gonna go all out for the first three laps up the gravel road.  My thinking being that if I can fake it well enough, Shawn and AJ might think I can do this for five laps.  I mean, mebbe I can or mebbe I can't, but as long as they're convinced, that's what matters?

Lap two, continue the fake it till you make it plan.

Head into lap three and I can still see Shawn behind me.  I'm catching a lapped Clydesdale racer, so I decide to ride next to him right up until the entrance to the second trail... thinking if Shawn pushed his big gear to close the gap, he'll be stuck behind one of us.

I don't know how all that panned out actually.  It's too difficult to keep looking behind me to check on where anyone is. Drill, drill, drill.

I guess it's the fifth and final lap.  I've stayed outta trouble so far.  I've made it through five weeks of racing, and mebbe I "touched" a tree when my brake pads wore out, and perhaps Shawn and I tangled bars one week, but all I gotta do today is finish...

Come into the greasy left hand rooty turn that falls away to the outside with a tree at the exit to keep you in play, a turn I've gone around fourteen times without incident...

and I lose the front and and auger into the mud.


All I needed today was to finish.  No reason to take risks or go stupid fast. 

But I did want The Pie to see me win a "thing."

Get up and I had hit the ground hard enough to turn the bars.  


I don't know if I have the kinda gap to try to fiddle it back in place.  I member how much fun it was to ride with crooked bars at the Wheels to the Farm event like a billionty years ago (it was not).  When that happened, I lost seconds tryna wrestle it back into place only to over-twist it to pointing in the other wrong direction that wasn't straight ahead.

So, finish out the woods tryna remind myself that I'm turnt left but going straight... hoping I don't get caught because I don't think a sprint would work out so well with this self-imposed handicap.  Kill myself on the beginning of the gravel, look back...

I'm okay.

I win.

phot cred: Supercycling
I don't normally do finish line shenanigans, but after five weeks of racing, sure?

Boppit always thinks I'm a winner.

Thanks, Boppit.  

Hooray, me.


Anonymous said...

Nice. Congrats!

craig said...


Scott said...

Boppit looks like an awesome fan.

Anonymous said...

you are only as good as your last race.

never race again