Thursday, April 30, 2009
A week ago Tuesday while I was signing up for the Twilight Series race I noticed that the woman in front of me seemed to be a little anxious. She was talking to Karen, the head official, wondering if she was doing the right thing by trying this racing gig. Karen assured her she will be fine and will enjoy herself. At this point my mind began to wax sentimental of my first ever race on a hot afternoon June 1986. The bike shop I had purchased my first road bike at and haunted for the last 10 months told me I should give racing a try. The owner stroked me with the usual complements such as you are fit enough, you ride real strong and other customers of his who raced don't have the talent that I possessed. At this point I must sheepishly confess the man was blind both literally and figuratively. Now blinded with ego I agreed to give it a try. The race was to go off at 6:00pm and it was a 10 mile time trial starting at the Bowl and Pitcher in Riverside Park. I arrived at the start to register around 4:30 only to find no sign of a bike race. I waited for 40 minutes until I notice a lady pulling up with a car that had an Arrivee Cycling Club sticker in the back window of her car. When she got out of her car I asked her if she had anything to do with the race. She said she was and in fact was in charge of registration. "Well I would like to sign up for it." I told her. "Man are you early. You must be a four" she said. "A what?" I asked. "A four, you know your cat." she answered. "Cat?" I replied. "Oh man you are as green as they get." she stated. As I filled out the paper work she kept giving me words of encouragement. She must of thought I needed them and I couldn't figure out why. Upon reflection, my shaky hands and the constant questions about the registration form she may have felt I needed encouragement. Soon the whole area was surrounded with cyclist. All were conversing in a language that I couldn't understand like-"Are you running a straight block?" and "I can push a 53x13 on this course". The next thing I witnessed is the younger riders lining up for the race official rolling their bikes backwards in a straight line. What the hell is going on? Is this some kind of cult? The shouting of my name pulled me away from the freak show and to the start line. I can remember everything about that last few seconds before I launched off into my cherry popping race. I was straddling a black Miyata 912 equipped with Shimano 600 EX (Before index shifting) and wearing Rhode Gear shorts, black and white checkered jersey and Vittoria shoes. I tighten down my toe straps(before clipless pedals) and hear the count down 5,4,3,2,1...... Crap! I have cotton mouth and I have no water in my water bottle! GO. I hammered like it was the last 200 meters of a sprint. Now I was anaerobic and dying of thirst not even a kilometer from the start. I kept shifting gears trying to find one that would give me speed without blowing up my legs.(I never did find one). This course had two turn around points. One at the 2 mile mark and the other at the 7 mile mark. At the first turn around I was on the wheel of my 30 second man and about 200 meters after the turn around I past him. This gave a new found motivation. I pushed even harder than I had before. My mouth was becoming even dryer than before. I was breathing heavy but very rhythmically like the timing of that song I hated so much. Styx's "Come Sail Away". "Oh great!" I thought to myself. Now I have that hideous song stuck in my head and my mouth feels like a desert. Before I knew it I was approaching the next turn around and I was catching my minute man. About 400 meters after that turn around I past him. I dug deeper and my thirst became stronger. With about a mile to go I was so parched I began dry heaving. The polluted Spokane River that ran parallel with the course began to look good to drink even thought we were down river of the sewage treatment plant. With my eyes watering from the gaging I could see the finish line. It was the longest 400 meters of my racing career. When I crossed the line I saw a woman preparing to start her race. She congratulated me and asked if I was ok because I didn't look so good. I open my mouth to speak and it sounded like Velcro. Through hand jesters I conveyed I needed water. She handed me her full bottle water and I downed it like frat boy does a beer bong. She yelled at me, "Hey, don't drink it all." It was too late. "What am I going to do now. I should be starting any"........ "Laura Grey to the line please. Last call." "Thanks you prick." I wished her a good race but I believe it fell on deaf ears. I finished second that fateful day and have always remember to have water in my bottles. Ahhh......to be on the other side of being a race virgin.
Posted by Team Rider 2 at 7:54 PM