Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ready to Race

The race season has started for the Pros. You have to throw out the Tour Down Under simply because it is in January and their water goes down the drain the wrong way. We have to have standards, right? And you have to discount those oil-sponsored desert races. They make office park crits look picturesque. We have to have standards, right?

Well this weekend we got the first of the "real" races with Het Volk (please, I am not going to call it by its new name until is has been 25-50 years) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. These are real races run in the face of rain, snow, hellish winds and misery.

Just around the corner here in Spokane our race season is about to begin also. The season kicks off with the Frozen Flatlands race. It is too long, too cold and has a miserable wall-style climb that separates me from the pack, but I will be there proudly supporting Team Two Wheel in my slightly slow but spirited manner. The omnium this year involves a 12-mile time trial, a 47-mile road race/misery-fest on the same day (what?) and in a change from the circuit race of prior years a 24.5 mile road race using the "old" finish line after a series of rollers. Should be interesting and painful.

So, how do you know if you are ready to race? I suppose that is in an individual question. I know I am ready when I can follow Quicksilver for an hour or two without wanting to throw up or curse him for failing to ever, ever notice he has a small chainring. Alternatively, I know I am ready to race when I can converse with Rider 1 on a ride and the conversation doesn't center on "my legs are shot", "my tank is empty", "I am sick", "I am hungover" or finally, "please, please make it stop".

Lance "Killing Machine" Armstrong has a different way of knowing he is ready to ride. Here is a picture from a new Lance Armstrong book, the caption for which is, "You can see here I wasn't yet serious about cycling: I still have hairy legs."

From Misc Bike Pics

Here is another picture from about eight months later. The caption reads, "It was a day or two before the start [of the Tour] . . . Clearly those legs were ready to race."

From Misc Bike Pics

Um, yeah. He looks ready to ride. And no, Tom, we didn't mix up a picture of your calves with Lance's.

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