Saturday, October 31, 2009

Race #25: Victory Tastes as Sweet as Pumpkin Pie

First, I want to say a huge thanks to John at Biowheels and Lane at the Trek Store for getting my bike back in working order. I tore the derailleur hanger off my Redline and John speedily got me a new one, while Lane made sure my bike was race ready and the hanger I reinstalled wasn't going to fall off!

Okay, so sometimes I am a weight weenie. It just doesn't make sense to eat garbage then go out and spend $20 to $30 on a race if you have to lug around extra pounds — the same amount of weight Dentists would pay $3000 to drop off their bikes. But, Bridget has been baking pumpkin pies like they are going out of style. Who could resist? So I've been packing it in — gaining four or five pounds before this race.

Bridget and I drove up to Columbus to our beloved CapCity series where there was a Halloween race at Uncle Steve's (a wonderful host, birthday boy and great patron of the peloton). My first race in the CapCity series went well and I was able to score ninth. I was extremely happy with that result. But going into this race I was at least four pounds heavier than I should be with a lot of the course uphill! I just want to sneak inside the top ten and hopefully be in the top ten in points for the series at the end of the year.

All costumes wearers got a front line call up. I love this series because they keep the races fun. The guy in front of me was wearing a huge diaper — but I remember seeing him gaining spots in the gutter in a road race and from cross races last year — so hopefully he was a strong starter. Nada. The big baby couldn't clip in! I was boxed in and practically riding backwards.

Then I became the big baby and made a pissed off pouty face as I passed Bjet. But suddenly I channeled my distress into my racing. Instead of cautiously waiting to pass I bombed into turns on the inside like some sort of BMX/F1 racer out of control! I was having a blast.

Suddenly it appeared that there were only four riders ahead of me. But, maybe there were time gaps and ten more riders were ahead of them. So like any normal race I asked the giant mustard bottle what place I was in.

Coming around the other direction the giant mustard bottle, or Dan, let me know I was in fifth. WHOA! I can't believe I was in fifth! Gaps began to form. I bobbled a bit and my handlebars caught a tree in a muddy section.

The mustard bottle shouted at me to get busy, stop sitting on people's wheels.

So I attacked up to the second place rider or Aquaman's wheel and felt gassed. You make deals with your legs... "Stop riding so hard. Just sit here. You haven't been on a podium before. Third is all you need. Sleepy..." But the next lap I felt rejuvinated and made a move on an incline.

More encouragement from the mustard bottle.

I bridged the 20 second gap onto the first place rider's wheel. My tired legs wanted to make deals again but felt strong going up another hill (to be fair I didn't realize that he, Layne, has a single speed). I went to take a pull as to not suck wheel and opened a gap.

The mustard bottle told me he was a strong finisher and I better put him away. Remembering my foibles at the end of the Dark Horse UCI race and a random Sven Nys clip on YouTube I decided I better open a gap than try to sprint.

Here is where the mustard bottle became a sadist. He spurred me on, his words like a whip across a mule's back, never letting me rest. I would push myself like crazy upon seeing him and would have to cool myself down so I didn't get so exhausted that I would make a mistake and crash. I came across the line surrounded by friends (Andy Johnson as an enormous little girl in PJs!) and tried not to puke all over them!

The win was also pretty cool because I got to know so many more people in the CapCity series. People like Layne, Mark and Tim that I hope to see year round at road and mountain bike races.

I really want to thank Dan. I haven't been "coached" since I was a teen and it's amazing how a fresh mind helps push you when you are oxygen deprived.

Now maybe I'll be less of a weight weenie.

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