Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Butterfly Effect


For the record, this is NOT the tattooed babe on a bike that I saw, but she runs a pretty close second!

May 26, 2009, Tuesday

Beautiful weather this morning. I woke up at 5:10 a.m. and drank coffee, ate breakfast, and got myself out on the bike. I took the Scenic Loop again today, and was pleased with the climbing as well as the descents. The butterflies are starting to well up from my chest and are beginning to clog my throat as the championships draw nearer. My excellent strategy must go by the wayside now. Last year the 60+ championships were with just the 60+ riders. This year they are putting the 50+, the 55+, and the 60+ all in the same field, which will change the entire character of the race. If my experience at the Devil’s Punchbowl is any indication, the race will be blazingly fast and the climb will be furious, as the depth in the 50+ and 55+ is tremendous. Sure, we’re scored separately, but it won’t be just Kenny Fuller, John Rubcic, maybe Benjamin Maciel and me going over the top, there will be possibly as many as ten others pushing the pace as well. It will be exciting, to say the least.
Here's a link to a video of the course:
I took an afternoon ride as well, doing several one minute intervals for a total of 48 miles.

May 27, 2009 Wednesday


Here’s a blast from the past, as they say. I’m on the climb in the Whiskey Creek Stage Race in my Paramount Cycle Club kit. This was the first stage and went from Bishop, California to the top of Mammoth Mountain, climbing from 4100’ to over 9000’ in approximately 50 miles. This race has the distinction of being the only road race I ever crashed in. Upon approaching Sherwin Grade (I think it’s called that), the first major climb of over 12 miles, the idiot factor kicked in. This guy decided to cut through the field from left to right and took about 10 of us down. My saddle was knocked loose and after tightening it as much as I could by hand, I set off completely off the back in 150th place. I caught and passed a tremendous number of riders by the first summit. I saw a cyclist parked by the side of the road and stopped and asked if he had an allen wrench. He did, and I tightened my saddle more satisfactorily. I finally came in 35th. One of the top 10 finishers was a guy from my old team, the South Bay Wheelmen, who I consistently beat on every other outing, so it’s not a stretch to claim if not for the crash I’d have been in the top 10 as well. The 2nd stage was a circuit race at an average of 7500’ of elevation. I had just driven up from sea level, so the altitude was affecting me. The stage started out with Kenny Fuller and a few others who had spent several weeks in Park City, Utah (at approximately 8000’ of elevation) for the Nationals attacking from the gun, and there was this short but steep climb that split the field. I made it over the top with what was left of the main field, but I was seeing spots in front of my eyes. It’s a wonder I didn’t pass out. Fortunately, the descent was mostly straight and I managed to finally catch my breath and keep upright by consciously controlling my breathing. I managed a 9th place, coming in 4th in the field sprint. The last stage was a criterium in Mammoth Lakes, California, at an elevation of close to 8000’. Somehow I managed to place 23rd out of 150 starters in the General Classification. Given the idiot factor and being off the back of a pack of 150 riders, I don’t think I did too poorly. Twenty two years ago. I was 22 when I first got married! A whole lifetime.

A thirty one mile easy ride this a.m.

4 comments:

  1. Glad you like the photo. Isn't she something? 77 years old!

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  2. You know that's one of your best in-the-day stories - and to be racing again after 22 years is a beautiful thing, Badger.

    If you didn't have butterflies, I'd think you hadn't given this enough thought. Bad asphalt, hella fast descent mixed in with some racers who may be 10 years younger than you are (even if you're not being scored against them) . . . I read some pure corn this morning looking for some wise saying about butterflies in one's stomach. It was a calico fabric and country-cute schmaltzy quote - not your favorite thing or mine. But I'm brave, so I'll say it: "When you have betterflies in your stomach, let them fly into your heart."

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  3. Bummer about the combined fields! Back in the day around here they often dropped the juniors, women and masters 50+ onto the course at the same time...bleck. What a mix.

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  4. @ OB: at the Calville Bay Stage Race, there were 97 finishers in the road stage, consisting of 45+, 50+, 60+, Cat 3 Women, Cat 5 Men, and I don't know what else. It was, as I said before, a real cluster fuck!

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