After the race on Sunday I joked with Dave Williams and said that my blog was going to be easy this week:
“I suck. See you all next week.”
True as that may be, I was – in fact – joking, and you’ll not be so lucky; you’ll have to endure my incessant ramblings about poor starting positions and undisputed-disputed results. . .No, actually you won’t.
I’ll start with Friday night: Isa‘s friend had a birthday party after school and a relative of the birthday girl set up a DJ system. Only girls were invited to the party (13 years old) and a few of us parents. When I got there a little later in the afternoon there was a tarp covering the fence and a man (uncle, I believe) serving as the gatekeeper. I inquired about the tarp and was told that the boys walking by would hear the music and the girls scream and then were hanging at the fence. So the tarp served to keep the boys out. Isa danced and sung and had a blast. Unfortunately, she may have also caught a cold that night because she woke up on Saturday very congested, and coughing up a lung. We were hoping she’d be well enough to race, but she didn’t get better throughout the day on Saturday, and she was a late Saturday night scratch onto the DNS list. Claire, Isa and I were pretty bummed because they weren’t able to go, and I think now all three of us look forward to the races.
So I met Dave Williams a little before 7 on Sunday morning and the two of us drove back to Vail Lake for the second consecutive week. I told him during the drive that I had accepted my being fat and slow so that I would not be disappointed anymore like I had been the last couple of races. I think Dave had a slightly different outlook than mine after having a series of mechanicals in Camarillo.
When we got to the registration line we saw Richard Murphy and Dave Bales, two Celo guys who once raced a lot, and now – not so much. Richard asked about Lee Willmore and I said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out here. We all got ourselves registered and changed into our kits and walked all of our gear to Camp Celo. We chit-chatted a little bit with everyone and before I knew it, they were announcing that the course was open for the next race.
I got out there and did one lap: the course wasn’t anything spectacular, I probably would have told you it was an easy course had you asked me immediately after the warm up, but since you’re asking me now . . . that course was an ass-kicker!
There was a delay at the start because there was at least one nest of yellow jackets or wasps or something somewhere on the course and after at least 20-30 minutes of waiting in the staging area, Dot came out and started with call ups. She congratulated us for being the only group who clapped for those who got a call up and when she called everyone to the line I found a spot second wheel all the way to the right. They started the 35+ Masters alone, with the 45+ a minute behind, thus giving me room to get a decent position at the start line. . . finally!
Once we were underway, I stayed pretty close to the front as we went over the barriers. The course was short and fast. After the barriers there were some twists and turns and a tree that protruded into the course and the guy in front of me hit it and went down. I was unable to go around him so I had to stop completely: to my left was a tree, to my right there was a man lying on the grass stuck under his bike. Many people passed before I managed to get around. Immediately after that protrusion of a tree was a sandy run-up and a few quick undulations and twists later and we were back at the start. The course was hardly technical at all, but it burned up my quads.
At some point I passed Jeff Goble and said, “Vamonos Jeff!” Before I completed the first lap I developed cotton mouth and I thought I should’ve stayed with Jeff. Jeff passed me not much more than one lap later and said, “Vamos Chuy!” I laughed as Jeff dropped me. I took it easy, thinking of the many excuses I had for doing poorly: “I didn’t warm up. I didn’t drink anything before the race. I hardly got any sleep the night before. And so on, and so on.”
I eventually caught Jeff again and stayed with him. I figured he was using the race as a warm up for his single speed race. I was content with going around in circles and was trying to come to terms with the possibility of a DFL place finish. At some point Dave Williams (who started a minute after me) caught me and passed me. I tried to stay with him but my shorts got caught on my saddle as I tried to remount after the barriers. After a few laps I finally began to feel better and went around Jeff. I was even able to pass a couple of guys in my race. I ended up in 25th place, which sounds about right to me. I wasn’t disappointed or pleased with the result or with myself. It simply wasn’t my race, whether for all the reasons I conjured up in the vacuous orb that hovers over my shoulders or for real, good reasons: Sunday’s race was not for me.
The best part of the day, by far, was having time to spend talking to my teammates. Dave Williams and I, as usual, had a blast drinking beer and talking about bikes and wives and who knows what else. But this time, not only did we get a chance to hang out with the Campaignes, the Lawsons and the Grays, but we got to spend more time than we have in a very long time talking to them and enjoying some races together. We also got a little chance to talk to David Bales, Richard Murphy, Thad Sparrow, Kermit McGovern, Alex Ter-Vrugt (all teammates) and we stuck around to watch Brent Prenzlow race in the elite race. I would be remiss to talk about BP’s race and not mentioned how unbelievably easy he makes it look when he’s out on course: he never looks even a bit under pressure, runs (doesn’t jump) over the barriers, and he gets stronger as the race progresses. He finished a strong 6th place and said he felt good about it. I wonder whether he’s completely recovered from the crash during the 9/11 race.
I was exhausted for the drive home and actually fell asleep for a bit. Dave was not as complacent with his race as I was. ”It’s too much anticipation during the week for such disappointment,” he said. He’s right, I’m sure, but I think I’ve convinced myself that Vail Lake was a throw-away race. I’m hoping that they split the Master Men B race again. I think it helps the faster guys in each category because the fields have an opportunity to thin out.
I’ve never gotten a good starting position at Spooky because so many people show up for that race. Let’s hope this year will be different. Now . . . SEE YOU ALL NEXT WEEK!”