First race of the season is a new beginning and full of hope, and a grand melange - a mix of delight, expectations, experiment, eye-opener, shock, frustration, and joy. Yesterday's Cherry Pie Race, a circuit of 26 miles, done once or twice if you have the early season legs.
The tandem race at 10AM was great. The rain had paused, the temp was creeping upwards and it was just great to be back on the bike and especially great to be back on "Stealth", the black Calfee tandem, with Hammer (my stoker John Hatfield). It had been four months since we had boarded Stealth for a flight - it was set to fly - we were a bit rusty and raw. Not enough new year miles, but hell, worth a shot. Right out of the parking lot Hammer was talk'n podium. It was either the ten years difference in our age or the jet lag, but I was a wee bit less optimistic. But heck, one lap, 26 miles, let's hang and see what happens.
Local tandem racing is a blast, doesn't have the same aggressive edge as the solo events. Maybe it's the duel rider thing, maybe it's just wheeling those bigger rigs around, not sure, but while it's no less competitive in the final K it's a lot friendlier.
Half way through we have settled on the four teams that were likely to share the final hill to the finish line - and that's where we made our second mistake - we didn't know the "little" hill at the finish line - lesson #1: always, always, go look at the finish before the race. On to Lesson #2: don't chase down all the breaks by the strongest team, or if you do, make a deal with them and stay away.
Results, respectable 4th. Add Lesson #3: one day come to a tandem race with some practice time on the bike and some miles in the legs, we might just be surprised how good we could be; Stealth deserves to take first.
Packed Peloton in the Cat 3s
POP! off the back before ya begin. Four weeks away took it's toll. I thought, or was drifting in some mysterious state of illusion, that after the morning tandem race I had something left. Was I fully recovered from the morning tandem race? Not really, I knew it, but hell, just something, anything, that's all I was asking for. I tried to be realistic and philosophical. I saw this like pros, the boys of July, racing the Ronde van Vlaanderen, early season training, some hard racing miles; when the course loops around, if I'm off the back or searching for that suit case of courage, then I'd take the smart left turn, a mile after the first time through the finish line, instead of an ego driven right turn for another 25 miles, and head for the parking lot, call it a day, and be proud I raced twice and got in those good miles.
Well, we weren't even through the first set of little rollers when it was crystal clear my "suit case of courage" was still going around and around on the luggage belt at PDX. And about 2 miles later I was starting to think about putting in a lost suit case claim - where the hell did the energy go? Go? It went to India and back with no, none, nada, bit of workout in four weeks. I didn't need to be wearing my new team kit for the first time, I need a Superman kit, including cape!
New Team Results
As for the boys on the new team - it was a decent day out with some top ten results: Echelon Racing Team (still a bit blue in the ZteaM kits) came to race - Scott (Browning) managed to take 9th out of a crazy jammed Cat 3 field, nearly 100) and John (Browning) and Karsten (Hagen) were tactically plugged in making the winning break for 2nd and 7th respectively in the Pro 1-2s - great job 'old guys'! Matt (Slater) slipped in 7th in the Masters 40+. And lady luck was not smiling on Mike in the Masters - despite being in the winning break and flat robbed him of a chance as the closed on the finish. All the Cheery Pie results.
Sublimity Circuit Race next Saturday and Jack Frost TT on Sunday - hopefully legs and lungs will be back in this time zone!