Sunday, April 26, 2009

Granville...Fred is back

Saturday (end of April) and we are racing in 85 degree temperatures. What? Yes eighty plus five! And this is ONLY the third time I’ve ridden without knee warmers so far this year...

short recap for the attention deficit out there:
Chairman Fred is back racing
Fred is off the back
ok, he’s back on
Fred tells us he’s dropping out in the penultimate lap
we convince him to ride on
Fred is down (minor road rash)
ok, he’s back on
Fred is off the back
ok, he’s back on

Longer version: We swoop down on the annual Granville race around the rain, farm fertilizer and manure, and potholes only to find the hottest April day in history with winds blowing a steady 18 mph, gusting to Wizard of Oz force. I find Cadillac George has arrived early and ‘who’s the scholar’ Andy Will has also arrived without a jersey, shorts and socks, Diaper Dan Tinderholt, DJ T-Will, Mighty Scott Young, and Chairman Fred have arrived. Rumors circulate about Rea-Rea upgrading to 3.o and reuniting with team jellyroll (somebody say it ain’t so).

It is a scheduled 5 laps or 35 miles, no problem I’ve got two bottles. The masters race is joined by Tym and we spin out hitting the wind at the start finnish, bam...this is gonna hurt. No problem with the wind at our backs we do an easy 35 mph until we have to make that inevitable turn back into the breeze. We make the mistake of cooperation and everyone pulls through, enough turns at Tym’s speeds and a few of us are no longer there. Damn, I find myself riding in a three man break with Tym and Scott. Again I make the mistake of trading turns with the former pro and bye-bye break. Scott hangs a little longer but soon he is popped too. I roll a half lap alone waiting for a nice chat with the remains of the peloton but find only George and Fred motoring behind me. The 30 mph on the back is coupled with the 10 mph front. And it kinda wears a man down. Chairman Fred is struggling, we wait up and pull him along. His grandchildren pass us bottles to drink and dump on out heads (yeah, in April!) and we ride on.

The crash happens when the sweaty one moves left at 8 mph to blow his Roman nose, I swerve and Fred does the wheel scrape before he hit the deck. Not moving we roll back to check on him...road rash and cramping he’s OK, and we tow Fred around for another lap and a half.

You what happens next, he drops the hammer in the sprint and takes us. Note to self: make Fred do plenty of work next week...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Zanesfield wrap

Did the predicted 58 degrees even get close to the “3 degree guarantee”? No way. It was cold and windy all day at the Tour of Logan County. I say Ben Gelper owes us whatever it is we get when the weatherman is wrong. And maybe the weather is the explanation why it was harder to go down (no rusty trombone jokes here) than up today.

The scheduled 3 laps of ten miles for the masters was combined with the cat. 4/5 race and we (Spartan Spirit, Tom ‘papa’ Will, and I) line up alongside mighty Scott Young, Honda Brian, Tym T and 4 other old guys. You know it is a masters race when the riders leave the start to take ‘one more leak’ before the gun...

Joining the festivities were Farmer John and Mr. 4% Dan Rhule in the cat. 3 and American Taliban (except he’s graduating soon so he’s got the haircut and shave thing going on) running in the Cat. 1/2/3.

The course kinda goes up, up, and up - very gently, before a seriously fast downhill into a right turn and 500 meter to the finish. The 4/5 factor added up to a very lumpy race that saw too many accelerations and way too many slow parts. But in the end the ordeal averaged 21 mph with my speed-o-meter registering 45 mph on the decent.

First lap had the aforementioned fast/slow/fast/slow rhumba, followed by that downhill where T. Will did his best Industrial Workers of the World, i.e. Wobblies move - wrestling the steering wheel almost into a 40 mph derma-abrasion treatment. Second lap and a few moves were made by the strong men, Conti and I followed wheels, not letting anything get away. Same with the third lap. A couple times Tym made his patented move, I jumped to follow, but he didn’t maintain. And we are all together.

On the downhill, Tym told me to grab his wheel and he would take me to the corner and 500 meters to go. And down we flew 50 x 11 - I hit the turn, but got caught behind a large yellow rider which messed my momentum. Reconfigured the sprint and maintained my position for 5th(?) overall and 1st of the masters.