Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mid-Ohio Part Deux

With the recent news of the passing of our cycling buddy Larry Allen hovering above the proceedings yesterday at Mid-Ohio, Cadillac George and I discussed the topic of our own mortality on the drive up to Lexington. Larry at age 55, was much too young to be checking out of this earthly motel. While George had known Larry for years, I’d met him about 4 years ago, had ridden locally with him, and even joined him on one of the epic Boone, NC rides a few years ago. While he was a big guy (a former University of Colorado football player) he never shied away from riding with “you skinny ass bikers” as he reminded me just last tuesday night. You might have known that he was training to ride the famed mountains of France next month, and he certainly was riding strong as I felt his presence when he took his turn pulling our little peloton.

There is no explanation as to why he won’t get to ride the mountains with Chet and Mike, and I don’t really believe there is a grand design involved here. We are born, just as we race. Some win a few races here and there, others are destined to be pack filler. It is really of no significance if you win or lose, race or stay home on your sofa. History will forget who lapped or got lapped this past season.

What will endure is that I (and you) have an imprint made on our souls by the time (and hours and miles) spent riding with Larry Allen and ALL those in this group we've called Breakaway or COBC or A World of Pain, etc.  Riders that we have suffered with in the cold, the rain, and the heat, driven to the ER with, and explained how to restart training after broken collarbones. The same friend you've lent an understanding ear when they explain just why they are quitting the sport, for the 3rd time.

Few outside our cadre understand this bond. Even some selfish former teammates don’t understand this bond, nor do some shop owners.

We gave Larry a few cheers yesterday while racing. Assembled were the aforementioned Conti, along with the return of Jaybone. I saw Chairman Fred, Man of Gawd Dan T., new Brian, and freshly back from this year's Boone training camp but not very fresh were Luca Brasi (Dave Chambers) and mighty Scott Young. Here’s to Bruce Almighty’s 1st race of the year and Big Scott on a Scott’s first race! Farmer John raced 2/3/4 and I am waiting for a report, but when we pulled out of the lot he had made the break.

The race story was overshadowed by Larry’s passing, so I’ll simply report I finished 3rd (again) racing in a survival mode.

Note: we voted beer to be the perfect recovery drink and plan to have some (very cold) bottles at all upcoming races.

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