Sunday, May 24, 2009
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.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not Chairman Fred at the start of Friday night’s criterium.
We met in Yellow Springs, Ohio for the 2 day stage race and the turnout of World of Pain riders was woeful. The flat 4-corner crit found only Cadillac George and me teeing it up. Of course when you do a masters race there is the possibility of racing everyone from Frankie Andreau to Gus Comstock. We had a Cat. 2 from Ft. Wayne and a couple of Team Dayton guys born in the 1940s. After a couple of Cheech-N-Chong Antioch tokes we were off. The Cat. 2 guy goes off the front and the Dayton geezers off the back (we lapped them a coupla times during the race). Work and worked some more to bring the Cat. 2 dude back and we go round-n-round. He takes a couple more flyers to test the corners, but is always reeled back in. Last lap, and of course he goes again, Conti does the hard work getting me back up on his wheel and I come around a few folks for 3rd. I’m not complaining, except now I’ve got the munchies...
The combined 2/3/4 race was a nice field with our own Farmer John opening up his crit season. Ask him when you see him how he did. I hear he missed the 3 man break, but won the pack sprint for 4th. Mighty fine result after he hit on the Bob Marley cigarette that was passed in the wheel pit.
So we figure that Saturday’s race will be better attended by our team, knowing that the Antioch gold was freely distributed. And we heard the winner was promised a free piercing!
What! It’s only Conti and me again. This time for a 44 mile road race that included 4 times up ‘Devil’s Backbone.’ We were in another Masters field (no Cat. 2 but we had Tym on the starting line). First time up and its gruppo compacto. Can’t say the same for the 2nd time. Tym turns the screws and we are off the back. George and I chased for an entire lap, but had to give up the ghost. OK, we worked some more, climb, fight wind, turn for home and Conti cramps up, I take 5th and we politely decline to eat the mushrooms the guy is offering in the parking lot.....