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Rich Pink's Mother Should I Build the Wall?
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 8/20/2002
Rich Pink's Mother Should I Build the Wall?
 

Photos:
With Robbie Ventura - USPS 
With Frank Schroeder - Schroeder Iron/Incycle
(photos courtesy of Jason Meshberg)

"Great Googly Moogly"
-Frank Zappa

Well, it's officially official. While walking around before the pro race on Sunday, my teammate pointed out Mike Hanley, director of USA Cycling Midwest. I trailed him like a mugger, found an open spot, and confronted him for an upgrade. He very cooly walked me to his car, asked me some questions about my year, and then promptly produced from his wallet a blue "4" sticker, which he affixed to my license and sent me on my way. I have been told his mail response is a bit on the lazy side, but if you hit him at a race, he normally carries upgrade stickers in his wallet and this held out to be true. So now it is set in stone, or at least in laminate: I am a 4. I feel a mixture of happiness and fright. I am immediately filled with the urge to head into combat. I feel as though I am hunkered down in my bunker, and in the distance I can hear the unmistakable sound of tanks approaching, as though from an old war film. That squealing creaking sound cutting through the silence as I wait, clutching my weapon. A whole new world of beatings is in store for me now. I join my teammates Chris (who rode Andreu's wheel for a bit in the 30+) and Matt once again, who had upgraded sooner than me. I guess that puts me in a remedial cyclists' class, at least it did for a while. I escalated a little slower than most I suppose, as I enjoyed getting in the winning breaks for a while, and having a chance to win, or podium. Having the chance and executing are two separate things, as neither occured this season, but so what? I had fun. A few more races for me (my first official as a USCF 4), and then it's officially off season, with a whole new regimen of weight training and stationary riding. Hopefully I will be able to hit the ground running next year, especially as this coming February I do not have plans to do a repeat performance on a surgeon's table.

So there I am, glossy eyed with my insignificant acheivement. Ooooh doggy.....I'm gonna get whaled on. But I think there's a certain degree of this mentality in all cyclists. "Let's see how much I can take." I guess suffering and attrition are the two of the most over-used catch phrases in competitive riding, and everyone shares certain degrees of these two mantras somewhere in their makeup. But my trepidation was quelled as I watched far faster categories race around before the pro race on Sunday. "It could be worse," I thought to myself while waiting entirely too long for an omelette with my team at a little cafe located near turn 8, "I could be in that field, suffering unimaginable pain." Omelette consumed, it's off to track the pros.

Chuck Coyle is again gracious with his time and offers tons of good quotes. Ken Toman is as well, as is the rest of the Schroeder team. Exceptionally nice guys, and they made my first true journalistic exploit a breeze. In fact, as unpolished as I am, I had allowed the batteries in my voice recorder to die, and I had no replacements. Toman gave me his batteries out of one of his spare race radios. How cool is that? I need to make note of special thanks to both those dudes. The Postal fellows were found sequestered in the VIP tent, signing autographs and whatnot. Robbie Ventura is perhaps the most approachable guy on the planet. (It helps that my team skipper Jason is on a first name basis with the him as well.) Chann McRae never removes his sunglasses, and he never smiles either. Dave Zabriskie is not feeling too well. In fact his illness could be mistaken for being aloof, as he sat behind the table, completely relaxed and slightly wavering looking something akin to Monty Burns coming out of the forest all waif-like and glowing. He obviously got over it, because he rode like a madman. Labbe is awesome. I didn't get a chance to talk with him, but I'm sure I will again. He's been super nice in the past. I find Ivan Dominguez at the sign-in table, and he's quite approachable as well. His thick cuban accent is hard to pick apart, even after listening back to the tape, but he stopped and turned around for the interview when I called his name. I catch Dylan Casey at the start line, and he's gracious and forthcoming. He looks great despite being cooped up in an airplane for eight million hours. Poor bastard got in at 1:30am from Europe, and was scheduled to leave at 9:00pm, same day for Holland. Wow. To top it off he got whacked in that crash and DNF'd. John Wordin was accomodating too. We all know John's recent past is a touch checkered, but he was out playing director, and finding time to jump in the 30+ race as well. He gave me the lowdown for the Mercury squad and then headed for higher ground before the storm of the race hit.

And what a storm it was. Holy schnikies, that race got fast quick. I am frantically calling each lap's happenings into DP HQ. I certainly hope my cell bill at work is paid and not looked at, as usual. For I fear that an eyebrow or two may be raised as somewhere near 30 calls to California were placed on Sunday. I am running from vantage point to vantage point, sitting on Suicide Hill with my teammates, or joining Ed and the Colorado girls (who flew themselves out just to do this race, one of whom rides for Handle Bar and Grille) on the opposite side of the hill, where it seemed Ventura had his own personal cheering section. I'm screaming my head off, running around like mad, dialing and calling, running and drinking water (ok, ok I snuck a beer at the VIP tent too, geez!), trying not to miss anything good; all the while straddling the line between crazed cycling fan and cub reporter. I also made a point of standing right on the curb as the field went by, because the breeze generated could have cooled down Heat Miser himself. So much action, so much speed. Again, American criterium racing at its very best. Riders leaning hard into turns at upwards of 30mph. And the sick thing about it: most of them are expressionless and breathing through their noses, except those on the front or those attacking. I just think to myself that if I were there, I'd have a trail of my own organs and fluids spread out behind me on the road.

But perhaps that's what is in store for me. I have set the temporary goal to be a 3 sometime next year. Still not even close to what these pros were displaying for me that day, but an attainable, reasonable goal to set. There's even more fear there. Lots more. The stuff nightmares are made of, the kind of thing that would make Freddy Krueger himself pee in his pants, but I am completely committed. Only time will tell I suppose. And again, a sincere thanks to all of you who have taken the time to write, I find it a bit overwhelming and flattering. The future is uncertain as it always is, but I look forward to the challenges ahead, despite the fear.

Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls?

Rich Pink
electricrhino@hotmail.com
www.groundhogcycling.com


[Editor's note: "Mother should I build the wall" and "Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls" are lines from the Pink Floyd song Mother.]
 


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