I love cycling. I mean I really love it. Even though I write to you from the cellar of the
competitive house, the lowly Cat 5 rank, I absolutely do
believe that the feeling, if you have it, is unilateral. It incorporates everything. Diet. Lifestyle. Traffic. Yeah, traffic. If you race, you know what I
mean. Looking at the cars ahead like a field of bikers on course - it happens. Weird, but above the weirdness, is pure unadulterated
passion. I think it's why the Daily Peloton folks have been so good as to allow me submit some junkets here and there, because I share the
same passion as them, and as you, if you're actually reading this.
Today's excursion in humility was in the lovely setting of a criterium zipping around the majestic capitol building in downtown Madison. A
huge, ornate rotunda, complete with tall statues of historical figures on every corner pedestal, was the centerpiece to today's perfectly square
battlefield of the learning ones, the welps, the 5's. There are lots of familiar faces from the other midwest races in recent weeks, and a rather
large field for a 5 crit, 37 riders! The gun goes off, wait a minute...the ref just said "go," we don't get a gun down here in the lower ranks, and
naturally, the pace is pretty quick to start. Around and around we go, various crashes dumping the unlucky ones on the sidewalks. For those
enjoying an unplanned, high speed dismount (borrowed phrase), the lamp posts and cement reading kiosks had been adorned with old
mattresses duct taped firmly in place. (We saw one fellow wipe out in the 4 race that now owes his life to a dingy old stained baby mattress.)
Back to racing - it's really a tale from my point of view of three flyers. The course was so compact and relatively flat (one leg of it was a
gradual 2 block long climb) it seemed hard for anyone to truly stay away. Nonetheless, I took my turns taking flyers, after the bunch reeled in
the previous one. My first two grew to about ten lengths, but again, with the speed and the course, they didn't stick. But it was the last one
folks, with a lap and a quarter to go, that I thought had a chance. I was wrong. On the aforementioned gradual climb, I was able to squirt free
on the right, putting a solid 10 lengths between me and the group, now looking at each other to see who was going to take up the chase.
Once around, the flyer is holding, but slipping. The line is coming. I'm still away, the line is closer...here they come. And then it was over just
like that. Riders sliding by on either side and me going backwards.
Momentum got me across at 16th, totally cooked. I now have perhaps
tasted a tiny droplet from the full glass of anguish that the pros drink after say, a 200k breakaway that gets swallowed on the line in a road
race. I suppose it's down here that we learn these things. Had I been watching it on TV, I would have said "he's going too
early," but now I
know better for next time I suppose. I thought
had "worked it out right" as Liggett would say but it was not to be. But I loved every second of it.
Today's race was truly driven by passion. Riding aggressively and attacking. Coming up short but relishing the chance to have another crack
at it next week, and being thankful I stayed upright. Again passion, people, it is what I'm getting at.
This comes across more like an editorial than a race report, but I was unable to observe the pro's or my team mate Ed in the Cat 3 race
(GO ED!!) because I had to make the 2 hour drive home to rescue my faithful dog, Bogart. Next week will be a real humdinger, with the
Proctor Cycling Classic, in Peoria, Illinois (a race DP's own Chuck Coyle has won in the past!). A road race and a criterium await the largest
contingent of riders this season to ride for Hotel Accomodations.com.
We will be represented in the 5, 4, and 3 category, and perhaps the
30+ masters in both day's events. I have to ride one more mass start to have the requisite number of starts to apply for my upgrade to 4, or at
least I think so. I am a little sketchy on the rules about this. Until next week!
Thanks for reading,