|Ten miles into the ride, I noticed I'd forgotten to fill my waterbottle; then I broke a
spoke on my back wheel, and the spoke blew my rear tire. So I didn't sweat the empty bottle. I stood alone on the side of the road, holding my wheel, watching my mates and hundreds of riders speed away without me. Then it started to rain. Dan Brown, Cathy, and some of the other Baddlands cyclists in another group passed me. I told them to go on without me. It was 20 minutes before any support vehicles reached me. They drove me back to the start where they rigged my rear wheel to run off 31 spokes instead of 32, which didn't feel too secure.
By the time I got back on the road I was an hour behind, with 100 miles ahead of me, on
a defective bicycle.|
I stormed the 100 mile course in 5 hours 34 seconds, up and down climbs and descents, but never caught my friends. I just remember how little I thought of the pain, and how much I wanted to catch my comrades. I didn't notice the miles. I came within 24 minutes of catching my mates (Mitch, Alex), and I passed Dan Brown's group 20 miles from the finish. They had a 30 minute head-start on me but I caught them, rode with them for a while, and left them behind. And then there was June 14...
This is one of the stranger pictures you'll see at a bicycle race. I borrowed a video camera from my good friend Pernel with whom I was stationed in Nebraska and now in Spokane. Cathy did the filming. It was cold (45 degrees), extremely windy, and we'd done two other races that day in which I'd worked very hard. This was the main event. Races at Spokane Raceway were always fun, low-key, and fast because of the banked track. The first time I felt the G-forces of taking a turn full-bore at 50kph+, I was hooked. Alex Renner, head-cheese of the Baddlands Club, announced the race.
This race began slowly. The guys and I were saying,"Alex is gonna get mad if we don't put on a good show". And like a good friend, I said,"Why don't we just ride ridiculously slow and see what he does?" So we did that for another lap or so, and then I suggested we stop at the far end of the track, and take a pee-break, never thinking they'd do it. Well, they did, and the entire incident is on video. No one pressed charges. Prudish me--I never take it out in public with a video camera present. I might want to be President some day.
What the pee break did, unintentionally, was catch the others off-guard on a prime lap. A prime lap is simply this - whomever crosses the line first on that lap gets a prize. It's something promoters made up decades ago to keep the action high in the middle of races. Dan Brown was a good climber, a strong rider, but he wasn't much of a sprinter, and neither was I. When the "pit-stop" finished, Alex bellowed over the loudspeaker,"PRIME LAP!!! THIS IS A PRIME LAP!!!" I was too sportsmanlike to take advantage of the others (although it was their fault for letting me trick them) but Dan moved towards the line. We watched each other and soon were both making a mad dash for the line. I couldn't climb quite as well as Dan (I was close) but I was heavier...with muscle that is.
video, you see me benefitting from the lesson learned in my first
bicycle race in 1988, when my friend J.T. Figueroa beat me in the sprint.
Here, instead of standing on the pedals to gain extra speed, I dropped very
low and used my naturally low aerodynamic drag to power past Dan. I've received
complaints over the years, because my profile is so low,
others find it hard to draft from me. We were riding directly into a heavy headwind, and you can see our speed drop when we round the corner and head straight into it.
I was second in the next prime, but after that I sucked. I never
rode well here when the wind was strong because as I circled the track,
the constant acceleration and deceleration wore me out. I'm not a
I was second in the next prime, but after that I sucked. I never rode well here when the wind was strong because as I circled the track, the constant acceleration and deceleration wore me out. I'm not a sprinter...not normally.