Saturday, September 19, 2015


Why The Bicycle Means So Much to Me

Ten years ago the bicycle took me off a path I had gone down before.  My alcohol use was getting out of hand and it was time for a break.

The bicycle helped me break that cycle. 

The first ride after this decision was painful; I had to walk.  For the next month I had exercise induced asthma.  Quicker than expected, but slowly, fitness came.

When my business was crushed under the weight of the housing market crash, the bicycle was there for me.  After sending out hundreds upon hundreds of resumes the only ones interested were in the bicycle industry.

The bicycle  lets me be the person I want to be.  Low impact environmentally conscious, not wrapped up in material trappings.

When my marriage ended the bicycle and the family I gained in the bicycle community was there for me.  Every Spring the first race reunion warms me with joy.

The bicycle provides me with mental and physical health, friendship, and puts a roof over my family's head, so yeah, it's kinda important to me. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bikes For Bovines Battle Royale; The Hunted

Racing this year has been good but sporadic at best.
The season opener of the Root 66 race series, Hopbrook Dam, started well but came to a sputtering halt due to poor choices in equipment and strategy.
The next couple of races went well, so well that a race report would really be kinda boring.

Missing a few races due to family obligations had left me at almost two months without strapping a number to my bike.

BUT! Bikes For Bovines, the first race I ever won as a CAT1, was upon us.  I had my eyes crossed and my teas dotted; I was racing!

The start list was stacked and strong, I knew Tyler Monroe and Steve Witkus would be there and contenders, but I hadn't realized Mr. Consistency, Andy Chambers, had signed up too until he sauntered up to the line in his usual nonchalant manner.

After the usual confusion of which category I'm racing (yes, it's a singlespeed, no I'm not racing singlespeed) we line up and wait for Chris' whistle.

The start is a long slightly descending dirt road, my best hope was to jump on someone's wheel and spin like crazy.

Chris gives his speech, counts us down and sends us off.
Holeshot!...for a brief moment until Steve takes the lead with Tyler on his wheel.
Okay these are good wheels to follow.

We get to a slight incline and tighten things up.
The three of us are getting a bit of a gap despite swapping a little paint.
After I grabbed the lead a couple times on the climbs, Tyler gets to the front on some more of the twisty, technical stuff.

Holy Shit can that man drive a bike!

It's not too long before he drives it away...leaving me with Steve on my wheel like a hungry wolf.

I'm able to build a small gap on the climbs and surprisingly the descents but Steve reels me back in on the start loop and fireroad stuff.  Through the woods I see Andy with Steve Arsenault closely on his tail.

Steve W keeps gaining and gaining on me until we get to the steepest climb of the course.  Again I get a gap, only to have it erased on the first section of the course.

Andy is gaining on us.

The third lap goes to a dark place.  Clumsy and weak, questioning what I'm doing.  I feel the Steve's catch is imminent.   I'm going through a mini stages of grief.  I want to quit.

At the top of the steepest climb things start to turn around, at least with my attitude.  I get my gap again.

On the lower sections of the last lap, I'm seeing Andy, but not Steve...because Steve has reeled me in even earlier and is right behind me.

I'm trying to gap him on the climbs but he is tenacious.  In the twisty stuff that Tyler used to get away from me I catch teammate Tina Severson from the Pro Women class.  She's ready to give me the easypass but her lines are so sick there's no reason;  I couldn't ride that section any faster on my best day!

I get to the steepest climb, Steve is closer than he's been on any lap; this is it, he'll catch me or I'll stay away.  What little I have left I pour into the pedals, at the first switch back he hasn't lost any ground.  Second switch back, no difference.  But as things start to get more gradual and twisty, I'm loosing sight of him.

No matter, until I'm right under the finish banner I keep my head down and the pedals spinning as fast as I can finishing second :24 back of Tyler.  Steve rolled in :39 later with Andy back only another :41.

Now that's racing!