Today was the second in a three race dirt crit series at a farm outside of Portland. Coach says I shouldn’t be racing and if I am, then I’d best be in the second group. Okay then. I told Bob Libby, team photographer and all around great guy, that if I weren’t smiling and looking at the camera every lap, then I was going too hard.
I got to Sauvie Island with plenty of time before my race and was greeted with emergency vehicles on the course. I guess someone in the C race had crashed on the first lap of their race. I have no idea of the type or severity of the injury. I figured that would be pushing start times back for the rest of the day. The Bs went off about 20 minute late so I figured my race wouldn’t start until at least 2:10 or later. After a course preview before the Bs, I headed off to warmup on the local roads and intended to get back around 2:00 to get a drink, puff the asthma spray, etc.
As I’m pulling back in at 1:58, I see teammate Mike R. heading out to cool down after his B+ race! And down on the field is my race, staged. Uh oh. I hustle to the car, swig a mouthful of water, puff quickly, and roll up to the start. We get underway about five minutes later.
I have mellow start and slot in towards the back end of the pack but pretty quickly move up toward the front. I spend the first lap sitting near the back of the front bunch when the dude in front of me pops. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that it came on a section through two 90-degree corners separated by some gravel. I came around and saw the gap. I decided that was a good time to shut it down and race my race.
Pretty soon after, I came by TK — he’d flatted. I dangled off the end of the pack for a while and teammate Chris T. came by and urged me to hop on. Thanks for the offer but not this time, Chris. Pretty soon, I saw TK get back on the course ahead of me after gettting a new wheel in the pit. I managed to chase him down and we worked together for the rest of the race. While I wouldn’t call our pace conversational, I felt pretty comfortable and switching pulls with a cooperative racer made the laps much more fun. The flat was bad luck for TK but worked out very well for me.
The only item of note during the race was that TK and I got the flag for the preme lap (I guess they chose a random point on the lap to offer it so the lead guys didn’t take them all). TK was leading and I thought about pipping him for the preme for about a half second. I sat on and let him take it. It could just as easily been me leading at that point so I wasn’t about to contest the sprint for a bag of coffee and some Cliff bars.
Oh, and I managed to smile at the camera every lap. My legs feel okay now– like I did something — and my back is fine. Last week, my back was a mess and it took almost a week for my legs and back to recover. This week I should be able to do some meaningful training instead of cutting sessions short because my my body is a mess.
Photo: Taken by Bob Libby. I’m the smiling guy. TK is taking the wind.