Monday, July 14, 2008

Cascade Top 5's.

I spent 90% of this race staring at the rear hub of the rider directly in front of me. There were however, a select few times when I was able to look around and appreciate the staggering beauty of my surroundings. Top 5 coolest things I remember seeing from the bike:

  1. On stage 5 we rode by a series of lakes, the last of which was the most beautiful (and tempting) color of blue/green I've ever seen. Honestly the whole thing looked fake, like a fantasy painting. The water was too clear, the mountains were too grand, the trees too green, and the sky too blue. There was a boat ramp I eyed from the road -- I really wanted to ride straight into the water.
  2. We startled some bison on stage 2. They were captive bison, but were nonetheless unused to seeing cyclists. The beasts ran alongside us for a little while. I heard the thundering hooves of gliding bison.
  3. There was an amazing alpaca farm (also on stage 2). There were three massive pastures of brilliant green grass that stretched all the way up the nearby hillside. There must have been 300 alpacas, most of which had been recently sheered. They looked like happy alpacas, what with their new haircuts on such a fine sunny day.
  4. Just as we approached the final climb on stage 5, we passed a huge lava field. The road went right by these HUGE glassy black jagged boulders. For a while the strange hunks of rock filled my field of vision, and I thought I was on another planet.
  5. SWEAR TO GOD, I SAW A UNICORN!!!! It was in a pasture with one other horse (a non-unicorn), and it was running. At first I thought it was a pegasus, but then I realized I was wrong; it had no wings, but I'm positive it had a horn. "LANG, HOLY SHIT, LOOK AT THAT UNICORN," I shouted to my teammate. Lang looked, but by that time it had turned into a regular white horse. Lang, I know what I saw, and it was a unicorn, ok?

This was not an easy race for me. I was on the rivet a good chunk of time. Therefore I have collected a list of my top 5 most painful moments:

  1. Crashing on stage 1. This is a no brainer.
  2. All of stage 2 -- my crashed-on elbow was swollen and tender, and acted like a lightning rod of pain all day. Every crack in the pavement, every storm grate, every cattle guard, and every pothole really hurt! Ouch! I tried to take pressure off my arm, but for the most part couldn't. Riding with an injury like that really made me appreciate how tough some of the pro guys I've seen are. I finished the stage, and my body was all tweaked from favoring my left arm so much.
  3. The first lap of the circuit race (stage 6). The pace was so high over the climbs the field was blown to bits within the first 30 minutes. There were gaps all over the place. I wasn't in a good position at all on the first climb, and man did it take some diggin' to get myself into better position for the 2nd climb.
  4. The finishing climb up pilot butte on stage 1. I'd crashed, I'd flatted, and I'd chased a lot more than I'd wanted. I wasn't a happy man when I hit the bottom of that corkscrew, and I was an even unhappier man once I hit the top.
  5. Gettin' DROPPED on stage 5. I'm clearly having difficulty accepting my limitations. I'm strong enough to get to the front and cover a move or two. But I'm not Jens Voight. Two moves max -- not 5 or 6, which is exactly what I did; I burned match after match getting off the front with 5 other guys for a minute or two, but once that move got caught, I hopped right on the counter attack. Not smart -- once THAT got caught, I couldn't even hold a wheel. I slid right through the peloton and out the back. If I hadn't gotten the draft of my life behind the Veloforma van (we went 60 MPH for maybe 20 minutes on the descent), I would have been out of the race for sure. Thanks for that ladies.


colin said...

Long live the New Flesh said...

dude, how long have you been competitive racing? I've been bike riding around the city for a year now and it's my favorite activity/