Friday, March 21, 2014

Re: Nowhere Else To Go

My friend Fredcube is doing his first road race in several years tomorrow. I don't think he needs any motivation to wheel up to the starting line, but just in case, here goes.

There are two types of road racers. Those who love to race, and those who do it because they've got nowhere else to go on a particular Saturday morning.

Most of my friends fall into the latter category, having nowhere else to go on Saturdays. This is most evident in the winter, where one must choose between doing nothing at all, and riding in the harsh elements outdoors, or slogging away on a trainer in a damp basement while staring at a cinder block wall.  By the time racing weekends returns in the Spring, these die-hards have had enough of the basement and/or spinning in the small ring. They're ready for something new, and at least they now have somewhere to go (the race).

And then there's the young "Boy-Peter". Peter loves to race. He can't get enough of it. It's what he talks about when he's not on the bike. Incessantly.

Peter has family in California. Unlike the rest of us, he has places to go, good places, especially in the winter. We all know that there are lots of distractions in California. As a result, Peter's off-season training takes a more abbreviated form than the nut-jobs in basements and the great plains winter warriors.

Peter don't (sic) care much about off season training. He just wants to race. Pure and simple: just get him to the starting line, blow the whistle and he'll race himself back into form.

Essentially, Peter's winter base period is the 45 quality minutes warming up in the parking lot before that first spring classic race. And that 45 minutes includes registering, pinning his number to his bib, rubbing down his Colnago, and hitting on the female racers.

All of them.

Predictably, the early races do not go so well. Ask him in the parking lot afterward if he's disappointed about not getting any results and he'll tell you straight up how it went. Something like this:

Then, after taking a couple steps away, he'll suddenly spin on his carbon sole, peel back an arm warmer to reveal the Jelly-Belly team member's phone number scrawled on his forearm, and say, "And who said anything about not getting any results?"

There you go, Fredcube. Peter even has more places to go now. But you don't, and you don't need nor want anymore places to go. Except for this race this weekend. You can do that. In any case, the race is tomorrow and you need to go about getting bright, pally.

Go Go Go!


  1. Great. Thanks. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to chicken out at the last minute now. Probably part of your evil scheme.

  2. The Chicken Coop

    Six flags of Mid-America has a roller coaster called the Screaming Eagle. It is a traditional wooden coaster. At the time it was built, it was allegedly the world's faster roller coaster, topping out at 60+ mph. Towering above the trees with several massive hills, it was/still is a monster of a coaster.

    I was terrified of the Screaming Eagle when I was a kid. But at the time, nobody knew that I was chicken to ride it because I talked it up a big deal. My brash behavior about it was simply an act. The truth was that it was too large and too unknown for my 10 year old brain to wrap around it.

    My mom accompanied me the first time I rode the Screaming Eagle. To this day I don't know if she was calling my bluff and helping me get through the ordeal, or if she rode it because she was a fan of roller coasters. In any case, she was there when I rode it for the first time.

    The Screaming Eagle was a very popular ride. The line serpentined through the staging building where passengers boarded, then down a long hill with several switch backs. On that particular day, it was well over an hour wait. That gave me a lot of time to wallow in my hidden fears.

    When I got to the top of the queue, there was a sign with a picture of chicken that stated, "Chicken Coop". I was tempted to bail, but I was with my mom, and she hadn't batted an eye about riding. I had my pride and dignity to uphold.

    I whispered a Hail Mary while lowering myself into the car. I prayed even more fervently when the so-called "safety bar" dropped over my lap and stopped a good six inches from my lap. Look, when you're barely tall enough to ride and weigh about 45 pounds, that safety bar thingy was a total joke. I could practically stand up without even touching the safety bar.

    The bell rang to indicate that the ride was about to begin. Clickity-clack, clickity-clack went the train as it taxied up a very long hill. My stomach was turning knots. Finally at the top, the cars were released to the mercy of gravity. At that moment, the last string of my imaginary safety-net was severed. Fear erupted from within me. I screamed as hot tears flooded my eyes. My misery instantly sought company in its desperation. Certainly my mom was experiencing the same horrors.

    Nope. Mom was actually enjoying the ride. She wasn't even holding that damn safety bar. Inconceivable.

    My stomach dropped as we descended another hill.