Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Water tankers and soft serve

Last night at the RMR crit they had us racing on a different course than we’ve used before. They recently did some work on the oval that made that unrideable, and they’re currently repaving portions of the drag strip, rendering the normal “outside” track unusable as well.

So they had us on the other end of the drag strip and riding through part of the parking lot, with the course marked with white trash barrels, culminating in a chicane before getting onto the drag strip again. At the end of the drag strip, the only true straightaway, we had a 180 degree turn.

Just for fun, the tanker truck used for the repaving at the other end of the drag strip decided (or rather, its driver decided) to drive onto the course during the second last lap of the A flight. He somehow realized there was in fact a bike race going on and pulled back off the course just before the peloton T-boned his payload. Then he pulled back onto the course when they were done and stayed there, delaying the start of the C flight by 30 minutes or so.

Needless to say the racing was completely different than riding in the oval. In the oval, it’s just hammer down for 30 minutes. Out on this course it was constant acceleration and deceleration—slow through the corners, then sprint for all you’re worth to get back up to speed, repeated five times each lap.

The pack split on the first corner, two riders in front of me, so I had to bridge to stay with the lead group. Then it split again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Each time 2-3 riders in front of me. I discovered that chasing back onto a 27-30 mph peloton is hard work.

Finally, mercifully, they called “three laps to go.” As we went through the chicane and onto the home stretch, the pack split, yet again about three riders in front of me. Then as we crossed the line, I heard the bell ring. WTF? I guess we were skipping the second last lap. Didn’t matter, because this time I didn’t have the legs to bridge. I got passed by a guy who made a heroic pull—we almost got back on—but just didn’t.

Sam and Steve finished fourth and fifth. Except as Steve crossed the line, they wrote down 473 instead of 475 and refused to acknowledge that they could have made a mistake. Wonder if 473 was even racing?

Afterwards, Rachel drove my car home so she could go eat brownies at Gina’s house (I’m sure they did other things, but I don’t know what). I took the kids to get ice cream cones at McDonald’s.

Here’s the thing, though, once you tell kids you’re going to McDonald’s, nothing else will do. Did you know that if you’re driving around West Valley City looking for McDonald’s, you’re likely to pass 2 Cafe Saigons, 3 Mi Rancheritos, a Pho Hua, 2 Burger Kings, 2 KFCs, a Greek Souvlaki, a Golden Corral, and a Costco before you see one? Me neither.


  1. I wondered if you raced yesterday and how it went - thanks for the report.

    I've only raced on the oval (which I liked) and the turn-happy DMV (where I crashed). Other than the accelerations you mentioned, how was it racing on a moderately turny course? Did you feel more at risk for a crash?

  2. Kris, my stated objective before the race was to stay rubber side down because I didn't want to get hurt before the weekend. Obviously I was a bit nervous about all the turns.

    As it happens, it was no worse than the oval, just different. In the oval, people are jostling for position. On the turny course there's little of that, it's just a matter of whether you can hang on for all the accelerations.

  3. Mark, the deer; You forgot to mention the deer poised to leap on the race course at any minute. Also what about the water spill that the tanker left behind? Downright dangerous, but it was fun living on the edge. I am still disgruntled about the lap that disappeared!

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