Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jean shorts

Last night was Cam’s final DMV race before a five-month work assignment in India. We wanted nothing more than to try and set him up for the win before he goes. Step one was softening up the field with an ill-fated attack, so after the first neutral lap when I found myself at the front next to Tanner, I said “let’s go,” And we attacked, along with Eric from Skull Candy, and got a bit of a gap that we managed to hold for a few laps.

We of course were reeled in, but it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the evening, and the pace was high for the duration. A few laps later, I was caught behind a gap going down the hill. I could have burned some matches and tried to chase back on, but this is supposed to be a recovery week. I got to the top of the hill and pulled the plug, riding circles in the lot until the lactic acid went away.

Tanner joined me shortly thereafter, while Eric managed to stick it out for the duration. I apologized after and told Eric the attack was never intended to succeed.

Steve got in the next break, which looked like it could have stuck and probably would have had Steve actually worked when he was on the front.

But things came back together, after a fashion, with about three to go. After a fashion, because at least half the field was either detached from the group or had withdrawn. Steve took the front on the bell lap to try and lead Cam out. Cam made his move early and was in good position coming up the hill but had gone just a bit too early to hold off Casey and Seth, who passed him at the end. Would have been nice for Cam to get the win—he certainly deserves it, if such a thing can be said in a bike race.

Cam is the unofficial captain of our Cat. 3 team. He’s our Hincapie, the guy who puts in the critical efforts to make the tactics work. If there’s a break to chase, he’s on the front chasing it. If the not-very-sexy job of driving the train before the leadout needs to be done, Cam does it, without regard for his own placing. He’s the consummate teammate, a good enough racer that I should be sacrificing my race for him, not the other way around.

After the race last night, we went out for pizza. We told Cam we wanted to buy him dinner before he left. He could have lit us up for Ruth’s Chris, and I would have been fine with that. Instead, I spent $10 on pizza and root beer. Over dinner, Cam suggested that we’d have a pretty solid Cat. 1/2 team in a year or two as our Cat. 3 guys move up. I have a hard enough time keeping up in the 3s, so moving up has never been a consideration. But it might be worth trying to keep racing with Cam.

Cam has found a cycling club in India, “Bangalore Bikers.” It will be a little different than what he’s used to, as one of the group emails indicated that it was fine to show up for a ride in jean shorts and guys are riding time trials on mountain bikes. I’m sure Cam will be the consummate teammate with that group as well. With over a billion people, the odds are pretty good that a great cycling champion is going to come out of India someday. But that will only happen if he gets on a bike, any bike, and falls in love with racing. Even if he’s racing his mountain bike in a time trial wearing jean shorts.

Good luck, Cam. Look forward to having you back in the fall.

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