"When the hell are you guys going to finally race?"
I never thought that waiting till mid-February would be considered as being "late", but in Nor-Cal they have high standards it would seem.
In the off season, many of the elite team riders grab for their Diverge for a little change in scenery. After doing hundreds of laps on our favorite local roads, it is refreshing to branch outwards.
As a bike racer you know it’s ironic how much time you spend driving to races. Redlands, Chico, Bend, the Bay; from all this time in the van, you’ve come to find that as far as bike racing rigs go, there’s a few qualities that are essential:
If you’re only in the market for one bike but still want to contend to win whatever race you choose, you should get the Tarmac.
To call this a bike race would not do it justice. It is a Bike Festival. No, maybe a Bike Party? Or perhaps a 2-Wheel Shindig?
Photos by John Reynolds. All names are linked… if you want to see who they are.
“I hope it doesn’t start raining.”
“Okay, I’ll start on the back row and feel it out for the first few laps.”
“…oh! was that the whistle? Are we starting? oh… we started.”
“Oh look! there are all of my friends! Its super cool they all came out to watch… Wait, what if I crash or do something stupid. oh god… that’ll be embarrassing. I wish they wouldn’t have come.
“Time to move forward. annnnnnnnd shoot the gap…. inside line… hold your speed. alright boom! half way to the front!”
“Swiznooski looks really nervous.”
“Up the hill. The front of the race is slowing down a bit, lets pick up some more spots. Alright in to the top 10 wheels! That seemed easy.”
“Alright 2 teammates are up the road, lets pull off the front and get ready to follow if someone else tries to bridge.”
“Shit. It’s raining.”
“No big deal, the break is getting reeled in. As soon as they get here… punch it again. Ready…. and GO! pedal pedal pedal! Holy shit! WHAT WAS THAT?! okay some body behind you crashed, keep going up the hill then see if you have a gap.”
“…well… alright, Only one rider with me, third wheel must have gone down and taken everyone with him. I hope everyone is alright. CHRIS! Fuckin’ concentrate! You’re in the break, lets pedal a few laps and see if the time goes out.”
“Oh hey! Patrick is starting a chant! ‘leeeeets go Riiiiiekert” yea… thats me! Go me! …Chris, you realize you’re talking to yourself, right?”
“OKAY this is good! The gap is going out! 45 seconds and growing? Maybe this could work. Do I like this break? can I win from this? we have 30min left to race… is this good for us? How do I win from here?”
“Jesus, that rain is coming down! I’m soaked.”
“Sam seems to be riding really strong, I wonder if he is accelerating up the hill to tire me out? Is he going to attack me? Is he stronger than me?” shit, i bet he feels fresh… I feel like crap. Damn it, he’s going to attack and ride away. That’ll be embarrassing in front of all my friends”
“Okay 15min left… why hasn’t he attacked? Maybe he doesn’t feel that great either?”
“Lap cards are up, 6 laps to go. Man, i haven’t heard a time gap in a while, i wonder if the group is catching us? Should I ride for a couple more laps or try to rest for the finally?”
“3 laps to go. Okay, when to I sit up, when to i try to get to his wheel? Is 2 to go, too early? Okay, he seems content to keep working, does he think he can out sprint me? maybe he’s been working on his sprint… shit, i bet he’s been working on his sprint.”
“1 to go… the crowd goes wild with the bell lap! okay, no more pulls. stay on the wheel. I think we’ve got plenty of time on the group, you can play games for a a few seconds… He’ll go on the hill. he’s a better climber than you.”
“3 corners left, get ready for it, he’s going to accelerate. pace is going up. he’s looking to the protected side. Is the wind strong enough to effect this? okay he’s really watching the protected side. 300m to race, 200m to race. 150m to race… GO! Head down pedal! you’re coming around, you got the jump! go go go! and across the line!”
“Shit… i didn’t post up. whatever… fist pump.”