Larry Nolan has a great expression that I’ve heard said one way or another at each Early Bird Crit. It goes something like, “You know how you thought you should get into racing because everyone you rode with told you how fast you were? Well, look around, because everyone here has heard the same thing.” I’ve always loved that line….I think it sums up the feeling of the Early Birds perfectly.

This year’s kick-off, Early Bird Crit #1, was no different. Everyone who comes down to Fremont, from the newest Cat 5 to the most grizzled Cat 1 (I’m thinking Pat Briggs here), all secretly harbors a hope that they’ve brought something to the table that others haven’t. For new racers, ignorance, as they say, is bliss. While for returning racers, that hope may stem from a winter training plan that started in October, a diet that was meticulously adhered to

through the holidays, or even a simple plan to not “show” any real form until later in the year. Regardless of the approach, every real bike racer comes into a race with a plan and a dream.

So what’s my plan this year? Well, frankly, to reveal that gives away too much right from the start, but let’s say that roaming around a race venue with easily the most well supplied and outfitted team in NorCal doesn’t hurt one’s mental approach. Before hardly a pedal has turned in anger, Team Mike’s Bikes is looking at a great year. Somewhere between the Cannondale Super Sixes and the fully custom Capo kits, we know we’re coming in hot!

Early Bird Criterium #1 came off very well. Several of our more experienced members showed up for the morning and afternoon mentoring sessions. Shawn and Maurice guided many new racers through probably their very first experience riding in a fast pack in the morning, followed by Hank spending most of the afternoon doing the same with the 35+ crowd.

To put a special icing on the day, Hank and Tyler got a chance to ride together and show off our amazing new Team kit in the combined P/1/2/3 race. Both showed excellent poise and I’m fairly certain I saw ear-to-ear grins on both guys!

Looking forward to the year doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings that start to swirl around at the EB’s. With a blend of excitement, hope, and passion (mixed with a healthy dose of fear) the year is off and running. It’s gonna be a good one. MBFY!

- John Becker