Sunday, February 24, 2008

a different kind of racing

i had decided wednesday or thursday that i really wasn't motivated to race in the cold and wet of columbia, but i left myself a little wiggle room just in case i changed my mind. my mind was made up for me on friday when i got ill again. very feverish, very weak, a little sick to my stomach...what, the flu again?? i hoped into bed for 12 hours or so friday night and i was much better on saturday.

but the beautiful mrs k had caught the bug (not the flu, the race bug) and questioned whether or not she could do the race. i was a little surprised, but i just said let's go, i'll be the director sportif and she could be the team.

so after olivia got to the house to be the little monster's foreman for the day, deanna and i hightailed it to the store to get her bike. i swapped on my rol wheels with durable tires (which turned out to be THE ticket today) and took her expensive, ultralight r-sys wheels off. no sense in getting those wheels wet when the rols can, well, roll along for a quarter of the money.

i put the freestyle into hyperdrive and hit columbia about 11:30. i dropped deanna off at the door for registration (she's a USCF woman now!) and i wedged the beast into a parking space so close to karl stover that he and i could swap grey poupon quite easily. i got the diva ready (deanna's bike, not deanna), gave it a test ride, set up the trainer, and pinned on the numbers.

mrs k was quite nervous. i told her i know the feeling, and have known it for 29 years. she said she was sick to her stomach with nervousness, and i told her i was so sick for my first race that i couldn't eat for a day. there were THIRTY FIVE (yes, 35) cat 4 women. wow. that rocked. i gave mrs k a good luck kiss and off she went.

i drove backward on the course to the halfway point. i was pretty wigged out by the whole thing, hoping she wouldn't get hurt or crash. she had her phone with her, and i had mine out on the dash just in case. as i was waiting, our friendly neighborhood trek rep flatted right in front of where i was parked. i told him to get in and get warm and play director sportif with me. we cheered all the people on and when the girls came along, we cheered harder. deanna was doing great, having dropped the back 2/3's of the field after getting dropped by the first 8 or 9 girls. she was pulling along the juniors and a couple of old guys. it was pretty funny to watch her grunt on the front while this big, 6-4 guy sat behind her.

this situation lasted until the outer road, where she grouped with more women and it seemed like she would take it to them on the hills. she had already given me an earful about being cold (i suggested the days clothing, my bad) so it didn't surprise me when she fell back a little. chattin and i hung out the window and heckled her to go faster, stopping short of given her professional assistance from the motor vehicle. i jammed back to the finish area to watch her cross the line in fine form. she was cold and pretty crabby, but she finished 16th out of the 35 women. not bad at all for a first race! i told her that it would have helped had she not ran the 8 miles the day before...silly runners, this is a bikers world!

great day, makes me think of my first road race at froze toes, 18 years ago! (not as cold, and believe it or not, about half the riders that she had!) i'm very proud of her.

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