Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Race Rapport

Much like eradicating world hunger or running for the presidency, deciding to open up to the world and declare a serious dedication to amateur recreational cycling is an inspirational event. It inspires fellow cyclists, friends, family, acquaintances, on-lookers, passers-by, and any and all other witnesses to your attempts at athleticism to ask inappropriately pressure-filled and probing questions about intentions. Inexplicably, one can't just spend tens of hours per week and tens of hundreds of dollars per year on a personal hobby without first explaining clearly defined goals. Yet the explanations given rarely ever suffice, as non-cycling laypeople often have zero interest in everyday enjoyment or prosaic practicality (because if they had an interest, they would start riding bicycles). Instead these spectator-tots only wish know about the political, sexy and controversial side of bicycle riding: racing.

The problem is that racing has never interested me, because I lack a competitive spirit, drive, and physical ability. However just last weekend I gave in to the lure of the racing spectacle, and sacrificed my commitment to purely recreational pursuits in order to compete in the 2008 Bilenky Urban Junkyard Cross race. I follow quite a few cycling blogs, so I know that it is now that I should give what is known in the cycling world as the race report. However I typically find these reports boring and difficult to follow, so first I'll post pictures of my intimidatingly aggressive and powerful riding:



And now for the full report:
The high that day was in the low 30s, and the ground was muddy and slushy from an ice storm the night prior. The course was narrow, windy and delightfully muddy, and contained one set of barriers, one set of ramps, one underpass, one stretch of pavement, and multiple risks for tetanus infection. The mud puddles were mercilessly deep and twinkled with psychedelic oil swirls. I got a good start and proceeded to ride my usual medium to fast-ish pace, and to my surprise even passed a few people. This took the sting out of the group of riders who ended up lapping me... twice. I did manage to accomplish both of my two goals of not falling and not getting last place, and thus I considered it a rather successful first race. In fact it was so successful that I won 2nd female, and was awarded what I surmise to be some kind of fleece cycling bonnet:

Dan did very well also, and was awarded the Cover Girl shot on Bilenky's website.

Now the question remains of whether or not to compete in a real race. There happens to be a 60-something mile race held in upstate New York: The Tour of the Battenkill that may or may not have piqued my interest. This race has won the hearts and crushed the spirits of many of my friends, as it
traverses through some fabled scenic northern hills. Most enticing to me however is that it seems sadistically grueling and happens to contain a whole bunch of dirt roads- my favorite. Since I'm young and easily swayed by peer pressure, I'm going to leave this up to you, dear readers, via a blog poll I put in the sidebar. The fate of me on April 18th, 2009 lies in your hands. (And don't bother choosing "Doughnut" as I will eat plenty in the next few months anyhow.)

Happy Riding!