Monday, June 26, 2006

Conversation starter

Sunday, 25 June

Where else but a bike race can a man start a conversation with a woman he barely knows with "is your butt sore after riding 100 miles"?

There were a few other entertaining features on the final day of the Elkhorn Classic, which involved 101 miles, 3 major climbs, 2 unrated climbs (each only about a mile long), and the epic 8-mile, 95-degree killer climb to the finish at the top of Dooley Mountain:

:) The ex-pro riding all day with the chainring tattoo (obviously, it does happen to the best of us).

:) The local cat 3/4 who said "clear" each time the ex-pro was ready to pull off the front of the rotating paceline (um, do you think she's done this before?).

:) The rider who, after the first climb, tried to slow down the race and watch and wait for her teammate to catch back on--who finally did about a mile before the second climb, at which time she immediately got dropped for good.

:) 15 women desperate for water, all trying to get the same bottle from the first feeder in the neutral feed zone, totally oblivious to the 25 other feeders spread out over the next 200 meters.

:) Goodies at the finish (which is 17 miles from the start) included generous supplies of bottled water, sliced watermelon and oranges and bananas, cookies no doubt made with love by every branch of the Hobson clan (and there are lots), pretzels, AND TWO KEGS OF BEER! Picture 400 hot, dehydrated bike racers at the top of an 8-mile climb and the end of a 101-mile race--sitting in the sun, drinking beer. Not very many bike races finish with that kind of party atmosphere.

In all fairness I have to admit that I was probably pretty entertaining in my efforts to put my clothes back on after our pee stop. Yes, bib shorts are comfortable, but without a full-zip jersey, they are quite the challenge. It wasn't so bad getting everything off, but trying to get the jersey back on before everyone else was a kilometer down the road brought an adrenaline rush. Especially because the jersey pockets were loaded with food, an empty bottle, and wrappers that I wouldn't want to strew in the sage brush.

And to those who would chastise me for being hypocritical in condemning men who pee in the parking lot at Pacific Raceways while I take part in race pee stops, all I can say is there wasn't a house within 10 miles and the landscape was populated by sage brush and a few cows. And certainly there were no porta-potties or flush toilets in sight. Uncle Sam and the Russians were no doubt watching from space, so we'll probably all show up on the Internet in a few days anyway. At least this year I managed not to get any burrs stuck to the inside of my shorts while they were down around my ankles!


Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I was looking forward to this long stage. Would have been great fun as I love long road races through beautiful country. Alas, Life has dealt one of her big whammy's and I'm doing very un-fun stuff in Colorado. Reading your report put a big smile on my face though and that's a good thing in this time of little happiness. Thanks.


stokediam said...

Thanks, Ian. Our thoughts have been with you and Leslie since your early departure from Baker City. Our little bout with physical hardship was nothing.