Jul 20, 2009

jump start

we promised the kids we’d take a little break from bike races. even though the fridge in the airstream is plastered with pictures that the girls drew of mommy & daddy racing, and they write notes on the chalkboard in the house about how cool bike racing is and they have a blast with all the kids of all the other bike racing moms and dads we know - after masters’ nationals; they needed a break and so we promised them no more. until ‘cross season, of course.

and this actually worked out well. cause even though we think bike racing is cool and we like being with all our bike racy mom and dad friends, we were tired. we needed a break. until ‘cross season, of course.

i looked at my training calendar last week and saw that the coach had put us both down for races on saturday and sunday.  oops. the races were sorta far away and were going to require the packing up of the airstream and all that entailed. i wondered how we were gonna pull it off and how many krispy kreme donuts would it take to bribe the kids.

after thinking about packing the airstream, and stocking it with krispy kreme bribes, ‘camping’ in a walmart parking lot somewhere in ohio and trying to find parking for the rv at the race, i realized we weren’t gonna pull it off. nor did we really want to anyway. so that worked out.

but still. we each wanted to race, just once more before we rested up for ‘cross. so the plan was to split up and do the tag team thing. my husband would race on saturday, me on sunday. we could each race twice each day, the kids could stay home, and there was no need for donut bribes. it was all good.

well. it was all good until he crashed in his race on saturday and came home all crooked and pathetic - what with his left arm hanging all limp by his side, and all that wincing as his teammate was making the story of the crash into a strangely funny story and he was trying not to laugh. he has a grade 3 ac shoulder separation and needed a sling. and some bourbon. and an ice pack, ibuprofen and some other stuff for the road rash.

i needed to go to cvs for him, cause they sell all that stuff and the liquor too. and then i needed to go to krogers to buy some donuts so he wouldn’t have to try and cook breakfast for the kids while i was off racing. seems we can’t get away from the race morning donut thing for the kids.

by now it was my pre-race bedtime, but i got in the car to go to cvs, only to discover it wouldn’t start. so my husband had to drag himself and his sad, sorry limp arm out to help me jump start the car. while we waited for it to charge, i packed for my race and after we thought the car was juiced up enough, i left to go and buy him the sling, the bourbon and the donuts for the kids. while i was at it, i got juice boxes and lunchables and microwave popcorn. so if he passed out from pain or bourbon and the kids had to fend for themselves while i was racing, they could.

so i got in the car after my errands at 11 pm and what a surprise - it wouldn’t start. my husband was not too pleased about coming to rescue me and i didn’t blame him, but it was late and the folks in the parking lot didn’t look like the sort to whom i really wanted to say, hey, can you jump my car for me?

so my husband drove his car (a car so old it has vintage historic plates and shifting and steering that’s all slippery and loose so i never drive the damn thing) to come help me jump my car in the parking lot. he said he cried a little bit and almost passed out from pain trying to drive the damn thing.

we finally got home close to midnight and after we plugged the car into a charger thingy to juice it up overnight; i gave him his ice, his sling, his bourbon and some ibuprofen and i go to bed and wake up 4 hours and 45 minutes later. i woke up mad about waking up so early and nervous that i might crash in my race. like its’ contagious or something.

i didn’t crash and had a super day. the kind that reminds me that i do this bike racy thing because i like it and its fun. and when i got home to the family about 14 hours after leaving that morning, the kids looked like they fended quite well for themselves and my husband didn’t pass out from pain or bourbon. although i think the pain from putting his hair into a ponytail would make him pass out. so i do his hair now.

so we all got ready to go to a friend and teammates’ house for dinner - and by getting ready i mean i did my husbands’ hair. and miraculously, while i was in the shower, the kids emptied the car of all my race gear – bike & trainer included. having dad in a sling make a sweeping announcement to kids about helping to clean out the car works like a charm. apparently, even the kids see how pathetic and crooked he looks. clearly, he’s a man who needs help. both with his hair and emptying the car out.

and then we piled into the car (which did in fact start, go figure); and i buckled him in cause he needs help with that too.

we laughed all night about bike racing and crashes and broken bones (of which our host, the same one who drove my husband to and from the race and ran over his leg after he went down - had had many) and its’ good and lucky to have the kinds of crashes that can be laughed about later, once everyone is alright. and we laughed about kids and family stuff and the fact that i have to do my husbands’ hair and buckle him in. and then it was late and time to go home, so we said our goodbyes and i buckled my husband back into the car.

which of course, wouldn’t start. which at that point, was pretty funny.

Jul 2, 2009

40 laps

that’s how many laps we had to do today at the master’s national championship criterium at churchill downs. forty laps on the little half mile ‘track’ around the infield.

on advice of the coach, i got the upgrade to a 3 so i could get the experience of racing master’s. cause it was in my back yard. i was really missing that 4 next to my name and felt like a total fraud with a 3 there instead. but the deed is done.

the other thing coach advised was scrapping my plan of only doing the road race and doing the crit instead. if i was only going to do one of the 3 events (road race, time trial or crit), he thought the crit would provide a better overall experience; and since i was really only in this for the experience – crit it was.  i tried to ignore the voice in my head that was all wtf? you catted up to race a crit?


so i lined up today at masters nationals. and i’ll just say it again cause it’s so friggin cool. i lined up today at masters nationals. right in front of the twin spires. and i felt great. and was super excited – in a good way, not a jacked up anxiety-ridden way.

the race started and then the next 40 laps were a blur of: braking too much into first two turns, being off the back, chasing to catch back on, catching the group and getting back on and feeling so much better about things, and then falling off again and then chasing back on again. i got lapped by the leaders at one point, and later by entire field. i worked my ass off, lap after lap. i’m not sure i ever stopped spinning my legs. i’d make gains on backside, and lose ground on finish stretch with that damn headwind. i caught a girl and we worked together. i organized us and made sure i organized her onto the front for the headwind stretch. then i got lapped again but i got on that train and stayed there until i fell off that train. over the course of the 40 laps, i was in it and then not in it a whole bunch of times.

i could hear folks all over the place calling my name and cheering. sometimes i wouldn’t even know who was yelling, but i could hear it was for me and it was great. i could hear my husband shouting things like “get on that”. i heard coach yelling at me to roll through the turns. when i was on the train and in a group, i heard friends yelling “stay in it”! i always heard the kids with all that “go mom” and stuff. that’s the best.

it was a fast, exhilarating, shit hard race. and even though i didn’t do nearly as well as i had wanted or planned for – cause i had higher hopes for myself (even given the caliber of racers and racing. i still just thought i’d be ‘in it’ a little more and coach said i could have been had i just layed off those evil brakes). cause this morning on the trainer my legs and head had some good mojo going and all was well with the world that is me - i had a blast.

it was indeed worth catting up to line up at that start and experience that race.

evidently, next up on the schedule is getting out with coach on the tandem to feel what its like to go through turns fast. after i mulled that frightful vision over; i drove home with my girls, had a beer, baked a cake – cause its’ my youngest daughters’ 8th birthday – and took one of those drooling on the pillow naps.


hey. did i mention i raced in the masters’ national criterium today? that would be the famed twin spires right behind me in that shot.

photos: marcia seiler.