Saturday, March 26, 2005

Just sitting around.

Saturday family time; hanging out with my three year old daughter and doing laundry. Quality time none the less. Laundry is a very bonding thing.

The picture above really says a lot. It was 1986 and my first "big" race- the Alabama State Olympics. The picture really says so much, as you can see, I left the pump on the bike and raced the entire race with it on. I was so excited at the start that I forgot to remove it. Yep, full-blown geek move.

On the first lap, one rider rolled off the front alone. I jumped after him, but a voice from the back of the field yelled "let him go, he'll die on the hill". I let him go. But he was gone for good and we never saw him until the end of the race. Now the race was for 2nd and I was determined to get it. On the last lap, one other rider and myself attacked the rest of the group at the bottom of the climb and rolled away together. Out of the last turn, it was a downhill sprint to the finish line. My companion attacked me immediately out of the turn and looked like he would get the silver, but I wouldn't give up. I caught and passed him with about 20-30 meters to go and took the silver right in front of my father (the one and only race he has ever been able to go to).

It's been 19 years since that race and I still get so excited that I forget to remove my pump or tool bag. I've done many races over the years with all my crap still strapped to the bike. That could explain why I never made it to the Tour (as opposed to my less than stellar lung capacity and lack of super-human strength).

As much as I love those all day rides that go through endless valleys and over breathtaking climbs, I still get goosebumps on race day. Nothing quite compares to the sheer thrill of speed and competition... it's way more than addictive. Road races, crits, time trials or track races. It doesn't matter to me. I love them all. Admittedly, my passion is for track racing. The no brakes, one gear, can't stop pedaling, oh-my-God-I'm-gonna-crash thrill of track racing. Much has been said about the "oneness" of riding a fixed gear bike. It's all true. The lack of brakes and multiple gears to think about leaves you able to concentrate on the joy of being on the bike and planning your next move. The purr of a perfect chain line is unmistakable. The hum and whoomp-whoomp-whoomp of a disk wheel picking up speed. Man, oh man how I love those sounds.

It's true that bikes still make my heart skip a beat after all these years.


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