Sunday, May 22, 2005

"They Just Keep Beating On Each Other..."

The boys somehow made it back from the Great Middle American Adventure, and the real racing has finally started... That's right, criteriums and track racing, the true sport. Track has actually been a bit weak lately, out of 6 nights I've only made it out twice. One night I missed on account of my tendency to not pay attention to things, and the other 3 were rain, rain, rain. We have successfully completed a kilo night and a "sprint" night though, and what fun they were. Here's my thing with kilos. Kilos are a genuinely bad thing, and I can't imagine that anyone actually likes them, it just happens that certain people are naturally pretty good at them, therefore the event survives. Nothing hurts more than the last lap of said TT, except maybe the embarrasment of everyone watching how slow that last lap is. I went out so stupendously hard out of the blocks that in the last lap I was seriously considering sitting up and coasting in. I won, but it was with a pretty sad time for a track rider expecting to perform on a national level.

No matter, Friday night is sprint night! Yes! I'm a big fan of match sprints, it's one of the things that I've always been pretty good at, and it's fun to be the lone roadie in the top 3. HOWEVER. Instead of running match sprints, the organizers have decided to hold "sprint events" on every other Friday, this being one of them. "Okay" says I, "Kierins are cool, team sprints are cool, handicaps are cool, this'll be alright." But guess what, instead of actual sprint events, we're gonna do a 10 lap points race with 2 (count em') TWO sprints, a miss n'out, (which I can't complain about much) and an unknown distance, which turned out to be 3 laps.

Are you serious?
I mean, who does this?

Sure maybe I was a bit bitter about not winning the two races which rely on luck, but that's just the thing. There's a couple reasons why top-flight sprinters don't come out of Portland, and this is a big one. Riders improve by doing races that require skill, physical ability and brains, not just luck. A 3 lap unknown distance is like paying 10 bucks to play dice on wheels, it's not even that fun. I understand that the organizers want to make things fun so more people will show up, but why not run sprints on sprint night? Having a sprint night in the first place is a big step towards developing local talent, but running easy races doesn't attract top riders and doesn't do much more to develop that talent. Enough wining. On to the party.

It's a bummer when people tell a host they will show up at a party and never even bother to show up. The Godfreys put a lot of effort into preparing for a certain number of people that said they would attend, and the house was practically empty. Those who were there certainly made the most of the evening, the beer that was intended for about 30 people was consumed by about 6, and the hosts now have enough take 'n bake pizza to last a few years. Heads were shaved, cake was eaten, music was cranked and we had a wicked time anyway. So there.

On a happier note, Rubicon threw down the big one two punch at the Swan Island crit. Everyone's favorite pan-flat cornerless circuit was drenched with rain for the start, which pissed me off so much I had to take my anger out on my legs, and began an ill-advised campaign to make myself hurl by attacking from the gun. The group I ended up in was caught, and the rest of the race turned out to be a great big Rubicon vs. Bike Gallery attack-a-palooza. Halfway through I was tired and not too convinced that a breakaway would work, so I sat back and watched Aaron, Scotty, Walker and Carl stick it to the field like Tina Turner. Here's how the last half-hour went:

Aaron attacks and drags someone with him.
Then he drops them.
So he rides by himself 50 feet in front of the field for the next 5 laps.
Aaron gets caught.
Gallery dudes counter-attack.
Walker counters the counter.
Gallery counters his counter.
Carl counters the counter of the counters and starts a group that Scotty gets into and promptly tears apart.
Aaron goes again.
Splinter The Announcer Guy is beside himself and keeps saying stuff like "Rubicon and Bike Gallery just keep beating on each other. It's like Tyson Vs. Holyfield vs. Ali vs. Tonya Harding"
These cats just keep going at each other, people are yelling, the sun comes out, I jump the field with a half lap to go with Todd Littlehales and Walker The Stalker on my wheel, Walker stalks Todd, throws down a mighty powerful last 5 pedal-strokes to take him down to Chinatown, we strut across the line for a neat one-two finish, I throw the hands up like a big time champ and everybody does a happy cha-cha.

COMING SOON: PIR, TRACK THURSDAY, TRACK FRIDAY, TRACK NATIONALS QUALIFIER and maybe another boring rant or a snazzy piece about how much school is not the coolest thing on the planet. DT

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