Wednesday, 5 September 2012

improper preparation

i'd like to begin by publically apologizing to anyone who happened to be on the 101, 5 or 605 south between 4:30 and 5:58 yesterday. I probably chopped you, maybe i flashed you, you probably honked at me, i probably waved in an apologetic fashion, maybe you waved back with fewer fingers. But then again, i had a bike race to get to and as we all know that's serious business.

En route from San Francisco to San Diego yesterday it occurred to me that, it was a Tuesday and thus a) i could benefit from cheap but delicious tacos at a variety of establishments and b) if the stars aligned i could make it to el dorado park in time for the Mark Whitehead Memorial race. Leaving SF at 7 am the stars seemed relatively easy to align, add in a coffee stop, a longer than planned lunch chez action wipes and the stars seem to be falling out of the sky entirely and i was sat in rush hour traffic in Santa Monica full of delicious tacos (thanks Martha) and getting increasingly frustrated at the ability of people to drive incredibly slowly and yet still act unpredictably.

I knew the race began at 6, at 5 g maps was suggesting i was an hour and ten minutes out. Bummer. I topped off my basal insulin and got on with driving home, next thing i knew gaps started opening in the traffic and the trusty audi began winding it's way south and east. by 5;30 g maps was saying 31 minutes, i was closing the gap. at 5;45 it looked good for a pretty late notice arrival, so i began undressing as best i could in the car, and trying to rectify the extra basal i had taken, this involved some whinnie the pooh style action with a jar of honey.  (admittedly it didn't look good to the people in traffic around me).

5:58 and i arrive in el dorado park in time to see the field being briefed, i pull in infront of the bunch, and leap forth from the Audi. my trousers were handily undone at this point and found gravity to be less than useful in maintaining my decency. i ran over to the officials, deposited my license, wallet and phone and told them to take the money out to enter the race. I ran to what seemed a decent distance but in hindsight was not perhaps  the most sensible location given the public nature of large open spaces and dropped trousers, donned spandex. back at the car, some kindly soul was putting my bike together and Rahsaan was using my pump. fortunately i was still packing numeration from the day before, and nobody else dresses like a zebra around here anyway.  i scrambled around a bit more and found some shoes and a helmet. As the bunch rolled out i was able to slam a water bottle into my cage, throw my keys to someone who looked tangentially involved with the race and chase down the bunch on the neutral lap. i looked down and disaster struck, the lever on my front wheel was on the right hand side.

having confirmed that laps out for fredliness were a) illegal and b) likely to allow me to wait out the whole race i looked up to witness a lone attacker off the front. Given as pointless long range attacks are my bag (baby) i decided to join him before suffering a critical error in between the bunch and said attacker, despite my best efforts at self hypnosis through hubris i'm still not exactly in winning form. i rapidly returned to the safety of the bunch where i proceeded to lollygag around the corners like a fawn on ice ( it turns out latex tubulars lose air overnight) and to check out my "competition" (if i can really consider myself as competitive wheb my airway seems to have somehow been reduced to the size of a straw in the last 2 months) which included no less than 2 olympians and multiple national champions, not bad for a Tuesday night.

 As you can see here the race got going and i found my way into the wind more than is strictly necessary for someone who is so far from good condition that he need binoculars to even see it.  I'd love to say i eschewed the SRM  in order to more effectively stay in touch with the sensations, and race on the basis of my legs' feedback. I'd also like to claim that i eschewed sunglasses so that the sheer tenacity and rage in my eyes would be more visible to my competitors. Truth be told, i couldn't find either of them (still cant find the sunnies actually) in the quagmire that my car had become.

Anyway, the point of all this waffling: we all like to plan and prepare for our races, check our sugars 59 times and eat & warm up according to a carefully planned schedule whilst wearing an ice vest and some very large headphones which pump "sandstorm" non stop but sometimes it isn't that way. Sitting in my car on the way home, dining on nutella from a jar and my emergency in car biscuit tin i couldn't have been happier. I had fully realized the potential of my day having eaten tacos AND raced bikes as well as travelling the length of a state.

Sometimes it's great to cut away the hassle and the prep and the nerves and just race your bike with honey in your beard and with your boxer shorts on public display in the middle of the course . The sunglasses though, those really help, it might have been a memorial race but that's not the only reason my eyes were watering.