Sunday, August 23, 2009

Co-Motion Criterium

I went out and raced the Co-Motion Criterium this afternoon. The Co-Motion Classic is a stage race for tandems, and the final stage was today's crit. Fortunately, the promoters decided to let us non-tandem riders[*] have a go as well. Unfortunately, they didn't have the turnout or the time to run more than one womens field, so it was a combined field - from Cat 1 through Cat 4. Even so, only 7 women turned out.

It's getting late and I don't really have the energy to write a whole race report right now, but here's the abbreviated version. The field was shattered early on due to a couple of attacks by the stronger riders. I suffered like hell for a few laps alone against the wind after an attack got away with 3 riders. I thought I could catch them, then they would open the gap. Just as I was nearly spent, they rang the bell for the prime lap - and the 3 leaders sped up. Crap. I was pretty much toast at this point. Halfway through the prime lap, someone got shelled from the lead group of 3, and not too long after that lap I caught up with her. It was Pam Archer, Lisa's teammate on Therapeutic Associates. I sat on Pam's wheel for a few seconds, but she was pretty cooked too, so I took a pull... we traded pulls for the rest of the race, maintaining our lead over 5th place, but not gaining at all on the lead group. It was Lisa Turnbull and Cara Bussell off the front, and, well... those two are dang strong girls, especially Lisa, who had just raced the tandem stage race with Galen - and won overall, beating all the guy/guy teams! So basically it turned into Pam and I trading pulls. After a good solid effort of team time trial style riding, she rode off away from me for 3rd place (because HELLO, she's a cat 2 and I'm a 4) and I pulled in for 4th. It was hard, especially with the really strong cross winds, but it was really fun, as always. I think that I am getting better at crit riding, but I still need to work on following wheels through turns.

Mad props for the day go to my UO teammates Mike Brunelle, for winning the Cat 3 mens race with a ballsy solo attack FTW, and Galen Mitterman, for not only winning the Tandem race with Lisa, but also making the Pro/1/2 field hurt a good bit with a (perhaps ill-advised) solo flyer early on. He stayed away for 5 or 6 laps, but eventually the field caught up. Damn impressive pain tolerance, man. Mark Hibbard won the P/1/2 race, setting a good example for his son, who was there to see his win, even though he won't be born for another 4 weeks or so.

Next weekend is the Eugene Celebration Stage Race. It'll be my first stage race ever. I'm nervous and excited... especially for the prologue stage, which is the 5K uphill time trial up McBeth Road. That hill is my nemesis!

[*] You will never catch me stoking a tandem - I am *way* too much of a control freak. I'd captain one, though.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fight Like Susan

If you read any bike blogs at all, you are prbably already aware that Susan Nelson, wife of the Fat Cyclist, passed away last night. For someone I never met, Susan was (and still is!) such an inspiration. Via his blog, Fatty inspired me to get personal in the war on cancer; because of him, and Susan, I rode my first century in the LiveStrong Challenge in June. Because of Susan's courage, thousands of people are stronger and more courageous as we face the scariest thing in the world. I don't know anyone who isn't scared to death of cancer; I know that my family and I have been lucky - my mom's cancer was caught early and she is now almost two decades cancer -free; my grandmother's battle has also been comparatively easy. We have been lucky. But we are still fighting, every day. Cancer is evil and horrible. It robs us of people, of time, of health, without remorse. So we have to fight it remorselessly. Tirelessly. Endlessly. Fight cancer with every fiber of our beings, like Susan did. Because she sure did fight, with courage that even her family didn't think she had. Fight like Susan.

Thank you, Fatty, for sharing your family's battle and inspiring all of us. Thank you, Susan, for showing us how to fight. And thank you Lance, as well, for everythig you have done. Cancer sucks, but if we all fight we can win, just like Susan.

Fight on. Fight like Susan. And fuck cancer in the face.

(sorry if this is ridden with typos, I am posting from my phone.)