Monday, June 14, 2004

Alter Ego/FOG Stage Race Report

A brief report and a few observations from the race this weekend. Happily my legs felt better by Saturday morning. Fewer tactical errors in the crit. Finished 2nd., after an exciting 30 minutes of riding laps around the leg, and another fast sprint finish. Need to remember to start those a bit earlier. I think all the wedding parties out for their pictures were a bit taken aback by all the commotion, but it was a great location for a race. Tight corners to string out the pack, and even a slight uphill finish to make the final sprint more painful. The time trial was held on River Rd., which would normally also be a perfect location. But at race time the winds were gusting up to 55 kmh. We were heading with wind on the way out and straight into it on the way back. Exactly the wrong way around. But apparently, I'm good at time trials. I ended up winning again, this time by 1:24, which left me with a lead of 1:20 heading into Sunday's road race in Minnedosa. Why do they start these things so early, and why do they insist we be there a full hour before start time to sign in. I hate getting up at 5 am. But the road race course at Minnedosa was worth it. The highlight was a long (for Manitoba) 2 km climb, just in case we hadn't suffered enough in the wind on Saturday, and an equally long downhill to bring us back into town at 70 kmh. With a good lead going in, I didn't have to push it. Just make sure nobody else gets away. I did try to go for the $40 prize for King of the Mountains the third time up the hill, but after realizing my heart was about to explode I decided to conserve my energy for the last 20 km. Ended up losing a two-man uphill sprint at the finish, settling once again for 2nd place. But it was good enough to preserve first overall. Pizza, pasta salad and $85 in prize money were a nice way to wrap it up. Should be good to cover a few more races, or maybe just to help keep our namesake company in business for a little while longer.

After a few of these races, I've come to the conclusion that roadies can be a rather anal, uptight, and edgy bunch. Just the kind of crowd where an FGBC member should feel right at home. I've never seen so many people with gadgets designed to check this and that. Gotta have that edge on the competition, especially against all those other talented Sport riders. Must get a little machine to measure the lactic acid buildup in your legs so you know whether you are done cooling down. Can't do a time trial without aero-bars. Actually I must admit to being a bit curious about those, since everyone tells me it would take another minute or so off the time trial. I've also never seen so many bikes getting thrown around. Apparently, when you flat in a race or get dropped from the group you're supposed to throw your bike down, stomp around and generally draw attention to yourself. I hadn't noticed any such display at any of the mtb races I've done, but maybe that's because I'm usually wheezing with my head down somewhere back in the trees.

Miriam was out with her cowbells again and had a blast. Forget the stickers Mark, we need a run of FGBC cowbells, if only as an emergency signal for those night ride crashes in the woods. At the pancake breakfast on Sunday, I overheard one guy complaining that his poor result was on account of not realizing we were on the last lap. Some kid, he said, was ringing cowbells the whole time and so he hadn't picked out the bell which signals one lap to go. I didn't have the courage to mention that the kid was my daughter, nor to point out that the 14 other riders were somehow able to realize just fine that it was the last lap and time to kick it up a notch. Nice excuse, pal. You've got nothing on FGBC. We don't need no excuses. Sure the dark's a bit skunky at times, but you can't apologize for that. We are exactly what we are. And sometimes we even ride our bikes.

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