|I promptly smashed my balls at the top of this runup. Photo: Calvin Laszakovits|
I suffer from a highly curable condition known as NOT RIDING. It’s a pretty simple formula to do okay in a race, I have come to discover. What you do is you get on your bike for maybe a few times the week before the race, for something like 2 hours at pop. You ride at a reasonable pace, and kick it up a few times, but generally give yourself a chance to recover. Then it’s race day, and you feel good, and you finish feeling good, and everything in the universe makes sense. And so ideally you repeat this all season and would do well every time. But then when you don’t do that, and then just show up at Masters 35+ 1/2/3, you pretty much get popped.
I like Cycle-Smart. Half of it anyway. In spite of not having the flat-out power that most everyone else seems to have, I like the lower portion of the course where this type of rider is suited. The upper portion is where my race goes to die. I can never figure it out. I hit everything in my way and take the worst possible lines. Some people thrive up there, but I don’t get it. It’s where Adam just personally fucks with me. His phantom visage swirls around in front of my bike; the haunting reverb of maniacal laughter every time I overcook a turn or drive around something only to slam into something else.
Anyway for not having raced in two weeks, and having done zero riding for the past week on account of having no electricity or hot water, I had no expectations. I hung off two guys for a lap, planning on reeling them in later in the race. Except that’s dumb, because they actually ride and I never got close enough to concern them. But I finished feeling awesome. I actually warmed up for this race, which I highly recommend. You guys need to look into this whole riding and warming up stuff!
I drove to CSI the day of the race, and have some handy travel tips to offer if you’re driving from the Manchester area. It’s about 120 miles one way and presuming you hydrate adequately, you will need 3 stops.
- Stop 1 is going to be at a rest area on Route 2 West. The main building doesn’t open until mid-morning, but the bathrooms open at 6am. There is a huge red sign on the door to the bathrooms regarding video surveillance and police and how you probably have a 72% chance of witnessing or being involved in a sex act in this bathroom. You go in anyway, because that gamble you were playing – the one where you were “pretty sure” you dropped everything off before you left home – yeah, you lost. These toilets are the weirdest toilets on earth. It’s regular toilet, but it’s not. The waste just drops into a pitch black oblivion from which a cold wind emanates. I’m terrified of dropping my keys or phone in there. It’s all I can think about, right until I need to use some of the worst toilet paper on planet earth. Bring your own. This stuff removes paint, skin, and the human spirit.
- Stop 2 is going to happen right in the vicinity of the turn off 202 onto Amherst Road. This stop will be an emergency, because rather than piss at one of the gas stations just off exit 16, again you “figured”. Well now you’re figuring on not getting your dick shot off by one of the numerous hunters who are parked in most of the places you’ll be thinking of pulling over into. Make this a quick one. If you can hold it to the beginning of Amherst Road, there’s better cover, and less hunters.
- Stop 3 is going to be another gamble, and you will lose this one too. It’s going to be within a mile or two of Look Park. You think you’ll make it, but trust me. Events will conspire against you and bailing out into the wilderness is your only option. Too many variables prevent you from successfully pissing at the park: 1) the line at the parking attendant. 2) time securing an adequate parking spot once inside the confines of the park. 3) locating available facilities. Dream all you want as your eyes burn amber through downtown Noho; you’ll never make it. Just piss in the woods on the right off Route 9 past the rotary.
- Stop 4 is actually on your way home after the race. If you leave promptly after finishing, you can go quite a ways before your next scheduled evacuation. It’s actually quite impressive. What’s not impressive though is the pair of discarded women’s underpants you’ll need to avoid in the woods just off a turnout on 202/9. As I stood there in mid-relief, I wondered exactly what series of events led to this piece of clothing coming to rest at such a spot. I then finished up, quickly scanned the immediate forestscape for a dead body, and high tailed it outta there.
In spite of getting shelled in my race (64/66), I felt awesome. Rarely better have I felt after races than the few I’ve done this fall when I’m actually healthy. And I have never felt so justified in my decision to get crushed in 1/2/3 and not race Cat 3 than standing there watching the start of that very race.
See you out at Shedd Park on November 20th. This is also my 35th birthday, so flock like the salmon of Capistrano and let’s flow the beer like wine.