Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Race Report: Banana Belt #2

It was a cold 44 degrees when I got there at just before 8 in the morning. It had been steadily pissing rain the whole drive up filling me full of dread for the up coming 2+ hours of pain.

When I rolled into the parking lot I half expected (Wished...) to see a sign tacked to a pole asking us if we were all crazy and that we should just go home and sleep off that early morning's time change (I'm looking forward to more sun at night. But damn, did it hurt to get up that early to go race.). But the parking lot was filled with people already so I walked down to sign in.

Grabbed a couple bananas just because I could (Probably the most expensive bananas I'll ever eat.) and head back to the sanctuary of my car.

I had been going back and forth about what to wear since I left the house. I finally decided to go with the long sleeve jersey with a wind vest over it. I was glad I made that choice.

By the end I had frozen feet (They took about an hour to thaw out after the race was done.)and hands but at least my core had some semblance of feeling in it by the end.

As we lined up for the start I was surprised and happy to see both Tony and Patrick rolling up as well. Misery loves company as they say. And I was just happy to see some friendly faces. We were given the usual talk and started out.

 Patrick was feeling strong (As always.) and started out driving the train. Although saying it like that makes it sound like he stopped at some point. And I have to say that he never really discontinued. After about two laps he got tired of us and shot up the road. And I firmly believe if it wasn't for an accident (Slippery expansion joints on one of the bridges.) that I heard about later (I was dropped by then.) I'm sure he would have won.  But I digress...

As we started out it was pretty obvious that no one was in the mood to put the hammer down anytime real soon. So with the exception of a few digs most everyone kept it at a hard tempo.  Which was good for me. I was having a hard enough time as it was. I think the saying is; There are different horses, for different courses. And what I can tell you is that I'm the wrong horse for that course.

It's not to say that I don't want to do well, work hard for myself and my team. But I feel like I can just survive in a race like that. Which I did. It wasn't pretty. And at certain points I felt like a monkey humping a coconut out there. But I finished. Not with the group mind you.

At the base of the finish hill I was towards the back of the pack and one of the smaller climbers tried to give it a go. And I just couldn't answer.

It's one of those classic cases of if you can't keep up, you can't catch up. There is nothing more frustrating than putting it all out there and it still not being enough. But I will live to fight another day (Hopefully on a track that suites me a little better.)

Enough of my sob story! Lets get on to the really cool stuff.

Brison's first road race....

Hollie, Luke and Brison arrived at the staging area around noon (One hour before Brison's race.). I was almost thawed out sitting in my car by the time they got there. We went down to get him signed in and got his bike out, bottle on, and tires pumped up.

We had some time before the start so we drove the course so I could show him the dangerous parts (There were a ton of pot holes out there. All covered by water. One of them they put a cone in because it was so huge. And the damn thing covered half of it.).

 I was talking to him about a few of the areas to look out for tactically. In his race I knew that there were two teams that made up the majority of the field. So I wanted to be sure that he was mentally prepared for what could happen.

Once that was done we headed back to the staging area. We got his numbers pinned on and he started to do a little warm up.

I think Hollie was more nervous than Brison. She kept standing and pacing.

Luke was having a grand old time. He was smelling someone cooking in the parking lot. And he was quite convinced that if we went down to them and asked. They would probably share. (LOL)

The lady called them up to the start and gave them the usual talk. Brison looked a little nervous. But I think it appeared to be a healthy amount (Not freaking out. But concerned.). She blew the whistle and the were off!

Brison is a strong kid. And I knew in my gut that this course would suit him just fine. So after they took off we headed down to the finish area to catch them on the end of their first lap (Of two. 22 miles).

I would love to say that the clouds separated and the sun came out. But that would be a straight up lie. It dumped just as much in the afternoon as it did in the morning. I don't even think it got any warmer (Maybe a degree or two. But not much at all.).

As the juniors came through the finish area for their first lap Brison was looking good mid pack.

He gave his Momma a smile and stuck out his tongue. It looked like he was having fun. Which after all (Even if the report of my race didn't seem very giddy.) is why we do this. And I am more happy for that than anything.

Brison going by after his first lap.

We watched a few of the other groups glide through on their perspective laps. All with the same grimes on their faces. Something that was fresh in my memory as well.

And then we saw the lead car for the juniors come by. I got my cell phone out to video the finish. Two Beaverton Bicycle Club kids flew by in first and second place. And then we waited...  It seemed like an eternity but it was probably less than a minute.

All of a sudden we saw another lead car. And a couple of people accelerating down the hill right after it. It was Brison and the rest of the group! They had gotten held up by another category. They came flying through and I could see Brison coming around the outside. It looked like it was going to be close. But he pipped the other kid at the line for third!

Hollie and I were yelling for all we where worth! It was awesome. I couldn't have been more proud (Can you tell?).  It was a great first race! I just could feel in my gut that he was going to do well. And he delivered it. Just fantastic.

As we walked with him back to the car he told me about the tactics of the other teams and how smart they raced.  It just made what he did all the more sweet.

So that's what happend. We all finished. Came out of it totally stoked. And I think we maybe got one more kid hooked on this awesome sport.

Rubber side down,

Big E

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