Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Night at the Crits

Around 5:30 Tuesday evening I was surrounded by the sounds of sucking. But this time it wasn't me. The temperature was a dry 94 degrees at Balloon Fiesta Park and the water bottles were getting emptied in a hurry. The Tuesday Crits come up like clockwork every year, and they always arrive on the first hot week of summer. They also tend to include an intense crosswind that kicks up while you're riding to the course, which warms up your neck muscles for the head-tilting efforts to come.

I was feeling so good that I managed to successfully perform some of my famous crit maneuvers in the Women's Race. These maneuvers are not for the faint-of-heart. They include accidental lead-outs, towing the entire field up to a breakaway rider, and just generally pulling everybody around while taking crazy lines through the corners.

These maneuvers have the disadvantage of making me appear stupid. However, being a bonehead is a GREAT workout! And everyone in the race appreciates it, of course, since it gives them a better chance of winning. Carolyn doesn't even give me the head-shake anymore (her head-shake is a great piece of local cycling lore: a slow back-and-forth that means something between "I can't believe I have to race with such a fool" and "oh, man, are you gonna give me a great opportunity to blow by you pretty soon"; its intended consequences for the recipient include a shudder of remorse for the immediate past and a sickening fear for the immediate future). I'm pretty sure she's given up on me.

For some reason I failed to show up at any of these crits last year. I think my fitness in certain respects definitely suffered as a result. The women's race is awesome. It's always a small, fast, cutthroat field that will rip your legs up for 20 or so minutes. There's no place to hide.

It's fantastic having so many fast women in town right now: Carolyn, Lindsay, Mindy, Sarah, and Lisa were all going strong last night. Now if we can get Holly, Rebecca, and Liz in there... giddy UP.

The juniors race with us too, which makes it extra fun... in between dodging soccer balls from the teams using the fields adjacent to the course (not to mention screaming at their parents to get off our race course as they wander on and off the pavement, cell phone typically planted firmly to ear as though they'd never left the comfort of their SUV), we get to see the action in the junior race and cheer for our favorites (i.e., all of them) when it's appropriate. On second thought, I'm probably the only one cheering for the juniors while racing, but hey, they cheer for me when I need it too. Plus I typically have plenty of extra power in the lungs. Wish I could say that about my legs.

Tacked on a little C-race action to finish 'er off with a bit of mad mayhem. I watched with some trepidation as Holly took this crazy line straight through a bunch of cones and potholes after the first turn. She maintained speed with nary a wobble; just barreled on through. I need to get that girl to some mountain bike races.

The C race contains a
mad mixed lot of beginners, masters, mountain bikers, etc. The race was fast, and furious, and chaotic, but not as sketchy as expected. I fell off the back of the lead group at some point but chased hard, which felt soooo good-- safely hammering by myself, just like in a mountain bike race. I hope I didn't subconsciously ride alone on purpose, but I was relieved to hold off the chase group behind me. Next week I'll have to remember to take my smart pills. (Unlikely).

Randy C (on the left) is one of the awesome Sports Systems
guys responsible for Tuesday Night SufferFun.

Nice grassy setting with no cars, thanks to Balloon Fiesta Park.

B race lining it up.

Pamala, one of our official Officials.

Brandi getting ready to send them off.

Tony is a downhiller. He came to laugh at the skinny guys in spandex.
...while eating a hot dog and drinking warm PBR, no less.

Scott has really no excuse not to be racing.
Grilling burgers does NOT count as a valid excuse.

The posse of juniors. Look out, them kids is strong.
And they wear the correct colors.
Callum cut his hair to lose some grams off the racing ensemble.

Last year Tiziana could use her dad's armwarmers as leg warmers.
At this rate, by next year I'm afraid she will be kicking my BUTT!
She told me it will take 2 years, but I don't know...

Ayden races, then immediately trades the lycra for a slightly
hipper look. And a burger. Ayden is spectacular on the
mountain bike and was working with us for a bit during the crit.
Next week he's working for ME!

My mountain bike buddies Chris and Parmenides, here to work on that powah'.
Chris has a singlespeed version of every type of bike known to man.
He and Brandi are Ayden's supercool parents.

I aim for realism with my blurry pictures:
a Lindsey-and-Liz sighting in the B race.


  1. awwww, I miss the TNCs and the Carolyn head shake of shame. haha

  2. You might just have to show up for one sometime... for old time's sake.