27 February 2012

A view from the back.

I have to confess.

I am not a serious bicycle racer anymore.

Not that I was ever very good racer, but there was a time when I took racing and training seriously. I would prepare for a race.

I wasn't going to go to the annual Olasiti mtn bike race but I decided attended the race to socialize with my buddies!

Ever try to socialize in a mtn bike race? I think you could in a long road race but in a mtn bike race? There is never a rhythm, tends to be shorter so it is higher output for shorter time, you are in a single line and more spread out, you are either panting going up a hill, or completely occupied going down hill, or recovering on a flat section. So even if I was close to one of my buddies forget about chatting.

This is the first year a white boy has won since I won a mtn bike race about 10 years ago(another story). Thomas Holden won by one minute, largely due to his body's ability and his bicycle's ability to descend faster than the other guys, and (2) Laizer is in South Africa trying to become an international pro racer. Laizer is a few percent stronger than everyone else.

Some of the usual were there from my group. Shabani, Thad, Henri.

Here is the view from the back:

Here is the pre start . My race plan as in the past was to start slow and then tapper off.

That is not always easy to do if your goal is companionship. So when we started the real start at top of Dorobo hill, and Thad and Shabani hammered away with Thad's son Zack I belatedly started hammering 50 meters behind them.

I couldn't get a pedal off my bike in the morning so I road with just platform pedals. My feet were all over the pedals. I failed to find time to fix the rear shifting so I had missed shifts.

I slowly caught up to Thad and Zack as we gradually climbed towards Oljoro but would lose 100-200 meters on the downhill runs. I either just didn't know what the track was like or was not comfortable going their speed. Thad seemed more intent on racing than socializing so I was the reluctant racer.

At the bottom of one down hill I braked in the dry wash and on the other side the kid behind me bumped my wheel from behind and my chain fell off. Now I couldnt see Thad.

I tried to catch Thad on the ups but eventually on one down i lost him completely. Now was the tapering off time. A under 19 kid begs water and I give him water and kind of stay with him to the finish.

Henry was behind the whole time and i didn't know it. Zack found out later his brake was rubbing. So

During the awards I stood in the middle of a crowd of school kids with nothing better to do than crowd around the awards area.

All the racers went to a bar for two free sodas, some of us drank beer instead and Thad and I sat around for a couple hours sipping beer and catching up.

Will I keep going to races? probably. habits are hard to quit.

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