well placed curse words

Apparently have been in a yelly mood while on my bike recently and i'm a little embarrassed at my conduct. First of all, last week as you may note from a prior post, I had to take a few deep breaths and count to ten to keep myself from assaulting a fixed gear no helmet wearing earphones on cyclist who was running red lights and stop signs and pretty much just giving all us cyclists bad names, and then Monday at the PIR bike races, I went off on some dude.

Basically, only four open women showed up to race which meant we had to race with the CAT 4/5 men. Aside from racing for seventeen laps as opposed to the normal women's length of twelve, I wasn't really complaining since there was a really strong headwind and I'd rather ride in a pack of thirty-five as opposed to a pack of four, but the men - while mostly older than us in age - are not exactly wiser than us in the better bike handling. I think that might be the biggest difference between men riders and women riders; more often than not we as women are so paranoid about crashing and ruining someone else's day... that sometimes it may hinder how aggressive we are. Men, on the other hand, are more balls to the wall and will do what they want and go where they please without any regard for anyone else. So, needless to say - some of the guys didn't really pay attention to whether or not they were merging into your line. It's not that they wanted to do that, it's just that they hadn't paid attention to anyone else but themselves. So Monday night, I pretty much spent a large amount of the race yelling "hey! - watch it! - on your left - on your right and my personal favorite, WOAH!"

Anyways, the majority of the ride went by uneventful. It took a lap or so to figure out the pacing, learning the people that you didn't want to ride behind due to their "squirleyness", and trying to stay in the mid section of the pack. A few times when I felt I was closer to the rear than I was to the front, I'd slingshot around on the final turn as we turned into the headwind and reposition myself and tuck in. This strategy seemed to work pretty well and a few times it got me closer to the front than I really wanted. I used these moments as opportunities to pull the pack for a little bit and feel as if I was doing my part. We kept a faster pace than we normally do in the women's races, but within the pack... it was hard to notice really.

One of the women riders out that day was a CAT 3 who rides for Veloce. She stayed to the front of the pack most of the ride and my goal was to pretty much stick with her. At one point, as the laps to go dwindled and dwindled down... she leaned over to me and said she'd lead me out into the final sprint. "Um - okay" I said... "What does that mean I need to do exactly?" So that was it, we were talking strategy! That's one thing I feel like I miss when the rest of my team doesn't show up to ride, a plan for action, for attacking or for defense. I am a hard racer - but not always a smart racer. It's nice to have people working with you as a team for a common goal, but more often than not I just find myself, and only myself, trying to push it as hard as I can for as long as I can. But here, this nice lady who I had never ridden with or spoke with before tonight, was helping set me up to win. Her advice was just to stick to her wheel and then going into the final sprint, she'll block the wind and then lightly peel away while I overcome her and go for the win.

Going into the final lap, this was my strategy and I stuck to it. When she moved up in the pack, I moved up in the pack... sticking tight and not letting any substantial space in between our wheels. But then, with 1/3 of the last lap done, some guy started drifting into my space. I had noticed this guy earlier. I had seen him not be able to keep a line and made a note to stay away from him. However, apparently he didn't get that memo and here he was, moving into my front wheel. I quickly tightened down on my breaks to create more room, but this guy still hadn't noticed that I was RIGHT THERE and his back wheel started moving into my front wheel. - scalink, scalink was the sound of the wheels hitting each other - I braked hard, heard some guys behind me yell, and tried to stay steady and hold my bike as well as I could. I envisioned a catastrophic pile up of carbon, body limbs, road rash everywhere and a lot of cussing. No, make that SHIT LOADS of cussing. Before that could happen though, I realized the crisis had been averted and everyone was safe, no one went down. I was pleased we I hadn't crashed, but more than anything I was pissed off. I was pissed off because A) the ass almost made me crash, and B) all the riders behind me probably thought it was my fault, C) all the riders behind me almost crashed into me, and D) I lost the wheel I was following! Here I was.... riding, I had put in 16 quality laps, a nice lady was offering me a lead-in for a sprint finish, and this asshole almost took it all away. So, with the little bit of extra space that was created by the incident, I reared up out of my saddle, surged and as I passed him, I turned to him and yelled "YOU F**CKER!!!".

I then sprinted past him and caught up to the Veloce wheel that I had been instructed to follow.

With hopefully not too much time lost, I was able to get behind the Veloce wheel and I notified her that I was there... waiting. No sooner did I get there though, than a large field of men started whizzing by, picking up the pace. This made me anxious... I was waiting, waiting for her to make her move so I could follow... but if anything, she seemed to be slowing down, not speeding up. "Was this part of her strategy?" I wondered. Then, she yelled back to me..."I'm done, toast. I've emptied out my gas tank... go ahead!" "sure?" I asked... "go!" she said. So I went. Still fueled by the asshole and then getting passed by the guys, I amped up my pace and set in for the final sprint. Going around that last bend... much like earlier in the race, I slingshotted myself forward... passing guy after bad bike handling guy and then crossed the finish line.

It didn't hit me till a little while afterwards that I had just essentially won my first womens race, I was still quite pissed off about the near crash. But, yeah... I did win my first race. Granted, it was in the midst of a field of men and there were only four of us... but it was still a hard ride. Seventeen laps as opposed to twelve, strong headwinds, and navigating a field of 30 plus semi shaky bike handlers at a faster pace than normal. It's still a win, my first one since joining a team last fall and the first one that really goes into some kind of overall point scale that means something. Now, that means I just have to win again... against more people in my own sex - oh the pressure. Also, I feel a little bad about the yelling thing, especially since us Bridgetown Velo girls have a reputation for always being "so nice". Granted, yelling expletives wasn't exactly the most sportsman like or lady like way to handle the matter I'm sure, but I don't exactly take crashing lightly. So please, excuse me for my "hey! - watch it! - on your left - on your right - WOAH! and my new personal favorite, YOU f*CKER!!!!"

blogs, the newest form of "making the paper"

ps: while I feel bad about cursing at the dude... I really DO enjoy a well placed curse word. Know what I f*cking mean?

photo by the Barkers :)

And, for some more bike related mumbo jumbo:

I've mainly pegged myself as a sprinter and I've avoided races like Portland's Mt Tabor six race series, which lend itself to anyone with a climbing bone in their body. While I don't mind climbing when it comes to ice and rock and my own two feet, doing so on a bike is worlds different and some people just love it. I for one, hate it. In fact, I've done quite well at avoiding the six lap torturefest around the extinct volcano while my teammates have been there for the past five weeks earning points and winning prizes. However, for the sake of team comrodery, strategy, and actually paying for an ass kicking... I gladly signed myself up for the last race of the series.

So far, one of my teammates Margi had won the CAT 4 race last week, while another teammate Sara, had consistently been placing high. Also... other girls from other teams had been doing well and its as if everyone was in contention for the final overall series win. That's where good teammates come in handy. Margi set us up with some strategy going into the race and hopefully, one of our riders could come out on top. Knowing that at about two laps into the race whatever hill climbing legs I had would putter out... my goal for the night was to go hard into the second lap and try to attack and string out the pack. Hopefully, this would whittle down the field and create opportunities for our women to snatch prize laps and the overall win. So... that's exactly what I did. At first, climbing the hill didn't seem so bad and for a minute, I thought there might not be much to this race. Going into the second downhill... I buckled down and whipped around to the front of the pack. I had some followers sprint to keep up, but shortly into the grade increase in road, whatever i had in me quickly vanished and I watched as the leaders moved ahead and then left me behind. "Oh well..." i thought to myself..."I hoped that helped". And I went on to finish the remaining three laps in a race not to be last.

Overall, the race wasn't awful, I'll give it some credit. By the time it seems you are really hating the hill, you find yourself at the top of it and then you're rewarded with a nice downhill that makes you ask yourself "that was it? really?" But, that being said... I am still not a fan, but I'm not a hater either. Also, so... it turns out my wee little efforts did help out. According to people on my team who placed waaay ahead of me... our Bridgetown Velo teamwork made a win for the Orange Crush happen. Apparently, my attack worked as planned and helped drop a few girls. When I let up, my teammate Rachael took control which set up Margi to swing around and take the prime. From there, she led a small group of riders up the hill and Sara took over on the downhill. That caused the big break of five. From that break, Margi won the other primes and was gearing up for a final sprint, but miscalculated the laps. Sara kept her lead for the remaining lap and cruised into the finish, winning for the night and winning the series overall.

This is a sweet photo that has pretty much all of the BTVG's racing Tabor this past Weds, plus Lisa R who did quite well for herself.

This is actually the second year in a row that Bridgetown Velo has won the Cat 4 race, so that is pretty cool indeed. As well, it was Sara Fletcher's first win and to win the series from there is pretty darn tootin awesome. It was just great to work as team, plan some strategy going into the race, and see how everyone's efforts, while we may not all be going for the win... payoff in the end. I always wondered how all the other guys who race with Lance in the Tour De France feel when he wins and gets the spotlight, and well - I understand a bit more now. It's about team work - yo.

As well, speaking of Bridgetown Velo girls, recently we CAT 4's have been hitting it pretty hard with everyone bringing home some type of top ten finish since the beginning of June basically, with even more races to go! Here are some highlights:

Margi- Tabor: 1st (07/08/09), Tabor: 4th Overall, Firecracker Crit: 4, Elkhorn :3rd
Fletcher- High Desert: RR: 6th, Tabor:1st (07/15/09) Tabor: 1st Overall
Catlin- Race Across Oregon: 4th
Justine- High Desert: RR: 10th, CRIT: 4,
Myself- PIR: 1st place (07/15/09), PIR: 4th overall for June, Swan Island Crit: 5th
Rachael - High Desert: RR: 10th, CRIT: 9
Casey- Firecracker TT: 2nd


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