About nine months, after my close encounter with the pavement and subsequent humbling butt kicking I received at the hands of my native friends in Panama, I reached the conclusion that my "racing" days were coming to an end. Not that I ever took the sport serious enough, after all, and as far as I'm concerned, it's a hobby. I never hung by the telephone expecting the bosses of Banesto or Saeco to call me to join their ranks. But my good friend Dani Meaurio FINALLY moved to cat4 and we talked of doing a few races together, just for fun.
So I entered Murad and Poolsville without the approval of the better half, but knowing full well, that racing with Dani is just an experience. It's not only the race itself, but the drive to and from, talking about how bad each other feels while navigating the back end of the pack, cracking jokes (mostly in spanish) and just having a grand time.
We got to Murad and the first order of business was to make sure Dani's upgrade was taking care of. A brief talk with the officials and he was pinning his number. Off we went for a warmup and then lined up with the rest of the pack. Murad is not a very difficult course, but the heat was an obstacle as well as the very few spots were one could move up, especially if you were riding in the caboose, like I was.
Aside from a few attempts of guys trying to break, the race stayed together, although I did see plenty of folks exit through the back door, because either the heat or pace. The crash on the last lap elevated my heart rate to uncomfortable levels after missing it by about an inch, and the subsequent quick, but well performed chase got me back to the tail end of the pack with enough time to recover. As the final approached, Dani moved me up towards the front as best as he could but it was a messy last kilometer and I'm getting up there in years to be mixing it for a $15 payout (it's a hobby, not a job).
I walked away knowing that I still can ride a little fast here and there, but most importantly, we had the usual good time. Now Poolsville is in two weeks, and I'm sure we are going to be jamming to AC/DC as we prepare for another fun day at the races.