Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good Deeds

Friday morning I'm riding with Daniel at Hains Point and I noticed this guy on the Marina Side changing a flat tire, NBD (No Big Deal). We continue and finish our first lap, when I see the same guy, still on the Marina side, working on his tire, but it looked like he had walked down a bit further down. Interesting. Daniel and I chat away as our third lap is completed and the guy, who is still working on his wheel, is now about two hundred feet down from where he started. WTF?. I make a mental note of that and when our fourth lap comes to an end, the guy finally decided to cross over to the Golf course side, in the hope that someone would stop. As we ride by I asked him if he needed help and with a smile he replied, "YES!!!, actually I do". For some reason he couldn't get his rear wheel back on and straight. I took care of that while Daniel tigthen the breaks and made sure nothing was rubbing. He borrow my phone to call work to let them know he was going to be late and we were off. Feeling good about helping a fellow cyclist.
On the trail, after coming down the 14th Street bridge, a rider yells at us something that I couldn't understand...all I got was, "turtle!!". Daniel stop to see a small turtle crossing the path, in a tricky spot. He picked it up and put it on the side it was heading. Two good deeds in less than 20 minutes. A good day.
Yesterday on my way home from the 7AM ride, my friend Chance and I were beggining to feel the effects of an early morning wake up call, and 70 miles in the legs. Feeling the inevitable bonk approaching, we throttled back down and were talking about eating bacon, a sign that the bonking was now taking full effect. Before approaching the overpass by the airport, Chance announces to a walker and slower rider infront of us our intentions to pass them on their left. The walker heard us, but the weekend warrior, with his Ipod in full blast didn't hear the two calls Chance made and started to veer into our direction. Chance extends his arm to keep the rider at bay and to avoid a collision and rides off, but as soon as I went by the guy, he just yelled, "don't put your hand on me, you fucking a$$holes". Feeling loopy already from the bonk, and not wanting an escalation of things, I slowed down and told the guy all Chance did was to avoid a crash, no harm done. "F..k Off", he tells me. Classy. The thought of putting a water bottle accross his head briefly entered my mind, but again, the bonk had me thinking about peperonni pizza and cokes and not of an altercation with this guy. I guess for once, bonking had a positive effect.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Even though the race ended almost two weeks ago, I just didn't have much time or energy to write about the last two days. But it went something like this:

Saturday's time trial was another logistical nightmare, with the organizers changing start times at will and without considering any of the riders' needs. Not that I was planning on smoking anyone, but it was a bit frustrating having to change plans every five minutes because nobody seemed to know what the hell was going on. Finally it was announced that the Masters A category would depart as soon as the last Masters B rider had completed the time trial. That gave me an extra hour to sit around and wait.
Time finally came to depart and since I had spotted a few others wearing their Ipods, I chose to do the same. Nothing like a little ZZ Top to get the legs going. Off I went and quickly settled into the uncomfortable time trial position and prepared myself for the next 30+ minutes of pure fun. The "pain" playlist on the Ipod was made specifically for this kinds of efforts and with the top Texas band rocking, followed by some AC/DC, Guns & Roses, Joan Jett, Ministry and a few others selections, it made the time go by quite fast. It also helped when the guy who started one minute behind blew by me. The only exciting thing was going down hill, tucked in on the aero bars and having two 18 wheelers pass me, creating a serious vortex that made for some fun few seconds.

Sunday's last stage had a bit more start time shannanigans from the organizers. I had noticed the team of the guy who had led the race for the first two stages, warming up quite early. That indicated one thing only, that the fight was going to go from the gun. As customary, the heat was oppressive when we started around 9:45am, but at least it meant we were going to be done before noon by all calculations and thus, avoid the serious blast from the sun and humidity.
Lined up and made small talk with a fellow rider, who wanted my contact info. Not soon had I started to give him my digits, the flag dropped and before I could clip in, the pack was single filed. It was an impressive display of firepower with the leader's team taking control of things, or at least, setting the pace so high that nobody could attack. At only 500 meters from the start, riders were popping and avoiding them was becoming quite hard since they were everywhere. Finally latched myself to the back of the pack and had thoughts of settling in for nice ride.
Those thoughts went quickly out the window when we hit the 180 turn at the bottom of a two step hill and the high pace never ceased. More riders were dropping and when I reached the top of the last step, there was a considerable gap between me and the pack, no man's land stuff. A glance back confirmed that the only two choices were, chase solo or wait for the second group that was forming behind. Decided to give chase, if anything, the chasers would catch me if my attempt failed. It did.
So I spent the next 42 miles in a group of 8, taking longer pulls to at least get a good workout out of the deal. The cool thing was because of the longer pulls, the other 7 asked me what we should do at the end. "we'll cross the line together, spread accross the road" I made for a cool picture.

And that was that, my second participation at the Vuelta Masters a Chiriqui was fun, despite the craziness both on and off the road. The level this year was twice as high as last year's edition and when I got the results early Monday morning, I was happy with my 33er place overall. 65 riders started the Masters A class, with 48finishing. Now I think I will skip next year's edition and wait to move up to the B class. But things can change by July of 2011 and I can find myself pinning a number at this growing event.