Roadtrip outta H’wood…time for this blog to see some dirt!
This past weekend saw me and “the guys” heading north to Monterey and the Laguna Seca racetrack for the 2006 Sea Otter Classic bike races. The estimated attendance was around 50,000 people, including everyone from Pro cyclists such as Levi Leipheimer and Gunn-Rita Dahle, to families camping out for a weekend full of fun bike events. NorCal was already oozing mud out of it’s pores, and with more rain in the forecast it looked like we’d be spending lots of time poaching shelter from the nearest EZ Up (Thanks Dirt Rag!).
I bowed out of racing the singlespeed mtb class this year, mostly out of sheer generosity to let someone else bask in the glory of the podium fanfare. Either that or I was about as far from being physically fit to race as humanly possible. Instead I opted to support my fellow singlespeeders – guys and girls, and do my best to be there for them physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Friday we arrived and pre-rode the 19 mile Cross Country course. It had been raining and continued to do so as we attempted to plow through mud bog after mud bog, each time with less caution and more speed. “Fuggit!”. Squish.
Saturday was Expo Day for us and the weather was amazing. Blue skies and sunshine made for an excellent day of hunting down free beer and swag. Free socks and a cold one to boot? Yes sir yes sir, two bags full. However too much alcohol and sunshine makes you do stupid things like this:
Alas I had ended up racing singlespeed afterall (far left in black). The consequences of my actions included grass stains, a bloody shin and general disorientation. My buddy Mark (right / orange) conquered the field and enjoyed the spoils of a sweet, sweet victory.
Upon arising Sunday morning, I peeked out of the curtains of our penthouse suite in Salinas and was welcomed by gray clouds and mist. Drat! Race Day and the sun has left us. I finished my spinach crepes, slipped out of my complimentary terry robe and rang the Bellman to have our bikes washed and prepared for departure. I packed my camera gear, flossed and brushed, and got in a quick seven minute meditation to make sure I was in a “good place” for my duties as Race Support Guy.
Ron was up first thing for the Sport SS class. His race started at 8:45am so we had to be there about 4 hours early to make sure his saddle was pointing exactly straight. That can really throw a race. Mark signed up for the Expert SS two-lapper (38 miles) because he hates himself.
Here’s where I come in. Apparently I didn’t feel that cheering on the sidelines and taking pictures was interactive enough. Apparently I had a desire to dig deeper, really search for a way to be there for my friends as they struggled through mile after painful mile of mud, sand and throwin’ elbows. Apparently I’m an exhibitionist.
A mom spectator was watching with her little daughter and was overheard saying “you’re going to have to look away for a minute honey.” A male racer rode by me, glanced down at my orange Crocs and deadpanned “Nice shoes”. Hopefully I brought a little sunshine to everyone’s dreary day. Like a ray of golden goodness from the heavens, my ass was there to warm hearts and sooth tired souls. Amen.