Today being the fourth Sunday in January meant it was the final race in the winter Coaster Brake Challenge series. Bummer, I was just getting the hang of it. And by that I mean “I’m kidding myself that I have the hang of it when I obviously have no clue”. An early meet-up in the west San Fernando Valley with the usual suspects, some coffee, some bike talk and we were all on our way to the trailhead for “special” instructions on the day’s race. The special part being the inclusion of wrist-rocket slingshots and a bucket of glass marbles.*
*not NORBA sanctioned.
Anyway, so you think you’re fast? Fancy yourself a ringer? Hope you can aim a slingshot, because after each lap you’ll have to dismount your bike, grab a slingshot and nail an aluminum can from 6 meters with a small marble. Good luck.
We arrived at the trailhead, embrocated our shorn legs, spun for 12 minutes on the trainers to some Kanye then got PUMPED for some slingshot action. Actually no, we just dumped out bikes on the ground and listened to Atomic’s Paul give us the day’s rundown: 10 laps, 10 kills.
I’m always torn at these events between participant or documenter-arian. Race or report? Sprint or shoot? Fortunately I don’t take my bike racing career too seriously, which allows me to attempt the best of both worlds here: I can place horribly in the standings, AND take mediocre photos with my smartphone while I’m supposed to be racing.
Grabbing the slingshot on the first lap was a harbinger of doom. It became evident very quickly that I must have skipped the slingshot period of my youth and replaced it with taking pictures of the other neighborhood kids shooting slingshots. Five marbles in and no kill. Now 6. Then 7. The shooting range became filled with random “BITCH!” or other colorful expletives, or with the sound of the successful riders shouting their racer number out and continuing on, post-plink. But then I quickly discovered a secret! Shouting random movie quotes before releasing the shot turned much better results. “Yippee ki yay. motherfucker.” BAM! Next lap! “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.” POW!
Quotes aside, I still got my ass handed to me over the mostly flat, one mile loop. A couple of quick climbs, some dicey rock gardens and some spun-out asphalt sections made up the quick course. “John” has been crushing the series so far, winning every race up until today, with most everyone hoping that the slingshot variable would throw a pump in his works and level the playing field. Apparently “John” was a Navy SEAL sniper, as his Drop, Shoot, Kill routine destroyed the field once again, bringing him a 4 for 4 sweep. Unbelievable.
Post-race carnage & sights
The CBC returns in July. See you then –